Me and my friend Gwyn were on our way to Dr. Schmitt’s office. I didn’t want to step on the scale. I was nervous and afraid. The sleeve was a major surgery, and I wasn’t sold on it. I did research on my own, read about the procedures and looked up survival rates because that truly scared me. I wondered “Should I do bypass? Should I do the sleeve?” I knew it was going to be one or the other and I needed a permanent solution. I needed help.
We finally got there and settled into the office. Did the routine paperwork and insurance stuff. I looked at all the before and after pictures they had on the walls. They were all success stories and I wanted to be a success. There was also a BMI Chart on the wall, and against my better judgement, I went to see where I was on the scale. I am 5 feet, 5 inches tall and I weighed over 320 pounds. I was morbidly obese. My heart sank and I could feel tears rushing to my eyes. I already felt bad about myself and then to see something saying “morbidly obese” well, it’s hard. I kept telling myself “Today is a good day, you’ve got the best of friends by your side, and you are making the first step to do what’s best for yourself. You’ve got this!”
They call Gwyn back first then me. I remember her yelling down the hall to make sure I was okay and I did the same for her. The room I was in was your typical doctor’s office with posters on the wall of the sleeve. It’s not a new procedure but they want the public to know about it. They tend to sell the sleeve more for a few reasons. It doesn’t mess with absorption of nutrients like the gastric bypass does. It also doesn’t reroute the path to the small intestine. Mortality rates and complications are also much lower. I am sitting there on the weird table thing with the thin paper sheet and my vitals are taken by the sweetest nurse ever. I told her I was nervous, and she kept telling me “We are going to help.” My blood pressure was elevated. Throughout the entire process that was my only co morbidity. A co morbidity is something that is brought on by being overweight, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, etc. I am very lucky not to have type two diabetes with how big I was.
I am in this room by myself, trying to calm down when Dr. Schmitt walks in. He started asking me a ton of questions, “How long have you been thinking about surgery and what type of surgery I was interested in?” I was honest with my answers no matter how embarrassed I got. I needed help so there was really no point in lying because I would only be lying to myself. I said I have had issues with overeating and not eating right almost my entire life. I told him I used to be an athletic person and while I hate working out (lol), I don’t mind doing it. He said he thought the best option for me would be the sleeve. The procedure would take out 80% of my stomach, but doing so makes a smaller stomach, limiting the amount of food I am eating, and with the sleeve I could lose anywhere between 80 and 140 pounds.
It was decision time before I knew it. I told him I would like to continue with the sleeve and he started to explain that they had payment options available, but I stopped him. I said I would be using my insurance and he seemed disappointed for all of two seconds. I know now that is because it is a long process for all of the paperwork to get approved and he really wanted to help me now. He said “I will see you back here in seven months.” and I was off to see Ashley, the patient coordinator.