My name is Rebekah Ann, and I am just in the beginning stages of preparing for my weight loss surgery. Over the last 10 years my health has been deteriorating in many different areas and I know itâ€™s time for me to take charge. I am currently on medication for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, anxiety, depression, heart palpitations, urinary incontinence, GERD, fluid retention, and have a cpap machine for my sleep apnea. I have 2 young children who depend on me as Iâ€™m a single mom.
I wasn't always an obese woman. As a child I was healthy. In fact my weight didn't really start to become a real problem until I was about 19 or 20 years old. With that said, obesity does run in my family and Iâ€™m not too shocked I am now the size Iâ€™ve become. Over the years, I've been on countless diets and have lost and gained weight repeatedly. Each time being more determined than the last. Probably a familiar story to many of you all in some way. I started journaling the events that will eventually lead up to my weight loss surgery. Hope you enjoy.
I decide to document my weight loss journey story starting today.
How it all started: I had to have surgery to remove a misplaced IUD that my gynecologist was unable to locate during a routine exam. It was due to come out October 5th 2014. Typically this is a simple procedure to have done but for me not so much.
The first time I went to have the IUD removed was not October 5th of 2014, but instead it was in February of 2015. The first time they attempted to remove the IUD, there was no way she could even see my cervix due to uterine fibroids, let alone see the IUD. After multiple attempts and ultrasounds, she told me Iâ€™d need surgery to remove it. This is very relevant, as itâ€™s how my whole story begins.
March 2nd 2015 Prior to my IUD removal surgery I had to see the anesthesiologist. The nurse who walked me into the exam room took my blood pressure, checked my oxygen levels and then asked me to step on the scale. When I got off, and sat down, she looked at me and said how just a year ago she was about the exact weight as me, and had almost all the same health problems as I do. This nurse was about my age, she wasn't super skinny but far from my weight. I told her congrats on the weight loss and expected the usual, I just dieted and exercised reason. But, instead, she told me she had decided to have gastric bypass surgery. She told me itâ€™s an amazing life changing surgery that has been wonderful for her. She told me to keep it in mind and to research it, because it might be for me too. Her name was easy to remember because it was the name of one of my favorite Disney movie characters, Dory.
I never intended on thinking of it more than that conversation. To me, this was too drastic of an option. I knew that everyone would think I was just taking the â€œeasy way outâ€. I didnâ€™t want that, and didnâ€™t think it was for me, not one bit. But, when I got home that day, I couldnâ€™tâ€™ get the idea out of my head. So, I decided to look it up and do as she said, research it. The more I read, the more I wanted to read. I learned a lot in a short time and began reconsidering the whole idea. Although I still thought it was very drastic, I also knew that my health was out of control and spiraling downward fast. I knew that I had to do something drastic to make a change and have the weight stay off for good.
I had tried dieting for nearly 20 years and nothing had worked. Iâ€™d lose Iâ€™d gain, Iâ€™d lose Iâ€™d gain over and over again. The more Iâ€™d try the harder it seemed to be. If it wasn't too expensive it was just too hard, or it just was not filling enough. Either way, I was not getting anywhere and rapidly approaching age 40.
I decided to test the waters and ask friends and family their opinions on it. I first talked to my mom about it. She was not happy about the idea from the first mention of it. She told me it was too drastic and she herself would never do it. She urged me to continue researching it to learn more about the risks involved. So I continued to research as she said. Although I had never intended to jump into anything without researching anyways.
I then talked to my dad about it. He said that it sounded great and that he had a niece who had had a gastric bypass and was almost unrecognizable now. He completed supported me with the entire thing, and wished me luck on it.
I finally decided to ask a close friend who gave me mixed feelings. Although he knew a couple people who the gastric bypass did not work for, and had awful experiences or problems. He also knew of more friends that had a great experience with it. He offered me a chance to chat with them and told me heâ€™d get in touch with them to contact me.
I still continued to research and learn as much as possible about this surgery. I want to be fully educated about it. I started watching YouTube videos of people who had had success with the surgery as well as the ones who had had problems and what kinds of problems. How they dealt with the problems, and what happened to them after the fact.
