My journey starts here...
9/14/06 "These months aren't going fast enough"
Weight: 275 BMI: 45.8
I'm required by my insurance company to participate in 6 months of a physician supervised structured weight loss program. What?? Are you kidding me? Well I guess you have to do what they say, right? My first official "weight loss appointment" was in July. So I have a monthly appointment right through December. Ugh December? Thats like FOREVER away. Everyone keeps saying the time will fly by. It'll be December before you know it. Yeah..right. The dates will actually work out great. With my job I get laid off from December-May. So I'll have plenty of time for surgery and recovery. If, of course, the insurance folks cooperate. We'll deal with them in December. But I've been using these 6 months to get done all the "little" things they (Health East Bariatrics) make you do before WLS. Frankly I have no idea how anyone does all these things on the "fast track" to surgery. I need all 6 months! So far I've completed 6 sessions with a physical therapist. Or was it 8? Hmmm I can't remember. He showed me some exercises and stretches to help me stay in top form before and after surgery. I loved going to therapy sessions. Ok so it was because he was hot, sue me! So physical therapy..CHECK. Next it was a visit with the dietitian. She was very helpful and knowledgable. I loved how she took my meals and just changed little things to make them more healthy. She is great I see her every other month now. Then on the months I don't see the dietitian I see the physician. I've met with him once now. I'll try updating now that I have this figured out, after each appointment? Maybe. Anyway, I also fasted and had blood work done. Lab Work...CHECK. Dietitian meet..CHECK. Physician meet...CHECK. At my meeting with the physician he said my sugar levels were high enough to be condiered "Pre-Diabetic". Yikes thats scary. He said most likely I would have Diabetes in 5-10 years. Ugh. So on with my list. I attended a support group for pre and post ops. Very informative. Especially with 2 post op "losers" in the group. Support meeting...CHECK. I met with the nurse clinician at the St.Paul Lung Clinic. She suggested that I have the actual spend the night with wires hooked to you, Sleep Apnea study. That is scheduled for October 5. Maybe I'll actually get some sleep! Sleep study..sorta CHECK. My psych evals start on Monday with the testing the Monday after that and a follow up after that. Psych...CHECK. All of these are done or near finished! How anyone does all these things with less than 6 months is beyond me! My employer has been just great letting me miss work for all these appointments. I do try to make them early in the morning or last thing in the afternoon. But all of these things that I've done in the last 2 months pale in comparison to my greatest acheivement yet. I quit smoking!!!! Yeah me! August 22 was my first day! I can't believe its been 24 days! It really wasn't that hard either. I was shocked and still am! I was prescribed the Nicotrol Inhaler. I thought it would be best for me since I wasn't a heavy, heavy smoker. I only used 4 of the 6 cartridges in the pack. The box comes with 150 odd cartridges! I don't even use it all anymore. That is my journey so far...I have a long way to go.
9/16/06 "The dentist"
I also forgot to mention that I actually went to the dentist for the first time in over 10 years! The consequences of not going to the dentist in 10 years are root canals! Root canals are pretty scary to a person who is afraid to just get their teeth cleaned! But my back molar (#15 like anyone cares) broke a little off the back. I did nothing about it just learned to eat on the other side of my mouth. Well when you have WLS your teeth need to A. all be there and B. be in one piece! So I knew I had to get it fixed eventually before my surgery. With all that chewing it would be hard on just one side of your mouth. P.S. have you ever tried chewing on one side of your mouth? Its alot harder than you would think! Anyway... I put off the dentist thinking I have until at least December! No such luck. It became infected and hurt like CRAZY! I was in tears it hurt SO much. Not to gross you out but it hurt alot but the infection really smelled! ICKY, Jeni!!!! So an emergency SOS was placed to a local "gentle dentist" (and the others are barbarians?). They fit me in the next day and I couldn't get there fast enough! I received 2 shots of novacaine (sp?) and lots of gas! I was great. There were minor pains but nothing that I couldn't handle. I came out with a "new tooth" and a new outlook on the dentist. I still need to go back and have a crown put on it but that will have to wait until this winter as I have used up all my insurance for this year on the root canal. But I will go! I promise...?
9/19/2006 "The Shrink"
Weight:278 He weighed me for some reason? I thought it was weird..
