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Anyone get surgery without "needing" it?



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Hey y'all

First post here, but I've been a forum lurker for about 8 months. Quick details about me: I finished all my clearances, and it's now being approved by insurance for sleeve surgery. I have BMI of 37, and sleep apnea, so I will be most likely be approved by insurance (should know in a week or two).

Over the last few months, I've been talking to many people at my local support groups about why they had surgery, and I am finding so many pretty much HAD to get it because of medical conditions (heart issues, diabetes, etc...).

When I heard about the surgery a few years ago, it seemed like a great tool to use to lose weight, as yo-yo diets through my years have been successful, but the weight most often comes back.

I'd like to know if any of you had surgery as a tool to weight loss, and not as a medical necessity. The only medical condition I have now is sleep apnea and some reflux, both are fairly easily managed through CPAP and Tums. I have heard the argument: what if I need surgery in a few years because if weight anyway (when it becomes a medical necessity), and that may happen. But right now the sleeve wouldn't improve the quality of any major medical conditions (as so many I am talking to had improved), and would just be a diet aid.

Can anyone who has had surgery in a similar situation tell me what you thought about it, and would you recommend doing this in the way I am describing (as a pose to continuing to try diet and exercise as a means to weight loss)?

Appreciate it!

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I had no medical conditions whatsoever. I had the VSG to improve my immediate quality of life & to prevent future health issues. I only regret I didn’t do it sooner. Even without medical issues, I feel so much better now, both physically and mentally.

Also, most of the time diet and exercise don’t permanently keep the weight off. I wanted the best chance for long term success.

Finally, wouldn’t getting rid of the CPAP machine be enough of a reason? It seems like they would interfere with sleep quality and just beca general hassle

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well, I guess I'll come back to you with another question. Why would ANYONE have surgery unless there was a medically necessary reason? (plastic surgery exempted) If you believe that this may not be medically necessary, your comorbidities are well-controlled, and you think you can do it with diet/exercise, you may not be ready for bariatric surgery.

Based on the information you've posted, you have a BMI of 37 (obese) and you have at least 1 comorbidity that is known to be caused by or at least exacerbated by obesity and can contribute to reduced life span. So, as someone who has worked on the insurance side of things, you have medically necessary reasons for having the surgery, hence your assertion that you will "most likely be approved by insurance". Insurance companies do not like to pay for surgeries unless they are deemed medically necessary.

Maybe you're feeling like your support group members situations are more serious than yours? I agree that if someone has heart issues, the situation appears somewhat more critical. But, that doesn't reduce the significance of sleep apnea. Did you know that sleep apnea contributes to heart issues, hypertension, and increases your risk for stroke? I'd say that's pretty serious. You may not have those things right now, but these are known consequences of long term sleep apnea. Same thing with diabetes. If your support group-mates cite diabetes as a cause, then likely theirs has been poorly controlled, which contributes to long term side effects (vascular issues, neuropathy, retinopathy, kidney disorders).

For me: I didn't have heart issues. I didn't have diabetes. However, that doesn't mean that I wasn't on a direct path headed towards those things. My BMI was 46 at my highest. I had sleep apnea. I had some joint issues. All of those things were relatively well controlled. The key for me was that diet and exercise had not worked long term. I could lose, but I couldn't maintain.

Sorry for the length, I guess I just see it from the perspective of someone who has their feet in healthcare and insurance. Hope I haven't confused you more.

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Posted (edited)

I didn't have any medical issues (fortunately I might add, given my weight and age). I just needed a tool to lose weight since I was super morbidly obese and every weight loss effort I made had failed. And if I had not taken off the weight, serious medical issues were most likely right around the corner.

Edited by catwoman7

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2 hours ago, catwoman7 said:

I didn't have any medical issues (fortunately I might add, given my weight and age). I just needed a tool to lose weight since I was super morbidly obese and every weight loss effort I made had failed. And if I had not taken off the weight, serious medical issues were most likely right around the corner.

Ditto!

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2 hours ago, catwoman7 said:

I didn't have any medical issues (fortunately I might add, given my weight and age). I just needed a tool to lose weight since I was super morbidly obese and every weight loss effort I made had failed. And if I had not taken off the weight, serious medical issues were most likely right around the corner.

Thanks for the input! Would you recommend others do the same in a similar situation?

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3 hours ago, S@ssen@ch said:

Sorry for the length, I guess I just see it from the perspective of someone who has their feet in healthcare and insurance. Hope I haven't confused you more.

No worries, I really appreciate all you said here! I agree, losing the apnea would be great, and more energy from weight loss a huge plus as well. Hearing how serious some people's conditions are that lead to surgery definitely makes my apnea and reflux seem trivial. But you are right those things can become a nightmare if left unchecked for a while. I am finding it hard to relate because of how "small" my co-morbid conditions are right now compared to many I am speaking with, but looking at the future picture helps. Thank you!

