Whether you’re reading this as the patient who needs bariatric surgery, someone who loves that patient, or the provider committed to caring for the patient, there are at least three important lessons coming out of this experience that should be taken away for future benefit. Three takeaways coming from beating CIGNA and winning another bariatric surgery appeal
Too often we see this at this time of year: a person who had coverage in January finds out he or she lost it when their employer renewed its insurance with a new company. While this may happen at the end of December for many plans, there are one helluva lot of employee plans which changed in July. Please CLICK HERE to learn more about this
Well, it looks like I've met all my requirements! Woooo! I see the surgeon next Thursday, and I'll be ready for him to send all the info off for insurance approval. This is very exciting! I hope that he'll set a date for my surgery at that point...
I'm going to start slowly buying things I know I'm going to need after my surgery; today I ordered a "fancy" scale (which was an affordable off-brand, but which I have read is accurate) and some leggings (since my pants are already falling off me). My biggest problem is that I'll really get into something then GO ALL OUT and buy everything I need for it in one go... and then I'm broke for weeks until I build my finances back up. So I'm working on doing it slowly, just getting one or two things that I can afford within my budget for the week. I am pretty excited about this - it seems like this surgery is not only going to improve my weight, it may also force me into healthy habits that I wasn't expecting, like practicing self-control and discipline. I already feel the improvements, I'm making positive changes in my behavior.
My mother is also obese and would like to have the surgery, but she is now 66 (in a youthful way, though), and I hear that some doctors won't operate on older folks. My surgeon does sometimes take older patients, depending on the patient. I hope my mom gets the help she needs, it would be good for her, a diabetic, to make such a change - I want her to be around a lot longer.
So, I decided to use bariatricpsychevaluations.com for my eval - I was able to find only a few reviews, and they were split down the middle between satisfied people and people whose evaluations never made it to their doctors. I figured I would chance it, and it paid off for me!
I was able to get an evaluation appointment within a week, and the woman I spoke with was very thorough and easy to talk to. For a little more than 2 weeks, though, I was calling my surgeon to see if the report showed up, since it was only supposed to take 72 hours, but it hadn't appeared yet. I decided to call the number on the website, and was able to reach a person (I called on a Monday in the middle of the day), and she was very helpful - it turned out they had the wrong fax number. She went ahead and faxed the report again right away, and that's another requirement crossed off my list!
I needed an evaluation quickly, they were reasonably priced out-of-pocket, and the wrong fax number was my only issue. If one decides to try it, I would recommend writing the correct fax number in the notes section on sign-up and perhaps also giving it to the evaluator.
Just not feeling "it" this week. I'm exhausted, not sleeping well, feeling really run down, drained. I feel fat. I know I'm not anywhere near as fat as I was, but... I feel fat this week. Bloated, gross, fat fat fat fat fat.
My sleep **SUCKS** not sure if it's the weight loss changing my CPAP pressure requirements, or something else all together. I don't want to have to get another sleep study, because they blow, but I know I need some follow up. Not looking forward to yet another medical bill.
Work sucks this week too, a shop of 5, reduced to 2. really 1 and a half since it's just me and my team lead, and my team lead has to do all the leadership / team lead stuff... so, It's just me, supporting just under 3000 users, on over 2000 computer systems, in 20-30 buildings spread out over all of RI, parts of Mass and CT. Fun stuff.
I've been in and out of stalls for almost a month now, more in than out of at this point. Between Monday and today I'm up 2 lbs... not sure why exactly. All intake is right where it should be and I've been in the gym daily. Not going today, just not feeling it. Way too tired and drained to even care really.
Growing tired of this forum again as well. Which sucks because, well, I do enjoy helping folks out. Just getting to the point where every question has been answered over and over again, yet almost no one bothers to use the search function first.
So that's it really... Not a happy Matt at all this week.
I've been watching videos of the VSG surgery, and I am fascinated. It is really helpful for me to actually see what the procedure is, what is involved, what it looks like afterward, and to get a view of the anatomy in the area. I think I would recommend these videos if one isn't squeamish, I think it is good to know what's going to happen to help one make the best decision for oneself.
