Nancy Mooers Brown 1982
This is the first in a series that will help you deal with bariatric weight-loss surgery and travel.
Part 1: Bariatric surgery: life changing decision
Part 2: Bariatric lifestyle & nutrition
Part 3: Bariatric support groups & travel
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, I am a travel writer. You should not consider my bariatric journey as professional medical advice. Consult with your doctor to see if this life changing decision is right for you.
As we discussed my weight gain during my latest doctor appointment I watched nervously as my primary care physician scrawled “consider Bariatric Surgery” on the yellow pad of paper. This was my patient copy, another copy would be entered into my medical records. Yet another weight loss failure I thought to myself as she handed me, what I perceived to be, another nail in my plus-size coffin.
Like most bariatric surgery patients, I have struggled with my weight throughout my entire life. I had a successful dance with a weight loss program in high school, before going off to college (where no one knew me as heavy.) I gained a little weight in college, but not enough to warrant a comment from a fraternity boy to “watch my weight or you’ll end up like one of those fat housewives.”
Three months after meeting with my primary care physician, I got up the courage to make a consultation appointment with a Bariatric surgeon. After a quick step on the dreaded scale in the doctor’s office, my BMI (body mass index) was determined to meet the requirement for this type of weight loss surgery. My BMI, coupled with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, along with my “young” age, qualified me as an ideal candidate for weight loss surgery.
Weight Loss Surgery – is it right for you?
After asking the surgeon how long he had been performing weight loss surgery, I continued down my list of questions.
Q: What is the percentage of complications with bariatric gastric sleeve procedures?
A: Any surgical procedure involves risk. The gastric sleeve procedure results in the best weight loss with the least amount of problems.
Q: Is my hospital (John Muir Medical Center, Concord) a Center of Excellence and certified through ASMBS (American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric surgery)?
A: As of this writing, John Muir Hospital is undergoing the certification process and fully expects to receive certification as the proper programs, support, training and equipment have been in place for years.
Q: What is the cost of the surgery and does my insurance (Blue Shield of California) cover this type of procedure?
A: “If it were my decision,” said Dr. Brian Chin. “I could perform the surgery next week. Depending on your insurance, you will need to meet at least once – sometimes six times- with a registered dietitian, as well as complete a psychological evaluation.” According to Dr. Chin, he views the insurance company requirements as a way to dissuade patients from jumping through the pre-screening hoops and ultimately, opting out of the surgery, resulting in saved money for the insurance company.