Yesterday was my first meeting with the psychologist. I have never been to therapy or a psycholgist before. It was...interesting. He mostly asked the same questions I've been asked the last 3 months and for that matter, the last 30 years! Before I met with him I was thinking about the issue of emotional eating. I just finished reading Carnie Wilson's 2nd book "I'm Still Hungry". In which she talks about eating because your sad and mad and all that. I hear that a lot. People are sad so they plop in front of the TV with a bucket of ice cream. After thinking about and discussing it with my best gal pal, I don't think I'm an emotional eater. I just like food! He asked why I thought I was obese and all the "tough" questions like do I eat when I'm sad. I think if anything it is out of boredom which I suppose is an emotion. He wants me to think about how I handle stress until I meet with him again. Stress? I don't know these were tough questions, for me anyway.He asked what I thought I could weigh realistically with WLS. Man I don't even know what I'm suppose to weigh! I told him 165 sounded good because that was on my first driver's license. 165 sounds do able..135 sounds even better. I think I weighed that in elementary school! Probably not in the cards for me genetically! All in all it went well, I think. Monday the 25th I go back to take a series of tests (4 I believe). One of the tests is a 500 true/false questions! Yikes I hope these are on a touch screen! I'll check in again after my testing. I included the Elmo picture because today they released the 10th anniversary Tickle Me Elmo doll. Tickle Me Elmo was the Cabbage Patch Doll of my daughters day. Which just further reminded me how old I'm getting! Oh well.
9/25/2006 "The Tests"
I went in for my psychological tests today. This involves 5 tests. A personality test, behavior test, eating inventory test, a happiness test and self evaluation of how you are doing with exercise, drinking water, and the like. All went well. Sitting in that chair for 3 hours sure hurt my back! Of course there isn't much that doesn't make my back hurt these days! Some very...strange questions on the personality and behavior tests. A lot of the questions were repeated (567 questions total on the personality test) in an obvious attempt to "catch" you lying I guess. But all went well. Can't wait to see the results of my tests when I go back in 2 weeks. I have never taken any test like that before. Kinda weird. That was the excitement for today. Next appointments are on October 5. My monthly meeting with the Bariatric physician, Dr. Frenz, and my Sleep Apnea slumber party! Yipee. I certainly don't want to have sleep apnea but it sure would explain a lot of why I'm tired 24/7. I'd like to get a restful night of sleep again...don't we all!
October 5, 2006
Weight: 277 BMI: 45
"The Sleep Study"
Well now that was very interesting! I had my sleep study done at Woodwinds Hospital in Woodbury, MN. The sleep tech (?) was professional and personable. He made me feel comfortable considering the situation...he was gluing things to my head on a bed. Hmmm...
Those "things" and the rest of the wires all over my body were slightly annoying but not really all that bad. People often wonder, how in the heck do you think I'm gonna get to sleep with all those do jobs all over me! I was one of these people! But I'm living proof that it can be done. After I got "hooked up" and watched the rest of a hockey game, I decided I could probably fall asleep. I would describe my sleep as "shallow". I think I was just waiting for the tech to come in and rearrange the wires or put the CPAP mask on, as they said may be possible if it looked like I needed it. But no one ever came. Next thing I knew it was morning and I had to go to work. I felt good except for the goo in my hair! I wasn't even late for work!
A few weeks later I went to the St. Paul Lung Clinic for my follow-up. NO SLEEP APNEA! My tiredness is most likely due to having a 1 year old! So I can't include Sleep Apnea among the list of complications from my weight. But my husband won't have to sleep with Darth Vader either so its a BIG plus! Yeah!
Weight: 276-281 BMI: 45
So its been AWHILE since I've posted any updates! I'm not sure why I haven't had the "will" to post but I'm here with a new vigor! I've seen the psychologist a few more times. Actually I think its been about once a month or more! He thinks I had some compliance issues. But he was my last appointment before the insurance submit and he gave me the go ahead! I've seen the physician once a month since October. He's also given the seal of approval! I saw the dietician once more in December. She gave me the idea of asking for a George Foreman grill for Christmas. Now I am a proud owner of one. I must be the last person on the planet to have one. I love it. Grilling indoors, in the winter! Awesome. The dietician has also given me the go ahead. I'm also proud to say I'm going on 5 months of being smoke free! Its so great not having to buy cigarettes. I love not smoking, its the best! I've also been exercising! I have a membership at the YMCA. I try to get there at least 2 times a week but some weeks I go upwards of 4 times. My best friend is coming with me as is my daughter who just finished a fitness orientation (because she's 10)! Its great having those 2 come with me and get me to go! I started with the recumbant bike, it seemed the most harmless. I'd do 20 minutes on it then my feet would start to hurt so then I finish up my 30 minutes with a brisk walk around the track. I've now discovered the elliptical cross trainer! What a God send! It gets my heart rate up quicker and I can do 30 minutes on it without passing out! I really, really hope after the surgery I can get my fanny into the gym a lot. I really want to work it! So thats it, everything is completed. Just one thing left to do...submit to the insurance company....
