Okay - I'm actually starting this over now that things are happening, and will update it as things happen.
Today is February 10th, 2004. Nearly 2 years after I originally created this profile, things are finally on the move.
For anyone reading this that doesn't know me from a hole in the wall, my name is Dave Gregory. Born and raised in Seattle / King County area of Washington state, I now reside in California, Orange County to be specific.
If you read my last entry, you know that I was seperated, with a 2 year old daughter, and that they were up in Alaska. Well - I'm divorced now, they're still in Alaska, and I still haven't seen them since November of 2001. But, the divorce is final.
In the two years since I originally created this profile, I have lost the wonderful job I had, gained a bunch of weight, and basically had a miserable time, until October of 2002. Then I met my fiancee.
Totally turned me around emotionally. I now look forward to each day like it's my first. I am so happy and in love that it's completely changed my life emotionally. Now it's time to change it physically.
Last week, I went to a new doctor, who is putting in for a referral to the Smart Demensions program at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in Fountain Valley. Not that far from here. It was founded by Dr. Peter LePort and sounds like a wonderful program. I can't wait for the consultation and then moving forward, the surgery.
I know I qualify. The qualifications for my insurance is that I am 100lbs or more overweight. (Only 100?) I've got that beat by about 3 or 4x at least. They also want me to be mobile. I am to a certain degree, the biggest thing holding me back from being completely mobile is the 'apron' of fat in front. It makes it difficult to walk, but I can still walk short - medium distances.
I just can't wait to be a semi-normal size again. To be able to spend time with my fiancee walking on these wonderful beaches here in California. To visit some of the theme parks in the area. (Heck, DisneyLand is 15 minutes in one direction, Knott's Berry Farm is 15 minutes in the other - I haven't been to either one yet.) To just enjoy taking my fiancee out and showing her a wonderful night.
Anyhow .. I'm very pumped up about all this. I can't think of anything more to write at the moment, but I will when I know more for sure.
Dave - 02/10/04
Okay, quick update here. I'm so frustrated I could scream.
Today is February 23, 2004. I just found out that my first referral attempt was denied. I want to scream, cry, and choke someone all at once. Especially since the frustration caused me to say something without thinking, and I hurt my fiancee's feelings. I feel like an oaf.
They denied it saying I've never been on a medically supervised weight loss program, and that I've never had an intervention done on my eating disorder.
First of all, I was on a medically supervised program. It didn't stick. I tried for several months, and it didn't work. Oh, I lost weight at first, but it just didn't stick.
Second of all - I have NEVER been diagnosed with an eating disorder. That has never even come across as a thought.
At any rate, we're going to appeal. I just hope I can make it up to my fiancee. I love her so much, and I accidently hurt her feelings pretty badly.
Wow - who knew things could be turned around so fast. Since the last post, I now have a monthly income, and today just found out that PacifiCare has overturned the denail. I call tomorrow to make my appointment for my first consultation with the New Dimensions program here in Fountain Valley.
If anyone wants copies of the appeals letters that my fiancee and I sent out, just contact me and I'm more than happy to share.
I also want to say a big thank you to my fiancee. She's scared to death of the surgery because some of our friends have had some bad experiences with it. But she's still supporting me 100% in this. I love her so much - thank you, Janeene!!
April 11, 2004
Okay, so a lot has happened in less than a month. First of all, my fiancee? She's not my fiancee anymore. We got married on April 17th. We were having car problems, and had to rent a car, so we drove to Vegas and got married at the Little White Wedding Chapel. My god - I didn't know I could be so happy. I love Janeene with all of my heart, and I know I have found my soul mate. She is the one for me.
Now, surgery news. I know my surgeon is going to be Dr. LePort. That gives me a LOT of confidence. I also found out my weight isn't as high as I thought it was. When I went in for my orientation, it was 645, and a week after that, it's 635. I don't know what I did to lose 10lbs, but I hope I can keep it up.