The more I read, watched and heard stories of successes the more I really wanted to do this surgery. But, I really wanted and needed more input from professionals.So, I first inquired about this to my gynecologist. She was fully supportive of it and told me she thought it was a brilliant idea. This was inspiring for me as I now had someone who was a healthcare professional that thought it was wise. I asked several nurses and other Dr.â€™s the day of my IUD surgery. All seemed to be in agreement about this being a great and much needed surgery for me. I did not get a single health care professional to tell me not to do it, or that it was too drastic of an option.
March 5th 2015 Needing to learn if I would even be covered by my insurance, I got in touch with my insurance company. I spoke to a woman named Diane, and found out that yes I â€œmost likelyâ€ would qualify for coverage for the weight loss surgery and that sheâ€™d check back in with me in about a month to see how Iâ€™m progressing. She also said she would send me some brochures to look through about the weight loss surgery. It should be nice.
March 17th 2015 Finally, after much research and seeking opinions from everyone, I made the official decision to have the Gastric Bypass Surgery.
Despite it only being 2 weeks since learning of this option, coming to this decision was something I did not go into lightly. I did not just jump and not look. I felt it is a completely and necessary thing to do. Not just to lose weight, but for my health primarily. I have 2 children, both young and they need their mother. If I continue down the path Iâ€™m on now, I know I wonâ€™t be around much longer for them. It scares me more than I can say. Yes I know itâ€™s not something I can ever change my mind on. Yes I do know that my whole life will change. But, my life needs to change, or I wonâ€™t live long enough for it to matter. And that scares me more than any surgery could. Itâ€™s that, which makes all the lifestyle changes worth it.
March 26th 2015, I visited my primary care doctor. I got a referral to a Bariatric Surgeon from my PCP. She seemed to be supportive of the surgery and handed me the referral with no concern at all actually. Now, Iâ€™m in the process of finding a good surgeon, I think.
April 14th 2015, I called Wentworth Douglas asking for the Bariatric Department, and they seemed completely clueless if they even had one. Not very encouraging I will say. But, they gave me a number from the Atlantic Digestive Specialists. I tried called today and no one picked up. I called Wentworth Douglas and they got me through. I was told to speak to a Kristy to schedule my first endoscopy. Itâ€™s a nonsurgical procedure used to examine my digestive tract. Using an endoscope, a flexible tube with a light and camera attached to it, they can view pictures of my digestive tract on a color TV monitor. Anyways, I had to leave a message and hope she returns my call very soon.
April 15th 2015, Still no word from Kristy from Atlantic Digestive Specialists. Anxious to get things moving, I called and spoke to the receptionist again. I explained how I already left a message for Kristy, but didnâ€™t get a call back yet. The receptionist then said that usually Kristy can get really busy and she usually returns calls in the evening, but sheâ€™d try to reconnect me again in hopes to catch her if she was free. Sadly, I got her voice mail again, and I left a 2nd message for Kristy. I didn't really want to do this, as I donâ€™t want to come off as pushy, but really wanted to get the ball going with the first steps. Knowing she usually returns calls at night, I waited the whole day patiently, and hoped to get a call in the evening.
Meanwhile, I decided to try calling the nurse Dory who gave me the idea for Gastric Bypass in the first place. I figured if anyone would be able to direct me it would be her. Thankfully she was working today and I was able to speak to her. She told me that she had her surgery at the Portsmouth Hospital and that I would have to attend a Weight loss Surgery Seminar there before I could do anything else. Then Iâ€™d have 5 therapy classes at night that were also mandatory. She mentioned that I would also have to lose 10% of my body mass. She told me to call her anytime and that she had no problem helping me out, or answering any questions I had.
After I hung up with her, I went online to the Portsmouth Hospital website and found the registration link for the weight loss seminar. I registered online and confirmed it for April 21st. I finally feel like something is happening. Next I called my Insurance transportation as I know my parents work evenings and it would be hard on them to work around the evening seminar. I was told however that because itâ€™s not an actual â€œDr.â€™s Appointmentâ€ that my request would be most likely denied.
I called Atlantic Digestive Specialists back and talked to the receptionist hoping she could give me some good news regarding well, anything. And thankfully she was very helpful. She told me that I have to start with them. That they in fact refer me to the Portsmouth Hospital, so I should wait til I talk to Kristy and ask her all the questions. :) I feel much better and hopefully they can find a way to perhaps skip or do another type of info meeting.
