New to bariatric surgery: Advice to mentally & physically prepare?

Posted by alsims463 @alsims463, Jun 3 8:39am

Good morning. I am new to this group and am have a bit of difficulty understanding what I need to do or where I can participate. Any suggestions to get started would be appreciated.

I am considering Bariatric Surgery as a strategy to get my weight under control. I have had the initial meetings and switched locations because it was closer to where I live. I meet with a surgeon on Thursday to discuss what needs to/can be done and what I need to do.

I am nearly 70 years old and am active with some limitations such as a bad knee. But I am slowing down, on blood pressure meds, my A1C and blood glucose in the pre-diabetic range, and my knees are not the best. I am looking to add quality to my life to my remaining years and hopefully reduce, it not eliminate most of the meds I am currently taking. If I get 10 good years of healthy active life I will be happy. If I get 15 I will be ecstatic. If I get 20 years, I will be over the moon. But first things first.

I have watched several videos of people who have had the surgery, some videos through Mayo and some generally on Youtube. As I mentally and physically prepare for possible surgery, I could use some more direct first hand advise from those of you who are going through it or have gone through it? While I am not really looking forward to the transition and adaption process, I am excited about the possible outcome. To be able to move more freely, to fit clothes better, to get on an airplane and know I can fit in the seat and not have to worry if I will need to ask for a seat belt extension, to go to somebodies house and fit in their chairs knowing I will not break them, to more easily ride my motorcycle or get into a fishing boat, to feel better and maybe go to Europe to see the sites and try some of those wonderful foods (not volumes) and not have the people look at me like I am another one of those fat Americans. The latter is the only place I really care what people think. Most importantly, I can actually get on a plane and get their with reasonable comfort. But mainly to simply improve the quality of my life and enjoy my family as long as I can.

Any suggestions to get started and continue to keep moving forward as I begin this journey will be appreciated.

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Bariatric Surgery & Weight Loss Support Group.

alsims463 @alsims463

Welcome to Mayo Connect. Looking forward to being with you during this journey.

Every clinic is different on how they run their program. Many have website that outlines their program.
Based on past experience I had and others have shared, here is what is ahead for you. I actually never talked to a surgeon till I had done of the requirements of program (classes, etc...).

The surgeon will most likely discuss your options.
- Will tall about medical history and what you have tried before to lose weight.
- Are you a candidate for surgery.
- What type of bariatric surgery are available, and if they have a recommendation.
- The clinic's requirements pre-surgery. Often these are classes to help you understand lifestyle changes that are necessary.
- Most clinic require you to show you can make theses changes prior to surgery, that is why the classes.
- May order blood tests

Come prepared,
- list of medications and dosages
- info on any previous surgeries you have had, especially abdominal
- why you want surgery, you articulated well in you discussion, quality of life

Also. have you checked with your insurance about coverage. Once know requirements and what they recommend, verify it is covered.

Please keep us informed how Thursday goes.

REPLY
@roch

alsims463 @alsims463

Welcome to Mayo Connect. Looking forward to being with you during this journey.

Every clinic is different on how they run their program. Many have website that outlines their program.
Based on past experience I had and others have shared, here is what is ahead for you. I actually never talked to a surgeon till I had done of the requirements of program (classes, etc...).

The surgeon will most likely discuss your options.
- Will tall about medical history and what you have tried before to lose weight.
- Are you a candidate for surgery.
- What type of bariatric surgery are available, and if they have a recommendation.
- The clinic's requirements pre-surgery. Often these are classes to help you understand lifestyle changes that are necessary.
- Most clinic require you to show you can make theses changes prior to surgery, that is why the classes.
- May order blood tests

Come prepared,
- list of medications and dosages
- info on any previous surgeries you have had, especially abdominal
- why you want surgery, you articulated well in you discussion, quality of life

Also. have you checked with your insurance about coverage. Once know requirements and what they recommend, verify it is covered.

Please keep us informed how Thursday goes.

Jump to this post

Lorie, Thank you for your reply. Since I have had initial meetings and tests, most of the things you mentioned I have completed. Where there was a change was in the location.

