1/27/2006: I spoke with BCBS and was told that WLS is covered by my policy, as long as it's "medically necessary". Yeah!!
1/31/2006: Received a call from Susan Butler, Dr. Fuzz' nurse coordinator, inviting me to attend the PAVE class on Feb. 2nd. This is an information class for new patients.
2/2/2006: Attended P.A.V.E. (Protein, Attitude, Vitamins, Exercise) class. Lots of new patients there, along with Dr. Fuzz, Susan, the nutritionist and the psychiatrist. They all took questions and answered them very thoroughly. I was VERY impressed with Dr. Fuzz and his "team"!
2/23/2006: Attended my first Support Group meeting for Dr. Fuzz' pre-ops and post-ops. It was amazing to see the great success his patients have had! Again, the doctor and his whole team were there and were very helpful in answering all the many questions!
2/24/2006: Today was my first appointment with Dr. Fuzz and Susan! He gave me a good examination, looked over my medical history and told me that I would be a great candidate for Lap RNY!! Also had labwork to test my thyroid and my liver enzymes. Dr. Fuzz seems to think I may have Sleep Apnea, so he's scheduling a sleep study for me. I will also have a gallbladder/liver sonagram scheduled.
2/28/2006: WOW! If you've never experienced a Sleep Study - you don't know what you're missing! I got to Thomasville Medical Center around 8pm. The room they put me in was really beautiful! I big nice bed with tons of pillows - just like home, I thought! Well, that bed wasn't too comfortable a couple hours later when I'm hooked up to a hundred wires and they're sticking out all over my head! I was not too surprised with my diagnosis of "Mild Obstructive Sleep Apnea". Now I will wait to be fitted with my very own CPAP machine!
3/2/2006: Today was my 1 1/2 hour appointment with Dr. Jeff Smith, the team's psychiatrist. Dr. Jeff was great! He just basically asked questions and then listened as I talked. He was very easy to talk with!
3/3/2006: I had my sonagram of my gallbladder and liver today at Baptist Hospital. I have NO gallstones, but I do have a "fatty" liver.
3/14/2006: Today was my FINAL appointment in this WLS process - the appointment with the nutritionist, Mary Martha Smoak. We talked about my food likes/dislikes. She also did a body composition test to compare my fat to muscle ratio. My weight at her office was 269.2 lbs. Based on today's nutritional evaluation, my daily protein goal AFTER surgery will be 66 grams. I liked Mary Martha. She told me that it would probably take her about 3 weeks to get her report to Susan so that my papers could be filed with BCBS for approval. (I have been pre-warned that Mary Martha NEVER gets her paperwork done on time! We'll just have to wait and see.)
3/16/2006: Back to Thomasville Medical Center for my SECOND Sleep Study! (This is the one with the CPAP machine.) After hooking me up to all those wires AGAIN, the technician suggested I try the nasal mask first. That thing scared me to death! I felt like I was drowning on air! After fitting me with the full face mask, I was able to sleep more comfortably. I didn't think I slept all that great - but I sure could tell the difference in how I felt all day long! Seemed like I was much more energetic and clear-headed with my thinking.
6/27/06: After WEEKS of waiting (on Mary Martha to get my report to her), Susan has submitted my paperwork to BCBS for approval!! Shouldn't be long before I hear something!
6/28/06: DENIED!! I can't believe BCBS had my papers for ONE day and they've already denied me! What's up with that?? Their reason was that I may be "morbidly obese" now, but I have NOT been for at least 4 out of the past 5 years! I'm so upset, but Susan says don't worry. My family and I are headed to the beach for our week's vacation - I'm gonna try and not think about WLS while I'm there!
8/22/2006: I wrote a heartfelt letter to BCBS and mailed it along with my Level I appeal. Mailed it by regular mail.
8/31/2006: DENIED AGAIN!! They used the same reason as before! I guess I will have to do more than just write a letter! You know, I have prayed so hard about the decision to have WLS - I'm wondering if this is God's way of saying, "No". I will do more praying and decide whether or not to file a Level II appeal.
9/27/2006: I have decided to try ONE more time! If this one is denied - I will not pursue WLS anymore right now. I will definitely feel that God is trying to tell me something! BCBS had a problem with my weight being less than 100 lbs. overweight back in 2003. The reason I weighed less back then (which I had tried to explain to them in my letter), was the fact that I went to Beverly Hills Weight Loss and lost 60 lbs. that year! The recorded weight that BCBS had for me was AFTER the weightloss. Before sending in this final appeal - I contacted Beverly Hills Weight Loss and asked them to fax me a copy of my chart. It showed my higher weight and my weight every time I went in for a visit. I not only sent that chart, I also sent letters from my OB-GYN, my Rheumatologist and my PCP, along with another "heartfelt" letter from ME! I mailed this one by Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested!
10/2/2006: Received acknowledgment letter from BCBS. Said they've received my appeal and their decision could take up to 45 days. More waiting!!
10/25/2006: I'M APPROVED!! I could not believe it when I received a phone call from BCBS saying they'd approved me for surgery! I had anticipated having to either appear before a special panel or else having to have a phone hearing. I never dreamed they'd just approve me without any more hassles! I've got to call Susan and get this surgery ball a-rollin'!
11/01/06: I have been doing everything "by the book" since the end of January and only today was I given a surgery date of Dec. 12th - thank you, God and Merry Christmas to Me!
12/11/06: Twas the day before surgery.......you know the scoop-I'm running around all over town trying to finish my Christmas shopping, buy last-minute items to take to the hospital in the morning and my cell phone rings. Oh, it's the hospital calling - they must be calling to tell me what time I need to arrive tomorrow. I wish! It's my surgeon's nurse coordinator, Susan. She's calling with the dreaded bad news - my doctor is very sick and must cancel my surgery for tomorrow! After all these months - I am so close and now this - oh, well. I'm a firm believer that all things happen for a reason - so, I didn't get too upset. I have been rescheduled for Friday, so I still have 3 days to prepare and finish up all my loose ends. Just needed to vent a little! God is still in control, so please keep me (and Dr. Fuzz) in your prayers!
12/15/2006: Well, today is the day - FINALLY! I had to be at Baptist Hospital at 6am. My wonderful husband, Chris, and my beautiful 8 yr. old granddaughter, Makayla, accompanied me and my precious molther was driving down from WV to be there, too. Almost as soon as I got checked in at the desk, a nurse came and took us back to the pre-op area. I was prepped and ready to go by 6:50am. I kissed my dear family goodbye and was wheeled off to the OR. The last thing I remember before falling asleep was looking at the clock and seeing it was 7:05am.
Next thing I remember is waking up in the Recovery Room at 10:30am. I did not have any pain and actually felt pretty good! The nurses were great! I was told I'd be in recovery until they had a bed ready, but I didn't realize that was gonna be 5:30pm! They did allow Chris and my mom to come back and see me for a few minutes. I just mostly slept all day!
I had a really great hospital experience. My nurses were great. My room was great. I was in the Sticht Center at Baptist Hospital and it's really big and spacious. I spent most of my waking hours walking the halls and that really helped with all the gas I felt in my tummy and ribs.
I spent Friday nite and Saturday nite in the hospital. I came home on Sunday afternoon and quite honestly, felt like I hadn't even had major surgery! Yeah, I had those gas pains - but, they were more uncomfortable than anything. I still wanted to sleep alot, though.
I had wonderful friends coming by from the time I got home. It was great - they all brought presents! No, seriously, I thank God for all my friends and my family - especially my husband, Chris. Each one of them are very special to me and I'll always remember their kindness during my recuperation.