My first visit to a bariatric surgeon was nothing short of a disaster. My GP referred me to this clinic. From the get go I felt uneasy. I chose to check in my walker and ride in a wheelchair. The elevator was small & I was the only person of size in the waiting room â€¦ kinda strange, but the clinic also handled endocrine patients, so maybe thatâ€™s why.
First thing I noticed was the doorways were very narrow, and in fact, the entire clinic was not handicapped accessible. One of the worst things was the weigh-in scale. There were no rails to hold onto. Two young girls were chaperoning me and didnâ€™t have a clue how to help me get out of the wheelchair and onto the scale. I nearly fell trying to maneuver myself.
After the weigh in, I was put in a video viewing room for the dr. visit because their examining rooms were too small. This tiny dr., who couldnâ€™t have weighed even 100 lbs., came in. It became obvious that she was trying to get it over with and get me outta there.
The dr. told me she would not operate on me. I was too big. Even though I was actually within the BMI range she cited, she didnâ€™t want to have anything to do with me. She told me I would not be a good candidate for the lap band, and she gave me the name of a dr. who had a lot of experience with big folks.
I left feeling like a pink elephant. The good news is I did get the name of a highly regarded surgeon, whose office, unfortunately, was 50 miles away. The other good news is that their scale weighed me 41 pounds less than all other machines Iâ€™d ever been on. So, in effect, I lost weight just visiting the clinic. :)
The other good news (sorta) is that she highly recommended the VSG and said it was very effective and safe. Of course, Medicare didnâ€™t cover it. But we did discuss the fact that I could get it done in India for $5,000.
Weight loss surgery is not something that you canâ€™t go through alone. From everything Iâ€™ve read in 10 years of research, most of the invaluable feedback and life-saving info came from members of groups like this one.
There is no question that anyone undertaking surgery has to be careful â€¦ the old â€œdonâ€™t rush in where fools fear to tread.â€ Something others said to me is â€œslow and steady wins the race.â€
I like to leap over obstacles with a single leap
A year or so later, I wrote this addition to my story:
I am at high risk with a high BMI & co-morbidities. I have been studying wls for 10 years. I have Medicare now and can get the surgery. I'm going with the Lap Band. I'm on the pre-op diet, and have lost 25 pounds in 3 months.
I live in Dallas and have chosen the best surgeon in the Southwest, but I am thinking of changing because his office is quite far away. So now I'm looking for the 2nd best surgeon. I'm a member of at least 5 groups to get a balanced view. They range from gastric bypass to lap-band to hard core fanatics who hate the surgeries and have had horrible experiences. I have a lot of links and information for anyone who wants it.
TODAY, hereâ€™s my story:
It is now 2 years since I began my quest to have weight loss surgery. I went from being totally rejected by the first doctor I saw, to rejecting the second doctor I saw (we actually got into a confrontation) to wasting my time with a couple more doctors, none of whom would take me for various reasons. One doctor decided to stop doing the surgery, others rejected me because they wouldnâ€™t take Medicare.
Finally, I decided to go back to my first choice, Dr. David Provost, who practices in Denton, Texas. One of my challenges with seeing Dr. Provost was finding a way to get there. I had become too big to drive my car. I no longer used a walker and needed someone to push my wheelchair. Once I solved the travel issue, I was ready to surge ahead. But I had to jump through a bunch of hoops first. Iâ€™m now working on my last hurdle, cardiac clearance. My cardiology appt. is next month, so I hope surgery will follow soon afterwards.
Getting everything arranged for the surgery is hard enough, but since I live alone and have to take care of everything myself, itâ€™s even harder. My size at nearly 400 lbs. creates a lot of problems. Couple that with arthritis for which I take Vicodin and Ibuprophen, and things get complicated.
Some say they wouldnâ€™t have my persistence. As I see it, however, itâ€™s my life Iâ€™m dealing with. Between being in pain and not able to do much, the future would be unbearable if I didnâ€™t have slimming surgery to look forward to.
It has been a very long road. Itâ€™s hard to imagine a time when it will be over. But that goal keeps me slugging forward, one step at a time. I stay pretty positive most of the time because opening the pity door is a dead end to nowhere.
Height: 5 feet 6 inches
Starting Weight: 431 lbs
Weight on Day of Surgery: 363 lbs
Current Weight: 330 lbs
Goal Weight: 180 lbs
Weight Lost: 101 lbs
Surgery: Gastric Sleeve
Surgery Status: Post Surgery
First Dr. Visit: 07/18/2011
Surgery Date: 11/01/2013
Hospital Stay: 2 Days
Surgery Funding: Insurance
Insurance Outcome: 1st Letter Approval
SassySenior's Bariatric Surgeon