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It was two years after the pandemic started that I made this decision.

In early 2020, I was at my heaviest and the COVID-19 pandemic forced me to work from home. By December I hit 300 pounds for the first time. Fast forward to March 2022 I was at my highest weight of 317. It's been two years of wearing gym shorts and t-shirts, working in the spare bedroom, and now we are starting to work a bit more in the office. My clothes do not fit me—my belt is too low, my gut hangs over and it’s difficult to keep my pants up and my shirt tucked in. It looks like I’m carrying a huge sack of something under my shirt. I don’t want to be in the office with co-workers seeing me like this. This was my “Oh Hell no!” moment.

Hindsight being 20-20, I should have decided to do this a year or so ago. My friend was trying to sell me on the surgery, but I wasn't buying it at the time. I wanted to lose weight the healthy way and be a role model for my 20-something son. As it turns out, he's happy with my decision. And being (morbidly?) obese is not being a role model.

Here are some issue I'm having. I'm sure most can relate to one or two of these:

  • I can’t breathe when I bend forward. It’s really difficult putting socks/shoes on. I almost suffocate when I try to cut my toenails.
  • I have to rock back and forth to get out of my recliner (or the toilet).
  • My lower back hurts. Some is because I have had back problems, but I’m sure my weight doesn’t help.
  • My knees hurt. Again some of it is chronic issues, but I am certain that I will get some relief by losing weight.
  • My ankles are almost always swollen and sometimes my hips hurt if I walk any distance.
  • My doctor’s office had to send me to another lab to get an X-ray because I was too heavy for the X-ray table in their office (WTH?)
  • I’m wearing 3X T-shirts and they've started to get tight. My gut hangs out under the shirt if I wear anything smaller.
  • I’m embarrassed to take my shirt off in front of anyone. I won’t go swimming. Even with my closest friends.
  • As mentioned above. I look like hell wearing khakis and a polo shirt to work
  • I am only on cholesterol medication at this point. No hypertension. No diabetes. I'd like to keep it that way.

Off the top of my head, I know of at least seven friends/family that have had weight loss surgeries. I think all would or have endorsed getting the surgery. On the other hand, I’ve spoken to a few friends/co-workers that had never had the surgery and got mixed responses. I guess that’s how it’s going to be. Those that have not had the surgery are probably thinking that surgery is the lazy way to do this. I get it. I probably felt that way too. But I really don’t care at this point.

So the journey begins,

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3/30/22 - Weight 317. This is the highest I've ever been. I call my fried that has had the sleeve and revision (Duodenal Switch) surgery. I set an appointment to meet with his surgeon on April 12.

4/12/22 - Weight 313. It's my first appointment with the surgeon. They weighed me at 316 lbs with clothes on. The doctor suggests the Gastric Sleeve. The staff explained the process is somewhat determined by my health insurance. I will need to see the surgeon for a total of 3 office visits (each one month apart), and we scheduled follow-up appointments for May 10 and Jun 10. I need to lose weight before each visit. They said if I think I have gained weight to call and postpone the office visit until I can show a loss. I also need:

  1. Blood Work,
  2. Medical clearance from my doctor,
  3. a Psych evaluation,
  4. clearance from a Cardiologist,
  5. a visit with a Dietician, and
  6. An EGD to examine my esophagus, stomach, etc.

Yikes. What did I get myself into?

Edited by KevinS62

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4/22/22 - I couldn't get an appointment with my doctor unless I wanted to wait for a few weeks, but was able to schedule one with the office's Nurse Practitioner. She was able to set up a chest x-ray and blood work, and sent a referral for the cardiologist.

4/26/22 - I had my Psych evaluation over a video/phone conf app. I'm not sure what I think about this part of the process. If you ask me, the psychologist was pretty nosey a bit judgy. At least that's over. She gave me some rules to follow and I took some notes. I think she kind of crossed over into the dietician's swim lane, but whatever. One of her rules/suggestions was to utilize support, which is one of the reasons I'm in here doing this.

5/2/22 - I had my appointment with the dietician. She seemed nice, but she also seemed strict. This is something about me. I do not deal in absolutes. I do not like to use words like Never and Always, but that's how it was with her. We'll see how this goes.

5/9/22 - I had the EGD procedure. The same surgeon that's doing my sleeve also did this procedure. I was under anesthesia for it and felt fine afterwards. I remember telling the surgeon I hoped they cleaned that scope since the last time they used it for a colonoscopy. :)

5/10/22- My second visit with the surgeon. I weighed 303.6 at home, and at the afternoon appointment I weighed 306.5. So I was down 10 pounds since my 4/10/22 visit. I vainly asked if we could schedule the surgery, but they said I have to get everything done before they could send the package to the insurance company for approval.

More work to do.

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Hello Kevin,

Welcome!

It does seem quite overwhelming at first, but if you just take it one thing at a time. Step by step, you will be fine and the tension eases quickly.