It is really a big hassle to be having the surgery so far away - it's a 1.25 hour drive each way to my surgeon's office, and I find myself having to make that journey sometimes two days in a row. Not easy on my elderly vehicle, but at least I have audiobooks and podcasts to listen to while I go. I do have to say, before I got this surgeon, my PCP told me I could get a surgeon anywhere in my Northern California area, which could have meant driving 4 hours each way in some cases, so I AM thankful; in fact, I'm pretty sure this is the closest surgeon I could have had.
How hard is it to go to a party when one is on a diet? So difficult. I went to an annual Fried Chicken Day party on Saturday, and, boy, it was hard not to graze. I even made an Apple Cheddar Pie for the occasion, and I had to taste that, of course. I have been steadily losing weight over the last month or so, and I only have 4 more lbs to lose to meet the requirement, but things like this may set me back quite a bit. I need to buckle down. I have a little less than a month to lose that 4 pounds, and I can't keep using special occasions as an excuse.
I made a checklist a while back of all the surgery prerequisites, and I have been checking things off - feels so good! Because my blood work showed elevated liver enzymes (this has been the case for me for a while), the surgeon added one more requirement: get a liver ultrasound. Ah, well. But even with this new requirement, I will still be finished with everything by the end of the month! Then he can submit everything to the insurance, and hopefully I'll be able to have the surgery in September!
I've been reading The Emotional First + Aid Kit: A Practical Guide to Life After Bariatric Surgery, and it has proved to be a good resource. Lots of earnest information, honest truths, short stories of success or failures, helpful suggestions, useful activities. I definitely recommend it. A suggestion it gave was to create pros and cons lists, just to get everything out in front of you and to really make you think honestly about your choice to pursue surgery and what it could mean to do it as well as what it would mean NOT to do it. Good stuff. A simple suggestion, but definitely useful.
Last night I went to one of the required Support Group meetings, and I wasn't sure what to expect. Turns out, all the people there were also pre-op, and the group leaders were very encouraging. We talked a lot about the sleeve and it's benefits and some about the band - looks like most of the people getting surgery from Dr. Hanna have the sleeve, which is encouraging because that is the procedure I want; I definitely do not want the band. I mean, what if my insurance runs out? I won't be able to come in for adjustments and would be stuck with a foreign object in me!
At any rate, the best part was... at the end of the meeting they spoke about how hard it has been to get a psych evaluation, and I was presented with other options... so I'm going to get my evaluation done at the beginning of July, which means that all of my requirements will have been met by the end of July! This is such a relief for me.
So I see the surgeon again on Tuesday - can't wait to find out how much weight I've lost and possibly get a tentative surgery date!
Its been soo long since ive done an entry. I think I actually missed my entries and I think that I will continue to blog with the hopes of healing myself and maybe helping someone. so here is a little back story. I had the lapband in 2011 and in 2014 it slipped and I had the gastric sleeve. I developed really bad GERD and in 5/1/2018 I had the gastric bypass. I am still happily married and we actually added a new member to the family I had my daughter 12/26/13 and lord does she keep me on my toes. I have started my own business and which I have opened two stores in one year.
Now that I have had the gastric bypass I will say that I think this is the best surgery I have had. I will admit I still have to work on the program the dr. has in place for me. I just feel that I have so much to focus on that the plan is like a final exam that I have to continue to work on. I will say I am committed to losing the weight and finally reaching my goal and come my 7Th wedding anniversary next year I will be on a beach and proud of the body and the person I have become thought out this journey.
I had my colonoscopy/upper-endoscopy last Thursday, and the prep for that was a struggle - I think my body registered the Miralax solution as a poison because I could not keep it down, and I got a migraine from not eating. But the procedure went fine, except... and this is so embarrassing... I think I ended up singing during it! I know I was all drugged up, but I am so mortified about singing a love song while there was a camera in my colon!
Anyways, ever since then, I have been eating like a crazy person again. Just always feeling that deep, deep hunger, and I'm struggling to control myself. The other day, I ate more than double the amount of calories I was supposed to, ugh. I think it may have to do with the fact that I'm feeling very depressed lately, and I have always tried to use food to comfort myself (like many of us here, I'm sure).
I'm also struggling with the exercise portion of this diet. At the beginning, I took a 30 minute walk, and my lower back seized up after about 10 minutes - and, of course, I had just gone down a steep hill, so I HAD to continue around the loop to get home via a much easier hill. That was very very painful, and I've been afraid to walk more than 10 minutes ever since.