At any rate, I went to the 'orientation' that the Smart Dimensions program puts on. Didn't learn a whole lot new, since I've done so much research. Had the 'before' pictures taken. The main thing I found out is that they can remove the panacea (I'll check spelling and return to fix it later). This is the 'apron' that hangs down in front.
So - I went back to see Dr. LePort, and he, while extremely busy, came in looked at things, had some nurses take pictures of it, and is submitting it for permission from the insurance company. The way the doctor said it, I'd go in, have the gastric bypass done, then recover from that, then have the paniculectomy (again with the spelling), where they remove much of the apron, and then I heal from that and go home.
This is good news, as the apron is hindering my walking. I can still walk, it's just not easy pushing the apron around as I do. So - this is very, very good news.
So - now I have to go to a nutrition class, then go to the 'Doctor's talk' on May 17th, then I schedule an appointment with the surgeon and get my date. At least that's how it sounds.
So - things are going very well.
May 03, 2004
July 09, 2004
Wow, it's been a long time since I've updated this. To be honest, I hadn't felt like updating it.
To catch you up to where I'm at (If anyone is actually reading this), in May I wrote about the panniculectomy (Yeah, I'm sure that's spelled wrong) and everything.
Well, the surgeon put in for an approval for that and the gastric bypass, and it got denied. Again. So we gathered what we could, and filed another appeal. Supposed to take 30 days for the appeal to get reviewed and a decision made.
So. Today is 30 days. I called the insurance company, and found out that, indeed, the denail has been overturned!
I am SO excited, and SO relieved, and SO happy .. all these things flooding me at once.
But most importantly, I know how much this has been stressing out my new bride. She's more vocal on these message boards than I am by far. This has been most difficult on her. I think it's been more stressful on her than it has on me. So now she can be relieved, too.
We're going to have a long life together now, Baby!
One more person I need to thank is Calvin. I found his profile on here and wrote him quite a while ago asking him if he would mind if I e-mailed him questions from time to time, since he has already had the surgery.
That has turned into a friendship that I value very highly. Calvin also wrote a letter to my insurance company explaining about co-morbidities and how they have gone since he had the surgery, and even sent along a couple sheets of photos.
I will always be indebted to him, and I hope I can do the same for someone else after I've had the surgery.
Anyhow - I'll keep this more up to date after this. I haven't got a date yet, but I hope it's not too long. I'll die from the anticipation ;-)
July 9th, 2004
July 20, 2004
Wow - three days before my birthday and things are finally moving along. Of course, it's still a matter of hurry up and wait, but at least I know things are happening.
We had an approval on the gastric bypass, no problem. After two denails and two appeals, we're approved.
The surgeon who's doing the gastric bypass wants me to have a panniculectomy first. For those of you who don't know what this is, this is where they remove the pannis - or the part of your tummy that hangs down over your thighs. Mine happens to go to my knees.
We were waiting on pins and needles afraid that they were going to deny this, but to our suprise, they approved it first thing.
So - I have my first appointment with the plastic surgeon who's going to do the panniculectomy on August 11th.
:-D WOOHOO!! I actually saw some pictures of people who've had this done, and while it makes your tummy look kind of .... odd .... it does make it so you can walk much easier, perform personal hygene, and the whole gambit. I'm SO LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS!!
I'll add an update after the first consultation on August 11th, or before if something else warrants it. WOOHOO!!
July 20, 2004
Okay, so I've been lazy. A lot has happened sine I posted last. Suffice to say it's been a rollercoaster ride of the nth degree.
I was supposed to have an appointment with a plastic surgeon on August 11th. I got a call about a week before that from one of his nurses saying that they don't do the procedure, so I needed to find another doctor.
Well .. a month of playing back and forth with the medical group, a plastic surgeon, and a mountain of frustration I finally get an appointment with a plastic surgeon out of UCLA on October 25th. Only a THREE MONTH DELAY - but at least it's happening.
During that time, I also went and got all the pre-op stuff done. Blood work, chest x-rays, pulminary function testing, the whole gambit.
