I wanted to stay on the same theme from yesterday’s post and talk a little about the process of getting approved for surgery (in Ontario) from your first referral to the date of surgery. For me – it was a 1.5 year long process but there were definitely delays due to COIVD-19 outbreaks.

Orientation Class

I was initially referred to the bariatric surgery program the fall of 2018. In less than 3 weeks I was called and asked to come to a mandatory group orientation class. I attended and received my future appointments. The only problem, I wasn’t ready. I didn’t think I could take the time off for surgery, I didn’t like the idea of daily vitamins for the rest of my life, I just wasn’t ready. With that – I let my referral expire and I didn’t attend any further appointments.

Then in the summer of 2019 I decided I was ready – it was a mixture of of a few things. I knew the hunger hormone changes Saxenda gave me was very helpful – and that surgery was the permanent solution. I also had friends who had surgery and were doing so well. I asked my family doctor for a 2nd referral and again within a month I was given my orientation class appointment.

In the orientation class you receive a patient information package including questionnaires and health information forms that need to be filled out and brought to future appointments. You will also be asked about participating in research. There are videos with patient experiences and you hear about the full process from start to finish.

Appointments after that are generally in no particular order and usually scheduled 1 every month or so.

Social Worker

This is a one-on-one appointment. There are questionnaires that need to be filled out and brought to the appointment. This appointment will be very individual for each person so there is not much to say about the details of the conversation. The aim of all pre-surgical appointments is to determine if the patient is a good candidate for surgery.

Psychologist

Similar to the appointment above – very individual to the patient. Again, questionnaires maybe needed.

Nurse Practitioner Appointment

In the orientation package you will receive a blood work requisition. This blood work needs to be completed and sent to the clinic BEFORE your NP visit. At this visit the NP will review your health history extensively and your blood work.

Nutrition Essentials Class

This is another mandatory group class. Lead by the dietician team this class outlines the pre and post diet guidelines, the vitamin and mineral regimens and answers any questions. They will also talk about what needs to change from your current life before you can be approved for surgery. This may included getting more protein, eating 3 meals and 2 snacks per day, eating less fast food, drinking less sugary drinks etc. There is a 2 week intake record that needs to be completed before your one on one appointment with a dietician.

Dietican Appointment

At the appointment you will review the 2 week intake records and discuss any areas for improvement. You can also talk about any questions or concerns you have about what your diet will look like after surgery.

Like I said earlier there is no order to these appointments (except for the nutrition class should come before the dietician appointment). Once the appointments are completed the team will meet and decide if you are ready for surgery. After that, you will have an appointment with the Surgeon and *maybe* get a surgery date:)

If you have any questions please let me know!

TTYL,

Em

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