I do, however, go rollerskating twice a week, which is AMAZING exercise, low-impact, and it doesn't hurt as much even when I skate for an hour. But there is a huge fire happening in my area, and the fire department is using the parking lot of my local skating rink, so they're closed for a few weeks. What will I do? I love to skate.
Hopefully I can knock this depression soon and just get on with life. Just wish I could skate it off.
I was so so nervous and discouraged about the 1,200 calorie diet the surgeon wanted me to do, but it has turned out to be okay. I go over the calorie limit much of the time, but not by much, and I am able to take it in stride and not beat myself up over it. But lately it has been easier to control my eating (I almost feel like the promise of surgery is bolstering my spirits), but half of the days I still have that deep deep hunger that just won't seem to go away. I'm not sure how long I'd be able to keep up this diet without the eventual help of the surgery, but I seem to be doing okay with it for now. YAY!
In other news... wow, it is hard to get a bariatric psych evaluation. All of the qualified individuals in my provider network are extremely backed-up, and many of them are not taking new clients. It is frustrating because I will be done with all of the other requirements by the end of July, but my psych eval appointment is at the end of October! I can't even get a surgery date set until after I've had the evaluation. I'd rather not have to wait that long, but I don't know of viable alternatives...
...Except I was googling and I saw bariatricpsychevaluations.com - I am not sure what to think about it... if I could get it done more quickly, paying $150 seems like it would be worth it, but is it legit? I was able to find a few reviews, and it seems to be split half-and-half - some people are happy, but other people never got their evaluation sent to their surgeon. Hard to know what to do.
To be safe, I should probably just be patient and wait until October, but I need to have this surgery, and now that I've made up my mind about it, I don't want to wait. I need to be healthy YESTERDAY.
I have always been easily discouraged. I will often not try something because I "know" I will fail at it, or I may do some other self-sabotaging thing. This is a terrible way to live life, and I've only recently started working on it.
This weight loss surgery is something I know I need to do, something I even WANT to do, and I am determined to give it a shot even though I "know" (untrue) it's just another thing I will likely fail at. I'm trying to push past my automatic hide-under-a-rock reaction.
So, keeping in mind my default self-defeating attitude, I am already struggling with this diet. It was only YESTERDAY that the surgeon told me I needed to lose 20 lbs and that I need to keep a food log and try to eat only 1200 calories/day. I guess I'm struggling with the IDEA of the diet. 1200 calories is crazy! I'm HUGE, how am I going to successfully function in day-to-day life on so little sustenance? I'm going to get low-blood-sugar migraines, I'm going to be even tireder than I already am, I'm going to be so so hungry all the time.
The thing is, I have barely even started the diet, but I am already psyching myself out, worrying before it's necessary, my brain is screaming for me to eat a huge amount of whatever I want in protest. Am I strong enough to withstand? I'm not so sure. So then how am I going to be successful with the surgery??
Lots for me to think about. I want this so badly, but I am AFRAID that I won't be successful. Being so full of fear can really squash all the joy from life.
Well, the surgeon said I am a great candidate for the surgery, so we're moving forward!
I am very excited, I was so worried that he wouldn't approve, but it took very little time for him to evaluate me.
Boy, the requirements! Obviously there's the Nutrition appointments and a psych eval, but there's also lots of blood work and X-Rays, a Colonoscopy/Endoscopy, and the dreaded Pap Smear. I will also need to attend a support group, twice. It's fine, though, I am willing to jump through the hoops, I just wish that all of this wasn't so far away - 1 hour drive each way.
The other requirement is: LOSE 20 LBS. From what I've read so far, this is quite a common requirement, but it seems really difficult, since I have been gradually and constantly gaining weight over the last year. In fact, I GAINED 20lbs over the last 6 months, which is incredibly alarming, and was the main reason I even thought I might need the surgery.
I liked the doctor - he seems like a no-nonsense type. The only thing is, we didn't talk about the different types of surgery yet. I suspect he wants to see if I seriously follow his requirements before taking the time, but even so, much of the information in the packet I was sent home with talks about the LAP Band, which is a procedure I most certainly do not want. I know he also performs the sleeve, which is the one I've chosen for myself, so I'm hoping my suspicions are correct and that we discuss surgery types next time we meet.
