Becoming Half the Man I Used To Be – Part 3

Meeting the Social Worker

The next step in my journey was to meet with the social worker.  For the purpose of this entry, I will call her Jane.  I arrived prior to my appointment, and checked in at the desk, then sat in the waiting area.  I played around on my phone for a while, and then realized that it was well past my scheduled time.  One of the staff asked who I was here to see and what time my appointment was, and I told them.  The staff then ran off to see where things were at.

Shortly after this, Jane came out to greet me.  We went back to her “office” ( a generic triage room) and she apologized, stating that she got caught up with a previous appointment, and that sometimes this happens.  I explained that I also work in the social services field, and completely understand that this can happen.  I’m pretty sure that I could visually see the stress fall away from Jane’s face.  Maybe she was thinking I was going to lambaste her for being late? 

We talked about surgery, and what the potential outcomes are.  I explained that I have struggled with weight since I was eleven or twelve years old, and that I really began to notice after I was into high school.  Jane wanted to point out that I would not necessarily be “skinny” and I told her that I wasn’t concerned about that, it was more related to health issues than anything else.  We discussed the possibility and reality of excess skin, and what that looks like (meaning that unless it causes a risk, removal is on your own dime) which I was well aware of.

Jane asked about family life and growing up.  I told her about the poor eating habits that were instilled in me by my mother, particularly after my parents parted ways.  I remember daily trips to the convenience store to get a pop, chips, and a chocolate bar to accompany my sandwich for lunch, as well as several trips to fast food outlets each week.  I was aware at the time that this was not the norm, but as a child/adolescent, do we always do what is right?

I told Jane how my relationship with food has changed dramatically since those times, though I still have my moments.  I will tell you that I eat out more often than I should, but will also make better choices most times when doing so.

One of the surprising things that Jane and I discussed was whether there is a history of self-harm, or anything related to moods, as well as any history of trauma or abuse.  Jane mentioned that often times, sudden weight loss through surgery can and does disrupt hormones, and can trigger episodes of self-harm, depression, and/or anxiety.  I told Jane that I didn’t have any concerns about these things.  She did talk about being a part of a support group, and that there was one that she co-ran with a former patient.  I told her that I would consider this, and that I was also a part of this group, so I have several options.  Jane encouraged participation in a support group post-op, stating that it is more effective in being successful in maintaining the lifestyle and diet when you are connected to others.

What threw me off the most about the visit was Jane’s last question.  Have I fallen in the last two weeks?  I laughed, and asked her why such a question, and she stated that it was in relation to something to do with the hospital and accessibility.  Jane said she will see me again post-op.


Next is off to the dietician… now that has me concerned.  What will they say?  I guess I will find out soon enough.

Mark Middleton

Mark Middleton

WLS Patient