After a few hours passed, Kristy finally called me back. She was very nice and told me that I had to go to the Seminar before she could schedule my Endoscopy. After explaining my dilemma regarding transportation she suggested I call a Nancy Sessman who was an APRN at the Portsmouth hospital and who deals with obesity and weight loss surgery. She thought that she might be able to help. However when I called Nancy, she referred me to talk to a Dr. Gail King who is in charge of out of pocket expenses, and anesthesia charges. I was hopeful that she would know if there was anything that could be done in place of the seminar. But, Gail only referred me to Brenda Fritz who is in charge of registrations for the seminars.
Brenda was wonderful. She explained that there are no other substitutions for attending the seminar and that she is the person who actually is the speaker. I was thrilled to find that out since she was so very nice. She told me that I would get lots of information once I attend and that itâ€™s the first step. I am just over the moon with excitement! I talked to my Mom about it and she actually wants to come and learn all about it. So, sheâ€™ll take some time off and take me on the 21st! YAY!!
April 21st, 2015
Mom came to pick me up this afternoon for the weight loss seminar in Rochester NH. We got there fairly early but it was already packed and we had to sit front row. There was a lot of noise and commotion when the seminar began, but eventually things got settled. The speakers were a mix of one of the actual surgeons, the psychologist, and the insurance person. Brenda hosted the seminar and was even more awesome in person. It was a decent seminar, however I didn't take much from it because I had already done SO much research on my own, it was basically all review for me.
However, all that said I did get the application I needed to begin the process and filled it out tonight and stuck it in my mailbox. I also found out I can call Nancy Sessman and have her weigh me even before things get processed which I definitely want to do. Iâ€™m actually calling her tomorrow to get that done. Since Iâ€™m already losing weight why not start now is my attitude. Iâ€™m hoping that if things move along as well as I hope that I should have my surgery between July and August of this year and be home recuperating by September. Weâ€™ll see how it goes I guess.
April 22nd 2015 Today I called Nancy Seesman and made an appointment with her for Monday the 27th at 11:30 to get my â€œofficialâ€ weigh in start. Iâ€™m very excited and hope that look so forward to going.
April 24th 2015 My mom is not feeling so good this week. So I had to push back my weigh in day to Friday. Iâ€™m okay about it, as itâ€™s really not thee most important thing right now. For me, my momâ€™s health comes first.
April 28th 2015 Today my mom found out she has uterine cancer. Although it's stage one she will need a hysterectomy to remove it. I'm kinda numb about it and speechless. It's surreal to me and everything seems to have stopped moving.
April 29th 2015 Having trouble dealing with my mom's diagnosis. Sleep is scattered, and food seems to help and I know it's wrong. I don't' want to gain but I'm just a mess inside. I'm scared for her despite her seeming so strong through it all. ::Sighs::
May 1st 2015 Today was my official weigh in day. Mom picked me up and we drove to the hospital to see Nancy Seesman. Mom seemed in good spirits and I tried to be too. I actually wore jeans and a heavy top so that my weight would be higher on purpose. I weighed in at 349 pounds even. I'm not thrilled about this but knowing that it's the first step makes me feel pretty good. I was told I need to drop 22 pounds before my surgery. I'm good with that. My next appointment is on May 15th.
May 8th 2015 I've been going with Mom to all her appointments. It's very hard for me but I want to be there for her because it must be 10 times harder for her. I can't believe this is happening and it's eating me up inside. Speaking of eating, I think I gained whatever I lost. :(
May 15th 2015 My mom took me to my appointment today and sad to say I've only lost a pound. I have restarted trying but obviously not enough. I had to sit through a very long and boring lecture that would not have been so bad if nurse Nancy wasn't so darn dull. :mellow: Not to mention that everything she was talking about I've read about and also heard before in the mandatory meeting they make you attend. So, having to listen to her babble on and on repetitive information, was kinda a drag.
However, now that it's over I'm pumped up about seeing my Psychologist, Nutritionist and eventually Physical Therapist. I was told to wait til they call me to book my appointments, with the exception of the Nutritionist. I can't wait to get the call. Monday I was told to call the nutritionist to book my appointment. I can't' wait!
Height: 5 feet 2 inches
Weight Lost: 4.4 lbs
Surgery: Gastric Bypass
Surgery Status: Pre Surgery
First Dr. Visit: 05/15/2015
Surgery Date: 12/19/2015
Hospital Stay: n/a
Surgery Funding: n/a
Insurance Outcome: n/a