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3 hours ago, sillykitty said:

I had no medical conditions whatsoever. I had the VSG to improve my immediate quality of life & to prevent future health issues. I only regret I didn’t do it sooner. Even without medical issues, I feel so much better now, both physically and mentally.
Finally, wouldn’t getting rid of the CPAP machine be enough of a reason? It seems like they would interfere with sleep quality and just beca general hassle

Thank you, this is helpful info. Getting rid of the CPAP would definitely be great, just looking for encouragement like yours that this is overall a good thing for me. I am a baby when it comes to needles, hospitals, and anesthesia. Hearing someone in a similar place as I am helps put things into perspective.

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I had zero comorbidities. But my BMI was over 50 and I'd been yoyo dieting for 20 years. I was starting to have knee pain and had a family history of sleep apnea. type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. My mom had VSG after years of dealing with comorbidities so I knew my health was heading in the same direction

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4 hours ago, Ryanasaurus said:

Thanks for the input! Would you recommend others do the same in a similar situation?

yes. All that extra weight is horrible on your health - just as bad as smoking. I should have done it *years* ago. One piece of advice - if you have reflux, I'd suggest considering the bypass instead. The sleeve can often (not always - but often) make that worse. Some sleeve people end up revising to bypass because of it. Bypass can often (again, not always, but often) improve or even cure reflux.

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I am 63 years old and 50 years of obesity had taken a terrible toll on my quality of life. I dodged the diabetes and hypertension bullets, but I developed sleep apnea, had 1 knee replacement with the other knee very painful with shrinking cartilage. I couldn't hike, get on/off the floor with my grand kids, and was becoming more and more immobile. I could only see my life going downhill very quickly. I was on NSAIDS daily for the joint pain. Yes, I could lose weight - I have probably lost over 1,000 pounds all told, but always gained it back with more and more destruction of my metabolism. I also thought, "Maybe I should just try again to lose it on my own." My doctor brought me to my senses, "If you could have done it by now, you would have." So true. So I decided to have the surgery as a tool to help me finally overcome this obstacle in my life.

Since surgery, I have not needed an NSAID at all! No joint pain! I can hike, play with the kids, go up/down stairs, and am much more active. I got a new job that is very, very active - I could not have done this job 6 months ago, I am not depressed - in fact many days I feel almost euphoric. I feel 10 years younger - maybe even 20 years younger! My sleep apnea is resolving, and I truly feel that I have been given a second chance at life. At my age, this is the last chance I get - I'm not going to blow it. This surgery has been an amazing gift to my health, self esteem, and my future. I now have new goals - to ride the 100+ mile El Tour de Tucson bike race, to hike the entire 830 mile Arizona Trail, and to never be on meds for diabetes, blood pressure, or cholesterol. And now I know I can do it! The quality of life is sooooooo worth it.

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On 06/18/2019 at 10:43, sillykitty said:

I had no medical conditions whatsoever. I had the VSG to improve my immediate quality of life & to prevent future health issues. I only regret I didn’t do it sooner. Even without medical issues, I feel so much better now, both physically and mentally.



Also, most of the time diet and exercise don’t permanently keep the weight off. I wanted the best chance for long term success.



Finally, wouldn’t getting rid of the CPAP machine be enough of a reason? It seems like they would interfere with sleep quality and just beca general hassle
This exactly. No regrets!

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Bottom line...being fat leads to a multitude of health and emotional issues.

Whether you have them today, next week, or next year, they are coming. Why gamble when it comes to your health?

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You are literally bet your life without it, not a good plan. As the widow of a gambler, who thought he could BEAT the system, I learned the system and the " House" alway stack in THEIR FAVOR. Surgery levels the Playing Field as little else xan!

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Posted (edited)
On 6/18/2019 at 9:43 AM, sillykitty said:

I had no medical conditions whatsoever. I had the VSG to improve my immediate quality of life & to prevent future health issues. I only regret I didn’t do it sooner. Even without medical issues, I feel so much better now, both physically and mentally.

Also, most of the time diet and exercise don’t permanently keep the weight off. I wanted the best chance for long term success.

Finally, wouldn’t getting rid of the CPAP machine be enough of a reason? It seems like they would interfere with sleep quality and just beca general hassle

This. Being super morbidly obese alone was a medical condition. That I didn’t have any comorbidities was just luck, and as I aged it would become riskier that those conditions would show up. I decided to take care of it now, so that surgery would be less risky, recovery would (hopefully) be easier, and so that I could improve my quality of life NOW, before I started to have issues.

Edited by AngieBear

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