Originally I was not to meet the surgeon until after I completed the 12 week therapy session. When I switched to a different location, because it was an hour closer to me, their procedures changed a bit. At the new place I meet the surgeon upfront, which I will do on Thursday.

I am assuming all the questionnaires and reports I did in May are transferred to the new place so I do not need to repeat them. I will find out more on Thursday.

I am actually happy to meet the surgeon early on as I had some questions that only they can address. Stay tuned for updates.

Again, thank you for responding.

REPLY

Hi, I just recently joined this group too, but I had my surgery done in June 2023. I would suggest writing down any questions you have because when we are stressed or the doctor starts talking about something else, you may forget some important questions. Check them off your list as you go along and briefly write down answers because the amount of info is overwhelming.
Different surgeries have different side effects and different outcomes in regards to weight loss. If you haven't already, read about them online at reputable sites to give you an idea of what you might prefer. I got the gastric sleeve because I was less nervous about the side effects. The gastric bypass is more likely to have effects like dumping syndrome, but it is ight more effective in helping to lose. According to the info I got, about 10% more weight of the excess you have to lose will be lost, so if you have 100 to lose, you would lose 10 more pounds than with the sleeve. It's a personal choice.
I lost weight rapidly in the beginning but in January I had some exceptionally stressful events and I didn't follow the plan like I should. I ate the right amounts at meals but ate a bit of junk sometimes in evenings when I was stressed. Since I am past menopause and already had a hard time losing weight because of PCOS, it didn't take much to stop the weight loss. It
wasn't a good way to deal with stress, but it's the truth so it's no use lying about it. My only son got severely ill and my only sister died. After having lost my mom 2 years ago, it was too much. So, of course my weight loss has stopped, but that is my fault. I am at the one year post surgery mark very soon, so that also has an effect as most lose their weight in the first year post surgery. My advice would be to follow the diet as carefully as possible, to slowly increase exercise but at a level you can tolerate without causing pain so you can keep it up, and to join groups for people undergoing bariatric surgery which will help you emotionally. Getting a therapist is a good idea, too. I had one during the entire time but it just wasn't enough to keep me from resorting to comfort eating. It did help though. I have stopped the 2 main food culprits in my weight loss stagnation (hazelnut chocolate and plain Lays potato chips) and am hoping to lose more. Oddly, prior to surgery, I rarely ate chips. But for some reason I did after. It was odd.
I wish the best of luck and much success in your journey.

REPLY
@usernameimpossible

Hi, I just recently joined this group too, but I had my surgery done in June 2023. I would suggest writing down any questions you have because when we are stressed or the doctor starts talking about something else, you may forget some important questions. Check them off your list as you go along and briefly write down answers because the amount of info is overwhelming.
Different surgeries have different side effects and different outcomes in regards to weight loss. If you haven't already, read about them online at reputable sites to give you an idea of what you might prefer. I got the gastric sleeve because I was less nervous about the side effects. The gastric bypass is more likely to have effects like dumping syndrome, but it is ight more effective in helping to lose. According to the info I got, about 10% more weight of the excess you have to lose will be lost, so if you have 100 to lose, you would lose 10 more pounds than with the sleeve. It's a personal choice.
I lost weight rapidly in the beginning but in January I had some exceptionally stressful events and I didn't follow the plan like I should. I ate the right amounts at meals but ate a bit of junk sometimes in evenings when I was stressed. Since I am past menopause and already had a hard time losing weight because of PCOS, it didn't take much to stop the weight loss. It
wasn't a good way to deal with stress, but it's the truth so it's no use lying about it. My only son got severely ill and my only sister died. After having lost my mom 2 years ago, it was too much. So, of course my weight loss has stopped, but that is my fault. I am at the one year post surgery mark very soon, so that also has an effect as most lose their weight in the first year post surgery. My advice would be to follow the diet as carefully as possible, to slowly increase exercise but at a level you can tolerate without causing pain so you can keep it up, and to join groups for people undergoing bariatric surgery which will help you emotionally. Getting a therapist is a good idea, too. I had one during the entire time but it just wasn't enough to keep me from resorting to comfort eating. It did help though. I have stopped the 2 main food culprits in my weight loss stagnation (hazelnut chocolate and plain Lays potato chips) and am hoping to lose more. Oddly, prior to surgery, I rarely ate chips. But for some reason I did after. It was odd.
I wish the best of luck and much success in your journey.

