7/21/03 I actually just had my very first appt. with the surgeon, Dr. Corey Crain. They are to send in my approval information to CIGNA no later than tomorrow. Since I work for CIGNA, it will be very simple for me to follow up. My current weight is 236 at 5'5". I actually lost 4 pounds before seing the surgeon (go figure!). So, now I wait.
8/11/03 Well, I finally received my denial from CIGNA. I heard they are really making members jump through hoops now because the surgery has become so popular. I will not be surprised if it is an exclusion by next year. That's why I need to get my approval this year! They actually didn't deny my auth for my BMI being too low. (The good thing is I learned my height is actually 5'4" which makes my BMI 40.5) They denied it for the 2/26 rule for supervised weight loss attempts. Which is bogus being that I did have one 6 month attempt at the Bariatric Clinic within the last 12 months. I also included my psych eval and nutritional eval. So now I appeal and I wait again. I will post more as I know more.
9/15/03 My Committee meeting for the 2nd level appeal was scheduled for tomorrow at 10:50 am. I received an e-mail today at work (I work for CIGNA) indicating I did not need to attend the meeting because I had been approved prior to committee meeting. YES!!!!!!!!!!!! I have an abundance of emotions running through me right now. I spoke to the surgeon's office who indicate it would probably be late October or early November before I am scheduled.
9/23/03 I have a date!!!!!!!!! My date is November 25th!!!! I am so excited I do not know what to do! That is just 2 days before turkey day so I will not get to "pig out" that day. I will probably still be in the hospital. Who cares!!! I can not wait until I am on the other side. God is so good to me.
11/6/03 I'm pretty bummed today. I received a call from Brenda in Dr. Crain's office who told me Dr.Crain is behind schedule so they have changed my surgery date from Nov 26th (changed previously from 25th) to Dec 11th!!!!!!!!!! I was already psyched up and ready for surgery in 2 weeks. Not to mention I already had everything ready at work and at school for my absence. Oh well, guess I need to regroup now.
11/18/03 OK, now I'm being bounced around like a ping pong ball. I saw Dr. Crain today and apparently Brenda has scheduled more than 2 people on Dec 11th so now I'm back to my original date of Nov 26th with one catch - it's going to be an open procedure versus lap. It was either open or wait until next year and there is no freakin way I was waiting til next year for this surgery! So, anyways I will be on the other side for Turkey day. Wow, that is just one week away!! I'm psyched all over again.
11/24/03 Well I don't have long now. Just one more day and a wake up. I have to be at the hospital at 5:30 am since I will be the first patient of the day. I teased Dr. Crain that this is my punishment since he had to work this Thanksgiving. I met with the Anethesiologist on Thursday and completed all my pre-op stuff. That was an experience. I will have an epidural pump. The Anesthesiologist was very nice. I know I'm rambling but I have a lot of nervous energy right now. I'm cleaning my house from top to bottom to get ready for surgery cause I know my husband is not going to do it! :-) Anyway, I probably won't post again until I come back from the hospital. I want to thank everyone for the words of encouragement and prayers so far, and I will see you all on the other side!
11/25/03 Well I said I wasn't going to post again until after surgery. So what I lied. I've got to do something with my time! I did want to post my measurements so that I would have something to compare to after surgery. And I promise, I will not post again until I am back from the hospital.
Upper Arm 15"
12/4/03 I am baaacck!!! Well, not officially home yet. I am staying with my parents for a few days before I go home. My husband works nights and I didn't want to be home alone (just in case). All I can say is WHEW!! The surgery itself really was not that bad and everyone took such good care of me in the hospital. I was there for 7 days released just yesterday. I am walking very gingerly, but to be honest I do not remember much about the surgery itself. I developed a small touch of pneumonia in my left lung after surgery but it was nothing major. I am doing very well except I really think my body is going to go into malnutrition! I absolutely hate broth and sugar free jello. So, basically the only think I am surviving on is Popsicles and water. I can not wait until the full liquid phase is over, at least I will have a little more variety. Hopefully, when I see Dr. Crain next Tuesday, he will let me progress to the next level. I have no idea how much weight I have lost so far and do not want to know until I see Dr. Crain on Tuesday. My official weight at the hospital was 244.
12/5/03 Yesterday in all my blabbering, I forgot to thank everyone for the wonderful words of encouragement and prayers. Charge it to my head and not my heart!!
