Update: Jeff is now at 247 - so, a loss of 125 pounds so far. He is slowing way down, still losing a little but he isn't too far above where his Doc said he'd wind up for his height and body type before plastics. He has quite a bit of tummy skin that could go and not be missed, so this fall we will pursue that for him.
Between now and then, we intend to have as much fun as possible! A trip to Disney is coming up in two weeks, and it will be just about a year to the week from last year. I can't wait to see the comparisons in the amount of things we will be able to do this trip!
I am trying to get a new picture album of just WLS pics going, and am frustrated, because no matter what oreder I upload them in, they come out all wrong. So for now, they are mixed up. I will work on it later. At least some of them are there. Actually, they are all there, you just have to dig through all our other pictures to see the WLS pics, and I was trying to make it so you wouldn't have to do that. Oh well. If someone knows the magical formula, please let me know. Otherwise, I will work on it later!
Things here are good- I am looking forward to Disney and posting some comparison pics when we get back...See you then!
I did locate our story, which is below - and it is fascinating, of course, but I'll put a very short update right here for you lucky viewers at home.
Jeff has lost 110 pounds as of this week, and is feeling like a whole new person! He is in size 38 levis, and wearing an xl - xxl shirt. He went indoor rock climbing on our sons birthday last week, and that was an amazing experience for both of us. We were invited to a birthday party in June of this past summer, and the kids went rock climbing, which is something he has always wanted to do.
He talked to the instructor, who told him that his total weight might be okay, but his belly sticking out in front of him would prevent him from climbing. That is what really made up his mind completely about having surgery. Now, six and a half months later, he has accomplished and enjoyed something that he's wanted to do for a very long time.
We just updated our pictures from our rock climbing birthday party and our recent snow trip to the Diamond Lake Tube Hill. We had a blast, and it was great for the kids to have their dad participate fully with them instead of doing a little and then having to rest for awhile. We didn't even realize how often that happened until he didn't do it anymore. It's amazing.
So, that is our update. We are all enjoying this new Jeff. He is continuing to change right in front of our eyes, and we are looking forward to all of the fun things this spring and summer will bring!
My Story has apparently been erased, but we have a great one...so, please, email me if you're interested!
My husband had his Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy done with Dr. Mark Pleatman in Auburn Hills, Michigan on July 27th, 2006, and as of today - Nov 15, 2006, he has lost 86 pounds, his sleep apnea, his gastric reflux, his snoring, his swollen ankles, and 15 inches off of his waist.
He has no regrets about doing this over RNY or DS, and has had no complaint or complications. He is healthy, his bloodwork is normal, and he is loving his newfound freedom. Please email us if you have any questions!!!!
Hey- I located an old copy that I had saved and emailed myself, so WE ARE ON!
Please feel free to skip around, some of this is old news, and some is just plain boring, but if you're like me, I read literally hundreds of profiles, and was incredibly curious and had to read everything I could. I found the very best info in other peoples profiles - because they are real, and not just what the glossy pamphlet tells you. So, read on, and realize that most of my story is about my husband, because my surgery is still waiting on that damned money tree!
We are new here, and haven't applied for insurance coverage yet, but our primary coverage is with Pacific Source, so doesn't look good. We're thinking of trying to change to another carrier, and are doing research at this point. We've found this website to be very informative and helpful!
Just posted a picture with my Husbands help. He is a computer wizard, and I am his apprentice. (Kinda...lol) Anyway, I have been spending alot of time reading the profiles and doing my research on WLS. I have learned alot about the different mis-information that well intentioned people tell you if you metion WLS.
I haven't told my folks yet about this, but my husbands parents are very supportive. Mine are just very scared of this particular surgery. We know a young lady that had surgery (open RNY) about 5 years ago, and there were major complications after her surgery. Several corrective surgeries and near fatal infections later, she is moderately healthy but unable to have children, etc... So, my mom and dad are understandably concerned, but to not have it I know would put us at even greater risk. We've both been heavy literally since childhood. I remember being embarrased in third grade when I got my school pictures because I was by far the biggest girl there. Third Grade! That puts me at what, age eight or nine? My daughters age. I was normal birth weight, normal toddler, right up until about age 5, then I started to get kind of "thick". Then a little thicker. Then heavy. Then, puberty. Boy, was that a rotten little trick.