Everything was going fine until the stupid pulminologist. He's the guy that looks at your chest x-rays and decides if your lungs can handle the surgery.
We were sitting in there, waiting for him to come in, and he finally comes in. Said there was an abnormality with my x-rays, but he couldn't determine what it was. Kept asking me if I was "ready to bite the bullet". I'm sitting there wanting to punch this guy in the face because I can see my wife sitting there getting more and more upset. I'm not a violent person in the least, but dammit - don't make my wife cry. At any rate, he approved me once he understood that I understood what the risks are, and I accept them.
The thing is - I don't think there's going to be much of a problem. Maybe I'm dilusional, but my lungs are absolutely clear. When I move around and get out of breath, I catch my breath quickly with no problem. My blood oxygen level is fine, and my heart, although slightly enlarged, is fine. My cholesterol is even good.
My dad has a heart valve problem - a heart murmur is the most common diagnosis. He's had it all his life - survived several years in the military with it .. he's now 73 years old and healthier than a lot of people I know. My uncle - my dad's twin - has severe lung troubles. But he's 73 - granted he's not very healthy, but he's alive and kicking.
So - I'm confident that this is going to go well. I'm going to have the panniculectomy and then about a month after that, I'll have the gastric bypass. I'm going to lose the weight, and have a very long, very happy life with my wife, my soon to be 5 year old daughter, and my two stepsons.
I'll post more later.
September 17, 2004
Well .. It's obviously been too long sine I've updated. I had my appointment on October 25th, and it didn't go very well at all. We had been told that this doctor would do the surgery, and when we got there, he didn't even examine me, just said he didn't think that's the way things should be done, so he's not going to do it.
So .. that three month wait? A waste. Frustrating, upsetting, and all of that.
To make a long story short, in the short three or four weeks since then, we have been told stories, lies, whatever, I don't know, but bottom line, things are straightened out. I'm going to be seeing a doctor that has worked with my bariatric surgeon before doing the panniculectomy, so I'm sure he's not going to just tell me no and toss me out of the office. I'm excited, I have a good feeling this time.
Now, if our car is repaired in time, it's all good. I'll post more tomorrow after the appointment.
November 22, 2004
Well .. A lot of tomorrows have come and gone since I last updated. To be completely honest, I just didn't want to post negative things, and that's all that seemed to have been happening until last Thursday or so.
So, to fill you in on what's happened since November 21. The next day our car wasn't ready, so we took a cab out to see the plastic surgeon. While he didn't say yes, he did give us a lot of hope for a while. Then we just didn't hear from him for a long time. Then he wanted the records from that ass up at UCLA that didn't examine me or anything, just turned us down saying it was hospital policy. Only problem is, he didn't say that in his records, he said it was to extreme of a risk, which made our doctor here say he wanted a second opinion, but was inclined not to do it.
Well, we waited around for a couple of months (bringing us up to last week) waiting for doctors to get together and talk and set up an appointment so we could get that second opinion.
It just never happened. I don't know what made the folks at the gp surgeon's office finally realize that, but it seems they have. This Thursday (March 10) I go in and get weighed. Then they're going to want me to lose 25lbs off of that weight, and then they'll perform the surgery.
I can most definitly live with that. It won't be a problem to lose that weight. Especially since Janeene's going to be home with me for the next 6-8 weeks (YAY!! I can't wait!! She has to have surgery on her foot, and it's keeping her out of work for 6-8 weeks, but we haven't had much more than a couple days off together since I moved down here in 2003. I'm SO looking forward to this!!) - she'll be here to support me and make sure I behave. ;-)
So.. while I have every intention to update this more often, chances are it'll be a month or two before I do. Cross your fingers, pray, and whatever else that the next update has a surgery date. :-D
March 8, 2005
Well, I was right. It's been more than a month. Rather eventful, too.