12/16/03 My second MD appt, for some reason he didn't check my weight last week. I am down to 216! That is a loss of 28 pounds in only 3 weeks! I'll take it. I'm sure it's because I am only eating sugar free popsicles and drinking water. I can not for the life of me get that protein in. It all makes me gag. The doctor told me that if I don't get it in and start taking in more calories, the weight loss will stop as my body thinks it is starving. I progress to full liquids this week so maybe I can get in a few more calories and some protein.
12/22/03 Well going to full liquids did indeed help. I am able to tolerate those Atkins shakes which have a good amount of protein and I have been eating a little more since I can have pudding and a few other things. I am now down to 210 from 244 that I weighed the day of surgery! It is on to the pureed stage. I am also walking a little on my treadmill so that I can try to get below 200 before the new year.
12/23/03 I think I'm not intaking enough calories. On a typical day I average about 450-500 calories and I track it on fitday. I'm getting about 40 grams of protein in those calories. A typical meal consists of 1 egg for breakfast (with a little cheese); 1 slice of turkey or 2 oz tuna, 2 oz unsweetened applesauce, 1oz cheese and 2 crackers for lunch; a protein shake in the afternoon; 1 slice turkey or 2oz tuna, 5-6 green beans, cup of 1% milk for dinner; sugar free fudgesicle late snack. I know that is not a lot of food, but it takes everything I have just to get all that in, but I am really beginning to think that is why my weight loss keeps slowing down.
2/26/04 Hello everyone! Today is my 3 month anniversary! My how time flies when you're having fun. Today I weigh 185 pounds down from 244 just 3 months ago - that's 59 pounds for you non-math people (smile). I am not a fast loser, but I am steady. I am wearing size 16's and even bought a few 14's that fit (depending on how it is made). I feel great. Probably should exercise more and plan on doing just that. I have lost a lot of inches. See the comparison below:
Neck 16" - now 14 3/4
Breast 49" - now 43
Upper Arm 15" - now 14
Waist 47" - now 40 1/2
Thigh 31" - now 27
I think I have accomplished a lot in 3 months. My next goal is to be at 175 pounds by April 14. I hope I make it! I was on a plateau for about 3 weeks and thought I would never get out of the 190's. Upped my protein and dropped 4 pounds in 2 days. I also had my husband hide my scale because I was becoming obsessed with weighing myself (sometimes 3-4 times a day!). I think I still am a little. That thing is more tempting than a piece of cake. Is that not CRAZY??!!
5/14/04 Well, it has been quite a while since my last update. I did meet my goal of 175 by April 14. I am currently at 165 and holding steady for a total loss of 79 pounds. I am wearing a faithful size 12.I have another 20 pounds that I would love to lose but my weight loss is really slow now. I think I could really lose the 20 pounds if I were to start exercising. You see, I do have to admit that I am probably a slow loser because I do not exercise at all now. I mean, I was walking on that damn treadmill, but it just really started getting on my nerves. I am going to try to do better when I come from my cruise in June, but I just can't make any promises right now.
I pretty much eat whatever I want (with the exception of a lot of sweets)just in very small quanities. Nothing seems to bother me as far as dumping. The only time I dump is when I overeat - then I will get sick as a dog and have to go to bed.
I had an appointment with a plastic surgeon yesterday about these sagging breasts of mine and he has agreed that I do need a breast reduction/lift. I was already top heavy even before the surgery so now I am sagging top heavy and it is really annoying to have to roll your breasts up to put them in your bra. He mentioned something about 250 grams that need to come off. I don't know if that is a lot or not (I'm not too good with the metric system).All I know is that I want these grandma things gone and I want them small. I will take a B cup if he can give it to me. You breast implanters just don't understand what it is like to have skipped over B and C in bra sizes. So, God willing, I will have the surgery sometimes in August pending Insurance approval. If they look at those pictures the MD took that I saw, somebody would hurry up a approve me!
I am setting my goals at 5 lbs per month to get this last 20 lbs off so hopefully I won't set myself up for failure. That sounds pretty reasonable to me.
I guess I'll go for now and I will try to update a little more regularly. I will post pictures when I come from my cruise in June!
6/15/04 Well I came back from my cruise to good news - my surgery has been approved! So, I go back under the knife hopefully for the last time. I have not scheduled a surgery date with the plastic surgeon yet but hopefully I can get in by the end of July early August. I'm ready for these two babies to be petite and perky! I am down another 5 pounds to 160. I was actually a little lower than that but I gained 2 pounds on the cruise!! Now, it's back to the basics so that I can get rid of these last 15 pounds. TTFN!!
