Bariatric Consultation

The other day I posted a little bit about what has led up to where I am now.  I ended the post by saying that I set up a consultation with a bariatric surgeon.  For those who don’t know, bariatric surgery is gastric bypass or lap band or some other form of weight loss surgery. Here is an account of how that consultation went.

Deetz and I went up to MUSC (The Medical University of South Carolina) that morning. I had set up the appointment the previous week and I had also found out that insurance would cover the procedure.  I am not going to lie. I was nervous. I had no idea what to expect.

So I checked in at the front desk and then was given the typical stack of medical forms to fill out…you know, the ones where it asks you the same questions on every page. I think it took me 10 minutes just to fill out the paper work.

Then I got called back…dunh dunh dunh…to the scale. The evil scale that I avoided like the plague. The scale that was about to shed light on a secret that I still feel ill telling you about.  The scale revealed that I weighed 355 pounds.  Deetz actually told me later that she thought the scale was broken or wrong.  There was no way that it could be accurate.  I mean, I don’t LOOK like I weigh 350 pounds.  But guess what? Scales in the doctors office do not lie.  Especially one that is MADE to weigh heavy people.

After doing the blood pressure and body temp thing, we were sent to a waiting room for about 10 minutes.  Hmmmm.  10 minutes to stew in my own self disgust.  10 minutes to deny what I just saw. 10 minutes to lose hope for myself. The nurse came in a little while later and told me that I WAS a candidate for surgery. Excuse my French, but I think my exact thought was, “No shit Sherlock.”

She then said that we had to sit through an orientation and then afterward we could schedule the procedure. She said that the doctor actually had an orientation time that afternoon (about 3 hours later). Ok, I thought. So we have to come back and the doctor will sit with Deetz and I and tell us about the procedure, the befores and afters, the special diet and all that jazz.  I was thinking that it all sounded ok.  Deetz and I left the office and spent the day downtown before coming back for the orientation.

That is when things got weird.

We came back up to the office and were led down a hall, and into a room with about 20 chairs in a circle. Uh oh. This isn’t going to be a private orientation… I started to feel a little sick.  I didn’t want anyone to see me there.  What if I knew somebody! Oh, man…I almost turned around and left right there.  There were already about 6 people in the room waiting.  No one really made eye contact.  As I was looking around I thought to myself, “I don’t look like these people.  Why am I here?” 350 pounds and I was wondering why I was there. After a while the other chairs filled up. There was a big person accompanied by what I assume was a loved on in every chair.  Then the doctor came in. In a whirlwind he basically told us that if we did not do something about our weight, that we were going to die. Early. And cause much distress to that loved one that was sitting there with us.  He then went on to say that bariatric surgery WAS NOT “the easy way out.” (A lot of people assume that this type of surgery is an easy way out of losing weight.  I think maybe at the time I did as well) He explained how gastric bypass works. He explained the procedure. He proceeded to talk about what could possibly go wrong with the surgery.  He talked about how your life would never be the same again and I heard him to say that you would be on special vitamins and pills for the rest of your life.  Then he went on to talk about how once you had the surgery, you would lose weight and you would have loose skin because of losing so much weight so fast.  He said that plastic surgeons don;t take insurance so be prepared to pay up to $15k to have the skin removed. Whirlwind. Too much info. Overload. Overload. I looked around me one last time and noted that I was the youngest candidate in the room by at least 30 years. As we were walking out, the nurse asked me when I would like to schedule the surgery.  I told her I would call her about it.

Needless to say I never called back.

I can do this on my own. I can beat this.  I can overcome. I can conquer.

I thought about what all I had learned.  I thought about what it was that I would be doing to my body. I thought about how desperate this move would be. I was not ready to do something so drastic.  I remember that I was actually really scared. I realized that it was as big a commitment as any weight loss plan AND it involved surgery…

I did not want to take that step yet without really giving it a serious try on my on.  I had “tried” in the past, but I wanted to really try. I wanted to prove to myself that I had done all I could before committing to such a radical procedure. This was around spring of 2005.

It took more than 2 years for me to take a serious step towards weight loss.  But that is for another post…


PS- Deetz was the only other person (besides those in the room that day) that knew about this until now.

5 comments to Bariatric Consultation

  • Deanna

    Love this post, I went through something similar. January of last year I gave a final effort at losing weight on my own, I gave myself 6 months and if by summer I had not made decent progress or had not been consistent I would seriously consider weight loss surgery. I did great for about 2 months and then I slacked off and anything I lost during that time I gained right back. I had my wls in January 2011, I had the gastric sleeve, its not as invasive as gastric bypass they don’t reroute your intestines just make your stomach smaller. I love it, no regrets I have lost 55lbs and I losing this unnatural relationship with food. If you become interested in surgery again, look into that one instead of bypass it has less complications and risks.

    • hank

      Thanks for the comments! I am hoping I can do this on my own, but I know that I have options if not.
      I will have some more background posts coming up so be sure to subscribe!

  • Nathan the FFK
    Twitter: nathan_albert

    I randomly came across this post this morning. I read it after reading one of your tri-recaps. It’s crazy how that procedure could have affected your life in a completely different way while the path you took, the slower route, took you on this crazy awesome trajectory towards becoming an athlete. You rock, kid.

  • […] was where I left you on my last background post about my bariatric consultation. But I was wrong. After checking into it, it was more like 3 and a half years for me to take a […]

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