Long time, no see! There is so much to share and discuss. I'm not prepared to give a large update, though. I was just released from the hospital this evening. My body and mind are wore out. For now, some basic details...
I had surgery on May 2nd. Complications happened. Alot of blood filled my left lung. It had to be drained. So, a couple days after surgery, a chest tube was inserted. My lung had 2 water bottle amounts of blood in it. Afterward, I had a blood transfusion of 2 pints. I'm still trying to figure out what caused the problem. I haven't been given answers, yet. I'll go into more detail after I get some rest.
Today, I got the call...surgery is May 2nd! Which is awesome! I'm torn, though. I don't feel as excited as I thought I would be. When I start thinking about all the stuff I have to do, like the one week liquid diet, I feel a little panicked. Actually, most of the panic revolves around that. The other stuff is easy, such as a 90 minute pre-op class and pre-testing at the hospital on the same day. The only drawback about that is I have to be there at 8:30am. I live a hour away from there. That means I have to get up like at 6am. But, whatever. It's just a minor nuisance. The diet, though. That is the big issue. Also, my entire life is going to change. While I am ready for it, can you ever be completely ready? I want this to happen. I've been chasing this since June '17. I've already made adjustments like not drinking carbonated drinks, cutting way back on bread, sweets, and the like. I've been in counseling for over a year. So, I've prepared. Why do I feel so nervous, though? Why does my sister and mother feel happier than I do?
Everything went well. My doctor praised me on losing weight and maintaining over the past 6 months. All of the tests info and such are being sent for insurance approval. He said I could get a call from his PA anytime between now and 4 weeks. Each case can vary. I could get a call tomorrow or I could get one in a month. Once I'm approved, I have to take a 90 minute pre-op class, get pre-op testing done and go on a liquid diet a week before the surgery. I have to stay over night and, if things go well, I will be sent home the next day,
I feel excited, nervous, alittle overwhelmed and a bit scared all at the same time. I trust the surgeon and his staff. I guess its the fear of the unknown kicking in. I also feel impatient LOL. Tired of waiting. The end is in sight. So, that helps. I need to keep busy, though. I might start watching some episodes of my 600lbs Life.
HI everyone! I had an upper GI endoscopy on Friday. Aside from a small hernia, no problems were found. Next up is the last supervised weight check in. Then, everything gets submitted to insurance! My appointment is March 20. So, who knows? I might be approved by the end of March!
I was very nervous at the scope. I had never been "put under" for any procedure before. I was also nervous about what might be found. I had nothing to worry about. As soon as the IV was put in my arm and the mouth thing was inserted, they pumped me with meds. I was out like a light! The scope only lasted 2 minutes. I was asleep for 15 minutes. I felt groggy and out of it for the rest of the day.
A few years ago, I was told I had gall stones. So, I assumed the scope would highlight them. Either they are gone or the doctor didn't see them. Unsure. If he sees them during surgery, will he remove them?
Wow, so here we are...I'm two very close steps to surgery. Seeing the doctor and info getting submitted. It's just a matter of waiting.
It's been awhile. I'm not going to make excuses. I fell off the wagon. My old eating habits kicked back in for a bit, as did depression. I'm getting back on track now. Thankfully, I only regained a couple pounds. However, I saw where I was headed.
Some good news...blood test results, breathing test and EKG came back okay. My vitamin D level is a little low. But, there is nothing that will prevent surgery from happening. On my next appointment, endoscopy of digestive system will be scheduled.
I hope ya'll had a great Holiday season! I will post more soon.
I'm typing this on less than 3 hours of sleep. So, if I start to ramble, please forgive me.
Testing has been completed. Psych was last week. It was easy. I had to fill out alot of paper work. Some of it was just your basic info and your medical history. Others were worksheets that screened for depression and eating disorders. When I met with the counselor, we basically just reviewed the worksheets and such. They mainly want to know that you have realistic expectations, have a support system, are not suicidal and are doing this for you, not for someone else.
