Emily is getting ready for bariatric surgery.

Today’s post is written by BWH patient Emily Bell, a 43-year-old woman who has made the decision to seek surgical treatment for her obesity. Emily is blogging about her experience throughout her journey to better health. This is the second post in chronicling her journey to better health.

Since I made the decision to undergo weight loss surgery, the last two months have included a series of nutritional sessions, meetings with my surgeon and the program’s behavioral psychologist, and many tests. I’ve been living mostly on protein shakes for two weeks, and I’ll enjoy them for two weeks after surgery as well. That will pass. After surgery, I may be nauseous for a few days, but that too will pass.

I’ve been asked repeatedly to look at my eating patterns and recognize how they have to change if this surgery is to be successful. The entire team, especially my surgeon and the behavioral psychologist, has impressed upon me that this will be a dramatic change. It’s not for the faint of heart, and it’s not for those who can’t do the work required.

With my surgery scheduled, the next step is to complete the hospital’s pre-operative screening process. I will also meet my anesthesiologist. I have many questions and concerns, and I’m looking for reassurance. At my most recent visit, my surgeon notices that my demeanor is different and asks me why. He wants to make sure that I’m ready. If he believes I’m not psychologically prepared, he will reschedule the procedure, even as late as the day of surgery. I appreciate that show of concern. I’m comforted to know he’ll do what’s right for me, in the OR and outside of it.

I’m starting to get a little nervous about the reality of the surgery itself. I’ve seen many a family member go “under the knife.” It’s not a deep anxiety. I have confidence in the Brigham, and in my surgeon. The procedure I’m having is the most recently developed in weight loss surgery. Its benefits were inconceivable a couple of decades ago. By the same token, there isn’t anybody around who had this surgery 20 years ago and can report back that they’ve taken this road – and that they’re thriving.

That’s okay. I hope I can be that person one day.

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