Bless me Blogger for I have sinned, it's been 3 weeks since my last post...
[Dear readers, my apologies for not staying on schedule with this series. I do not receive any compensation for my writing other than your love, kindness and interest. As such, my family and personal life will occasionally become a higher priority than my writing. I beg your forgiveness, thank you for your patience and will now commence the 5th installment of this series.]
At the end of the last post, I had met the preliminary requirements for a referral to a bariatric surgeon and was awaiting approval from my HMO. I received my approval in September 2005, and was informed by my primary care physician that I needed to attend an informational seminar held once each month by the surgeon. It was too late to attend the September seminar, so I called and was scheduled to attend the October seminar.
The day of the seminar, I was filled with various emotions. I was excited and curious, nervous, had some low-level fear, and even a sense of marking a milestone. I attended the seminar held in a medical building near the hospital where my surgery would be performed. I took a seat in the back so that I could watch not only the presentation but the other attendees. I noticed that I was one of the smallest attendees in a group of very morbidly obese people. This gave me momentary pause to question whether or not I belonged there or was I giving up my conventional battle too soon? I then reminded myself that I had arrived at my decision soundly and logically and had the support of all who were involved.
The surgeon and her team gave a wonderful presentation. She shared her statistics both good and bad and spoke about the comprehensive end to end programs provided by her office. I learned that most of her patients participate in a study of bariatric patients that is managed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This appealed to me for two reasons. I believe in studies that support ongoing education and provide data to determine best practices; especially in medicine. I also have a fondness for the NIH because I took some courses there back before I abandoned my plan to get my masters degree. I made a decision right then to participate in the study if I was eligible.
Another important fact that I learned at the seminar was that my surgeon's medical practice was one of two Centers of Excellence in bariatric surgery in the Sacramento area. At the time, there were four healthcare systems offering bariatric surgery. Having a surgeon who was recognized by the American Society for Bariatric Surgery made me feel more confident about my surgeon and her practice.
The seminar consisted of the surgeon and her staff speaking and showing power point slides and a former patient who recounted his personal experience with bariatric surgery. An information packet was handed out to all the attendees. The staff also shared that they held monthly support groups for patients. The two types of surgery offered, Roux En Y and Lap Band, were discussed in detail. This helped to solidify the Roux En Y procedure as the one I believed was best for me.
At the end of the seminar, the staff answered questions. The presentation was so thorough that there were only a few questions. I left the seminar feeling satisfied with what I had learned and confident in my decision to proceed with the surgery. The next morning, I called and scheduled my first appointment with the surgeon.
To be continued...