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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
So the surgeon I had selected won’t do the surgery until my BMI is below 60. I started at a BMI of 72.2. That left me with 77 pounds to lose on my own before the surgery. I have lost about 30 so far, so I still have about 47 to go. That’s almost 50 pounds to lose without the aid of the surgery. Now, if I could consistently and persistently lose the weight on my own, I wouldn’t need the surgery in the first place, so asking me to lose almost 80 pounds before getting the surgery is a little ridiculous to me. It also feels super daunting and discouraging much of the time. Especially this week, when my eating has been horrible and I’ve regained in a week everything I lost this whole month.
So, today, I called another surgeon. I have medicaid, so not many bariatric surgeons take my insurance, therefore I don’t have a lot to work with, but I did manage to find one other surgeon who takes my insurance. I called them today and they won’t even see me for a consultation until I’ve finished my 6 months of medically supervised weight loss. I have just over 2 months left. Then my weight loss doctor has to fax over their notes, and then the surgeon’s office will call me for a consultation. So, as of this moment, I don’t know what the other surgeon’s policy’s are, whether they have a limit for BMI for the surgery, or anything else I would like to ask. However, I’m willing to wait the two months I would have to wait for a surgery no matter where I get it (because my insurance requires that 6 months of supervised weight loss) if that means there is a hope of not having to wait until September or later just to get approved for the next step in the process to get surgery. So, here’s hoping this surgeon will work with me at a higher BMI than the other surgeon. Wish me luck, and renewed focus as I try to lose what weight I can in the next 2 months.
I saw my weight loss doctor today. I was down 6 pounds from when I saw her last. Not as much as I’d hoped when I initially set the appointment, but I’m satisfied with that after the rough time I had with Christmas.
She informed me that I’m halfway through my 6-month mandatory doctor-managed weight loss period. This is a 6-month period my insurance requires me to work with a weight loss doctor for them to pay for my weight loss surgery. It was so encouraging to hear that I’m already halfway through it! I still have 37 pounds to lose to be eligible for the surgery. That’s 12.46 pounds a month in the next 3 months if I’m going to finish at the same time as I finish my required 6 month weight loss period. I don’t know if I can lose 12.46 pounds a month, but my original goal for January was to lose 10 pounds so that’s only 2.46 pounds more than that each month.
I have finally incorporated exercise into my routine. I had been “working on” doing it for the last few months, but hadn’t actually gotten around to doing it. However, I have worked out 3 time now, and 2 times so far this week. I am starting slow, I haven’t worked out in over a year. I could only do 10 minutes on my stationary bike my first time. However, I did 15 minutes yesterday and am going to try to bump it up to 20 minutes today.
If I can lose those 25 pounds in the next 2 months, I will schedule my follow up appointment with my surgeon for early April. I will be done with my required 6 months by then, and will be either eligible for the surgery or very close to the weight I need to be at for surgery by then. Then I can start setting up my appointments with the psychiatrist and the bariatric nutritionist, which both need to happen before the surgery. I’ll get more information on those when I meed with my surgeon in April. My biggest fear is going through all this work and not getting cleared by the psychiatrist for surgery. That would devastate me. I don’t actually know what would cause him or her to say I don’t qualify and I’m sure I’ll do fine, but I still worry. I’m looking forward to meeting with the bariatric nutritionist to get more information on my pre-op and post-op diets and when I need to start the pre-op one and for how long it will be. I’ve seen them run the gamut of 5 days before surgery to several month before surgery. I’m hoping I just need the standard 2 week liquid pre-op diet, but we’ll see. We shall see.
I learned a lot from the weight loss surgery seminar. It also helped me determine which surgery I want. At this weight loss clinic, they provide 3 different surgeries and will recommend which ones are best for you medically, but you have to decide which surgery you want.
I learned a lot. Some of the questions I didn’t think of, others did, and asked. There was a lot of question asking and clarifying going on throughout the night. I’m glad people weren’t to intimidated to ask questions because I learned a lot.
I have an appointment in November to meet with the surgeon. In the meantime, they gave us some things they want us to start doing to get us ready for the surgery. I’m supposed to start:
- Reducing my portion sizes
- Slow my eating
- Practice chewing 30 times per bite
- Stop drinking liquids 15 minutes prior to and 45 minutes after meals
- No using straws
- Start a food log
- Record my water intake
- Start exercising
I’m excited to have some things to do while I wait for my appointment, but I also feel a bit overwhelmed. I knew this wasn’t going to be an easy journey, but I don’t think the reality of it hit me until tonight.