Anyways, YAY! I'm on the way
I haven't posted here since the beginning, just starting to come back here to see what is up. It's been a busy year for me. I've been pretty focused on work and my life changes. I feel so blessed, my surgery went well and my results so far are fantastic. I have lost 120 pounds and I have 16 to go to hit my personal goal....I will still keep up my eating plan and exercise so if it goes lower than that so be it. I have not had any complications so far, no hair loss... The weight has been steadily coming off with a few stalls here and there.
I think the key to my success thus far has been realizing that while this surgery is helping me, its still up to me. It's taken sticking to the plan, getting the right foods in and exercising pretty much daily. I know that is something that I will have to do the rest of my life and if it keeps me feeling as fantastic as I feel right now...that will never be an issue for me. I don't ever want to go back to the way things were before.
I'm so thankful that I was able to get this surgery, I wish that it was available to all who need it...it has literally saved my life.
WLS is hard. I knew this going into my band back in 2011. I knew this going to my revision to bypass this past March. I expected it to be hard. I'm getting very frustrated with the struggle. Granted this is coming from a place where I'm working 10+ hour days, we just had to put a dog down, and I'm stalling hard every few days. My body fat has been slowly reducing but not the weight. And again, I get that it's a process. Just venting I guess. I'm in the gym almost every day, only missed 2 days total in over a month. One was because a friend needed help with his car, so I spent several hours in the junk yard getting a door off for him, so I might have missed the gym, but I certainly didn't miss the workout that day! And the other day was this past Tuesday, because my pup got put down while I was at work. She was old, and I knew it was coming, but that doesn't change the waves of depression and emotional break downs the loss is causing. Just need a win this week and everything is coming up crap. Our dryer stopped working and 4 parts later, too much money and too much effort and it's still not working. Just feels like this whole week has it out for me.
Yesterday I had an appointment for a fill. The last one I had 1/2 cc was 8 weeks ago after a 2 year hiatus. At this time, I have 3.6, I had been told that 2 ccs were already in band when I started . Twice, twice, I got it up to 3ccs and had to take everything out and start all over. Yesterday hubby came with me, and Dr. would ask me questions and talk to me but all the whole while looking at my hubby. He felt that my band was restricting and that I just had to change my diet habits to accommodate. Talking about diets, and showing him the diagrams of the stomach. I even said at one point,touched my husband's arm and said I like how you are looking at him, since he is the cook. he kind of chuckled but still kept looking at husband. I had gone alone before and it was fine, but it was soo weird. I'm hispanic hubby anglo, My cousin thought maybe I looked like the little submissive wife or something. So no more fills for me for awhile and hubby has a new admirer?
Oh Universe, you were digging in the deep corners of my mind. A person that I had not talked to literally for over 25 years, out of blue contacted me. When we go through verbal trauma, inner child issues, all the wrongs done in the world all the crap, feels personal, feels like its directed at our heart. At the time , this person took my beloved spot at work while I was traded for hers in a clinic 20 miles away. She lived 3 houses away but was having marital issues. (roll of eyes here). I was told it would be temporary and 6 months later when I asked again, was told it was permanent and at that time I said, then I'm going to be looking for something closer. She told my nurses that she is running the clinic her way and that she was going to change everything. Whenever I would cover for her, she would leave a list of things she wanted me to do , but I would do other things like dictation that needed to be done, she called me to say you didn't do what I left for you and I told her I did the dictation. She wanted to talk to the supervisor. I never heard more. It took me two years (the clinic closed year after I left) to find a job in town which I loved, now I tolerate, I still see and visit and call the nurses, we still get together for lunch or dinner, remembering funny moments over and over . Once I was at my new job this person just disappeared from my view. Many years, later, so much later I found out that this person divorced her husband, then remarried him twice. Ended up being fired, but not before she tried to sue the nurses for treating her"badly" She brought a lot of stuff on herself. I was the sole clerical person for a staff of 3 health inspectors and 8 nurses and it ran like clockwork. She gets there and right away she couldn't do it all and got two assistants. I told one of the nurses about that particular incident and she said that the girl had been fuming because the supervisor had told her that if I felt there was something more urgent to do she was good with that. (She hated filing, she'd have piles of it) Now in all that time, I did finally see where had I not have been moved, I would have been "stuck" in that same place for years. I would not have met the people I did, learned the lessons I needed to, to get to the place I am now. To have been able to discover the magic within me, I'm still in awe of what powers a person can hold, what is possible. Make new friends, that believe in the same things you do, that makes your heart soar with happiness, with joy and laughter. To know that once this life is over, there are many more waiting to be lived.