First things first. I weighed in about two weeks ago, and suprisingly, I didn't gain a whole lot of weight. Over the last year or so I've gained three pounds. So that's pretty good, unless you take into account that at one point, I had lost a lot of weight. But it's all good.
The folks at Smart Dimensions want me to lose 30lbs, and then we'll get the surgery ball rolling again. I'll probably have to go through all the damn pre-op testing AGAIN, but at least I know it'll happen now. I have more control over what's happening, and that feels good.
I'd like to say again, that I have the most wonderful, loving wife in the world. She's staying in a job she hates so that the insurance will pay for my surgery. I can't begin to say how much that means to me, and once I have the surgery and can do things a normal person can again - I'm going to make it all up to her. And then some.
I'm planning on going in and weighing in the first part of June, so I'll post more then.
May 13, 2005
Well, first part of June didn't work out. C'est la vie. I'm going in July 19th to weigh in and see how much I have lost, and if I have any more to lose.
I also wanted to have an appointment with the surgeon so I could talk to him about a couple of things. Guess what - they wanted me to get ANOTHER referral!!
That's rediculus. The reason things are taking this long is because of them. Has nothing to do with me - if it was me, I would have had the surgery last August after I had all the pre-op stuff done! BOY was I angry!
But - Pacificare - they are wonderful. I had them intervene, and I don't have to get another referral or anything. Since nothing has happened on any of the referrals / approvals, they all still stand.
SO - hopefully things are finally, FINALLY moving foward.
I'll post again after my appointment with the surgeon on July 21st.
July 13, 2005
July 20, 2005
Well, to catch things up, I finally got in to weigh in May. I just went and weighed in yesterday, and in the two months since I weighed in, I lost 46 lbs!! I'm down to 609 now. I'm going to start a running tally at the bottom of this.
Now I go see the surgeon on the 21st (tomorrow) and see what's going to happen.
July 29, 2005
Man .. I swear I'm going to start pulling my hair out. The past week and half or so since I had my appointment with Dr. LePort have been one big rollercoaster.
I saw Dr. LePort. After a very frustrating wait at his office, and what almost seemed like we weren't going to see him, he came in the office. I was impressed, though, because he brought another surgeon, Dr. Ali in, and was able to pretty much recite what's happened to me the past year and a half or so verbatim.
At any rate, it came down to Dr. LePort saying he was going to do the surgery. He was going to have Dr. Ali do it laproscopic, and if that doesn't work, they'll resort to open. I was supposed to hear a surgery date by this past Wednesday.
Well, that didn't happen. The person who is going to schedule the surgery was waiting for one person to fax my chart over, and so I called that person, and that person said they had misplaced my chart during an office move, and they were desperately looking for it. So - I called back today, and found out that someone else had been holding on to it, and heard nothing about what was happening. So .. I figured all was good and I would hear next week a surgery date for my gastric bypass.
Now, it seems, the doctor they want to do the panniculectomy has found a new doctor at University of California Irvine that will see me and give him the second opinion he wanted, since the guy up at UCLA was a .. well, let's just say he told me one thing, and then wrote something else entirely down in my chart that made it seem that I would cack over and die if I had it.
So .. now I have an appointment at UCI on August 23rd at 8:20AM. I also have another appointment with Dr. Leport that day at 3:15PM. SO it's going to be a busy day - I don't get out that much, so that's going to be a physically hard day for me, but it's all friggin' worth it.
At least now, I've spoken with Dr. LePort again, and he said he's committed to doing the surgery whether or not the panniculectomy happens. He just told me I need to keep working on losing weight, and that will drastically improve my chances. I had planned on keeping working on losing weight, so that's a no-brainer.
So.. I've got to call everyone again on Monday and make sure all the silly referrals and approvals get extended.
I just hope I don't have to go through another year long fiasco for the panniculectomy before the surgery happens.
I'll update again when I know more - most likely around the 23rd.
Well, once again it's been FAR, FAR too long since I've updated this.
But - good things come to those who wait. Or in my case, procrastinate. I finally have some uber good news to put in here.