7/9/04 It has been a minute since I updated. I have been sick this past week with extreme stomach and back pain(don't think it is surgery related). Went to the ER 2 times over the holiday which was not fun and they really couldn't tell me what was wrong. They THINK I may have kidney stones although the CT scan did not indicate so. They gave me an antibiotic and some hydrocodone and sent me home so I have been in pain for almost a week now. Anyway, I lost about 6 pounds in the process since I also haven't been able to eat since Saturday. I'm down to about 151 now for a total loss of 93 pounds - only 6 more pounds to goal! I am still slated for breast reduction surgery on 8/10/04 and hopefully this little onset will be out of the way and not cause any mishaps with that. I'm sure they can get 6 pounds from these breasts of mine easily!! So, it is my hope to be at goal by the end of August only 9 months after surgery! I'm wearing size 10 and 12 right now. Will update later with surgery details.
8/6/04 Well, I had an upper endoscopy done on Tuesday and the Gastro said everything looked fine with the surgery. They are not sure why I am having the stomach and back pain. At least it is not as bad as it was a few weeks ago. I couldn't even walk! Now, it's more intermittent. I have to have an ultasound to check my gallbladder. Also I am still scheduled for surgery on Tuesday but they are going to check my protein and electrolytes Monday before I can have the surgery and as long as everything is OK with that I guess the surgery is still on. Since I have been sick, I haven't been eating or drinking like I should so I think I was also suffering from a little dehydration. I am trying to get back on track, but this stomach pain slows me down every now and again. I am down to 147 for a total loss of 97 pounds! The size 12s have got to go. I'm in a 10 and could even wear an 8 if the waist was a little larger. Only 2 more pounds to goal. I'll let you know what happens after my appointment on Monday to see if my surgery is on or off.
8/9/04 Well the surgery is on! My labwork came back A-OK except that I am a little anemic. Other than that I am fit as a horse. I will post after my surgery tomorrow hopefully with some new and perky twins.
8/19/04 Hello everyone! I made it through surgery which was a breeze - no pain whatsoever - just a little soreness. I am still all bound with tape and won't get that off until tomorrow when I see the doc again. I went back to work Tuesday, just a week after surgery. I also have to go have an ultrasound done tomorrow to see if my gallbladder is acting up since they never found out what was wrong with me a few weeks ago. I feel perfectly fine now. I am still at 147 pounds though so I didn't lose any weight even with the excess removed. Oh well. Still just 2 more pounds to goal.
11/11/04 Well, it has been a while since I posted. I'm still doing great from my surgery. I am down to 141 pounds so I am an official member of the "Century Club" at minus 103 pounds. I really do not want to lose any more but every now and then I look at the scale and I have lost a pound or two. I think when it's all said and done, I will end up right around 145 or so which is good with me. I'm wearing 8's and 10's depending on the make. My one year anniversary is actually the day after Thanksgiving this year. I had my surgery the day before Thanksgiving last year so I didn't get any turkey! I will eat my share of it this year. I can basically eat anything I want with the exception of Chick-Fil-A. I don't know what they cook that chicken in, but it does not agree with my stomach. It made me deathly ill the other day. I don't think I had any since my surgery (that I can remember) and I won't be having any more. But again, my stomach even tolerates sugar well (which is not a good thing I suppose) but I don't eat a whole lot of it anyway. I find that I don't like meat as much either. I'll eat it in moderation, but I'd much rather have the vegetables. Funny how the surgery actually changes your tastes. I have posted a couple of new updated pictures below and will submit to the before and after photos as well. TTFN!
11/26/04 Today is my 1 year anniversary!!! I am at goal and feeling fabulous!!!
1/5/05 Happy New Year Everyone! Let's see what 2005 has in store for us all. Well, I am down to about 136 pounds now. I didn't know that until I went to the doctor today. I thought I was still at about 142 or so. Anyway, I am still having that intermittent stomach/back pain that comes and goes so mysteriously. I'm going back to the gastro to see about that. I am also going to see the plastic surgeon again because I keep getting this annoying rash where my stomach overhangs. I don't have a big apron, but a little pouch that is just big enough to keep giving me trouble. It is so very annoying. Other than that, I have been great. Minus 108 pounds and loving life!
