Nancy Reid is a successful business professional who decided to undergo gastric bypass surgery as she turned 49. "I knew that I definitely did not want to continue the second part of my life as an overweight individual with limited mobility" she said as she explained her initial thoughts, "and I knew I needed to take the initiative and seek professional help."
Nancy had a demanding job and could not afford to be out of the office for a couple of months. When considering bypass surgery, she knew she needed a procedure with smaller incisions, less complications and faster recovery. When she discussed her concern with her internist, she was referred to Dr. Paul Lin, Vice Chairman of the Department of Surgery and Chief of the Division of General Surgery at GW Hospital. "Dr. Lin was very informative, trustworthy and showed concern," said Nancy, and she added "he is outstanding!" After an initial meeting with Dr. Lin, Nancy decided to go under laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery on February 3, 2005.
While counting down the days until her surgery, she benefited quite a deal from the support groups and her therapist. "Preparing for the surgery was an emotional challenge more than a physical one. I asked a lot of questions and made sure that there were no gaps in what to expect," she said. Four months prior to the surgery, she started meeting with her support group every two weeks. She went out to eat with people who had the surgery in the past. "The first time we went to a restaurant, I was very anxious to see what they would order," Nancy recalled, "they ate well and healthy - it had become their lifestyle, and seeing that was encouraging," she added. Nancy also stressed that the support groups were imperative to her success since everyone understood where she was coming from. "They taught me that it was okay if I woke up one day with the thought that this surgery was a mistake, and they also told me that it was okay to have doubts," she said. Nancy had those days but the thoughts went away quickly.
After her surgery, Nancy stayed in the hospital for a few days. She said that she was able to see the results of the surgery within two weeks. She was happy but not surprised to see the weight coming off. Seeing the change kept her going.
Nancy has lost 133 pounds since her surgery a year ago, and she has a lot more energy than before. She says that she feels much more comfortable and self-confident in every setting. "I, no longer have to ask for an extension for my seatbelt in a plane, and that itself is a great change" she adds. "I am conscious of what I eat, what I do and what is around me now," she says.
Nancy has valuable insights for those who are contemplating gastric bypass surgery. She sees a great benefit in the surgery and suggests planning four to six months ahead for it. "It is a life changing procedure that requires a great deal of preparation - mental and emotional," she says. "They should benefit from the support groups as much as they can. These groups will clarify all the questions and will provide a first-hand perspective on what to expect."