Tuesday, August 21, 2007

What has the process of WLS been like thus far?

I think that I have mentioned that I am going through Duke University's WLS Center. They have been named "Center of Excellence".

I absolutely love everything about their program. I have said before that I am really big into researching and cross checking. I am very lucky to live in an area where there is such a well known establishment that has one of the best Bariatric programs around.

It is an extensive program, as well it should be. I would be scared to death if I signed up a life changing event like this surgery and got it in a couple of weeks with no thoroughness/nada.

First, they require that you attend a seminar with the surgeons to get a very in-depth briefing on what procedures they offer and every detail that you ever wanted to know about the process. They strongly encourage family/friend involvement. Then, if you feel like you are ready to apply to the program, then you have to fill out an application. You have to be approved to enter the program.

Your first appointment is usually not until about 2 months after the seminar. My first seminar was in March. Which works out, because you have to get a gazillion tests run. Basically, these doctors will know more about me than anyone else in the entire universe. Hmmmm...not sure how I feel about that. :)

My first appointment was in May and I had all my tests done. Of course, some of them came back abnormal (thyroid stuff) and you have to get that back in line before you can move forward.

Anyway, the first appointment..you meet with the Nurse and she goes over all of your tests with you and you go over again in detail about the surgery. Then, off to meet the Nutritionist. He was great. Except for the fact that he told me that I can't gain anymore weight until surgery. And back on a diet. WHAT THE H*&! I don't know how this is going to happen. I swear to you, if I look at food...it decides to jump on my back side and doesn't move!! Anyway, he was great...but, terrified to gain weight (which I have...but, for many reasons...another topic one day).

THEN...you meet with the Psychiatrist. This can be intimidating. I am literal person. If you ask a question, I will give you a straight answer. So, the whole business of asking me "Have you ever?...." opens up a whole can of stuff. I probably scared the intern (who did the initial assessment) and she still remembers me, I am quite sure. Ever seen the movie "American Pie"? The girl in it says "One day in band camp...." That was me.. she asked questions about everything. Nothing was too personal. The old girl is probably going through therapy after meeting me ;) Just kidding. But, they have to make sure you are ready for a major life change.

I am still in Insurance review and hope that I hear this week. Then, I hear that it is about a month until surgery. It doesn't end there, because they have support groups and after care and you still have to see a therapist to help you with all the "emotional" changes. There are so much studies going on at Duke, that you can enroll in a study where they follow you for years to come to check on your progress.

I am very happy to be with a group like them. Everyone there is so nice and they answer all of your questions for you. The women up front that deal with all of the insurance, and the phone calls are true saints. You cannot find a group any better. You would be hard pressed.

I am looking forward to telling you how things go after surgery. More updates to come....

No comments: