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Shelly's VSG journey - F, 34, 5'6", 242, BMI 39.06



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I enjoy reading other people’s journeys and stories, so I decided to create one of my own! I’m Shelly, about to turn 35 years old on July 7th, and I’m from Iowa. I’ve struggled with my weight ever since I was 10 years old and have been up and down too many times to count. My lowest adult weight was 165 (very briefly) and I’m currently at my highest adult weight, 242. At 5’6”, the top end of the healthy weight range for me is 154, so 150 is my goal. Funny thing is, the last time I got measured as an adult I was told I was 5’4” so I always thought I needed to get to 138 or less to be at a healthy weight!

Currently, I am in the final stages of being approved for my VSG. The surgeon is supposed to sign off on everything today and the gal handling my insurance paperwork said she would submit to insurance today and call me. She said approval could take anywhere from 15 minutes to 7-10 business days. Fingers crossed for 15 minutes! 😉

Backing up a bit, I originally went to Iowa Weight Loss Specialties for their non-surgical weight loss program on 5/10/2018. Knowing my BMI wasn’t 40 or higher, I thought trying for the surgery would only end up in disappointment if I didn’t get approved through insurance plus I was still struggling a little mentally with the idea that I thought I should lose the weight on my own. While meeting with my nurse practitioner, I mentioned that I had considered WLS and she asked if I’d like them to at least look into it with my insurance company in the meantime and I agreed.

At my next appointment two weeks later, my nurse practitioner told me that surgery would be covered, all I’d need is one more nutrition counseling appointment and a mental health assessment. I thought that meant my insurance was approved, but I had misunderstood what she said. So for the next couple weeks, I was happy as a clam thinking I was approved as long as I completed the steps, until I went to meet with the surgeon and found out I wasn’t approved yet! I was devastated and in tears, which was really embarrassing but I had my heart set on this surgery and it was extremely disappointing to hear that I may not even get approved without a comorbidity. However, they did tell me they wanted to do bloodwork and possibly a sleep study to see if I had a comorbidity, but the wait time for the home sleep study kit was two weeks. Luckily, the next day when I came in for my bloodwork they magically had a sleep machine I could take home immediately, which was great news.

My bloodwork all came back normal, so I was really riding on the sleep study and praying I’d have at least moderate sleep apnea. My husband told me he thought I definitely have sleep apnea based on how loud I snore, but I was still worried. Plus I thought all this time he was exaggerating on my snoring! 😉 So I returned the sleep machine on Monday 6/11 and they said it would take 7-10 business days for the results. I was happy and surprised to hear back on Friday 6/15 that I did have sleep apnea which qualifies as a comorbidity and scheduled an appointment to come in Monday 6/18 to hear the results and do my nicotine test, which was the last step before submitting to insurance. I was completely shocked to hear that I have SEVERE sleep apnea. Which all makes sense now that I know and think about it. But I have to get a CPAP machine to wear from now on. She indicated they’d have me do another sleep study after I lose 10% of my body weight to see if I still need the CPAP machine, but that my weight might have nothing to do with it. Not getting adequate sleep may have been one of the reasons I have not been able to lose weight on my own in recent years. Although I dread the thought of wearing a CPAP machine, I’ve grown so used to being exhausted that I’m actually looking forward to seeing what getting a good night’s sleep feels like.

After hearing that I have sleep apnea, I briefly wondered if I really needed the surgery after all and that maybe lack of sleep was really what had been holding me back from losing weight through diet and exercise. But then I remembered how I’ve been struggling all my life and that the hunger hormone ghrelin was going to continue to be a problem for me. I really feel like the sleeve is what I truly need to become a healthy person for the rest of my life.

Finally, in addition to sleep apnea, I suffer from depression, anxiety, back pain, heartburn, and ADD. I am hoping the surgery will reduce my depression, anxiety, and back pain.

That’s all for now! I’ll update again next time I have news, which will hopefully be my insurance approval!

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Welcome Shelly, I will also be a July surgery, don't have an exact date but it will be a RnY at OSU in Columbus. There are several July places to post, some for bypass, some for sleeve some for July surgery in general. There is also one for Summer 201I that I really recommed, it's really a lively fun one and I know they'd be happy,to have you join them there.
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Great news! I was approved by insurance yesterday, the same day as it was submitted. I'm ecstatic. I've chosen July 2nd as my surgery date.

I also found out some not-so-good news yesterday. The company I work for is being bought out, which is the main reason I chose July 2nd. I believe I'll be employed with my current company through July 7th when the sale is finalized. They're telling us most, if not all, employees should be retained, but nothing is for sure. If I'm on FMLA during this time, i believe my job will be protected. I'm trying to not stress too much over this yet, I just want to make sure I have the same insurance in July, which sounds like it should be the case.

So my birthday is July 7th and I'm not even sad about the fact I'll be recovering from surgery on my birthday. In fact, getting sleeve is the best present I could have gotten!

Thanks @Frustr8 I will definitely check into those threads you've suggested! :)

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I met with the surgeon yesterday and just have to get my physical done with my PCP on Tuesday. And I'm on my pre-op diet of 1200 calories a day. I only have to go on a full liquid diet the two days before surgery.

I've been busy these past couple days making lists! Lists of what to pack, what to buy, groceries, things to do around the house. And I'm fully stocked on Protein Shakes, Protein Water, and G2. There's so much to do but it will keep my mind occupied these next ten days!

Also, I used my cpap machine for the first time last night. It wasn't bad at all. It was a little uncomfortable and hard to get settled at first, but once I was asleep it never bothered me once. What's really neat is I have an app so I can read the data on the machine. My AHI (which is the number of instances per night) has already decreased dramatically, which is great news!

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Posted (edited)

Well, a week from today my husband will be taking me to the hospital, which is an hour and a half away. I'm staying at the hospital the night before surgery so my husband won't have take me in the morning before he goes to work his 11 hour day. He works in car sales, so we had to get a little creative in planning this. I think he feels really bad that he's not going to be there the day of surgery, but it doesn't bother me at all. I do appreciate that he cares so much though. :) He is planning on taking July 4th off (he usually has to work) to be with me on my first day home from the hospital.

Anyway, I'm getting very excited but having some nervous moments. Yesterday I went through all my too-small clothing in storage and organized it by size so I can easily find new things to wear as I lose weight. I can't believe I have so many clothes! I have spent a fortune in clothing because my weight is forever fluctuating. I can't wait to reach my forever weight and just focus on maintaining it. I don't know what that's even like! Lol

I need these nervous feelings to go away. I've never stayed in a hospital before or really had anything major done medically. But getting this surgery will be so worth it in the end!

Edited by Shells83

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Shelly, I am really enjoying your journal of going from Iowan and Corn-Fed to a Lean Keen for the living Queen of DesMoines and points West. Might even start one after my July Surgery too. In the meantime yours is might fine! Happy Early Birthday, Happy REBIRTHDAY and happy today's and tomorrows😝
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Eeeek! Surgery day is almost here. Yesterday was my last day of work and I did find out the company who bought us out is keeping me, so that's a load of stress off my shoulders. Now I can focus on myself. There will still be a lot of changes when I get back to work, but I'm not even going to think about it until I have to go back. I'm definitely taking two weeks, maybe even three depending on how I feel and whether I think I'll be able to get my food/water in while there.

I'm starting to get more anxious and scared. I'll probably be a huge wreck the morning of, but I just have to get myself into the surgery room and trust my surgeon and the process. I'm still very excited! But those little doubts are creeping in here and there.

Today and tomorrow I'm working on getting things done around the house and Sunday I'll just relax and spend time with my husband and dogs. Also, tomorrow I'll start my two day pre-op liquid diet.

