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My Weight Loss Journey
By Sarah Elizabeth Ramey
Today is April 25th in the year 2011. I am 37 years old. I am married and have three beautiful children. Branden age 15, Jarrod age 11 and Julie age 8. I love them very much and a large part of why I am starting this journey is because of them and how much i love them and want to be around for them in the future. Not to mention how much I want to live a long and healthy life with my wonderful husband Scott, that I do not deserve. And then there is the personal reasons as to why I want to do it. I guess the most basic reason is because I want to look and feel better. I am soooo tired all the time, I hurt everywhere, and just as embarrassed to even be around people. There is also the medical aspect. I am on the fast track for all kinds of problems starting with my heart. I’m already on blood pressure medicine. Then there is things like diabetes, my veracose veins, wear and tear on my joints and well personal view of myself. And god only knows what else. And personally, I don’t want to find out.
So in November 2010 I went to a seminar with Dr. Nease. Scott went with me and we learned a lot. I had gone to a few seminar’s before but this time was different. It felt right. We also learned that there is a new surgery called “the sleeve” and I was immediately excited because it sounded like the surgery that was for me. See there were two different surgeries that i could choose from: One the gastric by-pass. Now this one is the extreme, it requires rerouting of intestines and a whole bunch of side affects and such i was not crazy about, but the other choice was the Lap-Band. Now this one is great because it had not major undertaking of rerouting of anything. It was just a band that they place around the top of your stomach to make a smaller pouch and your food is restricted but it is a foreign object that there is not enough data on that is good for long term, and you will HAVE TO have it replaced at your own cost in about 10 years anyway. Not to mention the weight loss stats are not all that great and of course there are all kinds of things that can go wrong, like band slippage and issues with scar tissue which we all know i already have issues with scar tissue. So the new kid on the block is the sleeve. Basically it is stomach stapling. They cut out a portion of your stomach so it kinda resembles a banana or “sleeve”. By doing this it creates a smaller pouch for food restriction and being that they are not rerouting anything the malabsorption issue and other problems are automatically fixed. Now granted there is some risk and side effects but not nearly the risks of the gastric bypass. But alittle more than the Lap-band. But I can tell you it is the one for me.
So after our exciting seminar I went home and checked it out on the internet. The more I saw the more i loved the idea. Then the bomb dropped. I checked my insurance. And since it was new and considered experimental they didn’t cover it. Just my luck!!! I was so pissed and sad and sick. All at the same time. Just my luck. So back to the drawling board. Scott and I had lots of conversations over the next few days and we decided that the surgery was still extremely important. So we went back and forth over which surgery I would do. I love the low risk of the Lap-band but hated that it was a short term fix and the results were not that great. I was not to happy about the Gastric By-pass but felt that the long term results were what i wanted and was willing to take the chance. So we decided the Gastric was for me and decided to proceed. The first step on my agenda was to find a new primary physician because Dr. Dannals was completely against surgery of any kind. He thinks his uber expensive weight loss plan is best. Well I’m a cheater and i love food. It is a comfort thing. So any weight loss thing i start is great but only lasts a very short time. Then i quit and it’s back to normal. I personally know i need a plan that wont let me cheat and one that wont let me quit when i get bored. Surgery it is then.
So I spoke with Dr. Nease’s insurance lady and she recommended Dr. Gibbs. See she has had surgery herself and that is who her doctor is. So i called and it took a few weeks for him to accept me but i got in on December 7. Dr. Gibbs is a wonderful man and he agrees that surgery is best for me. I will say this, he never came out and said it but i believe he thinks i should do the lap-band. He thinks it is low risk and i would get good enough results to make a difference. Well i have to agree with him but i know me and i know i will get lazy and fall off the wagon and have the same problems again. Not something I am willing to do.
So my journey began. According to my Insurance I had to jump some hoops for them so they would pay for the surgery. For starters i have to have 6 months of consistent doc appointments documented from my primary care physician, a nutrition class and a psychiatric evaluation. Well as of today I have all of that with the exception on one more month at Dr. Gibbs and that will be May 18th. From that day I will be ready.
I can tell you that at the beginning of this i thought six months??!?? That is going to take forever!!! Well it sort of has and it hasn't. The holidays and kids being in school have been a great distraction. And honestly the six months has given me time to run through the emotions of this life change. And boy has that been a roller coaster. But all in all it has been much needed and i think i vital part of the process. That brings us to my first appointment with Dr. Nease. I weighed in at 343. That is the highest I have ever been in my life. And here is the worst part, I have been at this for 5 weeks and i’m still at 340 lbs. I go in spurts of trying really hard then i revert back to thinking Ill never get to eat like this again and pig out. lol Story of my life. BUT the good news came from that appointment ...Dr. Nease was meeting me for the first time and explaining things to me and kept asking me which surgery i was interested in. I told him my concerns about the short term benefits of the lap-band and was more interested in the bypass because I was in this for the long hall and wanted the best results possible. He started talking about the sleeve and i let him finish, then i told him that would be the surgery for me IF my insurance would cover it but it doesn't!!! He then asked me who my insurance was through and i told him, he got his nurse and they pulled my paperwork and did alot of chitchatting back and forth and then informed me as of January 1st my insurance DID cover it!!! WHAT????!!! Woohoo i’m in! NO more discussion needed, that was the surgery i wanted to have!!!! So here i stand at 5 weeks into this and i feel i am ready to do this. Sure i’m scared and worried but the risk of things to come is much worse than that of this surgery.
Why choose the Vertical (Sleeve) Gastrectomy?
No intestinal bypass or foreign body
No adjustments needed
Minimizes the hunger/appetite hormone, Ghrelin
Extremely effective with weight loss equal or better than the bypass and band
Safest for very high BMI patients
No dumping syndrome
Great procedure for Low BMI patients (30-40) who often lose >90% of their excess weight
Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG) is a newer, innovative weight loss surgery. The Vertical Sleeve (or "Sleeve" as it is commonly known) involves removing 85%-90% of the stomach, without changing the intestinal tract. The new 1-2 ounce pouch that is created significantly reduces the volume of food that can be consumed, while still allowing the stomach to function normally. The part of the stomach that is removed contains cells that produce the hunger hormone, Ghrelin. By drastically reducing the production of Ghrelin, the appetite and sensation of hunger is markedly reduced or eliminated. Our patients have a success rate of >80% excess weight loss which occurs within 1 year.
The sleeve gastrectomy procedure, commonly referred to as the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy, vertical gastrectomy or simply the sleeve, is a newer restrictive procedure where the majority of the stomach is removed leaving a long tubular structure from the esophagus to the small intestine.
So now I’m a little over a month or so away from the surgery and I wanted to write all of this down so that i would have something to look back at and see my journey. From here forward i will document hopefully weekly or when i have something to say about my thoughts and feelings or just general information that comes my way.
I’m going to start with January because that is when i started keeping track.
My “Ideal weight” should be 132 lbs. So I have 211 pounds to loose.
I personally think 150 pounds is a good weight so that is my goal.
That means 193 pounds to loose.
May 17, 2011 : Tomorrow is my last doctors appointment. I know i have not been trying to loose weight, i’ve just been trying not to gain any. I feel numb, and I’m not sure how to explain it. I guess it’s like when your a kid and you can’t wait till your birthday, but it’s like 10 months away. So the excitement wears off and then you give up for awhile. I’m hoping things will get exciting again once the ball is rolling. I’m hoping to take my last flow sheet to Dr.Nease myself right after my apt. But we shall see.