Blood work and breathing test was bright and early this morning. Fasting required. I had trouble sleeping. To be honest, I haven't slept well in a few days. On Saturday night, a wind storm swept through the area. We lost power for 16 hours. I'm so used to sleeping with a fan on that I couldn't sleep without it. The winds kept howling for a few hours, too. I had to be up at 6am this morning. The testing facility was 90 minutes away from home. When I have to get up that early, I can't sleep worth a lick.
So, yay! Testing is complete. Well, almost complete. Their EKG machine was broken. So, I have to have that done somewhere else. I'm waiting until after Thanksgiving.
To answer a question that BurgundyBoy asked, I've lost weight without completely eliminating sugar. My only sugar treat is a cup of chocolate ice cream a few times a week. The rest of the time, when I want something sweet, I drink a chocolate protein shake. I've cut back on carbs, only have small portions of potatoes a couple times a week. My focus is on protein. However, with Thanksgiving being here, I might treat myself a little. My nutritionist gave me the okay to enjoy the day and the food, as long as I don't over do it and go right back on track the next day.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Yesterday was an interesting and happy day. This work is starting to pay off!
I met with the nutritionist. She went over alot of information. Some of it I already knew, from research. Some I didn't. She also asked alot of questions regarding my eating and diet history. Such as, when did I start gaining weight, what my eating habits are like, how many diets have I tried, what's the most I've lost, what's the heaviest I've weighed and such.
Her main focus was after surgery. However, she strongly suggested to start training myself now that way it won't be as hard when the time finally arrives. For instance, eating slowly and in small bites. Measuring everything. Gradually cutting out carbonated drinks, sugar, and caffeine. Going through sugar and caffeine withdraw while recovering from surgery doesn't seem like fun. So, I'm with her there. Also, she gave me this cute little plate that is designed to measure portions. One space is for protein, another for veggies, another for fruit, and another for carbs.
She explained that she does not believe in diets. So, she didn't put me on one. This is a lifestyle change. not something that has a beginning and an ending. Overall, she felt I'm doing fairly well. I do need to eat more veggies but other than that there aren't any issues at the moment. I'm not a vegetable person. Never have been. I love beans (basically all kinds),and potatoes. I can tolerate tomatoes, lettuce and cucumbers. Other than that, I'm not friendly with them. Especially onions. They make me nauseous. But, I guess it wouldn't hurt to try them again.
The best part of the day, saving the best for last, I've lost 11 lbs in 1 month! When I saw the scale, I was shocked. I couldn't believe it! I was concerned I was losing motivation. Some things were going on that I felt were causing me to lose focus. But, I guess not. To be honest, I haven't been exercising as much as I should be. I've still been watching calories, though. So, I guess it paid off! Thank God!
Next on the agenda is psych evaluation on 11/16. Then, blood work, breathing test and EKG on 11/20.
I had an appointment with my PCP today. I've lost weight. I kinda figured I had. To my joyful surprise, it was a bit more than expected. Between the end of August and today, I lost 8 lbs! That doesn't seem like alot but I'll take it! Little by little, work is paying off. Now that I am seeing results, I'm going to do what I can to ensure nothing I'm doing, (or nothing I do in the future) will mess this up. I'll keep doing what I'm doing and make any necessary changes. Maybe I am getting a little carried away with the future talk. It's best to take it one day at a time. I just do not want to ruin this chance. I don't know if I will get it back again.
This is actually happening. I'm in shock! In a good way, though...just a little overwhelmed. There is alot to take in and alot to do. But, it will be worth it! I'm going to try to add as much detail as possible for others who are new to WLS and come across this blog.
The staff at Dr.Shin's office are very nice, educated and professional. Some of them have had WLS. So, their education is based on personal experience. There was a bit of waiting time but that was to be expected. Especially for a new patient. I was asked for the typical info, name, address, insurance card, and such. Had to sign a few papers. Waited a bit more. Then, I was taken into a triage type of room. My height, weight, blood pressure and pulse were taken. Afterwards, we went to another room. The nurse asked for my medical history and my parents medical history. I forgot to bring a list of my meds. I had to recite them from memory. Which some were forgotten. When I return next month, I have to bring a list.