So, when we have insurance approval and a date, then I'll sit down with them and have a heart to heart and try to explain why this is so important to me. I know they love me and just don't want anything to happen to me or my husband. We have two beautiful children to consider, too. Our daughter is 8 and our son is 7. They are both so much fun and genuinely cool little people to be around. But I know they will benefit from this also. Maybe more than we will.
My husband is also seriously considering this, and we are both scheduled to attend an informational seminar on 4-20-06. That is one of the requirements that the surgeons have in place before the surgery, so that will be at least one hurdle out of the way. We are covered under PacificSource right now, and they are notorious for denying, so we are working on getting different coverage, either by me going to work somewhere for a while, or by trying to change providers. Anyone have any ideas for insurance coverage in southern Oregon that is WLS friendly?
I have a great PCP, and don't anticipate any problems there, so that's a relief. I emailed someone from OH's message board because I recognized her location, and we have the same doctor. She said he was great in referring, so that should be okay. (Thanks, Erika!) It made me feel a little more secure in going ahead and talking to him about what I want.
So this week ahead of me is Spring Break, and time for me to call my PCP and my husbands PCP and get the ball rolling for initial appointments to go in and talk about referrals and getting the beginning testing going. The more hurdles we get over now, the fewer to deal with later, right??
Thanks to everyone that has all the nitty gritty details in their profiles. It has really helped us to both see a bigger picture than the books portray. Especially from real people! Anyone out there that reads this, Weight Loss for Dummies has been invaluable for an information source. I hope to post more soon....
Yesterday was my 13th wedding anniversary to the most wonderful man in the world. He is my favorite person ever. He takes such good care of me and our children. We are always his first priority before anything else. He spends so much time with us. I am truly blessed to not only have a husband that I love, but one that I like, too. I can't say enough good things about him. He does sometimes speak without thinking first, though. I call him my "very favorite little asssshhole". I'm not sure how that got to be an endearment, but it did. I wouldn't trade him for all the tea in China.
Well, we went to the symposium on WLS this last Thursday, and got some more good information. I am going to try to get our insurance changed to another provider that will cover this. We have group insurance, so it's not just us that will be changing, it's the whole group. They have made me the 'official insurance person'. The coordinator there at the symposium was really infomative about which coverages require documented weight loss attempts with a Dr. supervision and which ones don't. I have that info on file for me, but my husband doesn't have it in his records. He's been on all the same diets I have, but mine are documented at my doctors, and his aren't.
I think we've made our surgeon selection, at least down between two. We met Dr. Street at the symposium we went to and liked him very much. I have also heard wonderful things about Dr. Eaton. Each surgery done at our bariatric surgery clinic in Medford (about 30 miles away from us) has two surgeons attending right now. The bariatric clinic is underway to qualify for the "Center of Excellence" stamp of approval. The only other one in Oregon is Good Samaritan in Portland. According to what the coordinator told us, they only have a few more months to go to get it, and the only thing that is lacking is the amount of surgical hours the Doctors have to put in doing Bariatric surgery. All the Dr's are also vascular surgeons, but those hours don't count towards the requirement. I'm glad they are doing that, it makes me feel very confident of doing our surgeries in Meford instead of driving to Portland. Our clinic only does two surgeries a week on Tuesdays, so it takes a while to get enough under their belts. Both the surgeons we liked have been doing this in addition to a regular vascular surgery practice, also.
Tomorrow, I will start calling the short list of insurance companies that I have listed and find out what I have to do to get us changed. I have my annual Dr. appt this Thursday so I can talk to my PCP and get his go ahead and support. My husband has his next week to get his go ahead. I don't think there will be any problems there, but I am still a little nervous about it. This means that we are on our way. We have to wait three months between our surgeries, so I'm not sure who will go first. Some of it depends on the timing. He is in retail, and for all intents and purposes, your personal life stops in November when you own a retail business. You don't get it back until mid-January. Then it's almost tax time. The fun never ends....
I am getting so discouraged!