10/22/05 Well, I should really be ashamed of myself taking so long to post. I am almost 2 yrs out and hold steady between 135 and 140. It fluctuates about 5 pounds or so. I can pretty much eat whatever I want and I don't experience any dumping. I normally eat about 4-6 small meals everyday. It seems like I am constantly eating. They found out that stomach pain I was having was my gallbladder afterall. I had a Hidascan to detect that my gallbladder was ejecting at 17% when it should be over 65%. So, eventhough it didn't have any stones, it was still diseased. Because it didn't have stones is what took them so long to detect what the problem was. I am scheduled to have it taken out on November 15th right before my 2 yr anniversary which is November 26. I have really been blessed with this surgery because I have not had any major problems regarding the procedure itself. It did exactly what it was supposed to do. I hear of a lot of people who can't eat certain things and are still sick, but I never had those problems and I am very grateful! It has truly been a blessing for me.
12/18/07 I am really embarrassed about the time that has gone by. It has been over 4 years since my surgery! I have had some really interesting situations since I posted more than 2 years ago. In April 2006, I had a bowel blockage and had to be opened up again. I was in the hospital for 12 days. If you read my posts all that pain I described for almost 2 years was because of the blockage. So, I had my gall bladder taken out and still had pain. I feel the best I have ever felt since they corrected the blockage; however, I have gained about 30 pounds and I am not too happy about that. I think they did something to my pouch when they went back in to fix my bowel. I wanted to gain about 10 pounds because I was having issues with my hemoglobin and anemia but I did not want to gain 30 pounds. I am now in the process of getting back down to about 150 as I am now at about 170. My body does not like being thin and when I was at 135, for my body frame I was extremely thin. People thought I weighed about 110 pounds and when I would tell them I weighed 135 they wouldn't believe me. Anyway, other than that, I feel wonderful and I wouldn't change a thing. It seems so long ago now anyway. I will post an updated picture and maybe it won't be 2 years before my next post.
Surgeon: Corey Crain, M.D.
I have been at this whole-heartedly since about June or July. I finally met Dr. Crain today and he was very nice and informative. I told him I was a little nervous and he said that we didn't have to do it. I let him know - oh yes, we HAVE to do this. Besides it's more of an excited kind of nervous. What I do not particularly care for is his front office staff. The receptionist is pretty nasty. She is definitely in the wrong business. Even if you call, she has an attitude and I really can't understand why?! I didn't really care for Brenda either. She is the one who handles the authorization process. I basically did all the work (but maybe that was because of my sometimes overbearing personality), but she will not return phone calls. She also made a mess of scheduling my surgery. She told me I had to cancel Nov 26th and that I was definitely scheduled for Dec 11th if I wanted to do the surgeyry Lap. So imagine my surprise when Dr. Crain tells me that I'm scheduled for Nov 26th as an open procedure and that Brenda had another person scheduled in on Dec 11th. Anyway, meeting Dr. Crain made it a little better because he was a sweetheart.
CIGNA HealthCare of NC
My information was called in on 7/24/03 and has been in review by the Medical Director. All Gastric Bypasses must go through the medical director. They need the clinical info faxed over again because they indicate they never received it. A nurse called today and indicated it may not be approved because my BMI was only 39.3 and my comorbids were not life threatening. How much since does this make when if my BMI is only 40 I wouldn't even need comorbids? Anyway, it's still a game of wait and see. I did contact my MD office to let them know I had someone to officially take my height which is 5'4" instead of 5'5". They go by what you say and do not check it officially. So, that should help some. It may even put me at the 40 BMI that I need.
8/11/03 I just received my denial from CIGNA. It indicates I have not had 2/26 week supervised weight loss attempts with one being in the last 12 mths. This is how I know they are denying everyone automatically. Had my information truly been reviewed, they would have found the documentation meeting this requirement. So, now I go to the appeal process which should give me more favorable results. Being that I work for CIGNA, I also know the requirements and made sure I met them upfront. So, this should really be a technicality. We shall see. They may change the requirements before I get me appeal in!!! 8/29/03 I received another denial indicating they were upholding the original denial for the 2-26 week diet requirement. Now, I know they didn't read the appeal. I have all of my documentation attached and I am ready to send in my 2nd appeal. 9/8/03 Submitted my second level appeal via fax. 9/11/03 Received an e-mail at work from the Appeals Committee Coordinator indicating that my hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, 9/16/03 at 10:50 am. Wow! Now, I'm nervous. 9/15/03 Received another e-mail from the Appeals Committee Coordinator indicating no need for me to attend the hearing tommorrow because I have been approved prior to committee!! Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! God is good all the time!