So, here I am. I’ve waited a year, feeling like this day would never come – and it isn’t even the surgery date yet! Just the first appointments
I was to meet with four separate people: a nurse, a social worker, a dietitian, and a pharmacist. All four needed to give me an approval to go forward with surgery, which means four complete strangers would hold the fate of my life.
The first appointment was the social worker. She went over my application with me, that I had sent in about a year ago, asking me questions about my emotional support, my expectations, and my depression. It was very weird to hear my own words being read back to me, especially since a year ago, I was just recovering from my worst bout of depression. I had to quit my job and was on welfare, I wasn’t leaving the house and I had stopped hanging out with a lot of my friends because of the negative ways they lived their lives. I explained to her my state of mind and reassured her that I was in a more stable mind set for the last year.
I explained most of the research I had done by myself and what I wanted from the surgery – which is to be happier and healthier. I think she was most happy to hear that I wasn’t expecting to be a size zero and that most of my goals revolved around healthier living and not cosmetics and appearance. She said she was approving me to go forward, but she wants me to meet with their psychiatrist so that they could understand my mindset now to better monitor any changes in my mental health later on.
Then it was the dietitian. She wanted me to focus on increasing my food intake by making sure I eat 3x a day, including a protein at every meal. I have to cut out caffeine, carbonated beverages, juice, and alcohol. I have to keep working out, and increasing my water intake. Most of this stuff I was already doing. She wants me to make sure I have my vitamins and minerals ready for surgery. She was concerned that I wasn’t eating enough and worried that I would slack on getting the food intake I needed later on. I told her I was making sure I ate three meals a day, but she said I didn’t sound to confident that I could do it. I explained that I would because I had to, and the only reason I didn’t sound confident is because it wasn’t something that came natural to me, but that I would remain diligent. Other than that, she was happy with how much work I was doing and that I had a local dietitian working with me. She really liked some of the tips I had learned from other Bariatric patients. She made some recommendations for proteins and vitamin brands, and made sure I knew how to eat and when to take my vitamins – which, I’ll try and cover in another post.
I told her about how I had started a blog to try and keep track of the process and journal my progress. She loved the idea and suggested I write about the things I can’t do now and want to do, then follow it up a year after post-op to see how much I accomplished. Not a bad idea. She approved me to go forward.
Next, I met with the pharmacist. Mostly he was concerned about the fact that my antidepressants would not be absorbed as well after surgery which would cause some serious withdrawal issues and emotional swings. I have had the unfortunate experience of dealing with withdrawal of my antidepressants and I’m familiar with how it goes. Still, it’s something I’m going to make sure my family doctor is aware of.
I told him that for constipation in the past, I usually relied on Metamucil and Senokot. Not on a regular basis though, which apparently is lucky because Senokot is habit forming, meaning it can create a situation that your body can’t go without it, so you don’t want to take it for more than a week at a time. He let me know that it might be difficult to keep using Metamucil because it tends to act like a filler – that, and if I do take it, I have to be super sure its dissolved completely or I can cause blockages.
He really wanted to drive home that after the surgery, my chance of pregnancy will be sky-high, and before 18 months, they do not want you getting pregnant due to the risks. Most of the session was spent talking about birth control. Apparently, telling them you plan to stay abstinent for that 18 months is met with dubious doubt, because he said the women who say that are usually the ones who end up pregnant. Hah! That figures. Interestingly, he said that my chances of pregnancy would be better than ever, and he said some people can get pregnant up to age 52! That actually, kind of reassures me because lately the idea of me being a parent hasn’t been as horrible to me as it usually is.
Lastly, I met with a nurse practitioner. She was happy with everything she saw and how I organized I was, but she couldn’t sign off with surgery until I get my vitamin D levels up. So from now until mid-June, I will be taking 4000 IU of Vitamin D – that’s 4x the amount of what most people take.
So, besides the fact that my Vitamin D is super low, everything else went better than expected. It’s true, I’ll have to wait until the end of June before getting the final approval, but I can handle a 2 month wait. It’s a lot less time than a year.