All insurance requirements are different.

My insurance was a 4 month minimum process, but the surgeon center I decided to go with had a 6 month process with the potential of expediting if you showed dedication. I did end up having my process expedited, it was about 4.5 months from start to surgery. I had to have 6 classes, 2 dietitian appointments, medical clearance from the doctor, psych clearance from a psychologist, and a EDG.

Take a deep breath, GO GOT THIS!!!❤️

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3 minutes ago, kcuster83 said:

Take a deep breath, GO GOT THIS!!!❤️

Thank you. Actually scheduled for my surgery in 2 days. Getting excited. 😀

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1 minute ago, KevinS62 said:

Thank you. Actually scheduled for my surgery in 2 days. Getting excited. 😀

WOOHOO! Good for you and good luck!

I didn't know you were still updated when I commented or I would have waited. haha

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5/13/22 - I had my visit with Cardiologist. I got an EKG and saw the doctor. They scheduled me for a Transthoracic Echo (heart ultrasound thing?) and a stress test at the hospital on May 18, and I have a follow up with him on June 3.

5/18/22 - I had my Echo-thingy and stress test at the hospital. Everything went well I think. The stress test was telling. I got my heart beat up to 137 in three minutes, and did another minute on the treadmill before asking if I could call it quits. It took me 4-5 minutes to get my breath. I am so out of shape, but at least my heart didn’t explode.

6/3/22 - I had the follow up with Cardiologist. What a waste of time. Cost me $40 co-pay for him to say I was good to go for the surgery. He wants to see me in 6 months and says I might be able to get off some of my medicines. We’ll see if I make the appointment.

I called my patient advocate at the surgeon's office to tell her I had finished all my appointments. She was still waiting on clearances from my cardiologist and my primary. I’ll call back on Monday. In the mean time I'll call my primary and find out why they haven't sent their clearance letter yet.

6/5/22 - I had a chat with my neighbor’s wife this weekend. She got her sleeve a few years ago. It’s kinda scary to think about my life after surgery. I’ve been drinking beer for years and I enjoy socializing with friends. I enjoy eating. These things are going to have to change. I am not going to be able to drink beer anymore, or at least I probably shouldn’t. I'm thinking about vacation in August. If I get my surgery in early July, I will miss out on that fresh Iowa sweet corn. I'm thinking about fantasy football drafts. Tailgating for the Saints' games and Talladega in early-Oct. This is going to be a challenge if I can’t drink alcohol. Sigh.

6/7/22 - Only 3 days till my 3rd/last visit with the surgeon. I checked with the office and found out they had no received the clearance from the cardiologist. I scanned a copy of the letter and sent it via e-mail.

6/10/22 - I weighed myself at home and I am down to 295.8. That's 21 pounds I've lost since March. At the surgeon’s office, one of the ladies behind the counter seemed excited for me since they had all the documents. I signed all the consent forms with the doctor, but they have to send the package to BCBS and we will have to wait a few weeks to get the final okay before we can schedule the surgery.

Hah. Just when I thought the waiting was over. LOL.

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6/22/22 - I received a call from the surgeon’s office that they got the go ahead from the insurance. I was instructed that I would need to complete some on-line courses, sign some paperwork and pay the $400 co-pay, prior to scheduling the surgery. I was able to print, sign and scan the paperwork and send back via e-mail. I took the online courses, which rehashed almost everything I’ve been told to date. My patient navigator says she had everything and will be moving my chart to the scheduling office and that scheduling will reach out to me within a few days. More waiting...

6/23/22 - Thankfully the scheduling office called back this afternoon and finally, we can schedule surgery. July 14th is the day I get my sleeve. I do not have a pre-op diet plan, although the day before surgery is to be clear liquid only.

7/11/22 - I went to the surgical center for my pre-op appointment. They did an EKG, Chest x-ray and took a few tubes of blood. No one told me to fast and no one asked me if I fasted, so hopefully they won’t have issues with my blood samples, since I had a few beers on Sunday. My weight is up from the weekend, but I am planning to be good for the next three days.

Now that I'm caught up, I guess my next post will be on my surgery day.

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Good luck. you are roughly the same size as I am, a little heavier but very similar. I lost 113 pounds so far in almost 11 months. I am down to 180 now. Stick to the program, start to exercise (I walked about an hour total for the first 6 months in 3 or 4 different walks). count the calories honestly and do what the team tells you to do. You will be pleasantly surprised.

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21 minutes ago, Tony B - NJ said:

Good luck. you are roughly the same size as I am, a little heavier but very similar. I lost 113 pounds so far in almost 11 months. I am down to 180 now. Stick to the program, start to exercise (I walked about an hour total for the first 6 months in 3 or 4 different walks). count the calories honestly and do what the team tells you to do. You will be pleasantly surprised.

Thanks. Sounds like good advice.

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@KevinS62 Good luck! I am only 3 weeks out but I have no regrets. I already feel sooo much better!!

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