Bariatric Support Group Kicks Off New Year with New Leader

Lori Billows is the new face behind Humboldt General Hospital's Bariatric Support Group.

Billows will begin leading the group from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, January 28, in the hospital's Sonoma Conference Room. The group will continue to meet from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. the fourth Wednesday of each month.

Billows takes over from Laura Nelson, who launched the group in 2011 as a community service for both pre-op and post-op bariatric patients.

Billows, an HGH activities assistant/unit secretary and certified nurses assistant, underwent gastric bypass surgery in December 2007.

"So it seemed a natural fit when Laura asked me to take over the group," she said. "I like helping people; it's what I have done my whole adult life."

Billows also acknowledges that facilitating the group will also help her personally. "It will help me by putting me back on track of what I am supposed to be doing health wise, so I'm looking forward to that too."

While Humboldt General Hospital does not perform weight loss surgery, Billows said the group offers support to those who have undergone the procedure as well as those who are considering surgery.

"The decision to undergo weight loss surgery is not an easy one," said Billows. "Bariatric surgery is a tool for many patients to jumpstart their transformation towards a more active and healthy lifestyle, but long-term support is critical to their success."

Billows said group members and their supporters will receive up-to-date weight loss information, consider issues in the context of the disease of obesity, and have the opportunity to discuss personal or professional issues that arise from the consequences of bariatric surgery.

"It will be good for us to hear from other people who have been through what we've been through," said Billows. "I just really want this group to be a great support system for the participants."

Each month will include time for questions and social interaction. Significant others are encouraged to attend, and there is no charge to participate.

For more information on Humboldt General Hospital's Bariatric Support Group, please contact Lori Billows at (775) 623-5222, ext. 1427, or email at billows@hghospital.org.

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