Why I'm choosing bariatric surgery: The final countdown
MultiCare's director of general surgery, Jennifer Yahne, is choosing to undergo bariatric surgery. You can read other posts in this series here.
When I began taking steps toward having bariatric surgery eight months ago, the procedure itself felt like it was ages away. There were so many steps to complete: attend a seminar, consult with the surgeon, monthly visits with a dietitian, evaluation by a psychologist, blood work, annual physical, an EKG and a chest X-ray.
Over those eight months, I began making the lifestyle changes I would need for sustained weight loss success and went from 244 to 220 pounds in that process, reaching the 10 percent lost mark.
Time has a way of moving faster than I expect it to, and suddenly it was the day of my last visit with the dietitian. At that point, it was as if somebody hit the fast-forward button and put my bariatric surgery preparations into overdrive:
- Shawndra from the Center for Weight Loss and Wellness submitted a large stack of paperwork to my insurance carrier for pre-authorization. I was nervous, but clearance came through two weeks later and my surgery date was scheduled.
- I attended the pre-op nutrition diet class, and 14 days prior to surgery I began what is called a liver-shrinking diet* high in protein and low in carbohydrates. I also abstained from alcohol and began introducing decaf into my morning coffee.
- I went to the lab to have my final blood work drawn.
- I completed a pre-op visit with my surgeon, Hanafy Hanafy, MD.
- I completed a pre-admit visit via phone with one of the nurses that works with the MultiCare Allenmore Hospital surgery pre-admission clinic. She asked me questions about my health and also told me what to expect during my hospital stay.
- I spoke with pre-registration at Allenmore, who made sure all my paperwork was in order for my surgery and hospital stay.
Now there are just three days left until my surgery and nothing left to do but stock up on protein shakes and pack my bag.
Everybody keeps asking me how I’m feeling. I am not nervous. Because of my role at MultiCare, I have had the chance to observe Dr. Hanafy perform this exact surgery, so I know exactly what is going to happen during the procedure. The operating room environment is very controlled, I have prepared as well as I can for bariatric surgery and I have confidence in Dr. Hanafy.
I am excited about future weight loss, although like many who have struggled with obesity, there is always that lingering doubt that no matter how well this has worked for others, it won’t work for me.
To be honest, what I dread the most is recovery. I have two jaw surgeries and two C-sections during my life, and recovery after surgery is always tough. It has never been the pain that I disliked, but rather the exhaustion and sluggishness that bother me. So I am preparing myself mentally for this short period of downtime in my life and reminding myself of the positives: there is a new season of Orange Is the New Black coming out that I can binge-watch.
Now it is time to pack my hospital bag and finish up the last-minute items at home and work. I’ll see you on the other side.
*In order to access your stomach during surgery, your liver is held back by a liver detractor. Most people who are obese have a condition called fatty liver disease, in which fat cells accumulate in your liver and make it larger, causing it to function poorly. It is possible to shrink your liver in a two-week time frame if you follow a strict diet high in protein and low in carbohydrates. It’s challenging, but an important step patients can take to make their surgery safer.
About The Author
Jennifer Yahne and her husband of 17 years, Jeramy, are lifelong residents of South King County. They have two daughters, Jillian and Hayden. Jennifer has worked in health care administration for the past decade, most recently as the director for the general surgery careline at MultiCare Health System. In her limited free time, she enjoys knitting, sewing, reading and baking.More stories by this author