UNC Health Talk

Vicky’s Story Part 2: Fears and Phobias

Vicky Coerper, a Rex bariatric surgery patient and Rex co-worker
Vicky Coerper

Post by Vicky Coerper, a Rex bariatric surgery patient and Rex co-worker. Vicky had bariatric surgery 5 and half years ago, and is writing about her journey through this blog series in order to share her struggles and triumphs on her path to good health.

Living life as a very large person can be quite daunting. I was afraid of many things, including how I was being perceived by my friends, family, and even people I didn’t know.

So many questions ran through my head: could I get a job in a healthcare setting, and would I even make it through the interview process when I was so big? Were my granddaughters and other family members embarrassed to be with me? Was my husband, Steve, embarrassed to go out to dinner with me? Would I be able to get that seat belt fastened around me on a plane? Could I use the handicapped stall, without getting in the way of a handicapped person?

When I took the first step and interviewed with one of the surgeons associated with Rex Healthcare’s Bariatric Center, I had new worries and phobias: should I tell my family what I am considering? Are they going to try to talk me out of it? Will I even be a candidate for the surgery? I had tried so many programs and plans before that would supposedly help me to lose the weight, but none had worked.

Vicky, pre-weight loss surgery
Vicky, pre-weight loss surgery

My biggest concern was if everything would work out- after all, it is a major surgery. What would happen if something went wrong? I knew I was going to become primary caregiver for my mom because of her Parkinson’s and Dementia. The absolute scariest thought was hearing my mom’s voice over and over again telling me about a friend she knew who had this surgery and that it did not go well. I did not tell her my intentions until about 3 months after I had the Bariatric Bypass procedure!

If I did take a chance and go through with it, what if this was just another solution that did not work for me? How long would it take me to lose the weight? How would I still dress appropriately for work while losing a lot of weight- another expense to consider. Wow, I’m making myself tired just remembering all of the concerns, phobias, and thoughts I had to work out in my mind!

Despite all of  my many worries, I decided to get the surgery. I had to push those fears aside and look at the root of the matter- my health and my future- and knew this was what I had to do. Having made the decision, the next daunting task was accomplishing all of the pre-surgery steps! But that’s for another discussion. Thank goodness I had the support of my wonderful husband reassuring me along the way.