I have been researching this surgery for a few years now. My sister had the surgery 9/03. At that time I had joined a gym and was dieting and so I thought I could do it on my own. I felt that I wasn't brave enough to have the surgery. I still feel that it is a very brave thing to do. I just hope that I can do it. It is so scary, but even scarier to think of the alternatives. Since my sister had her surgery I have gained even more weight and don't even recognize myself anymore. I can't even stand to look in the mirror and I hurt. So I am beginning this journey with high hopes. I was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea. I woke up 50 times in one hour...I'd like to know when I did sleep~ I am currently on a cpap machine and it has helped me immensely!!
9/06/05 I need to get approval and have the surgery before the end of the year or I need to change to an HMO next year. I don't want to change or wait.
4/14/06 I switched my insurance this year to Pacificare HMO with my group being Greater Newport Physicians. I think I have a better chance now. I completed my prerequisites last week and am now anxiously awaiting approval for surgery.
4/17/06 I AM APPROVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I received my approval letter from my insurance group in the mail today! I am so excited, but so nervous, as I'm sure everyone experiences. Can hardly wait!! Sent in for approval on the 7th and got it back in 10 days.
4/18/06 I received a letter in the mail from my group today stating that they could not yet approve my surgery after all until my bariatric doctor sends in proof of my insurance eligibility. Guess they forgot that bit of information! Once they get it they will let me know of their decision in 5 days. What a drag...I was so excited and now this. I hope it doesn't turn into a long drawn out thing.
4/19/06 I called Greater Newport and they said don't worry, I am approved!
4/24/06 Didn't hear anything, so I called Smart Dimensions and they didn't have my approval, so they called Greater Newport who then faxed them my approval. I am still waiting all over again for a date!!!!
4/25/06 I got another call to tell me that I was approved and I should hear from the scheduler in a week to ten days......
5/01/06 I have a date!!!!!! One month from today. June 1, 2006. I am so nervous and excited!!!
5/09/06 I will be going to OCM tomorrow for my pre op tests. My darling daughter works at the hospital, so she will help me through. I'm only concerned about the blood gas test, heard it hurts. And away we go!
5/10/06 Went for testing today. Everything was fine except for having to drink the barium...it helped to drink water along with it. I didn't have to have the blood gas test. Thanks to my daughter Denise for being there to support me...you're the best!
5/14/06 Happy Mother's Day! Well, I guess I have some sort of mass on my kidney and have to go for an mri. Needless to say I'm a wreck over it. I just pray that it is nothing serious. Don't know if I need to postpone or cancel my gbs or what to do. Having an hmo I need to get approved for the mri. They marked the request "urgent", so time will tell. Hope everything is ok. Until later.
5/18/06 Went for a CT scan on my abdomen and pelvis today. Am now waiting for what that showed. I have only two weeks until my surgery. I hope everything is ok and I get to have it.
5/23/06 Got word yesterday that everything is a-ok. I meet with my surgeon Dr. Ali today.
5/23/06 Just got home from my one-on-one with Dr. Ali. What a nice man...I have a renewed confidence in him. Met Carla Walden there and she was kind enough to give me her email and phone number in case I have any questions. Thanks, Carla!! Glad to see that she is doing great since her surgery.
5/30/06 I am so nervous right now I don't even know what to think about!! There is so much to do and I don't even feel ready. I feel like postponing this so that I can take care of some oral surgery first, or whatever excuse is next. Feel like I'm not even making any sense. I don't even have the necessary pre-op liquids for tomorrow. Two more days!! Not even!!! Help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
5/31/06 Well, I will be having my surgery tomorrow bright and early. I am the first one of the day. Been doing my "cleansing" today and it as been very easy. Got a call from Smart Dimensions to ask if I had my ptt test redone by my pcp. I told them no, I hadn't, and asked what that test was. They was it had to do with blood clotting. They said they will redo it in the morning. From reading the boards here I guess if your blood is too thin, you could hemmorage and if it's too thick you can clot and possibly get an embolism. It if is off, there is no way I am going to risk any of that happening!!! Just have to see what happens in the morning. I have already been so anxious today and on the verge of crying, so that didn't help. Gonna' say some big prayers tonight before I go to bed!!! See you on the losing side!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
6/06/06 I am home. I went in on the 1st and came home today....I am doing much better. I developed pneumonia and so things took a while longer than expected. Will write when I have more energy. As far as the surgery, I feel almost as if I didn't even have it.
