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Obesity & Me

Describe your behavioral and emotional battle with weight control before learning about bariatric surgery.

I was always a big girl, I do not ever remember being under 200lbs. I learned how to make it work. I never wanted it to be an excuse. I would refuse to let my weight define me. I was very confident in my skin and never suffered from low self-esteem. Sounds good does'nt it, well it does have its set backs. Denial stepped in and I found myself at a whopping 375lbs. That was my eye opener.

What was (is) the worst thing about being overweight?

Some of the worst things about being overweight is having to worry about seating, taking up a seat and a half on the airplane and irritating the person sitting next to you who have to sit in a half of a seat (LOL sad but true), worring about fitting in the seats at the doctors office, at the movies ect., getting out of breath easily, the aches and pains in my back and knees, and not having energy to do the things I love to do.

If you have had weight loss surgery already, what things do you most enjoy doing now that you weren't able to do before?

I have not had the surgery yet. My date is February 28th, which is three weeks from now. I am excited and cannot wait. I look forward to being a healthier me.

How did you first find out about bariatric surgery and what were your initial impressions of it?

I first found out about bariatric surgery about ten years ago in 2003. I thought it was a great idea. I wanted so badly to have the surgery at the time, but the company I worked for did not have insurance to cover it and I could not afford it on my own.

Describe your experience with getting insurance approval for surgery. What advice, if any, do you have for other people in this stage?

I now have aetna and the company I work for now did have the option to cover bariatric surgey YAYYYY! Getting insurance approval was a process that I was prepared to undertake. I kept in my mind my goal and I did what I had to do. My insurance company required a three month multi-disiplinary plan. This included three montly visits to a doctor, nutritionist, and excersice therapist, and one visit to a pshchologist for an evaluation and proof that I have been overweight for at least two years. For three months from Oct - Dec I went visit my doctor and nutritionist both of which documented my monthly visits and all discussions we had. For my excersice therapist requirement I joined the gym and for three months I did weekly aerobic sessions at the end of the three months I had the front desk to print out my attendance and I had the aerobics teacher sign off. My docotor also printed out a copy of my 2012 and 2011 visit to prove My high BMI for at least two years. In January all notes and documentation was submitted to my insurance and in two weeks I recieved an approval. Praise God!

What was your first visit with your surgeon like? How can people get the most out of this meeting?

My first visit to my surgeon I was nurveous. He explained each procedure and I watched videos of each. He allowed time for any questions I had and answered them. Inorder to get the most out of your meeting have before hand knowledge on the procedures so that you know what to ask.

What made you finally decide to have the surgery?

I went to the doctor for an annual checkup. When I stepped on the scale and saw 375lbs, I was floored. I mean i knew I was a big girl but somthing about being one "quarter" away form 400lbs scared me. It was at that time I decided to have surgery.

How did you decide which proceedure to have?

Deciding which procedure to have was tough for me. I knew it would be the sleeve or the gastric bypass. I did my research and found that the sleeve worked well for those who was not as big as I was but for those who started off my size had huge success with the gastric bypass. The amount of weight i needed to loose i felt gastric would accomplish that. I was scared that with the sleeve I would level off to early and not loose as much as i needed. I made my mind up literally at the last minute. When the nurse called me to let me know my paper work looked good and they were about to submit it to the insurance she asked me "Mrs. Joseph which procedure do you want" i paused for a minute and then I blurted out gastric bypass.

What fears did you have about having complications or even dying from from the surgery, and what would you tell other people having the same fears now?

I Heard horror stories regading the surgeries. I had people in my life who made it their business to inform me on how dangerous those procedures were. At the end of the day it is my decision. I put it in Gods hands and I just did it. My advice is to inform your doctor on ALL medical issues be honest with your surgeon so that he can advise you to what is best for your situation.

How did your family and friends react to your decision? Would you have communicated anything differently if you could now? How supportive were they after your surgery?

My family and friends were concerned about the procedure, because they have heard of horror stories. They were concerned, but very supportive. After surgery they were very supportive helping me walk, making sure I had all the groceries I needed. Catering to all my needs. I thank God for my family!

How did your employer/supervisor react to your decision? What did you tell him/her? How long were you out of work?

My employers were very supportive for they knew of other employees who had it and was very successful. I explained to them what procedure I was having and how long I wa expected to be out. No problems at all with my job. They were happy to see me return and are enjoying seeing my change.

What was it like attending your first information seminar on weight loss surgery? Were you glad you attended? if so, why?

I have not attended as of yet I am three months out of surgery. I do plan to attend.

What was your stay in the hospital like? How long where you there? What things are most important to bring?

My stay in the hospital was as good as can be expected. The nurses were nice. I was there for about two days. Bring a short gown, that way when you have to move around in the bed, you wont get hung up.

Did you have any complications from the surgery? If so, how did you deal with them?

I had ZERO complications from the surgery all PRAISES to GOD!

In the weeks after you got your surgery date, how did you feel? How did you cope with any anxiety you might have felt?

Wow, when I got the surgery date, I could not believe it. I have waited ten years to have this surgery. I was excited, nurveous, and scared all at the same time. I prayed, had faith that HE would take care of me.

Describe your first few weeks home from the hospital. What should people expect from this period?

My first days home was not as bad as I anticipated. Pain level was between 0-3, nothing a tylenol could not help. My appitite was 0 to none so being on liquids was not a big deal.

How far did you travel to have your surgery? (If far, how did this affect your aftercare?)

My surgeon and hospital was only 30 mnutes away.

Please describe in detail what things you could and couldn't eat in the weeks and months following surgery. What foods have been off limits? Please explain how your dietary tolerance changed week-by-week, and then month-by-month since surgery.

Foods I could not eat was meat and water. Yes water really cramped my stomach. The only type of meat I can eat was ground meat. Bread is off limits. Bread makes me feel really bad. I am three months post surgery and can now drink water still cant have meats and bread. I can drink faster now also. I hated that after surgery I would be so thirsty and could not quence it. Now I am able to drink faster.

What was your actvity level in the days and weeks after surgery?

My activity level was low due to the JP drain and still feeling a little sore. I went back to work two weeks after surgery feeling good.

What vitamins and/or dietary supplements have you taken since your surgery?

I take two children's gummy vitamins and a gummy calcium vitamin.

What side effects (nausea, vomiting, sleep disturbace, dumping, hair loss etc.) were worse for you? For how long after surgery did they persist? How did you cope with them?

I only had vomiting when I ate somthing that did not agree. I really did not have any side effects.

What was the worst part about the entire bariatric surgery process?

The worst part was waking up from surgery. I felt horrible. I thought I was not breathing. I felt like a elephant was sitting on my chest. It only lasted a little while but I felt aweful.

What aftercare support group/program do you have? How helpful/important is this?

None

What is your scar like? Is this what you expected?

Three months after surgery my scaring is practical invisiable.

Please describe any plateau experiences you have had since surgery.

I am loosing really good I feel. I am three months out and have already lost 68lbs, so I think I am loosing good.

Do you notice people treating you any differently now?

No not really, everyone I know is happy to see me loosing.
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Before & After
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