Weight-loss surgery support group meets Aug. 14
A support group that meets in Rogers provides information and support to people from all over the region who have had any form of weight-loss surgery.
The Northwest Arkansas Weight-Loss Surgery Support Group meets every second Sunday of the month at 2 p.m. in Rogers. The public is invited to attend the meetings, which are primarily geared towards those who are considering or have recently had any form of weight-loss surgery. The group is not doctor-affiliated and all are welcome.
This month’s meeting will be 2 p.m. Aug. 14 at the Apple Blossom Retirement Community in Rogers (2501 N. 22nd St.). This month’s meeting will feature a clothing sale from regular members and a vendor demonstration from Genesis Pure, who will show products that are geared toward all-natural nutrition and weight loss.
Wealth of information and support
Queenie Robinson of Rogers is one of the original members of the group and has been participating either as a member or leader for about nine years.
“When I first had my surgery, I had so many questions and looked for guidance from others,” she said. “I still attend, hoping I can do the same for others now.”
When Mattie Watson of Springdale first was encouraged to look into the surgery by a coworker who had gastric bypass in 2005, she attended a meeting to get information.
“I attended a meeting and met a wide range of people… young and years young…people researching the surgery to people who had just had the surgery to people who were years out from having their surgery. These people answered all my questions and encouraged me not to let insurance issues or other troubles stop me from pursuing the surgery,” Watson said. “We talked about doctors, hospitals, insurance and life after the surgery. Also, the members of this group had a wide range of surgeries from the lap band to the gastric bypass to the gastric sleeve and other types of surgeries.”
A few years later, Watson had gastric bypass herself and at that point became a regular member of the group and recently became co-leader.
“These people have become my friends and we do activities outside of the group as well. About a year ago, I was asked by the leader of our group if I would mind co-leading with her. I agreed. I get so much support and strength from these people that I’m trying very hard to stay active in the group and keep it going,” she said.
Wyona Yaffe Lendo is another member who also co-leads the group. She had gastric bypass in 2006 and has lost 185 pounds.
“I think being involved in a local support group that understands the challenges of this surgery has been invaluable to me. Our members are a wealth of support and encouragement. There is always someone who has gone through the same or a similar challenge or problem, who is able to offer ideas, advice, and support,” she said.
Both Watson and Lendo point out that everyone’s experience with weight-loss surgery is different and it’s important to hear from a wide variety of people.
“Everyone has had a different experience with their surgery or procedure, and I feel it is extremely helpful for us to meet and share those experiences and be an encouragement to others,” Lendo said. “(Weight-loss surgery) is truly a life changing experience and something that will affect each of us for the rest of our lives.”
The leaders of the group work to have some kind of speaker for each meeting and there is always a question and answer time for new people to get input from those who have had weight-loss surgery. Recent speakers have included dieticians, counselors and style consultants.
“I welcome anyone who has ideas on guest speakers or activities that we could do as a group to keep us motivated,” Watson said.
People who visit the group do not have to be from Northwest Arkansas, or Arkansas for that matter. It’s location in Rogers makes it easy for folks to come from Oklahoma or Southwest Missouri if they want.
“We have members from as far away as Fort Smith. I welcome anyone who is thinking about having any type of weight loss surgery to come to one of our meetings. It is so important to join and be active. Your journey doesn’t stop after you have the surgery. It is just beginning and we all need a place where we are accountable,” Watson said.
Information is available from Wyona Yaffe Lendo at 479-644-1999 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Mattie Watson at 479-531-5340 or email@example.com; see the group’s page on Facebook under WLSNWAR or visit the Yahoo group.
Experienced reporter who is now an entrepreneur. Jamie's Notebook offers writing services including press releases, corporate blogging and feature writing.