After a short while, I met Dr. Shin. Very nice man! He explained everything in great detail and encouraged us to ask any questions we had. His staff was the same way. I can call them any time (meaning normal hours) with questions and/or wait & write them down for the next visit.
After some discussion, he said I am a good candidate for the sleeve. Which is awesome! That is what I was hoping for. I was given a folder full of info about the program, rules, a living will, medical power of attorney, and just some tips regarding the path. My next visit is in November. I am scheduled to see the nutritionist. A goal weight was not mentioned at the moment. The nurse suggested I use the first month to make gradual changes like tapering off caffeine, introduce myself to less carbonated drinks, and things of that nature. She said doing too much at once can shock your system but at the same time you do need to start making changes. This is a major lifestyle change that has to be gradually introduced. So, there is no time like the present. Over the summer, I started cutting back on caffeine and pop. So, those changes hopefully won't be that bad.
Between my next couple of visits, I have to get blood work done. I also have to get my heart checked out and do a breathing test. Tomorrow, I am scheduling those tests. At some point, I will have to take a mental exam. Once all of that is done, and I complete 6 monthly nutritionist visits, we will be ready to submit everything to insurance. If all goes well, surgery is in April!! Wow! This is really happening!!
The day has finally arrived! Well, at least it will be in less than 24 hours. Tomorrow afternoon, I meet with Dr. Shin and officially start the journey. Everything has fallen into place. It's almost too good to be true. I keep thinking something is going to mess this up. But, no. I can't think that way. This is meant to happen. Sure, there might be more bumps in the road. That's how life is at times, though. No one said this would be easy. I need to stop worrying about things that haven't even happened and focus on the positive. Even though this post might come across as being negative, I am really excited about this! I'll update tomorrow evening with news.
I got good news yesterday. I called the doctor to see if I could go ahead and schedule for October. That is when my new insurance coverage begins. I have an appointment to see him October 5th! Three more weeks and the journey starts stepping into high gear!
Apparently, what they say is true, you can't believe everything you read on the internet!
Yesterday, I emailed AetnaBetterHealth. I was advised to contact my DHHR case worker and also to contact WV Mountain Trust, the Medicaid Managed Care connection. My case worker was really nice. She gave me Trust's phone number and said I shouldn't have a problem. She was right! I almost can't believe it was this easy! I called and asked to switch plans. I was asked to explain why. The representative changed it on the spot! It goes into effect October 1st. Only a one month(and perhaps a few days) setback! I can wait one month. I'll just keep doing what I've been doing. Eating less. More focus on protein, less on carbs. Walking more. All that good stuff. I don't have to worry about enrollment, special circumstances or any of that crap. Thank God! I really didn't want to have to find someone to marry, LOL.
Today, I was feeling a little impatient. So, I called the surgeon's office. I was put on hold for 8 minutes. Then, I was told they could not find the referral. I was questioned about my insurance. It turns out they do not accept my Medicaid HMO. If I'm able to switch to Aetna, there won't be a problem. However, I read you can only switch if a major life change, such as marriage, is happening. So, I have to find a doctor who accepts WVFamilyHealth. I'm kinda down about it. After hearing and reading all this hype about him and his staff, I was really looking forward to becoming a patient. I am anxious to get this started.
I met with my new doctor today. My anxiety was completely wrong! I was referred to Dr. Shin. As it turns out, my doctor had WLS just a couple years ago. He was her surgeon. She spoke very highly of him. She also told me a bit about the process and such. Between now and a couple weeks, I should be getting a call from his office to set up an appointment. She faxed a letter of referral with my medical history included. Once I meet with him, things will start to happen. I'll have to see a nutritionist. go on a diet, take a 3 hour mental exam and a series of other tests. She said it takes about 6 months to get things in order. So, that means this Spring I should be several pounds lighter and feel healthier! Just gotta wait a bit longer. I've waited most of the summer. A few more weeks won't be that bad.
