Weight loss surgery is a life-changing procedure. It takes a lot of preparation – physically, emotionally, and mentally. A bariatric patient at Fresno Heart & Surgical Hospital shares with us her journey.
Dealing with weight was not an easy feat for Natasha Cogdill.
“Starting in college, becoming a nurse, working night shifts, you know, didn’t have the best eating habits. Everything was to be convenient and fast,” said Natasha.
Natasha, who was a new mom then, said the extra pounds were making it difficult to keep up with her young daughter.
She added, “Had high cholesterol, acid reflux was significant, as well as sleep apnea. So, I knew that if I continued down this journey I was going to have severe health effects and likely live a much shorter life.”
Natasha decided to undergo the gastric bypass surgery at Fresno Heart & Surgical Hospital in August 2017. Dr. Kelvin Higa, who is the Medical Director of Fresno Bariatrics, was her doctor.
“The preparation that goes into having a patient getting ready for surgery is pretty involved,” said Dr. Higa.
Dr. Higa said all bariatric patients must undergo a psychological evaluation as part of pre-authorization for insurance companies. But, he said that evaluation is only one part of the preparation.
He explained, “What they [the patients] need is the support before and after to help them with the process, sort of to improve their performance.”
Dr. Higa explains, the changes a bariatric patient goes through isn’t just physical. Interpersonal relationships can evolve, due to jealousy or insecurity, and it’s crucial a patient not undergo the surgery process alone.
“I discussed it over with my husband, my best friend, my family, because it was very important to me to have their support going into it,” stated Natasha.
Natasha said she also joined support groups, which are regularly offered at Fresno Heart & Surgical Hospital.
She advises patients, “Please speak to those that you trust, that you love, that are going to support you and talk through that. And then also, what I did is I found individuals that had gone through the process that had had the bariatric surgery, both those that had been out several years, and those who had just recently had it done to get a different perspective.”
“Beyond that, there’s a community of patients that all want to come together to help each other, and I think that’s the power of the support to know and to be with others who have been through the process, been through the pain and the joys and all these things,” ended Dr. Higa.
So far, Natasha has lost 120 pounds, and said every day can still be a struggle as she has found a new relationship with food. But, she said with the support around her, her post-surgery continues to be a success.
Natasha concluded, “I am just very fortunate for the support that I have around me. I’m fortunate for the online support and the groups that I’m a part of, but I’m also very fortunate for the support I have of other fellow bariatric patients who are in and continue to be a part of their journeys, and they’re a part of mine.”
You can join our Fresno Bariatrics community on Facebook to get information or ask questions.