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You Want In on the Sleevers Club?

So... you think you wanna have the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy and become a Sleever?

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the surgery and thought it best to actually write a blog entry to answer all of those questions. Of course, I can only speak from personal experience and cannot get into the medical procedure side of it – nor do I want to, it kinda gives me the willies. Also, my experience pertains to the bariatric program offered through Eastern Health. I know there are alternatives out there but, don't know much about them.

The very first thing which you need to do is go to your family doctor for a referral. I know there are people out there who have said their family doctor would NOT give them a referral but, that is when you need to speak up. ASK your doc WHY they won’t refer you. Is it because you have a medical condition that would severely increase your risk of complications? Is it because they think you will not be able to handle the procedure? Or, is it because they don’t know much about it and are basing their decision on the misconceptions that lurk on the interwebs and beyond? While family doctors are wonderful, invaluable members of our society (especially mine – she’s FABULOUS) they are not the be-end-all. They do not know absolutely everything there is to know about specialized diseases, surgeries etc., likely just the general information about it – hence general practitioner.

So, if it is the case that they just don’t know much about it (and really don’t have the time to learn more) OR just do not personally agree with surgery as an approach to weight loss – get another doctor. Unless your doc says no for a LEGITIMATE reason, you have every right to find someone who WILL refer you. Even with legitimacy, you ALWAYS have the right to a second opinion.

Now, you have your referral.

YES, the wait-list is long. YES, you will get irritated. But, instead of getting angry and frustrated, think positively and take the time to work on your healthy eating, fitness and just as importantly, the psychological aspect of your eating habits. I know some people like to call/e-mail the Bariatric Team looking for updates but, they are inundated with referrals and are limited in resources so, try and refrain from doing that. You’ll get frustrated, they’ll get frustrated – it’s a big, ugly cycle.

I know it’s frustrating, TRUST ME, I REALLY do.

There is a private Bariatric Support Group on Facebook for those in NL considering the surgery – go have a look and do some research! Some of the Sleevers in this group are a wealth of knowledge and can help keep you motivated throughout the wait…just remember, it IS a public forum so, as is the case with ALL public forums, sometimes you have to take some things with a grain of salt. BUT, there is definitely more good info in there, than bad.

Then, one day before you know it, you FINALLY get a call that you’ve been invited to attend an Orientation session. Awesome!

That invitation is huge because it means that the ball is not only rolling, it has started to pick up momentum. You’re on the “inside”. The Bariatric Team teaches you tons of stuff from how the actual procedure works to what to expect after surgery. They even give you a diet to follow; including important numbers to reach for caloric and protein intake.

It was at this point where I got REALLY motivated.

A little while after you have had your orientation, a consultation with the team will occur. Two-weeks prior to the consultation you will be asked to complete a two-week diet. One week of liquid and one week of healthy eating.

Document EVERYTHING you put in your mouth.

Next step, you meet with the surgeon and sign your consent papers – you’re almost there then!

It’s generally a 3-5 month wait between signing and surgery. This time FLIES by and before you know it, you’re lying on the operating table thinking “well, holy crap, this is it now, isn’t it?”

You have an anesthetically-induced nap and then wake up to your new life.

Welcome to the Sleevers Club.



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