I received a letter from my (now former) doctor's clinic today. My PCP has resigned. I called and was offered an appointment with the new one. I accepted but can't help but wonder if this will postpone things. I've been a patient at this facility for years. So, they have all my records and info. I don't see why this would change anything. But, my anxiety is telling me this is a setback. Even if it isn't, I have to get comfortable with a new doctor. Luckily though, the waiting time isn't long. The appointment is scheduled for 8/8. The original one was for 8/7. I'm going to proceed as nothing has changed until I know differently. This anxiety needs to stop, though.
Nothing really new to share as of late. I noticed today that in exactly 3 weeks, I finally see the doctor to get the ball rolling. I can not wait! In the mean time, I've been researching surgeons, diets, and other tools needed for this journey. I've even somewhat binge watched My 600 lb Life on TLC. It's not a bad show. Somewhat educational and such. In each show, you see the life of a person as they prepare and deal with WLS. Each show consists of a year.
I've also have been forcing myself to eat veggies. The only ones I like are beans, tomatoes, lettuce and potatoes. I'm trying to expand my tastes. Starting with celery. It's not bad with peanut butter. When I was a child, my mother never really insisted we eat veggies. She tried on occasion to get us to eat corn and peas but I just couldn't get into them. I hate onions. So, this 6 month diet will be challenging in regards to that.
I've also started walking more. It's been really hot, though. The only time I can is late evening. I've been trying to distract myself with hobbies but my mind always returns to this. 3 weeks feels like forever!
A Facebook friend asked me why now? Why not a year ago? Or even 6 months ago? It's been obvious for awhile I've needed to do something. I'm going to answer here and send her a link to this blog.
I wasn't ready. That's the simplest and easiest answer. Now the long (and very honest) answer..
Over the past 6 months, my mobility has decreased greatly. It started last fall. Out of the blue, while shopping, my legs and back started hurting badly. I felt panicked and became more so when I couldn't find a bench to sit on. It's gotten to the point that I can't shop for myself. I need someone to do it for me. At home, I can barely get down the porch steps to make it to the car. Another example...when I lay down, sometimes turning over or onto my side hurts my knees. You would think that would be enough but no...well...I take that back a bit...it started to become enough. I developed venous insufficiency. My doctor prescribed a diet pill along with a water pill. That helped a little. But, not enough. There is still pain. Every day.
At the end of May, a tragedy happened. My aunt died. My mother's sister. They were best friends. Watching my mother mourn has ripped my heart out. Especially during the first week or so. She became very depressed. She is better now, thank God. But, I can not put her through that. I do not want to be the reason she has to mourn again. I don't want to die before she does. I can not do that to her.
I know I need to do this for myself. Which I am. She is also the main reason I am taking this journey now. Hopefully, this explains why now.
The following day after the fall, I saw my doctor. At the time, she mentioned gastric bypass surgery and some of the requirements. It felt overwhelming. So, I said I wanted to research it before agreeing. The following week, I discussed things with my counselor. She had considered surgery for herself but decided against it. However, she knew of a few people who had it done. The majority had no complaints and felt it was one of the best decisions they ever made! She attended one of the free seminars and shared some info. After talking with her, I felt more comfortable. I spent another day researching, talking with family and decided to go for it. Today, I called my doctor and left a message, asking to set up an appointment. Within 10 minutes, her assistant returned my call. We set something up. My first appointment is on August 7th!!
I can't wait! In the mean time, I'm going to go ahead and start cutting back, start calorie counting and walking more. Also, do more research, develop a bit of an online support network and such. I've joined a couple Facebook WLS groups. I have to remember to have some fun, too, though. When I get focused on something, it's hard to re-focus on something else. But, I will need to factor in some gaming, binge watching or something. I don't want to get too focused and burn myself out. This is going to be a long road. So, I have to be careful of not doing that.
August feels like such a long time away, though!
It is said there are many ways people get inspired to make changes. I found my inspiration while falling on the kitchen floor.I was getting a drink and slipped. Only slightly injured. However, I could not get up. My arm was hurt. My other arm wasn't strong enough to support me. My mother and a friend weren't able to, as well. We had to call 911 for help. That was very humiliating. I spoke with my counselor about it. She said I am eligible for WLS. So, here I am! Healed and completely inspired. I can not wait to start this journey!