6/15/06 I am finally getting around to updating. Just a little about myself....I am 55 years young, married to a wonderful man for 34 years and the mother of 3 beautiful daughters. Now about my surgery experience... I had my surgery on June 1 at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center. I don't even remember being "put under", I just remember waking up in pain, but could tell everyone was scurrying about and within a very short time, I felt better and was out again.
The 1st day I was in ICU and what a busy day it was! I tried walking, but couldn't get up because I was shaky and felt clammy and on the verge of getting sick. I was pumped full of fluids to avoid dehydration, but they didn't want to drain fast enough, so I became full of fluids. I also received pain medicine, and nausea shots and/or medicine every day.
On the 2nd day, I went to my own room. I once again tried walking, but was very weak. I found out that I had lost some blood and they were watching my blood count. I had blood drawn a couple of times a day and received xrays.
On the 3rd night I started getting pain in my chest when I inhaled. Went down for a ct scan at about midnight. Had trouble sleeping that night worrying about what was wrong and I was also still having pain every time I inhaled.
On the 4th day, I fianlly asked in the morning about the scan and they said it came back normal. I found out later that day that I have pneumomia. They started me on breathing treatments and oxygen and what a difference! The whole thing was very scary and I was glad that something was finally being done. I guess there was a fear of a blood clot, but thank goodness there wasn't one. I was also given diaretics to help with the fluid buildup. That, also, made a big difference. Also had to take potassium which is was sickening!! I was still very weak and was given a blood transfusion. I walked short distances, but without the oxygen, couldn't go very far. I had to get more chest xrays.
Finally on the 5th day, I got a portable oxygen and walked up and down the halls.
I went home on the 6th day. I was weak, but feeling so much better. I have been trying to get my lung capacity back to what it was and I am almost there.
It is 2 weeks today since my surgery and I have lost around 16 lbs. Funny thing is, in the last 3 days I have only lost 1 lb.!! I admit, I am having trouble getting in all my protein and liquids. I have started drinking a lot of non fat milk. This is easy for me. Most things available, I don't like the taste of. I am feeling pretty much back to normal, but not quite. I have to force myself. I went on the treadmill yesterday, for only 10 minutes, but I am just taking things a day at a time.
I almost forgot....the actual surgery results...I hardly felt any pain. I guess maybe because of everything else going on, but it was almost as if I didn't have the surgery. I felt some pain on the left, where the stapler went in. I took pain meds every day and nausea meds every day also. By the time I left the hospital, I was completely off them and have taken nothing for pain since I got home.
When I got home, I began to feel as if I had maybe made the wrong decision. I was depressed and on the verge of crying all the time. I was feeling sick and also full of gas. I think that was because I tried using my cpap machine and because of my diminished lung capacity, it was somehow filling me with air or something. So I stopped using the machine and by the next day I was feeling a lot better. I am starting to listen to my body more. It's almost as if my body is talking to me and thanking me. It's like it senses that I did something to make it better. I am not feeling any of my old aches and pains. It's already so much better!! So now I am coming around the a better way of thinking and maybe it was the right decision. I know the alternative was going nowhere. It's going to be an ongoing struggle and I just hope I can make it through with a positive attitude and positive results. Best of luck to everyone out there who may be reading this. I hope it helps in some way. I know we all need all the help we can get!
6/20/06 19 days post op and -21 lbs. Things are going better. Still a little sore and somewhat weak. I am not going to push things, but take it one day at a time. Had appt. with Dr. Ali today and he feels that I got pneumonia because I didn't do my breathing exercises the very first day out of surgery. Only 2 more days until stage 2. Can hardly wait!