The insurance specialist called today. She said she didn't think the insurance company was going to like the fact that I saw the dietician in July and September instead of the physician. According to my insurance plan I need, "6 months of a physician supervised structured weight loss program". She thinks they may only count the times I saw the physician, that would be 4. So what should we do? I told her to submit the letter anyway and I'll make 2 more appointments with the physician for January and February. So thats the plan wait and see if they approve me or do 2 more months and then try again. Oh man...
January 5, 2007
Weight: 275 BMI: 45
"What a way to start 2007"
So 2007 has already started with a bang! I'm the proud aunt of a new baby boy named Charlie who was born on New Year's Day! He's just perfect. Today, however, we had to put our dog to sleep. He was getting old and battling Lyme Disease. He wasn't winning the fight. He will be missed. I'm not sure what could make me feel better on a day like this...perhaps a phone call from the Bariatric Center? I WAS APPROVED!!!! Whats that you say? I WAS APPROVED!!!!! No extra 2 months needed! Oh man what a roller coaster of emotions in one week! I've also had some other "personal" issues that had me feeling a wide variety of emotions. I'm not sure there's an emotion I haven't felt this week! I WAS APPROVED! I've never loved the insurance company more! I hope they enjoy it because I'll go back to hating them in a month or two. So now what? Now you make the appointment to meet with your surgeon. The surgeon? I can't believe I'm here! YES!!!! I meet with Dr. Koeplin on January 16, 1 week and 4 days. Oh I'm so happy! I WAS APPROVED!!!!!!!!!!! I was so worried that I'd have to do 2 more months of structured weight loss and I wouldn't get to the OR until March or more likely April. I have to go back to work in May that's cutting it close! But no problem now! I'm assuming the surgeon should be able to get me in in February. I sure hope! I'll be a whole new girl when I get back to work in MAY! Look out! I WAS APPROVED!! I'm sorry but I'm just over the moon! Until after I see the surgeon.....
January 16, 2007
BMI: 44 Weight: 272
"At last we meet.."
Well one of the days I've been waiting for has finally arrived. I met with Dr. Koeplin today, the doctor who is to do my surgery. I was so worried that I may have gained some weight since the last time I was there (why I don't know, I've worked my ass off since then). As it turns out I actually LOST weight!! I guess I really did work my ass off. Granted it wasn't much but it is my lowest weight since before I started this process in July. Ok so if that wasn't enough Dr. Koeplin turned out to be SO nice and SO sweet and just SO great. I can't believe my luck, he's the best. We discussed the surgery and he checked me over. He explained the lap vs. open surgeries. He said I was a great candidate for laparoscopic. I don't have a lot of upper abdominal fat and waist isn't over 60". He was happy to hear that I've had a couple kids. The stretching of the body makes a little more room in the belly, I'm guessing. All in all it was a great meeting with Dr. Koeplin! I'm so glad I chose him. After I met with him I had to schedule the surgery! I was given the list of all the tests I needed to have pre-op including more lab work, chest x-ray, EKG and gall bladder ultrasound. Dr. Koeplin explained that if everything looked good on the ultrasound and when he was "in there" he would just leave it in. I will need to take some medication for about 6 months to reduce the chance of developing stones. If it appeared I had stones or the gall bladder didn't look "good" he would take it out. All that sounded good to me. Who am I? I'm going with what HE says! I'm all for keeping my organs! I was also told I need to go back on the 7th of February for a pre-op teaching session. They'll go over all the things more in depth that you need to know for the 2 weeks before surgery and the months after. I also get my great menu of only liquids for 2 weeks before the surgery. That will be a good day to get all my pre-op tests done next door at the hospital! Then its onto the pre-op physical with my PCP hopefully on the 21st of February. Then its the beginning of my new life!!! FEBRUARY 27 is my date. That was his first available time. Tuesday. I'm his second operation that day. She said I'll need to be there at 8 am. Wow what time does the first guy get there? 5 am she said. YIKES. Umm is there a third time slot that comes in about noon? It wasn't as soon as would've liked but thats ok the 27th is a good day. Its my nephew's birthday so I like it! 45 days....oh man..I'm so excited. The count down is on....