Weight Loss Ticker

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I'm Getting Weight Loss Surgery!

Hello All... I've been gone from "Blogger Land" so long that I'm not sure if anyone is still out there. If there is, thanks for reading. If not, that's fine because someone will eventually stumble across this one day or I'll need to go back to this for inspiration or something. So my writing is not in vain. If you are reading, thanks a lot. Feel free to leave a comment.

Anyway, A LOT has changed since I last posted. I gained a crap-load of my weight back and I decided that traditional weight loss methods will also have to be combined with surgical ones. Loosing the weight has never been a problem for me. It always comes off. Keeping it off has always been another story. I'm not giving up. I'm not taking the easy way out and I'm not lazy. If that's what you think weight loss surgery (WLS) is all about, you have absolutely no idea how much work and dedication it takes to even get through the approval process, let alone live the lifestyle that I'm preparing to commit myself to.

Maybe you're against WLS. Maybe you've had it. Maybe you've only heard bad things about it. Maybe you're indifferent to it. Whatever the case may be, over the next couple of years, I plan on sharing the good, the bad, the ugly and the raw truth about WLS as I go through it. I also plan on talking about day to day life and miscellaneous ramblings from my mind but since WLS will be such a big part of my life, I decided to document it.

Sometimes I feel "insane" for signing up for this. So this blog was appropriately entitled "Shanita's Journey to Insanity and Beyond". LOL

Right now, I'm about 70% through the insurance process. I thank God that my insurance is not very strict. There are a lot of requirements but it isn't as bad as other people that I have met. Of course, the first step was that I had to take was to prove that I was even a candidate for bariatric surgery. No problem! I'm 5 feet tall and weight 245 pounds. Persons that want to be considered as candidates should have a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or more with comorbidities (other medical problems attributed to their weight, i.e. diabetes, high blood pressure, sleep apnea and PCOS to name a few). People with a BMI of 40 or more are generally considered candidates. My BMI is a 49. Normal is 18.5 to 24.9. You do the math.

*Let me stop right now and warn you all that I am not a doctor or any other type of medical professional. I explain things in terminology that us laypeople can understand. You should never take anything I say here as medical advice or anything other than my opinion*

Anyway, once it's settled that you are a "candidate", your approval process begins. This is where you begin to jump through random hoops for your insurance company. Some bariatric programs and surgeons have their own requirements that they would like their patients to meet. There is no getting around these requirements and fast forwarding through to a surgery date. I have heard of some folks going to Mexico and self paying to cut through some of the red tape. Others do it because they are uninsured or under-insured. That is an option but I don't know anyone personally that has done it so I can't personally endorse it or knock it.

In the last couple of months, I have had a sleep study, an EKG, an upper GI, a horrible barium swallow test, an ultrasound of my liver, random blood tests, and I'm not finished yet. I'm also required to undergo 3 months of medical weight management, get cleared by a psychiatrist, attend a nutrition class and a support group. The requirements after surgery are even more stringent but I know it will all be worth it in the end. I will complete my 2nd medical weight management appointment next Monday.

You may have noticed by now that I keep referring to this as WLS instead of specifying which surgery I plan on having.There are basically 4 types being performed today. There is the platinum standard, also referred to as the D.S. or  Duodenal Switch. Unfortunately, my center does not do this surgery. This surgery has the highest success rates but it also has the highest rate of nutritional deficiencies in the long run. Then there is the gold standard and probably most common surgery, the gastric bypass. There is the lap-bad, which my center tries to discourage patients from getting due to the many complications and slow weight loss. Lastly, there is the VSG (sleeve procedure) which is relatively new for weight loss purposes in the U.S. but quickly growing. 

I've spent many hours studying the pros and cons of each surgery. At this point, I realize that regardless of which surgery I choose, my success is ultimately up to me. I'm leaning more toward the gastric bypass but considering the sleeve as well. I will make a final and firm decision on 7/29 (which is also my brother's birthday)  when I meet with the surgeon. It's ultimately my decision but I will take whatever he has to say very seriously into consideration. I'm formulating a list of questions for him now. If anyone has any they would like me to ask him, feel free to let me know and I'll add them to the list.

Welcome to my journey beyond insanity!

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Thanks so much for reading and accompanying me through this journey! I'd love to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment.