Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Initial Consultation

I wanted to back up a little bit today and fill in the missing pieces. In my post "Getting to Know Grace" I gave you my weight loss history, and explained how I came to the point where I would consider weight loss surgery. That was in June 2009, and a lot has gone on between then and now and I want to share the whole now we hop in the time machine back to July 2009!

I started to get serious about the surgery by telling my husband that I was thinking about looking into weight loss surgery. I wasn't sure how my intentions would be received. Luckily I have a great husband who truly wants me to be happy. We were in bed when I finally broke the news that I was thinking about it and I cried. I remember him holding me and telling me that he loves me just the way I am, and if that is what it takes to make me happy then he would be completely supportive.

Over the next few days I started researching local weight loss surgeons and gathering information. My husband knew a couple of people who have had weight loss surgery, so he got names of doctors and started giving me even more information. As I mentioned before, one of the best resources that I found was a friend of his that had the surgery and his wife.

Once I decided where I would like to go for my surgery I called and set up a consultation. The receptionist got me in to the next available slot, and told me to be prepared to be there for about 4-5 hours for the initial appointment. I really had no idea why I would need to be there for so long, but went ahead and scheduled the appointment.

The day of the appointment I got there and sat in the lobby with all of the others coming in for an initial consultation. First they took all of us in to a conference room where the nurse taught us about the different types of surgery that were available and the pro's and con's of each one. The three options are a lap band, roux-en-y, and the sleeve gasterectomy. If you want information on each of these procedures webmd is a great place to start.

After the nurse finished talking, the dietitian came in to go over the changes you must make in your eating after weight loss surgery. She explained how much smaller your stomach would be which would cause you to fill up quickly. Therefore, after surgery it becomes very important to eat good foods, and eat them in the "right" order during a meal. For example, if you sit down for dinner with a piece of chicken, potatoes, vegetables, and a dinner roll...what should you eat first? Well, first you need to eat the chicken so you get your protein. Then the vegetables. Then the empty calories, such as the starchy potatoes and dinner roll. That way if you get full before you've finished the meal, you've already given your body the nutrients it needed! She also explained the need for vitamins after surgery and how incredibly important it is to take the vitamins as directed to prevent serious health problems in the future.

Next each patient was put into a room of their own to see the surgeon and determine if you still wanted to have surgery and if so, what procedure you would be interested in. After your consultation with the surgeon, in comes the insurance specialist. She quickly reviewed my insurance coverage and was able to tell me what the requirements were for insurance to cover the surgery and what documentation I would need to gather for my file.

So, by the end of the appointment I left knowing which procedure I would like to have, and with a checklist of things I needed to do to proceed with the process. Here's what I had to finish in order to schedule surgery:
1. Provide documentation of previous weight loss attempts and failures
2. Psychological exam
3. Obtain surgical clearance from my family doctor
4. Verify procedure/diagnosis codes and their coverage with my insurance company

Once these things were complete I would need to schedule my surgery, attend a nutrition class, and have a surgical clearance by their doctor within 28 days of my surgery.

I left the appointment feeling good, and pretty confident that I wanted to do it. Over the next couple of weeks I continued working on the process, and making the decision to go through with the surgery. Even though the list doesn't look that long I had no idea just how long it would take to complete!

Until next time....Hugs, Prayers & Know I Know What I Have To Do!


  1. I think it's a good thing that you have to jump through all those hoops and that it takes so long between the initial consultation and the actual surgery. After all that you must be committed to the drastic life change. :-)

  2. I agree completely! I thought I was taking longer than most people did, but in talking to others who have used the same clinic it sounds like I'm right on par. My friend, Steve, went for his initial consultation in January and had his surgery in August.

    It definitely isn't a decision to be made overnight!