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Nurse, Mother, Self; Perspective on Bariatric Surgery

On December 29, 2010 our family changed for the better.  That was the day my daughter had bariatric surgery. 

At just 24 years old, I was greatly concerned about her future health.  We have a family history of high blood pressure, diabetes, and colon cancer, all of which obesity is an added risk factor. 

After some internet research about bariatric surgery, we attended an information session with Dr. Brandon Roy.  We walked away understanding that bariatric surgery is not an easy way out, and it is not a quick fix to a serious issue.  Bariatric surgery is a serious decision that requires significant lifestyle change. 

I was concerned that because of my daughter’s past weight loss efforts, that she would not be able to maintain the level of commitment necessary to make the surgery a success and stay healthy. 

Additionally, as a nurse for more than 25 years in the operating room, I was more than aware that surgery is serious. As a surgical nurse, I also had the benefit to see different surgeon’s techniques and skills.

After weighing risk and benefit, it definitely appeared that the benefits of bariatric surgery for my daughter could outweigh the risk.  She went in for surgery on December 29, has followed all of the doctor’s advice to the letter, and has lost 47 pounds to date.  But the weight loss is not the only change.  In addition to losing 47 pounds, she has a new joy and excitement about losing weight and taking care of herself – Changes a mother is always thrilled to see in their child.

Now that my daughter was doing so well, I started thinking about bariatric surgery for myself.  I have struggled with weight all my life and have lost weight, gained weight and lost the weight again.  I decided bariatric surgery, and specifically the adjustable gastric band surgery, is something that I would like to do for myself.

On May 20, I will have bariatric surgery, and our family will change once again. Of course, I have questions for myself same as I had for my daughter.  Will I be able to do everything right?  Will I have complications? Will I be successful?

As a mother of a bariatric surgery patient and an operating room nurse, I believe I bring a unique perspective to the decision-making process.  The first place many people look, as I did, for information about bariatric surgery is online.  This is why I decided to do a series of blog posts chronicling my decision-making process, modifications prior to surgery, follow-up after surgery, and a report several months after surgery.  It is my hope that these posts will help others make the difficult decision about bariatric surgery.

Debra Dupree is a 30-year tenured nurse on WakeMed Raleigh Campus.  Debra’s daughter had bariatric surgery on December 29, 2010, and because of her daughter’s success, she is schedule to have bariatric surgery on May 20, 2011.

Dr. Brandon Roy, surgeon with Wake Specialty Physicians, has information sessions scheduled May 23, June 9 and June 28.  Click here to learn more.