And that was it... I thought for a split second that maybe I should tell her the resentment I had carried against her. how she had changed my world, but in hindsight that would only make me look so petty. She would take enjoyment in that. I thought that maybe I should thank her for making me move, and again she would take pleasure in that. In the end our conversation was short and simple.
her: Hey how are you doing?
me: This is a surprise, I'm good how are you.
her: Oh I'm doing great I live in "Podunk"
me: That's a big town, are you working?
her: yes and I have a job where I'm making 3xs the money I made before.
me: Good for you, I've been with the city 20 years.
And that was the end of that.
I have always loved to write, before I knew it was told my therapists that it was therapeutic that it would cleanse my soul. My journals held my pains my sorrows, my deep internal griefs and tears. I have reread journals and don't find many writing of happy good times. Perhaps I wanted to keep those my secrets. So now that I am paying much attention to my self, my journal has appeared again. I have actually gained some weight back but I don't think because of eating habits, I go to the gym 4-6 days a week and I might have built up a little muscle. The need to write again has been strong, and in searching for blogs I couldn't find anything that I felt comfortable with but here. so ...... My regular doctor retired and there is this really young cute dr. taking his place, you want me to lift my shirt? "Oh doctor", batting eyelashes, yeah right. I had not gone in for a year and a half and doctor was a bit surprised as to why I was there. I said I need to get back in check. I have never had more than 3ccs. and my body gets crazy, tight, gagging, you know the whole drill. So he gave me 1/2 a cc 2 months ago. I have an appointment next week maybe for another 1/2 cc. In looking back , I don't think it really was my body reacting. I truly feel it was my brain, fighting the restriction. When I got that 1/2 cc I took it slowly I went back to rookie status, the soft foods. I do find that I often let the day go without eating as frequently as I should so when I do eat, I'm scarfing food down and it tends to get stuck. which I end up throwing up. (sigh) I need to work on that. We shall see how that next 1/2 cc goes.
These are my first notes after bariatric sleeve surgery.
I had my surgery just about a month ago. I generally feel very good. It takes some time to learn how to eat again. Small meals, more often. Eat slow. Eat little. Don't force yourself. If you eat too fast, or are not careful, or you don't think while you eat, you can get in trouble (you'll get reflux, feel like throwing up, but just walk around for a few minutes and it will go away as you digest.)
The first few days after the surgery were tough. Hard to eat, hard to drink. Now it's a lot better. It took probably a week to get to a satisfactory level and feel normal. Just bear with it because it gets a lot better.
If I can give a suggestion to those of you who are going to go through the surgery, is one: be very rested. I made the mistake of sleeping only 3-4 hours the night before the surgery, and after the surgery I felt awful. In addition, the hospital did not have a room for me, and I spent overnight in the recovery room. That did not help. I had to stay at the hospital a second night because of that. Make sure you are rested and you have a room. You need to rest after surgery.
Since the surgery, I have lost an average of 1 lb per day. Fantastic! I have not exercised a lot yet, but I started doing something the past couple of weeks. I am sure as I shed more weight I will start working out more seriously, or at least move. Just walking every day for half hour would be enough for the first few months.
Good luck to you all. Believe in it! Don't get discouraged. I can see why everyone told me that it would change my life. I can already see it as I am wearing 2-size smaller jeans today.
10 years ago I started my Journey......and it continues....
