August 8, 2011
September 1st is sneaking up on me! I also had a surprise weight loss at the doctor today. Woot!
Today I met with a nutritionist to go over my pre-op diet. I also met with a nurse who went over some things about surgery. I have lots of reading to do.
My nutritionist, Gina, was very helpful. She gave me a food journal, sample menu plan, list of frozen meals, protein bars, meal replacement drinks, and just some general food guidelines. The basic diet I will be on for pretty much the rest of my life is high protein, low fat, low sugar, low calorie, and low fiber (this is just for pre and immediately post op, fiber can mess with me apparently) with vitamin and mineral supplements.
The sample daily menu includes times to get me eating on a schedule. Since it is likely I won’t feel hunger for a few weeks after the surgery I need to train myself to eat at certain times to make sure I’m not starving. 3 meals, 2 snacks spanning 12 hours.
After my appointment I went grocery shopping and only purchased items allowed for my pre-op diet. Ideally I’d like to lose 10 more pounds before September 1st, which would put me at a total loss of 10% of my body weight pre-op. =D
Over the next 3 weeks I have various doctors appointments and I will try to follow up.
Monday the 15th: Pre-admission appointment at Jewish Hospital to meet with nurses and anesthesiologist.
Tuesday the 16th: Another appointment with nutritionist to discuss post-op diet.
Monday the 22nd: Pre-op physical. SCARED. I’m afraid something will be wrong and postpone my surgery.
Thursday the 1st: Surgery!
July 29, 2011
I had been putting off calling my surgeons office to talk about how much I would owe before the surgery but I decided today that I should get it over with.
I’m so glad I did!!
The ONLY amount I owe upfront is $625, which is the surgeon’s portion. The hospital portion will be billed to my insurance company and then billed to me AFTER the surgery. So I can worry about the thousands I will owe afterwards. Huzzuh!
I meet with my nutritionist on thursday from 5-6pm and again the following week for 20 minutes. I can’t believe this is actually happening, and only 34 days!!*squeee*
Also, tried my first protein bar the other day. Spit out my first protein bar the other day. *shudder* I can still taste it…
Well I have a super hot date tonight so off I go! <3 Stay well everyone!
July 25, 2011
Boy am I glad I didn’t screen my calls today. On a whim I answered an unknown number and it was my surgeon’s office calling to tell me that I got approved and to set my surgery date. I’m set for September 1st!!!!
I have a few things to do first. One thing that’s pretty major that she didn’t even mention was financing. I have no idea what I’m doing for that yet. I also have to schedule at least 2 pre-op dietitian appointments to go over an appropriate diet. I also need to start going to their support group meetings. Who wants to fill my gas tank up. =p
It feels unreal, it all feels so unreal. This made my day, my week, my month, hell….probably my life. This WILL Change my life in ways I can’t even begin to imagine and I am so grateful to the powers that be for giving me this opportunity and seeing me down this path. I’m going to cry on my keyboard, it’s time for some reflection. <3
As of 9am today (July 12, 2011) my program fee is PAID!! (Thank you so much to my very dear friend-Dale Waller) The woman who submits everything was there today and should be sending it all out before the end of the day. *Squeal*
I should get the news within a few weeks, if not sooner. I’m on the edge of my seat! I still have no news on surgery financing, but I’m trying to stay positive.
How about a life update? I’ve been an emotional roller coaster. Breakups really take their toll on you but everyday I get a little bit stronger. Sunday night I had an awful fibro pain flare up paired with an entire day full of anxiety attacks that landed me in the hospital for the first time since…2003? I was given a pain shot and a prescription for a NSAID and anxiety medication. I still need to see my PCP to get back on my daily preventative medicine to stop the flareups. In the hospital the doctor asked if I exercise. I have high hopes that weight loss surgery will help me in so many areas. Once I start to lose weight exercise won’t be such an impossible task. I’m hopeful on having more energy, being happier, and being healthier.
I will update again once I hear back from my insurance company. =D
July 1, 2011
Time for an update. =)
Yesterday I had my appointment with the very lovely Tonya Chatlos for my mandatory mental health evaluation. She was very friendly, very non-judgmental, and a very good listener. We talked about a little of everything. What motivates me, how long I’ve been considering it, and of course what life is currently like. I shed quite a few tears but still managed to get everything out. Thankfully, she “cleared” me and said I was ready for this journey in my life. She recommended me to the support groups that are going on for post and pre-op patients and she also said I *might* want to consider an anxiety medication. Okay I will give her that one…
So where does that leave me? It means at this point there are only a few things left. I have to pay the required $200 program fee before they will submit all of my information to the insurance company. Once that’s done and everything is submitted I wait for a response, hopefully an acceptance, and once that happens I get a surgery date. It’s as easy as that! The only thing holding me back at this point is the financial aspect, but I’m hopeful.
