Nutrition and Psych Eval Updates

Yesterday morning I finally had my follow-up with the Psychiatrist. We went over the report he’s going to send over to the surgeon and he officially recommended me for surgery! I was so relieved and excited when I heard those words. I felt like the initial meeting with him went well, but I was still so nervous that for some reason he would feel I was a bad candidate for surgery. Now I just have to wait for my surgeon’s office to get the paperwork from him and they can finally submit everything to my insurance! I’m scheduled for surgery on June 26th, so hopefully that doesn’t need to get pushed back due to delays with insurance.

This morning, I did a teleconference pre-op nutrition class. It had a lot of good information, and not just nutrition, but information on what to expect from the hospital stay, what to bring to the hospital, and so forth. She also talked about preparing for surgery, such as the pre-op diet and bowel cleanse. Following surgery, I will be on liquids only for a week, which is a much shorter time than some people I’ve seen, and I’m not complaining. Then I get to move on to pureed foods. At 3-4 weeks I can move onto soft food, and finally at 6 weeks I move to solids. Each stage has its own requirements and rules and I have them all listed out. It’s going to be quite the journey. One that I’m oh-so-excited for!

Is Weight Loss Surgery an Easy Fix?

Studies have shown that 97 percent of dieters regain everything they lost, plus some, within three years. This has been my reality all my life. I have tried every diet, and I have lost some weight, but I always regain it again, and usually more than I lost. And it doesn’t take me 3 years to do. But the main point here is that, for most people, dieting just doesn’t work.

However, in recent longer-term studies over 25 years of patients who have had bariatric surgery, the majority of them not only lost most of their excess weight, they were able to keep it off over the course of the 25 year study. Why the difference? Well, surgery provides a physical tool that helps to lose weight, but it also comes with a series of lifestyle changes.

There are various changes you need to make to your lifestyle when you have bariatric surgery.

  • For example, I will need to eat a high-protein, low-carb diet. For the rest of my life.
  • I have to eat protein first, and I can’t eat certain foods like bread because it will swell up in my tiny tummy and get stuck.
  • Immediately after the surgery, I will have to drink water and protein shakes from a 2 ounce cup every 30 minutes to stay hydrated and get my protein in.
  • I will need to avoid sweets to avoid dumping syndrome.
  • I will need to avoid liquids for 30 minutes before and after I eat.
  • I will need to stay ON TOP of my fluid intake to keep from getting dehydrated because I will no longer be able to chug or intake large amounts of water when I get behind on water.
  • I will need to chew my food more and eat more slowly.
  • I will need to avoid straws to keep air bubbles from getting into my new tiny tummy.
  • I will have to learn to eat in a totally new way, being only able to eat about 3-4 ounces of food at a time.
  • I will have to take special bariatric vitamins because my body won’t absorb vitamins the same way anymore.
  • I will need to exercise, just like anyone else trying to lose weight.

There are also side effects to the surgery, such as:

  • Hair loss
  • Constipation
  • Dumping syndrome
  • Energy loss

So as you see, there’s nothing “easy” about this surgery. However, I do feel like it’s a good fit for me, and the best hope for me for my health.

For Friends and Family

Now that I’m starting to tell more people about my surgery, I want to offer some information for my friends and family about the surgery I’ll be having. This resource was shared with me a while back, and I hope it helps you too.

The first video to watch is, How does surgery work?

Next, watch the video on the Sleeve Gastrectomy, the surgery I’ll be having.

Finally, watch the video Keys to Long Term Success

I hope you found these videos helpful as someone who will be in my support system. If you have any questions for me, just let me know!

Medical Clearance

This morning, I had my appointment to get medical clearance for my surgery. It went well and I am excited to say that I am now cleared, medically, for surgery!! My doctor said the surgeon gave her a tentative surgery date of June 13th. All I have left now is my psych eval next Wednesday and then submit it to insurance! I hope everything comes through in time to keep that June 13th date!

My Meeting with the Surgeon

I met with my new surgeon yesterday. I loved him! He was so helpful and friendly and open. I went in so nervous that something would go wrong because I had such a horrible encounter with the last surgeon, but I couldn’t have asked for a better meeting. He addressed all my questions, even my silly ones.

He did an upper GI while I was there and was pleased with what he saw. He saw nothing that would complicate the surgery. Since I recently had a sleep study and already know I have sleep apnea, I don’t need to worry about that aspect.

My next steps are to get the psych eval and to get medical clearance from my doctor. I called my doctor and left a message for her letting her know she needs to send a letter of medical clearance for the surgery. I got a call from the psychiatrist they work with yesterday afternoon and they set me up for an appointment on May 8th. They said it’s a 2-3 hour assessment, and then I’ll come back the following week to discuss the report they’ll send to the surgeon. Then, assuming I pass the psych eval, and then send the report around the 15th or 16th, it takes about 30 days, the surgeon said, for my insurance to approve the surgery. He said we could be looking at surgery in mid- to late-June.

Things are finally moving forward, and so quickly! I’m so excited!

