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Uggghhh...I Can't Decide Between Self Pay and VA Procedure



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I'm having the hardest time making up my mind about when I want my surgery done.

I contacted A Lighter Me and arranged to have my surgery performed by Dr. Lopez in Mexico on May 8th for $4,650 plus $450 for my flight. That's $5,100.

Then I found out the VA (Veterans Affairs Administration) offers the gastric sleeve to veterans once they've completed a 6 month weight loss program. So now I can get the surgery done free if I'm willing to wait 8 months - 6 months for the program and another 2 for scheduling and other pre-surgical stuff (that's being conservative). Plus I want to attend school over the summer and in the fall so waiting will allow me to finish school. I won't have that stress on me.

But do I want to wait? My hubby doesn't care either way but he would spend our last dollar to buy bubble gum so his financial decision making is somewhat limited. I handle all our savings and since we just got married in November, our savings is low. We can afford tis surgery but it's not leaving a lot in the bank.

On the other hand, waiting 8 more months is a long time. I keep thinking I could be at goal weight in 8 months. I could be maintaining in 8 months. Do I really want to be fat 8 more freaking months?

Ugggghhhh! Can anyone tell me their thoughts on this? I'm only telling my sister (who is against the surgery), my 2 adult sons (who have a whatever attitude), and my hubby about the surgery so I don't have anyone to go to.

I need feedback, input, something, before I drive myself bonkers.

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I would absolutely wait. The VA will always be available for any post op care/complications etc that may arise. They will not help you if you choose to go with a surgeon in Mexico. You've waited this long, what's another 6-8 months? If you're sure now, you'll be just as sure and ready then.

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I'm having the hardest time making up my mind about when I want my surgery done.

I contacted A Lighter Me and arranged to have my surgery performed by Dr. Lopez in Mexico on May 8th for 4' date='650 plus 450 for my flight. That's 5,100.

Then I found out the VA (Veterans Affairs Administration) offers the gastric sleeve to veterans once they've completed a 6 month weight loss program. So now I can get the surgery done free if I'm willing to wait 8 months - 6 months for the program and another 2 for scheduling and other pre-surgical stuff (that's being conservative). Plus I want to attend school over the summer and in the fall so waiting will allow me to finish school. I won't have that stress on me.

But do I want to wait? My hubby doesn't care either way but he would spend our last dollar to buy bubble gum so his financial decision making is somewhat limited. I handle all our savings and since we just got married in November, our savings is low. We can afford tis surgery but it's not leaving a lot in the bank.

On the other hand, waiting 8 more months is a long time. I keep thinking I could be at goal weight in 8 months. I could be maintaining in 8 months. Do I really want to be fat 8 more freaking months?

Ugggghhhh! Can anyone tell me their thoughts on this? I'm only telling my sister (who is against the surgery), my 2 adult sons (who have a whatever attitude), and my hubby about the surgery so I don't have anyone to go to.

I need feedback, input, something, before I drive myself bonkers.[/quote']

Ultimately, you have to weigh your options, which it sounds like you're doing.

I will say, the VA would have paid for mine, also. I just chose the option of going to Mexico and not waiting the approximate 8-9 months for the VA.

The best part of doing it...I have approx 18 lbs and I will be at goal. :) I had surgery Jan 11 and will be at my goal before I would have been able to have the procedure with the VA.

Yes, I spent some of my savings doing it, and would do it again in a nano-second. :)

Good luck in your decision!

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I had to wait 6 months because my insurance required a 6 month medically supervised diet. It's going by quickly, and I am using this time to learn more about the surgery, and lifestyle changes that I will have to make. That's a hard call to make tho...

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This is a tough one. On one hand you would like to save the money and the VA could provide any aftercare you need. On the other you want the surgery and would like to get started right now. Ordinarily I would say just go for what you really want and go to Mexico. But when you commented about the 8 month wait and how in 8 months you could reach your goal on your own and be maintaining, I thought better of it. If there is a way you can be at your goal in 8 months with no surgery, I think you really need to consider doing just that. This surgery changes your entire life. You have to re-learn everything you ever knew or felt about food. It is no cake walk to adjust to this new way of life. It sucks big time some days. The better part of your stomach is GONE. It will never return and you will never be the same again. I do not regret the surgery. I would do it again. I'm just saying that if you can do this on your own you really should think it over. VSG means everything changes forever. I hope you find the best path for you and wish you the very best:)

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I had no idea the VA even paid for the sleeve! Medicare is paying for my revision, but I might just check into the VA. Maybe they would do it sooner, since I'm already banded and it's slipped. Thanks for the idea!

