Saturday, May 7, 2011

Support Groups: The Key To Success

I have Kaiser Permanente health insurance which is unique in the industry where it acts as the insurance company and the doctor's offices. As a part of my pre-op education I completed a 24 week educational course. Post-operatively there are support groups to reinforce positive behaviors and to give patients the feeling of togetherness.

I went to my first session last week and was impressed. There ended up being 4 other people there and the social worker in the Options program. We spent the first half talking about addiction which was the topic of the evening and the second half was opened up to general questions and comments regarding post-op life.

The surgically altered pouches ranged in age from a few weeks (me!) to three years. As someone fresh out it was encouraging to see people 1-3 years out because they look so normal. You would never know they struggled with their weight for decades. Looking at it from the other side, I'm sure it's a refresher to look at people like me to see where they used to be and how their current lifestyle has changed their lives.

Alternative Support Avenues
Different surgeons and hospitals have their own support groups. To find one in your area please contact your surgeon's office because there may also be surgical support groups for the general public, as well.

If you do not have access to an in-person support group or you do not want to attend one then the internet has a wealth of information. There is a larger volume of people offering support and advice can be more forthcoming and prompt compared to a surgeon's office where they haven't had the surgery. Of course, every surgeon is different so make sure you follow your protocol and contact a physician with any serious matters.

Every forum is different so you may need to try multiple ones until you find home. Some that I have found include:
In addition, I've also been able to connect to fellow patients via Twitter. To find people you can search for keywords. Using the hashtag symbol (#) can also narrow down your searching, as well.

Other informational sources include YouTube, podcasts (I highly recommend Bariatric TV), blogs, and books.

Some blogs I frequent include:

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