– I was happy to get permission for the operation, but I felt like I was giving up when I agreed.
This is what Stine Bleken from Melhus in Trøndelag says.
She underwent bariatric surgery in 2021 after struggling with obesity for years.
Today, Stine describes herself as physically fit. But the road is long and hard.
No follow up
After the surgery, she lost weight. But as the kilos disappeared, Stine felt she had lost herself as well.
The man in the mirror is no more.
– I don’t recognize my face. I couldn’t see the change that others saw. To me it was like seeing a ghost.
– No spark of life. It was completely empty.
The 24-year-old shares what she believes she’s missing after such surgery, and it’s clear what would have helped her overcome difficult thoughts.
– EA psychologist should be at the top of the list.
Stein talks about the lack of information from the health system about poor follow-up and the psychological challenges that come with it.
– The only thing they told me before the operation was that it was important to be open and honest with those around me. What does that mean?
According to Stine, two phone calls followed about how many kilos she had lost, what food she had eaten and how active she had been.
– Not a single question about how things are going me.
Very few sources
– We would like to have a psychologist in the support group, but unfortunately access to resources is very limited, says Joren Sandvik.
she Specialist in Gastrointestinal Surgery and Senior Physician in the Department of Surgery at Ålesund Hospital.
She doesn’t hide that bariatric surgery is physically and mentally taxing.
– During your weight loss phase, a lot changes. Then the relationship with the surroundings also changes.
Nevertheless, he points out that it is rare for someone to have major psychological problems requiring an emergency psychiatric appointment, and that resources are often prioritized with other patient groups.
– Problems are seen as very minor.
A promise of a better life
Stein made the move personally at Aleris due to long waits in the public sector.
– It is a promise of close follow-up and a better and simpler life.
But after the surgery, Stine didn’t see what was promised to him.
No one prepared her for how difficult everyday life would be.
– I felt like I was on autopilot for a year and finally hit a wall.
The GP, thinking she was burned out, referred her to a psychologist.
– I received help and confirmation that the thoughts I was having were normal.
There is a five-year follow-up
– Sad to hear about Stein’s problems, we at Aleris only got information via NRK.
It says Bent Johnny Nergaard, a high growth surgeon at Aleris.
He says it is not common for them to complain of psychological problems after surgery.
– VI am passionate about keeping our patients well-informed about what the surgery entails and what it entails in terms of follow-up.
– When undergoing major body changes, such as after bariatric surgery, it is important to be mentally well prepared for the challenges you may face post-surgery. So we always inform about this.
Aleris says they have a 5-year follow-up plan There they can get help from a surgeon, specialist nurse, nutritionist and physiotherapist.
– If patients report mental health issues, we can refer them to our mental health team of speech therapists and psychologists who can help both in-hospital and digitally.
Although psychological issues have characterized much of everyday life at Melhus, Stine says he’s in a better place mentally now.
With the help of a psychologist and an online coach, she is given the tools she needs to deal with the thoughts that come her way.
He believes that this will be an opportunity for all those undergoing bariatric surgery, without the high costs.
– JI’ve got a well-functioning body that allows me to do what I want. That was the goal.
He says he is happy to have the surgery, good or bad.
– Today, I don’t feel like I gave up because whatever I chose, it would have been a struggle.
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