7/13/06 6 weeks post op and -35 lbs. I think I am doing well as far as my weight goes. I am still having trouble getting in my protein and water, but I am exercising more and feeling great. I went for a 2 mile walk along the beach today with my dog. I then went to the mall and bought some hand weights. Just small ones to begin with and I am looking into joining a water aerobics class. While my daughter and I were at the mall, I was telling her how, before my surgery, it would have been so hard to walk at the mall....she saw I was emotional and said, "You're not going to cry, are you?" and I said, "I think I am." Sometimes it's hard for others to realize how hard things are when you are obese. Don't get me wrong, she, and all my family have been soooo supportive from the very beginning. But, I won't ever forget what it was like, and I will always appreciate this second chance. Back to food-- I have gotten sick a few times, but I just have to slow down and watch my portions...even though they are small, I guess not small enough. I am now on "solids", but afraid to eat anything new. Dr. Ali said that it should now take 45 minutes to eat 1/2 cup. I am so glad I chose Dr. Ali. He is so kind and understanding and always has time to listen.
7/21/06 7 weeks post-op, - 40 lbs. woohoo!!!!!!!!!
8/10/06 10 weeks post-op -48 lbs. Things are slowing down a bit, but I can't complain. I think things are going pretty well as far as the weight goes. Yesterday I got really sick. I ate two cherries and I guess the skin must have gotten stuck, but I couldn't even keep water down. This lasted for about 6 hours. My daughter told me she was going to call the dr. and insist I have an upper GI. If this continues I may have to. It seems that I can only eat soft foods and once in a while "normal food". Hope anyone reading this is doing well.
8/31/06 3 months -49 lbs. It seems that my scale is a couple pounds in my favor compared to the doctor's. Went to see Dr. Ali today and I have been losing really slowly, but he seems to think that I am doing very well as far as the weight loss goes. It will be 3 months tomorrow! I have to go to get an upper GI because I am having trouble eating certain foods, especially any kind of meat. I really don't know if they will find anything wrong, but at least I will know if there is a problem and what can be done about it. I also went to Curves today, but not sure about it. The monthly fee seems a little high. I am walking a mile or so 3x a week. That isn't really too much. I am getting my protein in and am working on the water. My clothes are getting looser, so I think I am losing inches, if not pounds. Best of luck to all who are on this ride!
10/01/06 4months -56 lbs. It's been a real struggle this month to lose any weight. I joined a gym and have been to the dog beach with my dog a few times and playing with her. Not long ago I could barely walk down there. I have been getting my vitamins, most of my protein and am still having trouble with my water. I find that when I drink all my liquids (I have better luck with CrystalLite) I tend to begin losing weight. My upper GI came back fine. I find I am able to eat ground beef (Main stay is Dennison's 98% fat free beef chili). Constipation has been another major concern, and am working of that too..(sorry about that). I also have times when I get sick and can't keep food down, but I think that's the meat. I guess some people can't eat meat for a long time post op.
Support group is tomorrow night and I hope to go. I really need to, but it seems that something always comes up. I am feeling so much better than before my surgery. It is like night and day. Everyone needs to decide what's best for them and I think I made the right decision. Although right after surgery, I kept crying and saying that I wished I never would have had the surgery. I think that was because I was trying to use my cpap machine and the air was too strong and making me sick. Anyway, that didn't last too long and things have only been getting better.
I have been painting all week and my legs were so sore from going up and down the ladder, but then I thought about how a few short months ago it would have been so hard to even do what I'm doing now. Until next month...happy losing!
10/18/06 4 1/2 months -60 lbs....finally! I already updated this profile once and for some reason lost it. Anyway, things are going very slowly, but at least they're going. Still having trouble eating meat, but found if I boil chicken, I can eat it. Just keep on keepin' on.
11/01/06 5 months -63 lbs. Tried to make 65, but couldn't quite make it. Hopefully by my 6 month checkup I will have made it 70 lbs lost. Best of luck to all.
12/01/06 6 months -68 lbs. I seems that I keep falling short of my goal by a couple of pounds. My weight loss is slowing way down...even though I have been working out and doing everything I should be doing (most of the time). It's down to about 5 lbs or so a month now. Dr. says that is normal. So all in all things are going great!! I feel so wonderful! I hope to lose another 32 lbs., but will have to see how I look..the wrinkles are already showing! The important thing is that I can walk, and bend, and stoop, and exercise, and do so many things that I thought I would never be able to do again. Life is good!