We have a small,small business in Oregon. We are too far South for the good insurances that cover WLS up North, and too little to purchase a rider for our existing insurance. Our insurance now has a flat out written exclusion, but larger companies could buy a rider that would cover the surgery. We have a business partner in another state, and had a brainstorm that maybe we could go thru them and have them add us to their insurance instead of each having individual coverage, but we got a definitive no from the taxpayroll complications that would arise. We are in the middle of a chapter 13 bankruptcy-two and a half years to go on that, so can't refinace the house right now. We have a little money in an IRA we could get to if it was medically necessary, but both of us need this desperately, and the fee for our local clinic without ins is $29K. For both of us it would be about $60, and we have about 13 of that.
We are looking into Mexico Canada Spain...I don't know what to do right now. I could go and get a job with ins that would cover this. It may come to that, but I can't until school starts in September, and I have so many other duties at our business that I would have to keep up, that it would be like having three jobs, if I count being a wife-mother as one.
Anyone that could give me info on either Mexico or Canada - even Spain, if we could get a good price, please feel free to email me!
Mexico scares me, is that wrong? I worked for several years in a dental office and saw lots of dental work that patients had done in Mexico because they couldn't afford it here or their insurance wouldn't cover it, and the quality of the work was generally lower. That may not be true now, though, and may not be true for this type of surgery. The work may have been lower because the patients were just as cheap there as they were here, too. If you don't have the money, you don't have it. I posted on the boards and hope someone will respond. I would really like to talk to someone in person. Heeeelllllpppppp! I thought I had all my ducks in a row, with a contingentcy plan for my back up plan, but here I am, feeling like I have no options.
I got a card from my cousin that had a Duodenal Switch in October, and she has lost 112 lbs as of last week. She is a nurse, and chose the DS over RNY for several reasons. So, I'm kind of considering that, also. She said it was the right decision for her, and might not be for us, but the more she told me, the more I was unsure that RNY was the right way to go. In our clinic here it is the only surgery they will do. I guess time will tell what happens. I pray for guidance, I don't want to wind up dead or a widow from a bad decision or from zigging when I am being guided to zag. Thanks for listening, and good night!
Okay, here I am, a short 4 days later, and I have more info about Mexico than I ever thought possible. I am so relieved to find out that things were not as I thought. I was kind of chastened to read on someone's post or site that she told her family that it wasn't as if he took a break from making tortilla's to come and do her surgery really quick. I admit I wasn't quite that bad, but I did have that same kind of attitude. I should be better, too, because my brother in law is from El Salvador, and my sister spent years in Mexico. I guess it's good old American conceit. Of course, neither of them know what we're up to yet, so I couldn't exactly ask them. But still, I felt ashamed of myself for jumping to the worst possible conclusion before I even checked it out. I think it's going to be a ton of fun to explain to my family, when I finally get the balls to tell them.
So, we have narrowed our search to Dr. Aguirre in Ensenada and Dr. Rumbaut in Monterrey. They both have pros and cons. Dr. Rumbaut does lap RNY and could possibly do both of us together in the same trip. Major pro, since we would only pay for one trip, one hotel, have to arrange child care on time, etc.. Con because we would recover together and we could wind up in trouble if there were complications of any kind. He is also significantly more expensive than the other south of the border doctors. Pro, because the hospital he operates from is huge and has an incredible reputation. They also pick you up from and take you to the airport, which doesn't sound like a big deal, but I think it would be really nice to not worry about buses or calling taxis, etc.
On the other hand, Dr. Aguirre has a stellar reputation on the websites also. I couldn't find a single bad posting about him, and I googled him for complications and negative info. I found NOTHING on either doctor. Does that mean there isn't anything? Or they have someone who removes it? I don't even know if that is possible. Anyway, he also sounds like a great choice. The major con is that I have heard and all the evidence seems to support the fact that he only does open RNY. I haven't actually heard back from his office yet, though, so I haven't gotten specifics directly from them. Every profile I looked at that listed him as their surgeon was happy, though. I also don't know if he would consider doing our surgeries in the same trip.
Then, there is Dr. Baltasaar in Spain. His price is comparable to these other two, even with airfare and hotel. I don't know if we could do the surgerys together. The surgery is also a different type. His is the Duodenal Switch. I have so much information to decide on.
We are also short the money we need to do any of them, but it's a workable amount that we could probably borrow from friends or family. We have a ton of equity in our house that's tied up with our bankruptcy for another two years, but if we wait that long, it could be disasterous for both of us. We didn't have that equity when we filed for chptr 13, or maybe we could have made different decisions. The housing market around here is so overpriced and has just been overblown in the last year. So, we could sign a promissory note and pay it back in two and half years with no problem. A bank or lender won't touch us, though.
So, it seems that this may not be over for us yet. Thanks to everyone that has emailed us and given us lots of specific information to help us make our choice! I feel like I've made a couple of really nice new friends...and hope to post something definite soon!
Oh - So much has happened in the last month. My husband is having his surgery on Thursday. Yep, this Thursday. We are flying to Michigan TONIGHT to get there by 6am tomorrow morning. We rent a car, find the hotel, hospital, and Drs offices, and then we sleep! We researched and studied, and finally chose Dr. Pleatman in Michicgan. His reputation is very good, and his patients love him. Our Dr here is going to do his followup care, and we'll stay there a few extra days to make sure everything is ok before we come home. His price is really good. With travel and hotel, it's still less than half of what we'd pay here.
We told our parents, and they were really supportive. Even mine. They are concerned and worried, but listened to all the information and read all of the printouts I had. I tried to anticipate their questions and be prepared with fact based answers for their questions. It really helped. I was so worried about talking to my folks, but they were great. I wrote letters to my brothers and sister.
When we tried to get things moving for surgery before, we hit walls at every turn, it seemed like. This time, our plans came together in such an easy way. To get to our money that was tied up in our IRA we were supposed to write a letter of explanation and request the money under a medically necessary clause. The attorney told us it would take 7-10 business days for them to get it, then it would be a week or two before we got a response. We wound up with a written approval faxed to us in less than a week from the time we mailed the letter. The bank should have taken two weeks to fund the money into an account we could use, according to the service manager we talked to. We had the money in a couple of hours from the time we went in. The travel arrangements went smoothly, within our budget. The hospital and doctor plans went well. All that's left is our flight and his surgery, so anyone out there reading this, please send up prayers that things continue to go smoothly.
We took some pre op pictures on our camping trip this weekend. We went with his parents, sister and her husband and two children, our two children, and his aunt and uncle. A whopping 15 miles from home in 102-110degree heat. OMG it sucked. The company was ok, but everyone was tense and hot and miserable, not to mention the laundry that accompanies camping. I was so glad to come home to a nice cool house and work on laundry. How sick and twisted is that?
Well, I've got to remove myself from the computer and go finish packing. I'm trying to take a little of everything, because I'm really not sure what I'll need. He's a kind of picky eater now, so I don't know what to have on hand for him post-op. I guess we'll find out.
Thanks everyone, especially all you out there in Michigan that have answered my frantic posts. Kevin and Usta are especially funny and nice. And Linda, too. Maybe I'll get to meet a few of you while we're there?....
I'll try to update soon!
Ok, I've got to be more consistant on updating! Jeff has had his surgery! YAY, he's on the LOSER'S Bench and doing great!!!
His surgery was Thursday 7-27-06 at 7:30 in the morning. By 11am, he was out of recovery and in his room. He had some pretty good pain for a few hours afterward, I would say about an 8 of 10 for about two hours. Localized pain in one area, where they opened up his muscle and removed his stomach. I guess I should explain here that he decided to do a Vertical Sleeve Gastroplasty (VSG) instead of the RNY we had planned. We were given info about it at his inital appointment with Dr. Pleatman, and the more we researched it, the more it felt right for him. So we changed horses midstream, and no regrets so far.
The nurses were really good, but they were very busy. The hospital staff was all very nice and great at helping us when we asked, but I wouldn't have wanted him to be alone for more than an hour or so. The nurses managed his pain really well, but we had to ask for pain meds every hour or so. The Dr ordered 3mg of IV pain meds every two hours, but Jeff felt much better with 1mg every hour. Once we got approval for that, things moved right along. Without the peaks and valleys in painland, he felt better. Friday he was released at about 1pm, we drove back to the hotel, and he sacked out on the sofa bed in a pile of pillows. He slept for awhile, but moved to the regular bed and slept much, much better. He had some nasuea all the day of surgery and most of the next day too. We think it was probably a reaction to either the anesthesia or the pain meds, but by Saturday morning he was up, took a shower, hit the liquid vicodin, and we were off to the mall to walk and see a movie. He walked around for about two hours with a few rests inbetween, then back to the hotel and bed. He slept most of the night through, and each day he felt better and stronger than the next. Both of us were suprised at how quickly he has bounced back. He is still getting fatigued, but other than that is feeling really good. His post op with his surgeon was Monday, August 1, and he got released to fly home to Oregon.
