Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What to say to people considering surgery

One of the things that made a big impact when I attended the seminar back in March about weight loss surgery was the panel of patients that was there. Here were people who had been through the surgery and you could see the difference being made in their lives.

So now here I am on the other side and I've been asked to be on the panel at the next surgery. I know that it's a marketing thing, obviously, and as a result the people up there are going to be the ones who've done really well, not the ones who've really struggled afterwards. But then, I wonder what the numbers really are, how many have done well compared to who has struggled? And maybe they ask everyone and I'm just one of the few to say, okay. All that said, I'm honored to have been asked.

Of course I wonder what all I would say... There hasn't been any briefing or anything like that. I may be just one of those who says I lost this much, yada yada yada. So if given liberty to say anything I wanted, what would I say? Good question.

One thing I could do is point out the perils of the aftermath of surgery. It can be stressful on a marriage. What I mean is, any more I can barely keep my ring on my finger, the finger's just too skinny! I can't count the number of times it's dropped off. Another issue is clothes. There's a definite hesitance to buy clothes right now because in a matter of months they'll be too large. And the ones I have are pretty baggy. Fortunately there's been a reprieve of sorts, in that most of my slacks used to fit up under my belly around my hips. Now they fit around my belly. Of course there's a problem with that, in that now that they fit properly I'm able to wear them up where they should be, but that means that.... now I have a problem with my slacks being high water.... not to mention even now getting baggy....

Granted... these are nice problems to have.

The other approach I would take is to just give some suggestions from my own experience. What advice would the me today tell the me in March... actually I think it was February... ?

One of the things that I remember is being a little disappointed it would take so long to get an appointment. Keeping in mind all that I went through from insurance, one thing I would say is this: It may be a couple of months before you can get in for your first appointment. Don't wait. Start today. Get an appointment today with your doctor or nutritionist. Get started right now on a medically supervised diet. So many times insurance is going to require 6 months. For me that was a killer to even think of that possibility. But you could be half way along by the time you have your initial appointment, and even if your insurance does not have such a requirement, you've got momentum going.

That's the other thing I'd say is, get some momentum. I think that's something that has made a huge difference for me. Between the time of the seminar and the date of the surgery I lost at least 20 pounds. There's something about that because when the times come that say yeah, it's only because of the surgery that I'm losing this weight, I know that it's more than just that. The surgery has definitely made a difference, but it means so much to be able to say that I've worked pretty hard at this myself alongside the surgery, and I have that momentum to point to as evidence.

I know, it sounds hard when you're at a point where you're actually forced to start thinking about surgery, there's almost a hopelessness that makes any thought of momentum go in one ear and out the other. But realizing what this would be all about added a new sense of purpose for me. All of a sudden I wasn't thinking in terms of this being another short term solution but instead it became a thought that I was starting something that... I had some real hope that it could be permanent. There was a new sense of purpose in it. And by the time of surgery I was already losing weight, I was already getting more and more active, and it just made it easier to carry on the momentum.

So those are the main things I would want to communicate.

By the way.... 302.4 pounds was the latest weigh in. More than 90 pounds since starting this blog. More than 70 since considering surgery, and just under 50 since the surgery itself...

So yeah... I'd definitely be able to stand up there and mean it when I tell people that it's worth it.

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