Thursday, June 12, 2014

Gastric Bypass- The Easy Way Out?!

Gastric bypass is only used by lazy people who can't be bothered to just 'put down the fork' right?

Remember that iceberg I posted to the Eccentric Encounters Page the other day? Yeah. Well about that. We're gonna talk about the under the surface stuff today. 

I want to preface what I am about to say with the comment that I have had wonderful support from people that know that I have had gastric bypass. I haven't had any derogatory comments leveled at me that I know of. At least, not to my face.

I do however, have a community of Weight Loss Surgery people that I love, who have had their hearts broken by people making comments to them that belittle their process and efforts. So, because I have this platform to speak from, I want to bring a little awareness. I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir here, but it's entirely possible that you know someone who doesn't know how much 'blood sweat and tears' go in to this process, and could benefit from knowing. Feel free to share this post as much as you like!

Since some of my friends have chosen to stay anonymous about their choice I'm speaking on their behalf. In the hopes of a little kindness being sent their way. Because if we only knew what people struggle with sometimes, I'm sure we'd do differently. 

So what's the big deal about what gastric bypass patients go through? I'm so glad you asked: 

  1. It begins with a mental roller coaster, sometimes lasting years, that requires you come to the conclusion that you need help. Help that no simple diet can provide.
  2. Then, you have to become willing to humble yourself and ask for that help.
  3. You've tried so many things in the past, some had success, but later sent you back exactly where you started, and some didn't work at all, and you worry whether you will be taking on failure again, this time just at a higher price point.
  4. You get yourself referred, only to find out the wait times are very long, which makes you feel like it'll never happen for you. 
  5. Some people (locally) are routed to the wrong clinic on the way, rather than the Bariatric Registry, the way it is required to do in Ontario, due to their doctor not being aware of how the process works in our Province. Unfortunately, when you finally do get to the right place, you're still at the bottom of the list. 
  6. When you finally get on the list, you will begin a long list of screening appointments and tests, designed to make sure you are both fit to stand surgery, and mentally ready to take this on. 
  7. These will include appointments like an orientation session, so you can determine whether this path may be right for you. 
  8. Assuming you are still willing, because not everyone is willing to pay the prices involved, then back in the actual line you go.
  9. Then you will begin rounds of appointments will bring medical assessments. A Nurse will take your full medical history. They will weigh and measure you. This can be particularly humiliating for someone with weight issues, and yet they must find the courage to overcome the fear. (These happen to include: consults with a dietician, social worker, psych, and internist, and finally the surgeon who gives the a-okay, and puts you on the surgery list. 
  10. You also have the supreme pleasure of receiving testing along the way for various medical issues, so they can clear you before you continue: blood work, gastroscope- both ends, medical questionnaires, food diaries, personality questionnaires (mood, beliefs etc), ultrasound, seep studies-if needed.)
  11. The dietician will cover the expectations of what you will be giving up, and what new things you will have to take on: a strict vitamin and mineral regiment, water intake, 6 small meals during the day, tracking your food and exercise.
  12. Psych wants to check our your mental fitness, talk about your background, make sure you've got supports at home, and to generally make sure you're working through your food related issues so they don't get in the way of the journey towards health.
  13. You get to go through Pre-op, which takes a last minute snap shot of the picture taking you into surgery. They prepare you for the nitty gritty and on we go to the actual surgery.
  14. Last, but not least, if you make it through all of that, you then get to do a two week liquid fast. (Possibly three or four weeks if your medical case requires it) This will shrink your liver in advance of surgery to make it safer. Don't forget the two days of clear fluids to make sure you're ready for the main event.
Lots of hurry up and wait in this process.
Are you surprised at all by what has gone into this so far? Yeah. I was too when I first did my digging. It's not just about putting down the fork.

But that's not the half of it. Tomorrow I'll talk about the early post op.
Then you'll really get to see why it's the easy way out!

(If you happen to be a pre-op you likely already know what you're getting into, because of how much research I know we all do during this process, but in case you are very early your journey, stumbled on to this one post via net search without the context of the whole series, and this is scaring you just a little, please know something. I went through every bit of this and more, and would do it all again in a heart beat. Hope is coming in the future posts, so keep following. You'll get to see the victory that all this 'hard' leads to.)

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