Jump to this post

@usernameimpossible |

I am sorry about your sister and hope your son is doing better.

Unfortunately, when stressed, we often return to habits we have used in past to deal with stress. It may be alcohol, drugs or eating.

The important thing is to recognize what is happening. Glad you have a therapist to help deal with grief and stress. Sounds like your starting to make changes to get back into a healthy diet.

Have you talked to therapist about healthy ways to deal with stress?

REPLY
@roch

@usernameimpossible |

I am sorry about your sister and hope your son is doing better.

Unfortunately, when stressed, we often return to habits we have used in past to deal with stress. It may be alcohol, drugs or eating.

The important thing is to recognize what is happening. Glad you have a therapist to help deal with grief and stress. Sounds like your starting to make changes to get back into a healthy diet.

Have you talked to therapist about healthy ways to deal with stress?

Jump to this post

Yes, I have talked to my therapist about healthy ways to deal with stress. Thank you for asking. Things like taking care of myself, not putting off my own doctor appointments, (I had a list built up of stuff I was supposed to be seen for, mammography, earth/nose/throat specialist, new family doctor because mine retired, hearing test, on/gyn check up) but was feeling overwhelmed with all the appointments for my son so I put them off. Proud to report I have made 3 appointments this week for the following months. Now I just have to get the rest of the appointments made.
I am trying to make time each week to see a girlfriend for lunch and trying to not feel guilty for taking time for me...
I miss my mom and sister a lot. Mom was my best buddy and she was a wonderful person. We talked every day. I am lucky I had her as a mom but now I miss her immensely.

REPLY
@usernameimpossible

Yes, I have talked to my therapist about healthy ways to deal with stress. Thank you for asking. Things like taking care of myself, not putting off my own doctor appointments, (I had a list built up of stuff I was supposed to be seen for, mammography, earth/nose/throat specialist, new family doctor because mine retired, hearing test, on/gyn check up) but was feeling overwhelmed with all the appointments for my son so I put them off. Proud to report I have made 3 appointments this week for the following months. Now I just have to get the rest of the appointments made.
I am trying to make time each week to see a girlfriend for lunch and trying to not feel guilty for taking time for me...
I miss my mom and sister a lot. Mom was my best buddy and she was a wonderful person. We talked every day. I am lucky I had her as a mom but now I miss her immensely.

Jump to this post

@usernameimpossible

I am so glad you are taking care of yourself. You can not help others, unless you help yourself.

I understand about your mom, I lost mine to cancer, and years later there are times I wish I could call her and talk about things. Or when I go somewhere I think mom would of loved this. She lived a great life and would want me to do same.

REPLY

usernameimpossible, Thank you for sharing. You have carried a considerable burden over recent times and I wish you the best. It sounds like you are doing the things you need to do to get through it. Best of luck.

You comments do make be think about what burdens I carry and have to deal with. Fortunately for me, I am retired now for about a year and half. When I am asked about stress in my life, I have to look at things on a relative scale. Compared to my career, especially the last 10 years or so of it, I have no stress now. In fact, I think I am in a pretty good place right now except for some habits that are carried forward from those 10 stressful years, which led to part of my weight gain. I am working on that now, but not as a stresser, but as part of moving onward and forward. I am excited about learning new things and trying new things and finally having the time to think about and focus on good things for myself and my family. This is quite the transformation for me as I had to be very work focused. The consideration of Bariatric Surgery as a tool to address my weight is part of that transformation. Nervous about it? Yes, but only about the transition and learning to cope with that transition. Excited? Yes, about the potential outcome to address something I have battled with much of my adult life.

For you, I can only offer my best and let you know that it does get better if you can let it go a little bit and think about yourself. Your therapist will obviously know more than I do about this, but I want you to know your story has implanted itself in my thoughts.

REPLY
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