I started looking into the Lap Band early 2010 for my husband. He had type 2 diabetes. He decided not to get the Lap Band. But, the information stuck with me. During the summer of 2010 I noticed that my body fat was shifting. I hadn't gained any weight, but certain areas were now bigger than before. Two that really bothered me was my stomach above my jeans and my neck. The stomach part really hurt my self esteem. I started isolating even more than before. I really just wanted to be invisible. My neck really bothered me because I felt like my breathing was obstructed. I started snoring so loud that my husband can't be in the room with me. It also is waking me up.
In September 2010 I decided that I wanted to get a Lap Band. At the time I had Kaiser insurance. I went to their information session. Their paperwork stated that the approval requirements were either >=40 bmi or 35-39 BMI with at least one comorbid condition. At the time I was 5'3 (or so I thought), with a BMI of 39% and high blood pressure. At the class I was informed that Kaiser had a high demand for this surgery. They were no longer doing surgery on anyone with a BMI less than 40. I was so bummed out. What was worse, if I gained 6lbs, I would be 40% BMI. The crazy thought to gain weight entered my mind. But, really, that would just make things worse. Also, they only did the surgeries in San Francisco, which meant a lot of vacation days would be needed for all of the appointments leading up to the surgery. And it could take up to a year because they had a long waiting list.
In October 2010 I decided I would switch insurance companies at the beginning of the year to Blue Cross/Blue Shield PPO. I started researching other bariatric surgeons. I found Sacramento Bariatric Associates. The content on their website really appealed to me. They are a center of Excellence and perform about 400 weight loss surgeries a year. I decided this was the place I wanted to check out.
In December 2010 into January 2011 I started to have a lot of chest pain. I thought I was having a heart attack. Instead of going to the hospital to have it checked out I decided to "soothe" myself with food, namely donuts. While I was eating them I realized I had a serious problem. The lap band would help me with portion control. But, I really needed to work out my emotional eating problem. I started looking into Overeaters Anonymous (OA). I learned that there were people out there just like me that had the same type of eating problem (emotional and compulsive overeating). I decided that I really needed this two pronged approach...OA and the lap band.
The first week of February 2011 I attended the informational meeting with Sacramento Bariatrics Associates and attended my first OA meeting. Wow! It was incredible. Both meetings made me look at my eating and weight for what it was: a disease. The information and stories that had to share resonated with me. Other people had my same story. What was truely amazing was the instant love, acceptance and feeling of belonging that I felt. OA's tagline "Welcome Home" said it all. I finally felt hope. I also knew that with both lap band and OA, I will be successful, even if it takes a couple of years. It is a journey not a race.
During February I met with Dr. Machado who evaluated me for the surgery. It turns out that due to a degenerative disc condition (comorbity #2), I have shrunk an inch. So, at 5'2 I now have a BMI of 40.6%, without gaining any weight. I never thought I would be so happy to have shrunk! I consider it devine intervention to ensure that I get the surgery that will help my discs from degenerating anymore. Because I now had a BMI >=40 and had two comorbidities, Dr. Machado told me that there was no reason the insurance would turn me down.
During the first week of March I had my nutritionalist appointments (group and individual). I have the psych evaluation planned for 3/4/2011. At that point the claim can be submitted to the insurance company. The Dr. told me that they will probably get a response back in 3 weeks and then we can schedule my surgery. It looks like I will be able to have my surgery in April 2011. That seems so fast. Again, devine intervention.
So, I am getting myself ready by trying a bunch of different protein powders to find the one I like. I am also changing some habits, namely not drinking out of straws and eating my protein first. I have that down 90% of the time. The next behaviors I have to change is not eating in front of the TV or Computer and to eat 3 meals a day with two protein shakes for snacks, nothing else. My meals are to be protein, vegetables and fruits only, occasionally having some carbs. I've had the meal content part down for close to a month. That was never a big problem for me. The problem for me was the grazing, snacking and emotional eating. Thankfully, through OA, I have been able to take a serious look at me. I have been abstinent from "recreational sugar" since 2/23/2011. It was really hard, especially in the middle of girl scout cookie time. But, I am taking it one day at a time. Sometimes 15 minutes at a time, to not give into the cravings and addictions.
I really appreciate all of the support out there through this website, lapband support meetings, OA meetings and OA podcasts. I know I can't do this by myself. If I could, it would have been done, permanently, years ago.