My surgery dates have been scheduled.
On April 17th (coincidently my second anniversary with Janeene), I go in for the paniculectomy at 6 am.
On May 15th (assuming that everything goes well and I heal from the pani quick enough), I go in for the gastric bypass. The cool thing about this, is, with the pani done, they're going to do the gp laproscopic, so that's going to WAY cut down on risks. Woohoo!!
So .. I'm going to be one of the "losers" here in about three months. I can't wait. I know it's going to be a difficult time at first, but it's going to be well worth it.
Oh - and I weighed in, and I lost another 9 lbs from what's on my profile here. That's after the holiday madness and everything, so that's pretty good. I'm going to hopefully go get weighed again in another month. Losing 50+ pounds is pretty dern good.
Ok, so I forgot to put a date on that last one. Can't remember when I updated it, but it wasn't all that long ago. Maybe a month.
At any rate. ALL SYSTEMS ARE A GO! Bout FLIPPIN' time! Though it's also huge and scary right now that all the reality of things are coming to be, but still - w00t!!!
All my pre-op testing is done. Yesterday was the consult with the cardiologist. I'm amazed - last time I was rated at a very high risk - that was 19 months ago. Now I'm a moderate risk. Maybe it's just the different doctor, but I've also become a lot more healthy.
My lung function tests were even better - when compared to my test 19 months ago, my lung functions have improved by about 50%. The one test that sticks in my mind for some reason is my lung capacity - it's increased by 41% in the last 19months.
So .. now it's "go time" as people like to see. I have an appointment with Dr. Elliot and Dr. LePort, an appointment with my PCP, and then the surgery on April 17th.
Happy Anniversary a bit early, Baby!
I know this update is all over the place. I'm excited, I'm scared, and I know deep down in my bones that this is going to take my already incredible and wonderful life and make it better.
So .. all that being said, just one thing remains to be said:
31 Days and a Wake up!!!
Okay, so I forgot to post a couple of things last time. Thank God for my wife - she's my memory. I love you, Baby!
Everything has gone very good as far as the pre-op appointments go. Now if people would just get the paperwork where it's supposed to go, we'll be good.
What I forgot to post is that I'm having two surgeries. The first one is this coming Monday, April 17th. Like I said, it's our second anniversary. So far everything is on track, except some paperwork is stuck in the craw of The System somewhere, but I've been assured that will be fixed tomorrow.
The first surgery is the paniculecomy. I've already talked about it, so I'm not going to re-hash it. Suffice to say I'm nervous, excited, scared, and ready.
The second surgery is the gastric bypass. That's currently scheduled for May 15th. We'll see if that one goes off on schedule. It all depends on how well I heal from the first surgery, and if they want me to be under the anesthetic that close together.
So .. 5 days.
April 23. -5 days. -99lbs!!!
My wife and I are in the process of having our 15 minutes of fame, too.
The first surgery went very, very well. It was a bit scary the couple hours before it, however.
They found I have an irregular heartbeat. Dunno how that wasn't found before now - but there it is. Basically, they came in and told me that either I could put off the surgery and pretty much die a slow death because they couldn't do anything for my heart. Or, have the surgery, lose the weight, get healthy, and it will most likely correct itself.
No brainer. Scary choice. With the irregular heartbeat, there was a very good chance I could go into defibrulation and not be revived. But - still a no brainer.
But - turns out that once they put me under, my heartbeat stablized, and things went awesome.
They cut off a total of 95lbs.
I spent until Thursday in the hospital, coming home a full day earlier than the best predictions.
I'm able to walk and do a lot of stuff now. My wife has to make me slow down so I don't overdo it while the suture line heals.
Life is good. I also lost four pounds on my own at the hospital, so in a week, I'm -99lbs.
My mind just went blank, so I ca'nt think of anything else to say right now. Life is good - I'm doing better than great, and it's just getting better.
