LINK to Pg 2 of my profile:
I am 5'4" tall, 43, married, and have a 16 1/2 yr old daughter. I was lucky that I really did not start getting heavy until my daughter was about 2 years old, even though I was a little overweight then. It just gradually started creeping up on me until about 8 years ago when I remarried, then my weight just ballooned! Spent most of my adult life on the diet roller coaster, losing 10 - 30 lbs and gaining back double. As a result, I am now about 140 lbs overweight. I can't stand myself anymore. I have no life outside of my husband and daughter. I guess I'm going through my midlife crisis, because I am fed up...I'm want a life again...want to dance, be active, go places and do things that skinny people do.
2/19/02 Well, now all I have to do is wait. Saw my surgeon, Dr. Hamn five days ago. He will be faxing a letter of medical necessity to Pacificare of Texas as soon as it comes back from his transcriptionist. I should hear something from the insurance company the first week of March. I have already done everything else that the insurance company requires, so this is hopefully the last hoop I have to jump through to get an answer. If approved, my surgery will be sometime in April/May. Cross your fingers....I can hardly wait! I have two friends that have had wls and are doing spectacular! They will be a great support group for me. I'm a little scared of the surgery as I will be 44 next month and very aware of my own mortality, but I so want a quality life again. Trying to quit smoking and am doing well....down to less than half a pack a day! Really don't want to get all skinny again, and then die of lung cancer! Dr. Hamn really only likes to do the VBG, which is okay with me....each procedure has its good and bad points....their success is mostly based on how well I comply and do what I am supposed to do afterward. Guess I will just have to be strong and behave myself!
3/12/02 Yea!!! I am approved! Talked with Gerri at Dr. Hamn's office today & she said she got the approval yesterday! The down side is that she said I probably won't be scheduled until May or June....yuck. I hope they can squeeze me in a little sooner, but I'm still excited. I quit smoking 3 weeks ago today, too. All of this has been an extremely tough journey and I know it's going to get even tougher, but I am determined to be a healthy, active person again! I've got too much living left to do.
3/27/02 Well, a lot has happened in the past couple of weeks. The day after I was approved for surgery, I began having this kind of annoying chest pain. Nothing horrible, just persistent. Hubby and I decided to play it safe and go to the E.R. Doc's at the hospital said I wasn't having a heart attack, but just to be safe they wanted to keep me overnight and run some tests. All tests came back fine thank God, but they said I should see a cardiologist and do a stress test and ecchocardiogram since I am so overweight and had smoked for such a long time. The following Thursday I went and did those two tests and they were perfectly normal. I kicked butt on the stress test, I might add! They didn't think I would do the full 10 mins at a heart rate of 150, but I did! Thought I was going to explode! Even surprised myself! So, I got copies of everything and took it to my surgeon. One less thing I will need to do pre-op. He doesn't always require a cardiac workup, but now he won't need to. Yesterday on the 26th I went to my Psych appointment and took the MMPI test.....yes, I am sane and better than that, I am basically normal! Go figure! On the downside, the surgeon's office still has not gotten me a surgery date and they said it's looking like it will be in June or July now, which bummed me out a little, because before, they were saying April or May. Maybe they will get a cancellation or something...just trying to stay positive. This waiting game is hard once you get approved....just want to get this show on the road. Oh well, that's life.
3/28/02 I HAVE A DATE!!!!!!!! June 17, 2002. Gerri at Dr. Hamn's office called and gave me the date today. My 44th birthday is in two days...what a gift! No it's not as soon as I wanted, but I will take it! Plus, Gerri said if they can get my gall bladder sono scheduled sooner, then I might get an earlier date. She said that it helps that I don't work full time and can be available at a moments notice, too in case they have a cancellation! I am on cloud nine! My life has been hell the past couple of years with some family issues and it has just started to settle down so I could spend time focusing on "me" for a change...this is the start of a new life for me. Well, I'm off to finish telling the world!
4/8/02 Geez, I am going crazy. All I do is sit here at the computer at this website! I can't seem to get myself motivated to do anything else, and I know I should, just to help the time pass more quickly. I am a WLS/AMOS addict! I have made so many friends here though and it's such an informative and supportive place. Today, I am a little sick with a sinus infection which seems to just drain all my energy, so it's just as well that I just sit at the computer. I do wish the next two months would fly by though! I am starting back to work part-time with my husband in our insurance business for about 3 days a week....maybe that will help some. Lord, the waiting is excruciating!
4/18/02 Today has been so hard. I want a cigarette so bad. So many emotional issues to deal with, even before surgery. I don't want to work in the office with my husband and I feel guilty that I don't, but I am resentful when I go to work. My 17 year old daughter is in drug rehab, and she called me tonight and we talked about how difficult it will be for her when she comes home. She is finally starting to admit that she is an addict (mentally, as well as physically). She's scared she won't be strong enough when she runs into the "old crowd" and will start using again, and never make it out of the system. It's so hard as her "mommy" not to be able to put a band aid on this one, and kiss it, and make it go away. We talked about our addictions (mine to food) and how we must take it one day at a time, that all addictions are eventually self-destructive, it's just a degree of time. Damn, life can be so hard. I wonder how I will handle things when I no longer have my friend food to comfort me?