We had booked an extra day, just in case there were problems, so we went to the Henry Ford museum for our free day and checked out all the cool stuff there. That evening, after a hearty meal of half a protein shake and a few sips of broth, we got to go to a Detroit Shock WNBA game that our VERY COOL new friend Kevin got us tickets to. We had courtside seats. And I do mean courtside. Our toes were resting on the court. For someone who never really was that into basketball, I must say it was exciting to see it in person and watch it in living color. Those girls are major atheletes. And we got to fly the half-time blimp and drop coupons on screaming fans! Has anyone ever had more fun on a surgical trip?
We left for home the next day at about 9:30pm. At least that's when we were scheduled to leave. We had quite an experience flying out of the beautiful city of Detroit. I posted all about the trip on the board, so I'll just cut and paste it on here below. :)
We made it back to Oregon at about 2 am this morning. We sat for awhile and enjoyed our last few moments in Michigan in the airplane waiting for the HUGE thunderstorm to pass so we could take off. I was a little alarmed at the fact that the entire sky was lighting up all around us and the thunder was so loud we could hear it throughout the plane, but once the airport started letting things move again, we flew around it and had quite a show from the air. Thank you Jesus for Xanax, let me tell ya. For me. Jeff did fine. We barely made our connecting flight in Las Vegas., though. We had quite a few looks as we stumbled through the LV airport at top speed. Jeff, slightly hunched to protect himself, gently(?) shoving thousand year old people out of the way. Me, carrying WAY too much crapola, trying to keep up with someone who just had surgery. We made it to our connecting flight with about two minutes to spare before they shut the doors. We had to wait on one other woman who was just a little later than we were. (SHE wasn't out of breath, though) After everyone was in and buckled up, this woman decides she's going to get up and change seats or something. While we are taxiing down the runway for takeoff. The flight attendant, who was male-the first time we've had a male flight attendant, and he thought he was hilarious, too - just about ripped her up and shredded her right there for being up while even he was buckled in his jumpseat. All in all, it was pretty funny, since it wasn't us getting yelled at. The flight attendant was really funny and extremely flamboyant, also. Fabulous shoes, though.
Jeff is doing great! Today he is one week out from his surgery date. He weighed in the night before surgery at 370.5 and tonight he weighed himself at 353. -17.5 lbs. So, he's really pleased. Once a week on Thursdays we've decided is going to be Weigh Day. I'm going to start a chart for him, so he can see his progress.
Today kind of sucked because we were both so tired. We got in at 2, got home and in bed at 3am, then picked our children up at 8am for an 8:15 appointment. Our daughter broke her arm while we were gone, and today was cast day. She now has a bright pink cast on, and it's still clean and pretty. She agonized over the color, because it really should match her clothes. She wanted the lime green, but it would only match a few of her things. She did tell me that we could get her more lime colored things, though. When we got done with that, Jeff came home and rested (he says) and the kids and I went to the store and got groceries and videos. They have it all planned out what they are going to do with Daddy while he's home. We have more movies to watch this week than anyone should have.
The heat broke here while we were gone, and now it's low 90's , high 80's. We have a middle school right down the block from us, so I think we'll all drive down in the AM while it's cool and walk a few times around, then drive home. The school is less than a mile from us, but we live up a really steep hill, and walking home after walking the track might be too much this soon.
Thank you everyone that sent us well wishes and suggestions! Walk, walk, walk was the best advice of all. He feels so much better after walking.
Burping was practically an art form before, but he is taking it to a whole new level. I can only wait for what's to come....
Love, Kim and Jeff
Anyway, that's the saga so far. The last few days have been resting, walking and trying to get used to mushy foods. Jeff is down -23 pounds as of this evening, so he and I are both so excited to be a part of this wonderful journey he's on. We have nothing but wonderful things to say about Dr. Pleatman. He was direct, no bullsh** and we both respected that. His office staff is wonderful, and everything went smoothly.
The hotel we stayed at was the Staybridge Suites, and they had a kitchen, seperate bedroom, and huge bathroom with a dvdvcr in the living area and a regular tv in the bedroom.