Quick update - my gastric bypass surgery is currently scheduled for July 10th. Gives me plenty of time to lose a bit of weight.
Ugh .. delays. Evidently the surgeon had something come up, or was called out of town or something, and my sugery is delayed till July 25th. Of course, they call me 4 days before this one, and I had already psyched myself up for it.
C'est la vie - at least it wasn't cancelled. Plus, I get to wait until after my birthday.
Starting weight: 652
Current weight: 531
Total lost: 121
Holy crap it's been far too long since I've updated this. Today is August 27th.
Well, let's start with where I left off. By the time surgery date rolled around, some edema had developed in my panus again bringing my weight up to 538. That's what my weight was the day of surgery. I was a bit disappointed, but it wasn't by any fault of mine, so I guess I should take some comfort in that.
Day of surgery: Surgically, things went very smoothly. They had to do it open, which I more or less expected. Dr. LePort took my gall bladder too. Again - that was expected.
What wasn't expected was that I would develop atrial fibrulation from the anesthesia. This sucks, as I'm currently on coumadin and, if my heart doesn't go back to a regular rythm, I'll have to be shocked to get it back into proper rythm. (Yeah, paddles, someone yelling "CLEAR!!" - the whole nine yards.) I'm not excited about that, but my cardiologist seems to think it's going to be pretty routine, so I should just suck it up and get over it. It's just scary.
The other bad thing that happened on the day of surgery - my wife was leaving the parking structure to go home after sitting through my surgery, then being the one to watch my heart rate skyrocket while I was sleeping from the afib, and what should happen, but the steering wheel of our minivan falls into her lap as she's driving.
Yes, I said the dang steering wheel fell off.
Now, the fun stuff.
As of today, 08/27 - a month and two days after my gastric bypass, I'm down 75lbs. My wieght this morning was 463 - that's from 538 from the day of surgery. If you add the 95lbs from the panni removal - that's 170lbs since April.
I'm totally amazed. Amazed at the difference in how I feel, how much I can do physically, and how much brighter the future looks. I can walk now. I can drive again. (Albeit not the minivan anymore - we couldn't keep putting money into fixing that, so we got a new car. A Brilliant Black Pearlcoat Dodge Durango with a Hemi - need a Tim Allen grunt here) I've been going into the swimming pool with my wife. (I'd say going swimming, but I don't know how to swim yet.) Going in stores and walking around again.
Anyhow - I've also been in the local newspaper twice, and last Wednesday, had another interview for a third article to be published sometime this week. Very cool having people recognize me from the paper. Kind of freaky, too.
So - Total lost so far: 75lbs. (I feel almost like I'm cheating if I include the panni weight loss cause they just hacked that off of me.)
Life is AWESOME!!
Well, here it is, October 1st.
Things are going absoutely awesome. I can physically do just about anything I need to do now, and next week I'm going to actually start exercising. My wife has a membership at LA Fitness, and we're going to add me to it now that I can go. I was just released for exercise.
Things have been great. My wife and I have been getting away together on little weekend "adventures." We even were going to go to Obesity Help's event in Universal City, and ended up staying in our hotel for the day. We stayed at the Westin Bonaventure, and just didn't want to leave.
Needless to say, there's some things that, because of my size, we hadn't been able to do - and now we can. That's put a huge smile on both of our faces.
So - we're also making other big plans. We're going to drive up and see my family in December, and then we're both starting school in January. She's going to go through a nursing program, and I'm going to update my certiications and get back into the work force.
Big changes - all for the better. And they're just going to keep getting better.
435lbs, down 103 from my surgery on 7/25.
down 217 from my highest weight the summer of 2004.
October 27. 2006
Okay, pasting my old profile in here since it won't convert.
Things are going great. We got the membership at LA Fitness, and we've had two workouts so far. I keep surprising myself on how much I'm able to do. I couldn't do it without Janeene with me - it makes the workout fly by since she's there with me.
418lbs, down 120 from 7/25, and down 234 from highest weight, summer of 2004.