In my first post I mentioned that I had made the decision to get the LapBand procedure done. However during my consultation my surgeon told me I was a lucky person to have coverage for the “Gastric Sleeve” and he urged me to do some research and consider it as an option. I can say after watching almost every youtube video available of people post-op and reading all of the forums that I have changed my mind. Let me provide some detail on this surgery.
The gastric sleeve is a laparoscopic surgery with benefits and risks midway between gastric bypass and lapband. It’s a permanent surgery that involves the removal of about 85%-90% of your stomach leaving it in a crescent moon shape. This allows food restriction without having a foreign object implanted in the body and with no rerouting of the intestines. It has a great success rate and only a few risks, about the same as any major stomach surgery. I have yet to come across a person who has regretted their choice for this surgery, even when going out of my way to find it.
There is a lovely picture of the procedure. Yum.
I’ve been doing so much thinking, so much reflection, so much meditation on the idea of weight loss surgery. I imagine the pros and cons, the possibility of complications, what my life could be like 100 pounds lighter. Barring something major happening, the pros vastly outweigh the cons.
I’ve also decided I’m going to do my best to go ahead and start small changes now, whether I’m able to have the surgery or not. My first change is going to be my water intake. I know post-op you should be consuming 80-100oz. of water daily, and that’s where I’m going to start. (Hello toilet..) If I cant commit to small changes now no amount of surgery will ever help me.
Here’s to a long healthy and happy life. Here’s to the stars granting my wishes. =)
May 4, 2011
So this blog has sat untouched for quite some time and I might be taking a major fork in the road of life and I thought perhaps I should blog about it. Both for myself and for any others who are looking for information.
On April 1st, 2011 I met a person who contributed in this change in my life. Her name is Marlene. We were both tasked with extra responsibilities at work that brought our two paths together. Not long into our daily talks I found out she had undergone LapBand surgery. The more we talked the more I researched and the more I researched the more I realized it was time to make a decision for my future. Two weeks ago I called my insurance company to check coverage and found out my plan covered bariatric surgery. That night I registered for surgery and week later I received a call from the Jewish Hospital Weight Management Center. That brings us to today, the day of my appointment. At 9:45am I met with 3 different people, a nurse to check medical history and blood pressure, the surgeon himself, and Beth. Beth was the bearer of GREAT news, the news I was dreading more than any other news, whether or not my insurance company, Anthem, required 6 months of monitored dieting (which would push past my 26th birthday, losing my coverage, and preventing this surgery all together). Thankfully, it does not. All I need at this point is a required mental health evaluation and the past 7 years of my weight and weight related illness history. My mental health evaluation is scheduled for May 26th at 10am and that evening I will be attending a seminar on all the surgical options available.
So many pieces need to fit together perfectly but even though I technically still have to tread the muddy waters in insurance land, I am more worried about the financial aspect overall. I have a fairly large deductible I must meet and a max out of pocket of 3500, which I will most likely come very close to. I will certainly have to finance it myself unless some kind of angel comes along. Oops, I forgot to mention a $200 program fee, that I will need to pay before we even submit to the insurance company for approval. The good news about the program fee is that covers all my pre-op and post-op care, including a nutritionist, support groups, and surgeon visits for the first year.
Out of the few who will read this many will question my motives or even judge my decision outright. So I would like to talk a little about why I want to lose weight. I’ve struggled with being a bigger girl for more than half of my life. I’ve tried SlimFast, diet pills, Atkins, Weight Watchers, and good old fashioned calorie counting and no matter the work I put in or how far I went there was always a point where I backslid and failed. I’m sure I could have worked harder and worked longer but when it comes down to it I am realizing that I need help. The biggest misconception is that weight loss surgery is the easy way out. This isn’t true, I will have to work hard and I will have to change my eating habits for the rest of my life.
I’d like to talk about goals. My silliest goal? To weigh what my drivers license says I do, which would feel great. My overall goal? To be healthy and active, to go rock climbing and rafting, hiking and camping. I want to experience improved energy and stamina and decreased pain from my fibromyalgia. I want to go to an amusement park and not have to worry about whether I will fit in the seat of a roller coaster. Never experienced that? It’s a horrifying anxiety that prevents me from going all together. I want to be happier.
I will updated as I can through this process. Wish me luck. <3
Oh and to Marlene, whose last name I never learned and whose contact information I never received because of the sudden end to our temporary employment, thank you so much. Thank you for answering all of my questions and thank you for being a friend.