I had a lap band done July 2008, I was 255 lbs. I was a single mother with a 7 year old daughter. I was so excited that this option was available to me! Something that wasn't crazy as a gastric bypass (don't get me wrong I have been in the medical field for over 20 years, so I researched this immensely. I thought this was the best option). Something that would hold me accountable for the food I put in my mouth and the amount. At first, that's exactly what happened. I could hardly eat anything, let alone drink. I had found my tool that I had been needing my whole life! Just an FYI, I ramble, start to think about something else and then want to put it down! I apologize in advance if my thoughts roam! My lap band was more an emotional battle then anything, it's crazy to think that really this whole overeating and what we eat really comes from our brain (at least for me this is what it is!). I lost weight, it was great, I was getting healthier and getting to a smaller size! 2 years into my band journey I met my now husband and was under 200 pounds. I went in for my fills and could never get to that sweet spot. Just never felt the restriction like I thought I would have with it. About 4 years in I started to have severe issues with reflux, couldn't even lay down at night it would come up through my nose and BURN! Not good. I ended up going to another surgeon as I had moved and he immediately emptied my band and made sure there wasn't any damage done. We tried to go from ground zero refilling back up but never worked. It failed. I took it as I had failed yet again!!! I still have the band in and it still has a fill, but there is no restriction. Just certain foods don't go down well and I vomit still a lot. So done of having this in my body.
I am now back to my pre lap band weight and so frustrated.
My insurance has finally changed to Federal BCBS and am excited that I have the opportunity to get the lap band out and go forward with a revision to a Gastric Sleeve. I am super anxious about this, I am now 10 years older and just want to be healthy and be able to live the life that I want and deserve to!
Right now just waiting on my approval. The office said 2-3 weeks, today is 3 weeks plus 1 day. I am ready. Planned my out of pocket, ready to get work off. Just ready to move on.
Bring on the liquid diet!!! At least I know what's going to be coming with this. What protein shakes are ok (never great) and which ones are absolutely undrinkable! Stocking up on my broth and sugar free popsicles!
Any encouragement or anyone who has been through what I have and had a revision to the sleeve I would love to hear your comments! Am I making the right choice this time??? This WILL be the last gastric surgery I have so it BETTER work! LOL (kinda laughing manically..... :o) I know what I am getting into emotionally and have faith in my Heavenly Father, so I am prepared!
Go with God!
2nd Verse, Same as the First
Today marks Day 4 post Band to Bypass revision. Isopure Zero Carb RTDs are going down so easy, I'm getting over 40 grams of protein a day already and upwards of 60 oz of water. I'm down just over 22 lbs since the 2nd of March already. Stomach bloating/swelling is still in full effect, but other areas are clearly thinning out. The 2x daily injections still weird me out. Overall doing quite well. Each day things get just a little bit better.
So, I'm 8 days until my revision surgery. I'm on the pre-op liquid diet and it sucks. I've started using the PatchMD vitamins, still not 100% sure how they get more weight in vitamins and minerals than 1 patch actually weighs, but I bought them and I'm using them. I've almost gotten all of my leave situation sorted out, just need to wait for the final thumbs up. I'm still nervous, but I know I need to do this. I'm worried about the surgery, the changes that are going to be required and some changes that no one can plan for... but, this is my big year. 20th wedding anniversary and 40th birthday this November. I wanted to be the same weight at 40 that I was at when I was 20, because that would be awesome. But, I'll take what I can get at this point.
So yesterday I got a tentative surgery date for the 21st of March. This one is hard. It seems that with my new job, I don't have TDI. So I need to file a ton of paperwork to see about getting donated leave to cover the 2 month recovery window for this revision. So needless to say, I'm very stressed out about all of this. I'm at a point where, if I can't get the leave, I can't get the surgery, because I can't go 2 months without pay. Very upsetting situation to be in, finding out that I don't have TDI really changed this entire process. I've been jumping through hoops for almost a year now trying to get both the insurance's and my surgeon's check boxes ticked off. And I've got my own goals. This year is my 40th Birthday and my 20th Wedding anniversary. So it's a huge year, I was hoping to be back to what I weighed when I was 20, for my 40th birthday. Not sure if that's going to happen now. Frustrated, upset and a touch angry.
I believe in you I went through similar things I was 315 before I had my gastric sleeve surgery but I kept looking at all these bottles of medication I'm on and that what help me to do what I had to do ....
I love this! I am not buying anything either. When i was at my heaviest i bought a lot of beautiful clothes in much smaller sizes.. they have been sitting in my wardrobe for years, some of them. Now that i am finally on my way to fitting into them i am not buying a single thing until i know what actually suits me. All the clothes that fit me now i am getting rid of the second they are loose! I am saving a ton of money.. not buying so much food is also helping with that!