12/10/06 6 mo., 1 wk., -70 lbs. I am overweight!!! I never thought I could be excited to say that! Finally reached that -70 lb. mark! Things are going so slowly now! Yesterday I finally rode with my husband on his motorcycle again! It was a blast! I used to ride with him, but with the weight gain I told him we would be popping wheelies down the street if I rode on the back of his bike with him, so it's been a long time. I want to lose another 30 lbs., so maybe I can accomplish that in the next 6 months. That's my goal anyway! Happy holidays to all!!
1/01/07 7 mo., -74 lbs. Happy New Year!! It was a great holiday here and hope that anyone reading this had a great holiday too! Well, I lost 6 lbs. this month, which is pretty good considering my daughter, who is a teacher, brought a ton of chocolates over for Christmas that her students had given her. I mean Godiva truffles, See's nuts and chews (my favorites!), Roucher (sp?), toffee, fudge, cookies....and the list goes on. I had to finally give it all away because it was getting the better of me. I think what saved me is that my hubby and I have been walking just about every day for the last couple of weeks. Now I have to get back in the swing of things and back to the gym! Still back to struggling with major constipation! Oh, and the fact that my whole body and especially my neck and face are wrinkly!! I'm sagging in places I didn't think could sag! But I have to remind myself about how great I feel and how my life is changing for the better! Small price to pay!! So on that note, I wish you and yours a very joyous, prosperous, and blessed New Year!
2/01/07 8 mo., 80 lbs.!!!! Wow! Who'da thunk? I feel so great!! Time is flying by and the weight and inches are slowly dropping. I walk and don't hurt! I think I can even run if I wanted to!! I still have trouble with constipation and feeling somewhat tired at times, but all in all things couldn't be better! Oh, and the wrinkles!! Not much I can do about that. Maybe when all's said and done I can get some plastic surgery. I can actually stand for more than 5 minutes without my back hurting. In fact, my back has not hurt since day one. For anyone out there on the fence, I can only tell you how things are going for me. I was scared to do this, but even more scared not to. I was even considering the band, so for many that may be the right decision and not so scary to do. Whatever you decide, you have to do it for yourself and your quality of life. I just know that mine has greatly improved. I was thinking about scuba diving and rock climbing!! I'm not saying I will be doing those things, but the mere fact that they even crossed my mind as being something attainable is truly amazing to me. Who knows, I may even do them. Oh, and I'm in a size 10. I can't remember the last time I wore a 10. Be back again in a month. Take care.
3/01/07 9 months -82lbs. Went to see Dr. Ali today and things went great! Everything has improved in my life!! All except for the skin issues, but it's a small price to pay for getting my life back. He said I was doing awesome! As far as the weight loss, I want to lose 20 more and he says I should lose about 10 more. He said I should lose for 18 months and then level off. He showed me a picture of myself pre-op and I got a little teary eyed. It's like it's not even me, but I know it is. He said that I don't even look like the same person. I am so thankful every day to have been able to have this surgery. I know a lot of people have trouble getting their insurance to cover it. My heart goes out to them. Some even die waiting. I am going to try to post a more recent picture this weekend. Until next month, take care and happy losing!!
4/01/07 10 months, -88 lbs. I am doing a little better this month. I have started using Miralax and it has made a difference in my weight loss. You can look it up online, but for those sensitive ones out there, don't bother. Oh, and it is now over-the-counter!! I haven't been that great about my vitamins and will have to work on that. I still need to get some more photos up, but can't find my camera!!! That would help! I sent for my surgery records and they said that I had congestive heart failure while in the hospital. Well, was anyone going to tell me that? I'm not quite sure what that means, but it is scary to think about. I am in the process of contacting the surgeon about it. I believe that is why I got pneumonia. The fluids that they were pumping into me weren't draining and I believe it went to my lungs. I at least need some chest xrays to see what's going on with my heart. Are the arteries clogged? So for those of you who have questions, I urge you to send for your surgery records. I did this through my surgeon's office. On a good note, I am now wearing size 8! I don't think I've ever been that size!! Well, I will try to find my camera and get someone to take my picture.....I always feel weird asking......until next month, Happy April Fool's Day and happy losing!
