Updated 9/5/2019 to provide you with a consistently awesome experience here at Stop Weighting, Start Doing!
Imagine you’re sitting at home, snuggled up in your pajamas in your favorite chair on a Sunday night. It’s cool, as fall is starting to arrive, and you’re sipping hot chocolate. You’re mindlessly scrolling through Facebook before bed, and a thousand thoughts are swirling through your head. Suddenly, you see something that stops you in your tracks. It’s an ad for a bariatric surgery information session.
You’ve considered bariatric surgery before but never had the time, patience or money to delve into it. Since you have a few minutes to yourself, you click the link and read the information. It tells you there’s a free information session coming up at your local hospital. You take a deep breath, a sip of your hot chocolate, and you sign up. You just completed your first step to the new you.
The same scenario happened to me, and it is what propelled me into my journey. Maybe something similar has happened to you, but you were afraid to go to the bariatric surgery information session. I know that I scrolled past that same ad a hundred times before, but something that day made me click on the link and sign up. I was scared before and wasn’t ready. Just because you go to the session doesn’t mean you’ll get surgery, and that’s OK. If you decide bariatric surgery is a path you want to follow, it can and will change your whole life.[mailerlite_form form_id=2]
At the bariatric surgery information session, you’ll get some more information on surgery and the health benefits. You’ll see how much obesity affects a variety of people. Additionally, they review insurance and financial information regarding surgery. If being in groups of people gives you anxiety, I completely understand. I almost walked out of my first support group meeting because of my anxiety. Luckily, more places are starting to have online bariatric surgery information sessions. I encourage you to face your fears through this process because it is scary at times. However, having support can make the process a little easier. The bariatric surgery information session gives you a general overview of surgery and the pre-op process.
Folders and Freebies Galore!
At my local hospital, we were given a folder with some packets of information in it at the bariatric surgery information session. One of the packets was for us to fill out there and turn into the medical team. It asked for our demographic information, insurance information and pertinent medical history. A second packet was for us to take to our primary care doctor for him or her to fill out. It was essentially a referral request but also asked medical history questions. The final packet of papers was our pre-visit paperwork. This packet was much more detailed about our dieting history and current food, exercise and sleep habits.
They also gave us a water bottle and a nice pen to use to fill out the paperwork. I sat near the front of the room and started filling out my paperwork. I’m a bit of a nerd and enjoy filling out paperwork. Somehow, having something tangible and concrete in my hands to focus on calms my anxiety.
There was also information papers in our packets with the weight loss surgery process, the benefits of bariatric surgery and information about some of the pre-op clearances. I thoroughly read each paper about a hundred times, as I was so nervous sitting in that room full of strangers. However, we were on this journey together at that point. I surely wasn’t the only one who felt nervous.
You’re Never Alone in This Journey
One of the first things I noticed at this bariatric surgery information session was how much obesity affects a variety of people. There were about 15 to 20 other people, squeezed into a tiny room, and most had a weight problem. It was tight in there, but what struck me was how lucky I was. Yes, even though I weighed over 400 pounds and had some medical issues related to my obesity, some of these people could barely breathe. I could hear their labored breathing just from walking down the hall, and I wondered how I must have looked to them.
There was about an equal mix of men and women in the group. Some were younger than me (I was 30 at this time), and some were older. There was a complete mix of nationalities and heritages. Yet, the thing that brought us all together was the disease of obesity. Obesity doesn’t discriminate it seems, and even though we were all different, we all were interested in starting this same journey. I have no clue where any of those people are today. I don’t know if they went through with surgery or if they had any success. What I do know is that this session changed my life, and I truly pray that it did for those people too.
Overview of Surgery
When it was time for the bariatric surgery information session to start, the surgeon arrived with a slide show. The slide show highlighted some of the advantages to the different surgeries, as well as the health benefits of each. It was interesting to see how the different surgeries worked, and I learned more than I ever thought I needed to know. However, when you’re first starting the bariatric surgery process, you need to get all of the facts so that you can make an informed decision.