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I would go with the VA personally. I went through the bariatric program for dependents and retirees only with a Military Hospital. We had people in our support group going through VA channels and our program manager left our program to manage the VA program here in San Antonio and it seems like a great program very similar to the one I went through.The support and follow up is as important to me as saving the money would be.6 or 8 months is not that long once you start:)

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I would go to the VA as well. It would be tough giving up a sooner date though, but I would just have to grin and bare it. They will cover everything and the time will fly by. Finish school without having to re-learn how to live at the same time. :)

Good luck!

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I would go through VA. The time will go by faster than you think. Whats 6-8 months compared to the rest of your life? You can then save the money for a nice reward when you reach goal.

I was all set to have surgery done in Mexico until I found out my insurance covered it after a 6 month program. I was able to get lots of information from them that by the time surgery rolled around, I wasn't nervous at all.

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I would wait and go with the VA. Why spend money you don't have to?

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Go with the VA and save the money to buy a new wardrobe!

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I agree with those who say wait. When all is said and done, I will have waited about 10 months, due only to my work schedule. I still think about how much weight I would have lost by now but then I think about how I've used this time - making one change at a time to slowly get used to my new lifestyle.

Honestly, I think waiting is your better option. Save the money for plastics later on!!!

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1st, just wanted to address that when the OP said she could possibly be at goal and maintaining in 8 months, she meant that she could have surgery now in Mexico and with that, be at goal in 8 months when the VA would finally get her scheduled. Not that she could do it on her own. That's how I read it anyway and I'm sure how she meant it. But I get the confusion :)

Anyway, I'm with everyone else. I would definitely go with the VA. I'm going to MX but if I found out my ins would cover it at all, even with a 6-8 month wait, I would wait in a heartbeat.

I think it would be best for you based on a couple of the big things that you mentioned yourself, like how you could finish school without the added stress and changes, and also that you worry about your savings and you're responsible for maintaining it. Can you justify spending $5k for something you could do for free less than a year from now?

My insurance won't cover any bariatric but I scheduled my surgery 3 months out in MX so that I could have time to adjust to some new eating habits and try and get some weight off beforehand to be as prepared and safe as possible. Having been through WLS before, I know that the emotional/mental prep with food can be as important to success as the post op procedures. 3 months has now whittled down to 3 weeks. It's flown by. So will your time, especially since it sounds like you'll be pretty darn busy :)

And I second another poster (sorry, on my phone so I can't check your name lol) about the cost of aftercare if something happened. I am gambling that things will go well. If not, I could end up with hundreds of thousands in hospital bills if I end up needing treatment for a complication. It's a calculated risk as I NEED to get healthy (currently have a BMI of 47) and my insurance won't even consider this surgery. But why take that risk if you can avoid it. Especially when you're already worrying about your savings and your husband's willingness to spend it (those roles are reversed in my house btw lol)?

You're going to obviously need to go with what feels right, but I hear your post begging us to talk some sense into you!!! ;) Good luck. Either way, you are on your way to a new healthier you!!! :)

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Thanks everybody.

I checked with the VA and they will do my follow-up care after my surgery. Believe me, there was no way I was having surgery and not having someone to care for me when I got back here. I do have the problem of being over 4 hours away from the Bariatric specialists in Charleston but I would have that problem even if they did it.

Sharon, I meant that if I had the surgery in May in Mexico, I would be at goal in 8 months, before the VA even scheduled me for the operation. If there was any way I could safely lose this weight and reach my goal in 8 months without surgery, I would do it. The permanancy of the surgery does scare me but being overweight, having a stroke, getting diabetes, having clogged arteries, all those scare me too. I'm just scared all the way around.

I spoke to my sister again and answered some more questions about the surgery. Luckily her best friend is a nurse and was considering having it done. After I spoke to her, she felt better about everything. She even pointed out that I easily spend over $600 a month on food, just for me. Multiply that by 8 months and my savings on food pays for my surgery. She had a point.

I have another few days to pray about it before I lose all my deposit. Thanks everybody for your help. :wub:

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Ultimately' date=' you have to weigh your options, which it sounds like you're doing.

I will say, the VA would have paid for mine, also. I just chose the option of going to Mexico and not waiting the approximate 8-9 months for the VA.

The best part of doing it...I have approx 18 lbs and I will be at goal. :) I had surgery Jan 11 and will be at my goal before I would have been able to have the procedure with the VA.

Yes, I spent some of my savings doing it, and would do it again in a nano-second. :)

Good luck in your decision![/quote']

I'm going Sunday to have the surgery they have alot of openings this week

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