6/01/07 Today is my one year surgerversary!! I made it through and I am so proud of myself and if I had to describe my state of mind, it would be "joyous". My weight has been up and down, but I am holding my own. I went for my 1 year checkup today and I have lost 88 lbs. I am in a size 8 and I feel that is where I should be. I feel a little too thin in some areas, but not in others, so I think I may still want to lose a few more lbs., but no more than 12. If only to reach my initial goal of 100 lbs. Plus I'm only getting wrinklier!! My blood pressure was 110/66 which I'm told is excellent and that's exactly how I'm feeling.
I hate thinking back to a year ago today. It's a tough decision to make and going through with it is tough! I remember being so sick and scared and that was followed by questioning my decision. I think this holds true for a lot of people, but in the end most of us would do it again "in a minute". I would like to thank Dr. Ali again for the great job he has done and for being there every step of the way for me...thanks, Dr. Ali!!!
It's a daily struggle, but one I am more than happy to make. I still need to get some updated pictures posted!! Maybe this weekend. We are having bbq, and I will be eating my MorningStar Farms grillers while everyone else eats their hamburgers and hot dogs, but that's ok with me. I really am getting to like them! Things aren't worse, just different...and I kind of am enjoying the journey and seeing the changes. Good luck on your journey!
1 year later.......down 90 lbs. Now weighing 144 lbs. It has been slow going, but great nonetheless. Hope to lose more weight, but we'll see how that goes. Life is great and my life has made a total turnaround. I uploaded a new picture...even though I'm not sure how I did it! I think my head and teeth have gotten a lot bigger (literally). Best of luck to all who are anxiously awaiting their approval, their date, and their surgery. And all my best who are struggling. Just keep at it and you'll get there!
March 18, 2008 ...... 21 months since surgery. I have finally reached my weight loss goal of 100 lbs.!! I now weigh 134. It took a while, but I finally made it. I actually feel kind of boney, so we'll see how things go. Things are sagging, but it's worth it!! I am actually normal weight now! I will try to post some new photos soon. I ran into someone I hadn't seen for a couple of years and he didn't recognize me!!
June 2, 2008.......2 years and hanging in there! I reached my personal goal of -100 lbs. gone, hopefully forever. It is hard to keep it off! I have since found out that I have pulmonary hypertension, so I really have to concentrate on keeping the weight off!! That's the bad news, the good news is that I no longer have sleep apnea. Things are otherwise going great. I became a grandmother for the first time of a baby boy named Preston, after my husband. This is the son of our daughter Denise. She is such a good mom! Our eldest daughter, Michelle and her husband Dan are due to have their baby is on our 36th anniversary on July 29 and are having a girl and naming her Sophia. We are all truly blessed!
I still occasionally attend the support group meetings and the nutrition classes. This really helps keep me on track somewhat. Still have to put new photos up...I really have to learn how to do that!! Eating out is a real challenge, but since I love cooking, I find it's easier to eat at home. Continued success to all...just have to take it a day at a time. I have taken to telling me people that I lost the weight the hard way...by having the surgery. I can't believe how many people feel that it's the "easy way". It took me a couple of years to just get up the nerve to have surgery... until next time....best wishes.
Pre-Operation Front View
Pre-Operation Side View
I've lost 70 pounds as of December 1. Six months down...a lifetime left to go.
Surgeon: Mir Ali, M.D.
I knew from the very beginning that I wanted to have Dr. Ali as my doctor. He was confident, caring and kind. I wouldn't have had it any other way. He was there for me every step of the way and continures to provide my after care with time to listen and discuss what concerns I may have. All the while being very encouraging. Thank you, Dr. Ali!!!!!!!
Pacificare Signature Value, HMO;Greater Newport Physicians
Surgeon's office handled everything. Just had to give diet history and have a sleep study done to confirm sleep apnea. They have been great so far! Thanks to my pcp Dr. Soni for referring me.