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On 6/24/2018 at 10:52 AM, Frustr8 said:

Shelly, I am really enjoying your journal of going from Iowan and Corn-Fed to a Lean Keen for the living Queen of DesMoines and points West. Might even start one after my July Surgery too. In the meantime yours is might fine! Happy Early Birthday, Happy REBIRTHDAY and happy today's and tomorrows😝

@Frustr8Thank you so much! Haha, your description of my journey is spot-on and made me giggle. There will definitely be no sweet corn in my diet this summer, but that's okay! I'll settle for fresh out of the garden tomatoes to mix into my cottage cheese in August. 😋

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Ooh nothing better, such a difference for boughten and homegrown things . I loves me a salad of home grown greens, the lettuce has pretty well bolted. Wahh, but there are still other goodies out back. I make a dynamite boiled dressing but I guess I will be on lemon juice, olive oil and a few herbs in my Salad Dressing now. Oh well a few sacrifices for science. Somewhere in July I will join you, when? well still some mini-snafus. I had to be on a 30 day electronic charting of C Pap usuage, because my PCP had taken me off because to was aggravating,my sinus problems. That will complete July 1st, July2nd the results are emaied/faxed to OSU, Jessica my coordinated only works that day, then doesn't return until July 9th, she turkey-trots them to Valerie, the NursePractioner, who reviews them and then either Valerie. calls the 6th or Jessica calls the 9th and gives me the happy surgery date, I. think? God, this is never-ending! My do it yourself out is looking good. I have a boxcutter, 50 pound test fishing line, hairclips, a surgical manual hairclips, a Swingline stapler 3way mirror and bravery,what else do I need?l Have a happy day, let me know how surgery goes.

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Well, I'm officially sleeved! I wasn't as nervous as I thought morning of (the 2nd) and walked to the surgery room at 7:30am. Last thing I remember is them putting oxygen on me and the anesthesiologist joking that it was his second day. I don't remember the post-op recovery room at all, but do remember them moving me back to my room. After that, the nurses were in an out and so was I!

All I wanted to do was sleep, I didn't care about anything else and never even called my husband until 5pm! The surgeon had called him afterwards of course.

Day two was up and down. I kept having nausea and didn't feel like the gas was moving. But every time I was uncomfortable, the nurses gave me what I needed, so my husband came and picked me up.

Day 3 (4th of July) I was finding I'm getting my liquids in very well, above what they expected of me. I still like the Protein Shakes and flavors I liked before surgery and I still love water! YEEESSSSSS! I was so afraid that I wouldn't like Water anymore after the surgery, which seems to happen to a lot of water lovers. But I wasn't able to get very good rest due to my neighbors setting off fireworks all afternoon/evening. Oh well.

Day 4. So far today I've had almost 40 oz of water, a Premier Protein shake, 4 oz chicken broth, one 2 oz SF popsicle, and my new coffee substitute, which is 8 oz of skim milk, ground decaf instant coffee, a dash of unsweetened cacao powder, and a scoop of vanilla Protein. I'm trying to decide if I want to try to get down another premier Protein Shake today or just more water. I'm getting more walking in today but it's been pretty hot here so sometimes I just walk circles inside my house. I'm still having some spasms but no nausea or vomiting at all.

I'm very happy I went through with this and am looking forward to seeing my heath improve. My goal is to post here most days (at least through the food progression stages) so I can remember my journey and hopefully help others. :) Then probably weekly or biweekly thereafter, just depending on whether I have anything interesting to share.

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@Frustr8 You're getting so close! Hold off on that DIY just a few days longer! 😃

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Oh I will, I get tired of being uncertain, I am am to get notified either tomorrow, the 9th or 16th, Yeeps that's a 10 day span, even God only took 7 days to create the Heavens and the earth, well really only 6, he took the 7th to sit back, relax and hope mankind didn't get into,too much mischief. Ah what ever will be , will be but Big Mama gettng tired waiting.😖
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Well, days 5 and 6 were pretty uneventful. I'm getting all my Protein and fluids in. I'm actually way over on fluids. One of the things I feared most about this surgery was developing a dislike for my beloved Water. I'm so happy that I still love my water. I can't chug it like I used to, but I can sip as much as I want with no problems. I did find a new love: Vitamin Water Zero Lemonade. It's nice when I just feel like something other than water. Before surgery I typically drank a couple Sprite Zero sodas per day on top of my water intake.

