Ask the Navigator – Surgery is a Process

I was driving home yesterday and watched the driver next to me. She was very angry because the car in front of her was not moving at the rate in which she wanted. She did the swiping motion to shoo him on, she honked her horn, but to no avail. The car in front of her was not worried about the meeting she was missing, or the doctor’s appointment that she was now late to. Why would he be, he was on his own time, or maybe he heard the siren and saw the lights before she did, and let the ambulance have the right of way because that’s the right thing to do. I watched as her angry expression turned to embarrassment, and as the ambulance flew past me I wondered about times in my own life when I wanted something right now, not realizing that there may be something more important at work.

I know a lot of you are just starting the process, maybe you have just made the decision for surgery after years of struggling with weight. You have come in to see the doctor and now you feel that pressure to get going, get to surgery, but what might you miss along the way if you are too quick to get to the goal?

If you are in ear shot of any of us in this practice you will hear over and over this phrase, surgery is a tool. Why is surgery only a tool? It’s because though surgery is awesome in its own right, it is only one facet of what we want for you. We want a new life for you, one that is healthier, happier, and not just skinnier. This process takes time. I hear patients say, “if only my insurance wasn’t requiring me to do a 6 month diet,” or “if I didn’t have to lose weight before surgery,” or get that medical clearance, but what if you are missing the point, or possibly an opportunity? Every month that you have before surgery can be an opportunity to get healthier, make better choices, and create a lifestyle that will have lasting benefits. I challenge you along this journey to take your time, embrace a slower pace, and stop for the ambulances, because maybe your long term success depends on it.

Dear Navigator,

My name is Shay and I recently came in as a new patient. I really want to move things along and get to surgery as soon as possible. How much time do you think it will take to get me to surgery?

This is a hard question to answer Shay, because it can vary. It depends on what your insurance requires, and what the surgeon needs to clear you for surgery. Your insurance company may request a monitored diet that could in some cases require a full year of scheduled monthly appointments with your family provider. The surgeon may ask for a clearance from other specialties, such as cardiology, or request that you to lose a little weight to optimize your surgery. On average most patients should assume it will take about three to six months to get to surgery. If you have specific questions about your particular requirements, I recommend you refer to your checklist or call us; we are always willing to help. Thanks for your question.