4/19/02 Well, thanks to a few supportive emails from my AMOS friends and a cute little poem on the message board from Renee McElwee, I have a brighter attitude today! My DH, Skip is being so wonderful and supportive of me and my mid-life crisis and mood swings! I don't know what I would do without him. He doesn't really understand (most guys don't), but he is my rock and I would fall apart without him. I know God will get me through and he will also take care of my baby, Amanda! Also, I am amazed daily at the wonderful people here at AMOS...the love, support and honesty is overwhelming! It makes me proud to be FAT and have FAT friends!
4/20/02 Today is one of those days I have to remind myself of my many blessings in life and stop whining. I have met so many people through this website that have had such horrible experiences with their WLS journeys as well as just regular life stuff, and yet somehow they remain positive and continue to move forward. So many Mom's have teens that are struggling like my Amanda, and I have even met one Mom whose daughter committed suicide last year at the age of 17! Time for a humility adjustment! Thank you God, for the blessings I have and take for granted every day!
4/24/02 Well, 53 more days! It seems like forever, but I know it will pass quickly and I have a lot of work to do before then, says my counselor, Janie today! Apparently, I have spent a great deal of my adult life "stuffing anger". Oh, I tried to deny that I was angry about anything, said it was just part of the hand I was dealt in life and I had forgiven everyone. Yeah Right! She pushed me into a corner and forced me to face the truth. I eat to keep from getting too angry or to keep myself from expressing anger at those whom I also need approval from. Ex: parents, brother, and daughter. To make a long story short, I have a lot to be angry at these people for, such as Mom was an alcoholic and made our lives hell with her disease and then overdosed on Rx meds. Dad was so caught up in Mom's disease that he too was angry and co-dependent and built an emotional wall around himself and was often abusive to my brother and I. Then my brother left home when he was 12 and I felt abandoned and then as an adult he became an alcoholic and once again I was on that disease roller coaster! Then low and behold, about the time he straightened up...here came my daughter and her addictions! You get conditioned when dealing with drug/alcohol abuse and child abuse that you do every thing possible not to "make waves", because it triggers the chaos and the pain and the subsequent disapproval. So we learn to "stuff our anger" with food. Janie has given me some assignments to do, books to read and things to try. I will take this one step at a time, because I want to be whole again (was I ever?) and I don't want this surgery to fail. Please continue to pray for me.
4/26/02 Wow! My last post was really emotional! I am better today. Working on knowing it's okay to be angry and express it (constructively of course), that people won't stop loving you, and your anger, or lack of, can't control their behaviors. Going down to spend some time with my daughter this weekend. She has a pass and we are going to go shopping and just have some fun together. She is such wonderful fun to be with...great sense of humor and just a beautiful person...hope she is figuring that out and that she doesn't need drugs to be special! Anyway, just thought I should post a little something brighter today.
4/29/02 Okay, back from my weekend visit with my daughter. We had a good time and she really enjoyed being out doing "normal" things again. She will have a 10 hour pass in two more weeks. It sort of difficult to fill the hours since she is 4 hrs from home. It's not like she can just come home and chill, we have to stay occupied. I guess next visit we will go to the park or maybe a movie. It's just nice being with her.
5/7/02 Not much to say today. Did get my pre-op testing date/time and instructions! Feeling pretty good/happy lately. Daughter is doing well. Work is okay. I'm feeling stronger each day thanks to Melody Beattie and "The Language of Letting Go"! Still smoke free x 2 1/2 mos! Try each day to concentrate on my blessings, not the crap, and most importantly deal with my emotions/problems not feed them!
5/12/02 Happy Mother's Day! Went to see Amanda this weekend, got back this afternoon. We had a great time! I remembered my meds this trip! She had a 10 hr. pass this time. We ate out, went to the park, chilled in the motel room, and went to the mall. Kept the visit simple and appreciative for one another. In spite of everything, she is my gift! She told me she would have never made it this far without my love and support. Those words were like gold to me! Twelve weeks until she's home for good and 36 days until surgery (good thing too, 'cuz I've gained 30 lbs since I quit smoking)! Life CAN be wonderful!
5/15/02 Well, I almost got to have surgery this Friday! But, alas, just a screw up by someone at the hospital that put the wrong date into the computer! I was really excited yesterday when they called! Oh well, it's not too far off. Good thing too, cuz I am gaining and gaining! Not smoking, nerves, last meal syndrome, all of the above! I feel I can't move...no energy and yet so much to do in the next 30 days! I really am disgusted with myself, but I knew I would gain when I quit smoking and as surgery got closer, but never in my wildest dreams did I think I would gain 30 lbs in 3 months! Emotionally, I feel I am sort of leveling out and it's not emotional eating that I am doing, just the other stuff. Just have to do this one day at a time and stay aware of my real feelings and what's going on in my life instead of just reacting without thinking and/or being truly aware.
Met with Dr. Hamn for the first time on Wednesday, February 13, 2002. I liked him right away. He is very personable and very straight forward. He is very clear in describing the different surgeries and their pros and cons. He makes sure you understand the possible risks and what to expect after surgery. Karen in his office has gone out of her way to help me and notified me of a last minute cancellation which she said was not their practice to do, but it got me in a month sooner! Karen is no longer with Dr, Hamn, but Gerri is spectacular! Always willing to take your call and answer your questions.
I started out trying to get approval for an out of network surgeon. This was a waste of time. I spent weeks jumping through hoops and writing letters only to be denied. However, the girl I was working with at Pacificare was very helpful and told me that I would likely be approved if I would find a Dr. that was in network. She has been very helpful and Pacificare has been very quick with their responses. I have met all their requirements. Was approved within 5 days of them receiving the surgeon's letter of medical necessity.