Simultaneously Thrilled and Petrified! Yet Knowing This is Much Needed... - Kirkland, WA

Recently one of my kids asked me why I wasn't in...

Recently one of my kids asked me why I wasn't in any of our family photos. That question stopped me in my tracks. I can't deny it, I've been the "phantom participant" for most of my kids' life. And that saddens me immensely, but I cannot change the past. But I can change this path going forward....

I'm in my mid-50s and, like most folks on this board, I've been extremely successful in losing weight. Heck, I've lost so much weight in my life, repeatedly! I'm a master dieter. I've been on every diet possible for the past 40 years, including Optifast, Nutrisystem, going to a summer camp for heavy kids when I was 16, Weight Watchers off and on (I was one of the first to go to WW when it first began in the 1970s in my home town), LA Lite, Atkins, cabbage soup, you name it, I've done it. And they all worked. Temporarily. Blame it on a lifetime of bad habits or genetics or factor "x", but the same 30-80 plus pounds slowly crept back, each and every time. I figure, I've battled my weight my whole life. It's now or never to get this under control. I'm lucky not to have any chronic health issues, but I'm realistic enough to know that my luck's going to run out eventually, and I want to have a good quality of life with my family, and be around for a long, long time.

I've researched the VSG after hearing of a friend in AZ who had it done a few years ago. I immediately thought this surgery was the way to go (for me, at least): least invasive, no foreign bodies implanted, no "parts" that need tweaking or managing, no issues with malabsorption, etc. My GP referred me to The Center for Weight Loss Surgery, and I had my initial consultation today.

I immediately liked Dr. Srikanth: he was easy to talk to, open to questions, took his time explaining the whole process, and has a fabulous sense of humor. He put me at ease right away. I unfortunately was weighed (LOL) and I'm at a personal high weight of 220 (I'm only 5'-3"). Because my lousy insurance doesn't cover any bariatric procedures, this will have to be a self-pay deal, which is a killer, financially, but at least it means I don't have to jump through any insurance hoops or wait. But I DO have to lose 20 lbs first and have quite a few tests done pre-op: bloodwork, EKG, chest x-ray, abdominal ultrasound, endoscopy, spirometry test, upper GI test and bone density test. (If my insurance won't cover the latter two tests, I'm not going to get them, as they are not mandatory). I also will need a psych consult and get a medical clearance, and there are a few other requirements.

We decided on a target date for the surgery: October 15. I am so very excited, but also apprehensive. I'm a terrible patient and just the thought of the endoscopy alone gives me the heebee jeebees.

I've started a protein-rich diet which I will be on for the next few weeks. After that, oh joy, it will be liquids only. I'm going to wean myself off my beloved Diet Cokes. That might be the most difficult part. But I am determined, and I'm looking forward to blogging about my experience, and continuing to read all about all of yours!!!

Water, water, everywhere....

I'm trying to wean myself off my Diet Cokes, so I'm drinking a ton of ice water. It isn't really my "thing", but I promised my dr that I'd be 100% compliant, so I'm doing it. Meanwhile, I'm seriously considering investing in some of those "astronaut diapers", as I'm finding myself running to the bathroom every hour it seems!

How on earth do you all deal with this?

Blood work and all labwork?

Done today!

Good news!

I've only notified a few friends that I'm having this procedure done, as I'm a fairly private person. I'm ok with sharing my story with the millions of you, but not with all the people I interact with in person. I'm just not ready for the barrage of questions and comments. (In time, I know this will change).

At any rate, I informed a friend of mine the other day, only to find out that she too was having this procedure done!!!! I'm very excited, as is she, as we can both support each other on this journey!

Abdominal Ultrasound? Chest X-Ray?

Done and done!

Endoscopy cancelled as insurance company declined authorization....

I'm so disappointed. The endoscopy was scheduled for yesterday afternoon, and I did all the prep work (including fasting and NO WATER. It was rough!), and had my supervisor authorize my leaving work early to get this test done. Literally an hour before I was about to leave, I got a call from my dr's office that my insurance declined the authorization. They cancelled the procedure (it'd cost me at least $1,000 - and probably closer to $1,500 or more - if I had to pay out-of-pocket, as it's done in the OR with anesthesia). The dr's office and I were really surprised that this was declined, as I do have heartburn, and it was coded as such. My dr is going to appeal.

ARGH.

Now I'm worried that I'm going to get a crazy bill for the abdominal ultrasound and chest x-ray I did the day earlier. Why do they (insurance companies) make a stressful situation (medical testing) WAY more so? Why? I feel like this was a big set-back, but I realize these bureaucratic machinations are beyond my control, and I have to have faith that it will all work out.

EKG? Spirometry test?

Done and done!

I forgot to mention...

While at the dr's office today for my EKG, I had to be weighed. Two weeks ago at the bariatric surgeon's office, I weighed 220 lbs. Today I was 207 lbs. So not a bad 2 weeks' loss, on simply proteins and vegetables.

I start my liquid diet today. Oh joy.