My birthday came and went yesterday. I thought I might feel a little down about being on a liquid diet and no wine or adult drinks, but I was actually really content. My husband and I just chilled at home and rented the movie Blockers. OMG, it was the funniest movie I've seen in a long time! I had to hold a pillow on my tummy because it hurt my incisions a little to laugh that hard! 😂🤣😂

Oh, and TMI alert- I finally pooped on my birthday, five days post-op. 💩 I ended up drinking a little milk of magnesia because I could feel some pains and knew I needed to go.

Other than all that, I've been getting tons of walking in and feel really good. I have been weighing myself and am down to 227 from my HW/SW of 242, which was two weeks before my surgery. They didn't weigh me pre-op at the hospital, but I think I weighed 238 at home the Sunday at home day before surgery. So down 15 total since starting the two week pre-op diet. I'll take it! 😁 I actually think my face looks thinner today but feel like I'm crazy because it's too soon to see results. 😊

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Whew! I think I overdid it a little yesterday. I forgot and lifted something that probably weighed over ten pounds. 😣 But I don't think any harm was done, my incisions look fine but are a little sore. Also, I walked about 8 miles total and over 18,000 steps according to my fitbit. Now I have a couple blisters on the bottom of my toes and my half hour walk this morning was painful. Not to mention it's really hot here today and I got a little sunburned on my chest and shoulders yesterday. So I'm scaling back on the walking a little today but am going to walk another half hour later on my treadmill.

It feels good to be able to get out and about again since I can drive now that I'm off the pain meds. Yesterday I had to take my bulldog Ozzy to the vet for an ear infection. Luckily my sister in law was able to go with me to help lift him in and out of my SUV. Since he weighs 71 pounds! OMG his weight is out of control and it's my fault. But I went to the store today to get baby carrots to replace his dog treats and veggies to start mixing in with his food since the vet wants me to reduce the amount of food I feed him by half. I told my husband our dog needs to get the sleeve too! 😜😂

Today I ran some errands. I took a couple things back to Walmart so I picked up a new flavor of Premier Protein shakes - the Cookies and cream. I'll report back on those next post. I also got more Vitamin Water Zero Squeezed Lemonade, which I'm having about once a day when water gets too boring. I also bought a packet of the unflavored Unjury to try. Let's see.... I also took back a couple shirts I'd bought before I knew I was having WLS and I was sooooo tempted looking at some of the cute clothes I might be able to wear soon when I'm smaller! It was hard not to buy something but I'm really going to try and make do with what I have as long as I can without buying new too often. But it made me feel excited for the future smaller me! Instead, I went to a shoe store and bought a pair of Sketchers GoWalk shoes since I felt like my other shoes were pinching my toes too much. They are ugly AF but sooooo comfy. The slip on will be nice to have when I return to work so I can take little walk breaks. Plus they were $30 in the clearance section. Score! 😀

Tomorrow I have an appointment with my psychiatrist for my med refills and then my follow up with my surgeon! I'm excited to officially weigh in on their scale. I am supposed to be on liquids another week until next Monday but part of me wishes they will release me to the pureed stage early. Idk if that's even an option, but I'm getting my Protein and fluids in with no problem. I'm not hungry still but sometimes my stomach will get that "empty" feeling pain that's been bothering me, especially late at night. I try to just drink more fluids but a couple times I've opened a Protein Shake and taken a few sips to get my stomach to stop protesting this liquid diet!

Anyway, I'll be back tomorrow to post an update on how my appointment with the surgeon went and my "official" weight loss!

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Well Shells83 I have had news to update you with. Yes yesterday morning I got my call. I meet with my Surgeon Dr Needleman 7/17/18 at 11:15 am, and then after my appointment I should get MY Date. Oh I am excited that it truly will be happening. So stay tuned the Frolicks of Frusrt8 are not yet over!📝📦📆
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