 

So much excitement

I see my nutritionist on Thursday and I can’t wait to see how much I’ve lost this past month. I think it’s more than the last couple months. Granted, I’ve had almost 2 more weeks this month since my appointment is on the 13th this month instead of the 1st, but considering I went on a road trip last week with my brothers and ate “road food” while gone, though I did try to make healthier choices while I was on the road.

Also coming up quickly, in just 2 weeks, is my appointment with the surgeon. I’m sooo excited, and so nervous.

I made a renewed commitment to myself to eat healthy and within my calorie allotment, to drink enough water, to be active. Since doing that, I’ve seen a significant improvement in my weight loss. Granted, it’s only been a couple weeks, but I’m hoping I can keep it up. I need to keep it up. I need to make this a life change.

Surgeon Appointment Date!

I called the surgeon’s office yesterday morning and asked about my referral. They said they did indeed have my referral and offered me an appointment date on April 26th. I took it, so I have an appointment with the surgeon on April 26th in the afternoon.

They emailed me information to log into a patient portal to fill out some paperwork including an intake evaluation and several agreements. I had to agree to several things such as refraining from alcohol for a year after the surgery, to go to all the classes they recommend, to follow all the nutritional recommendations, and so forth. I had to answer a lot of questions about my eating habits, previous diet attempts, health history, family health survey, and more. I was excited to fill everything out because it means that I’m finally moving forward with the process.

I can’t wait to finally meet with the surgeon. I’ve compiled a small list of questions to ask the surgeon. Nothing crazy, just some things I’m curious about like will I need to switch to all liquid medications, will I need to stop my birth control, and some anatomy questions most people probably wouldn’t ask but I’ve been going through the digestive system in my Anatomy and Physiology II class this week and it brought up some additional questions.

I’m so excited, and anxious for the next month to pass quickly.

The Referral…and waiting

As I mentioned in my last post, I found a new surgeon who will work with me at my current weight. All I need to see him is a referral from my PCP. I saw her a couple weeks ago. She agreed to send the referral. I waited about a week without hearing anything and then called the surgeon’s office. They hadn’t received the referral. I called my doctor’s office. They didn’t know the state of the referral, they would have the referral specialist call me back. Finally, on Tuesday afternoon of this week, I got the call that the referral had been sent. I waited until Wednesday and called the surgeon’s office again. The receptionist said they had received my referral but the surgeon needed to review it first and they would call me back later that day or the next day. It’s now Friday evening and I still haven’t heard anything. I will probably call again on Monday. I hate to be a pest, but I know that things can get lost or forgotten about and I just want to make sure I’m not forgotten or misplaced. In the meantime, I just wait. Wonder, and wait.

Long overdue update

So I have been woefully absent. Why? Well, I fell ill! I spent Super Bowl weekend and the following Monday in the hospital. I presented with severe dizziness and nausea. They thought I might have had a stroke at first, but it was later determined I had a virus of my inner ears. I was sent home with a walker and I used the walker for about 3 weeks and I’ve just recently started to be able to get around on my own and to feel better.

For those who are new to my blog, or who may not remember, my surgeon required me to get below a certain BMI to qualify for the surgery, which meant that I had to lose 77 pounds on my own, which I have been struggling over the last 5 months to do. I’ve made it about 30 pounds, but recent progress has been slow, losing only 2 pounds each of the last 2 months. I had started to feel discouraged and like I would never get to the required BMI to qualify for the surgery. If I continue to lose only 2 pounds a month, then it would take me the next 2 years to lose the next 47 pounds I need to lose, and that just feels so daunting.

A couple people on instagram encouraged me to get the opinion of another surgeon. At first, I couldn’t find another surgeon who accepted my insurance, but finally, I found 2. Today, I called one of them, and he will work with me at my current weight! I qualify for the surgery! And since I’ve already gotten my six months of medically supervised weight loss out of the way, all I need to do to start the process with the new surgeon is to get a referral from my primary care physician. This will be easy because she was the one who suggested weight loss surgery in the first place. I see her next Thursday and will request the referral then. Finally, after a year and a half, things are moving forward!

Mini Triumphs

I met with my dietitian today. I’m only down 2 and a half pounds for the entire month of January. I was very discouraged going in, but my dietitian was very encouraging and uplifting. She encouraged me to just keep doing what I’m doing, but to watch my sodium levels. She confirmed that if I gained 5 pounds overnight that it’s probably just bloating and that it I watch my sodium and drink more water, it should come off pretty easily.

Needless to say, though, that losing only 2 and a half pounds for the entire month was very discouraging. However, I’m not giving up. I’ve come too far. I’ve worked too hard. I will get there even if I have to struggle and fight for every pound, which right now I do.  If I continue to only lose 2 and a half pounds a month, it will take me 22 months to qualify for the surgery. That sounds like forever away, so I definitely hope that I start losing faster, and I also hope this other surgeon is able to help me sooner than the first surgeon.

Whatever happens, though, I’m not giving up. I’m determined. I’ve committed to this journey.