All in all a good visit. Any questions about anything from anyone, please don't hesitate to email me!
We're off the watch Roxanne with Steve Martin. I really love that movie.....
We'll update soon. Say goodnight, Gracie!
Oh Man, has time flown by. Here it is, two days before Thanksgiving, and I am wondering where the time has gone sine I last updated our profile. I did a mini update at the top of the page, so if you saw that, this will be no suprise. Jeff is in a size 40 comfortably, although today his jeans are size 38. We found a box of his old clothes up in our attic this last weekend, and it had some old sweaters and jeans in it. I was kind of excited that maybe he could wear some of them, since they were from so long ago. We're talking clothes from before we were married. We pulled them out, and they were size 44 Levis. Way too big! (Plus, they were acid washed - totally cool - in 1988!) So, that was a pretty cool moment. We also found a receipt for nine kegs of beer in one of the pockets. He lived in the "party dorm", betcha couldn't have guessed that.
So, he started at 371 lbs, and yesterday night, fully clothed in jeans and Tshirt, he weighed in at 284. This makes a loss of 86lbs in 16 1/2 weeks. No complaints, no complications, no regrets. Shirts are an XXL, and pants in a tight 38 or comfortable-slightly loose 40. Getting pretty much down to bone and muscle everywhere but abdomen, which is shrinking. Probably have to rely on plastics to get this area nice and tight, though. There will be some skin issues there, but the skin everywhere else is suprisingly elastic and looking pretty good. He is feeling so much better - and has much more energy now, and he wasn't lacking in the energy department too much before! We are planning on going up to the snow over winter vacation, and maybe again to the indoor water slides. Our kids had a blast last year over the break doing that, and I almost have the water completely out of my nose now, so that could be alot of fun to do again.
We joined a gym this last month, actually I am volunteering some time there every week in return for a family membership, so now that we are eligible, we are going to start going this next week after Thanksgiving. They have a pool in addition to the regular gym stuff, so that's where we'll start out. It's been awhile since we've done any regular aerobic activities, and Jeff has degenerative disc disease in his back, so he needs to start out slow and build up his muscles and core strength first. So, swimming and walking it is. And I will go along for the ride - moral support and for my own health. I have lost about twenty pounds just by eating better and taking care of myself. So, I'm thinking that the gym will be great for me and the kids, too.
Well, that about sums this last few months in a nut shell. Lots of other things have happened, good and bad. Jeff lost his Grandma, and I lost my dad. We were so sad to have them leave us, but grateful that they weren't sickand suffering for a long time. Both of their illnesses were sudden, drastic and then over so quickly that it almost doesn't seem real. They died only three weeks apart and were both able to die at home quietly with their families around them. In so many ways, I feel blessed, because I was a big time Daddy's girl, and since I am the only child that lives locally, I was with him and my mom when he got diagnosed and shared a lot of the day to day heartaches and care before he got really sick. When he did get really sick, my wonderful husband took over caring for our children so I could stay the nights at my folks house and share round the clock care with my sister and my mom. I came home when I could, and read to my monkeys, and tried to be here to tuck them into bed, but that's not the same as being a full time mom, and he was wonderful about it, always supportive and making sure I took care of myself. He continues to be a daily blessing to me, a wonderful man who loves me and always puts his family first.
Well, that's about all the big news in our lives, summed up into four or five little paragraphs. We wish everyone a wonderful Thankgsgiving. We all have much to be Thankful for.....
Jeff and Kim
Jeff just informed me that the scale lied yesterday, and he now weighs 381, which is a 90lb loss.
My good friend Big Boned, known to the rest of us as Rashimi Von Holsbrink-or whatever other non de plume he feels the call of this week- just informed me that I made a small clerical errror of approximately a hundred pounds or so in the above entry and since my wonderful husband would undoubtably NOT appreciate that, I will now state for the record that as of last night, HE WEIGHED 271 POUNDS!!! HE"S LOST A HUNDRED POUNDS SINCE JULY 27th, 2006!!!! Yeah Jeff!!!
Thank you, my blimp-flying friend, for seeing the error of my ways! I will endeavor to be more accurate in my accounting skills for the sake of clarity.....
More coming soon! Stay tuned!