The surgeon also had models of each surgery. I’m a visual person, so having a better visualization of how the surgeries worked helped me learn better. The model for the vertical sleeve gastrectomy was particularly interesting. I couldn’t believe how small the stomach becomes. The model helped me understand how my stomach is currently shaped and how it will be shaped after the surgery.
Insurance and Financial Information
They also briefly discussed insurance and financial information. They told us that they’ll use the information we gave them on the forms we handed in to contact our insurance companies to see if they’ll cover bariatric surgery. Before our first visit with the bariatric surgeon, they’ll see what financial obligations we’ll be responsible for so that we can make a decision about whether we want to proceed with surgery.
They also told us that most programs require a three to six month waiting period. This waiting time is to see if you’re going to commit to the bariatric surgery program, or if you’ll just blow it off. I’m guessing the insurance company doesn’t want to pay for the surgery of someone who can’t commit to the lifestyle changes. It’s also necessary because some insurance companies require you to lose weight before surgery, and some surgeons did too. I had to lose 50 pounds before surgery and ended up losing 80 pounds.
The Only Time You Can Drink Soda
One of the biggest takeaways from the bariatric surgery information session is that there is only one time patients are allowed to drink soda. It’s after a gastric balloon procedure. They place an inflatable balloon down your esophagus and inflate it with an endoscope. The balloon takes up room in your stomach to help you feel fuller quicker. According to Ramsay Health, you lose about 20 to 30 percent of your excess body weight, and it’s removed six months later. The day before they remove the balloon, they have you drink a soda because it cleans away the food particles and whatever else has stuck to it.
This comment really stuck with me, and in fact, prompted me to stop drinking soda completely. I thought if soda is powerful enough to clean off six months of gunk, food grime and build-up, what is it doing to the rest of my body? Also, I knew if I wanted to lose weight, I’d have to give up soda. I had my last soda in November of 2017 and haven’t touched one since. I still crave it occasionally, but I felt so much better after I got rid of it.
We reviewed the weight loss surgery requirements, which was given to us on a flow chart. It laid out the chronological path to surgery, and I used it to keep track of my appointments. It can be overwhelming thinking of all the appointments and pre-op requirements. Having this visual reminder of them on the flow-chart was helpful.
At the end of the bariatric surgery information session, we were allowed to sign up for our first visit with the surgeon. I decided that I had come so far in facing my fears by going to the session alone, that I might as well ride that wave of courage and sign up for the appointment. I scheduled it for approximately four weeks later, and my journey officially started.
The Bariatric Surgery Information Session
The bariatric surgery information session is the first step in your bariatric journey. You’ll receive lots of information about the surgery and the process leading to it. While thinking about all of the requirements may be overwhelming, it’s not impossible! You’ll likely have to wait three to six months to get surgery. This waiting period gives you time to complete everything. The health benefits of weight loss surgery are numerous, like a reduction in hypertension, type II diabetes and sleep apnea. The bariatric surgery information session gives you a general overview of surgery and the pre-op process. Sign up today, or sign up for a second time if you didn’t follow through the first time or if you want to hear the information again. It will only take about an hour or two of your time. All you have to lose is the weight.
If this article gave you some great ideas to incorporate into your life, just imagine what other amazing strategies I have for you! Share this post on social media by clicking one of the sharing buttons, and don’t forget to join my email list! You’ll be the first to get updates, access to my new products and lots of tips, inspiration and motivation to help in your bariatric surgery journey. Just for joining, I’ll send you a free weight loss coloring chart, as well as some other pretty awesome goodies to keep you motivated. Join today!
You learn about an overview of the different types of bariatric surgery and the pre-op process. You will receive a packet of informational papers and questionnaires to fill out. A member of the bariatric surgery team will be present to answer any questions you may have. They will provide insurance and financial information, so you can be prepared financially for surgery. It’s usually the first step in the bariatric surgery process, and more hospitals are holding information sessions online.