There is a perception out there that surgery is the “easy way” for weight loss. This is very wrong. Surgery is a tool like other tools, and is actually harder to access.

A high-quality bariatric practice will only allow this to be a last resort. I am using Novant Health Bariatric Solutions in Charlotte.   I use this system for all my health needs.

I have been actively working to lose weight for most of the 21st century. I have been through most of the most well-known programs – Weight Watchers, NutriSystem, Mediterranean,  etc. NutriSystem worked, but it cost too much for an admin’s budget. I had even spent several months with a nutritionist at the Novant heart institute.

When I had my annual physical in May, I told my doc I wanted to explore surgical options. He wasn’t a fan, but agreed to give me a referral. The first thing they did was go through that history. I asked about the lap band. Dr. Carraro explained that this option is falling out of favor – there is so much maintenance on the band, and the failure rate (weight re-gain) is high. The best practice these days is the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG), or The Sleeve. This involves stapling a new, smaller stomach, less intense than the traditional gastric bypass. Dr. Carraro says she thinks I can lose 90 pounds in a year with this option. OK, Doc, you talked me into it.

Some of the pre-work, like the previous diets and time with the nutritionist, can be used in the qualifying process. I still have some nutritional work to do, as well as time with the bariatric therapist. This will also mean clearance with my regular therapist that I see for my anxiety & depression.

I also have to have the surgery at Novant Matthews, not the hospital Dr. Carraro works at. That added a layer to the scheduling. My surgery eventually is scheduled for November 28.

When I first went to Novant Bariatric in June, I weighed 288 pounds. For a guy 5′ 4.5″, that’s about 128 pounds too many.