Almost done with my pre-op required tests

Tomorrow I have my last session with the psychiatrist. I have yet to hear how my dr's appeal of the insurance denial for the endoscopy went, but I should hear tomorrow (I'm quite nervous about that. We still need to have that done, but I'm praying that insurance covers it). So other than the endoscopy and a nutritional educational session, I'm done with testing!

Oh, and I got weighed today. Down 18 lbs in the past 3.5 weeks (my dr wanted me to lose 20 lbs in 6 weeks. I'm way ahead of him! LOL I've been 100% compliant on the diet he prescribed. The past week, I've been on protein shakes. It isn't fun, but it's do-able).
Dr. Myur S. Srikanth

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Is you health insurance paying for your GSV surgery? If they are paying and all these tests are required how can they deny the tests? I hope you get answers on your appeal soon. Keep us posted please.....
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Unfortunately, my insurance doesn't cover bariatric surgery, so for me, the whole surgery will be paid out-of-pocket. HOWEVER, there are a lot of pre-op tests that my dr requires, and he says he codes them in a way that insurance usually covers them (i.e., using the codes for heartburn, or hiatal hernia, etc., for the ultrasounds and endoscopy). I was counting on the insurance to cover the tests. My dr has a peer-to-peer review to appeal this denial later this week. I promise to keep you posted. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
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My insurance also excludes bariatric surgery but so far has covered my blood tests, echocardiogram and office visits (I still pay $40 co pay). Luckily I had my throat scope & colonoscopy in May since it had been 10 years and my Dr. wanted me to have updates. That was before I was even contemplating the GSV. Hang in there and hopefully your insurance will approve it next time they are asked or challenged. Is your GP ordering or the bariatric surgeon? Just wondered if that was part of their reasoning for denial and you'd have better luck going thru your GP and have him refer.
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My bariatric surgeon ordered the tests, but that's a great idea, to have my GP also recommend them! I'm seeing her later today for the EKG and spirometry test, and to get "medical clearance". I'll ask her to also recommend the endoscopy. Thanks for the fab suggestion!
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Hope that helps.
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Please give us a recent picture even if you have to take it today. It's so great to watch people shrink as they lose weight....
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But I don't HAVE a recent photo. And, although I can understand the need to see the "before" and "after" pictures, the thought of taking a photo now, with me in the heavy "before" mode, fills me with despair. I know it's illogical. I know no one here would care. But for my personal mental health reasons, I just can't bring myself to take a picture. Messed up, I KNOW!
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That's fine just thought you'd want to see how far you have come once the pounds come off. No one is thin when they start this journey. Best of luck on your process.
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Wow your story was so familiar to mine. I'm 59 (The BIG 60 in January), I've been on every diet out there. I'm also self-pay since gastric surgeries are excluded from my health insurance plan. I've had all my blood/urine tests and have an echocardiogram tomorrow then meet with psch & surgeon on Friday-hoping to schedule a date then. I hope you will keep us all posted-this is a great place for blogging & venting once the husband quits listening. Also please keep the pictures coming, they really tell the story. Good luck!
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Hi there! Wow, we DO have a lot in common! I love this site, as I love to write (can you tell?!) and it's therapeutic for me to express my apprehensions, thoughts and experiences. Plus, the support here is FABULOUS and I love the concept that we're all going through this together! Count on me to keep you posted! Please do likewise.
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I think it's a fabulous site also. Sure wish my PS had told me about it before my breast reduction I could of used the info and support. As you can tell I used this site ALOT to voice my thoughts, concerns, triumphs & set-backs with my tummy tuck 17 months ago. My husband was worried enough for me I couldn't stress him (or anyone else) when the going was very rough.
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I think the relative anonymity here gives us freedom to totally open up in ways we cannot with our loved ones in person. Plus, we often may not want to express our own fears and apprehensions and doubts to our familiy and friends, for fear that it will feed THEIR own fears. It's complicated and I'm sure there are a lot of factors involved (and they're different for everyone, too). But for me, this site definately fills a gap in that I can be totally honest and get totally unbiased feedback in return.
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Don't worry pretty soon you will adjust to the water intake and you won't have to run so much
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I hope you're right; Target was ALL OUT of the astronaut diapers! LOL (Woke up three times last night to go to the bathroom. Each time I arose, my "Mensa" dog thought I was going to take her out for a walk).
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Wow, this is all too familiar...photos....oh photos....my rule is chest up and everyone knows it. I will anxiously be waiting for updates on your journey!
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"Chest up"? Wow, you're brazen! If I MUST, I insist on "neck up". LOL!
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Congratulations on your journey
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Your story sounds just like mine. At 56 years old, I need to do something. My insurance won't pay for anything either. I will have my surgery on October 7 in Mexico. I have a good friend from work who was going to be my travel companion but has since opted for the surgery as well. I wish you the best! We'll be successful together. Regards, Susan
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Good luck to you! I understand about the picture thing lol. I wish you luck
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Hi Susan! Sounds like our surgeries will be occurring around the same time! Please keep me posted! Are you required to have all these pre-op tests as well, or are the requirements different in Mexico?
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Thank you! Yes, the lack of photos of me and my family really bothers my kids. I hope that will soon change.....
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