4/10/06Well, I guess I have decided on Dr. Daly, unless I get a strong reason to change. I have not cancelled my consult with Dr. Hart which is scheduled for April 20. I will if this week goes well.
Surgeon: John Daly M.D.
Everyone who has used Daly speaks so highly of him. That was a huge deal to me as I narrowed down my surgeon choices. Thinking of my Consult. appt. with Dr. Daly....having me sit up on the edge of the examining table as we have this LIFE-CHANGING discussion....VERY strange to me. Also, although he answered all my questions very well, I realized later he never even asked me a single one. Not even "fake" questions to break the ice, or to pretend like he was interested in me as a person. Ya know? You'd think the least would be "Sooo Paige, tell me a bit about yourself and what brings you to see me today." I mention the boards being a double-edged thing because you find so many people who write, "Oh my surgeon just really CARES about me. He wants to know what's going on in my life because that affects the outcome of this surgery" etc. Is that just warm-fuzzy stuff that the emotional side of us wants, but has nothing to do with their competency as a surgeon?
4/10/06 Today when I saw my PCP, it was just a "consult" and I was on the table, he on his stool. I guess that's just the norm---when you're overweight, tho, it's a bit awkward and embarrassing....I'd rather be sitting at a table , looking eye-to-eye, not eye-to-thigh...ha! :)
Yes, I had my PCP appt and it went well!! I felt emotional (stressed?) and teared up a few different times, but pulled myself together to talk to him. (Hmmm, I wonder if I felt teary-eyed because as I hurried to get ready to go to the appt, I slipped on the wet floor in my bathroom and came CRASHING down flat on the floor....banged my head and slammed my knee. It was bleeding and is really hurting! ) Two years ago when I'd mentioned WLS he was against it. Today, a different story. He feels good about it, has ~15 patients who have had it and has seen the great results, and feels it's a good decision for me. I was happy! I had my chest x-rays and blood work done there, and they scheduled my Stress Test/EKG with a Cardiologist on Thursday. I will have completed the whole "List" this week!! Tomorrow I go to Northside to the nutritionist (Georgie is moving and not seeing new patients, so I will see Mollie), then Wednesday I go see Dr. Santavicca for the Psych. evaluation. Thursday the Cardiologist, and I'm done! Then, if everyone sends the results to Dr. Daly in a timely manner, he'll go over them and choose a date, I guess? Yay!
Complications: Dr. Daly told me he hadn't had a patient die in 5 years, and had never seen one of his patients experience any of the "risks" listed along with WLS information. His one patient died of blood clots because she refused to walk at the hospital or at home, he says. Anyway, that made me feel reassured!!
I believe he said he does all his surgeries at Northside now. If not, I'll definitely put my vote in for Emory Dunwoody! I've heard only good things about that hospital.
I have sleep apnea, take B/P medication, and my insulin levels sometimes are a bit high, but I do not have diabetes. So, I am fairly healthy, I think, when it comes to WLS patients. I want to have this BEFORE I get serious problems. I have knee and foot pain due to weight, too. My knee/feet pain has noticably increased the last 30 lbs. Owww!
4/13/06 Whew, I'm tired. This has been a CRAZY week. I think I've had 8 appts. in the last 4 days. Today was hopefully the last for awhile.
Tuesday I saw the nutritionist at Northside, and really, didn't find that $105 visit (out of pocket) very helpful. She basically read from the sheet which she handed me to take home. She was "new" to doing WLS patients, and didn't seem to know a whole lot. But I got the "diet", which I'd been anxious to see in print. During our appt. she had those little black, plastic "salsa cups" you find at the condiments area in a Mexican fast food place. She told me that was my new meal dish. Seeing that DID floor me a bit! Whoa, so small. She told me to put my water, my shakes, my food...in those little salsa cups, and to sip them from that. And one of those 2oz cups should take THIRTY minutes to drink or eat? Really? wow!
Wednesday was my Santavicca (Psych) consultation. I was anxious to meet him after all the good things I'd heard about him. He was almost exactly how I pictured him, maybe a little younger. Very friendly and easy to talk to....although we didn't "talk" much, he asked questions and I answered. I was either too normal or too boring, because my whole time with him (including the longggg sheets to fill out) was probably around an hour. Those sheets were funny......(complete the sentences, T/F). I had answers like...."I can't---do cartwheels" "Men---are a necessary evil" (with a smiley face) etc. Once again, since I had to pay the $350, it didn't seem that helpful to ME. I'm sure it's helpful if he comes across people who aren't stable enough for the surgery, etc. I liked him though.
Today was my Stress Test and EKG. They told me to get naked from the waist up and put on this gown, open to the front. Well, the gown was SO small, I doubt my kids could wear it comfortably. That was the largest they had!!! Soooo, (it's so fun to be FAT!) they had me tie one gown around my neck with the strings (and let it hang down) and tie one around my neck and let it hang down my back. Can you tell THAT was embarrassing? PLUS, it was someone I KNOW (from my son's soccer days) who was my Nurse Practitioner thru the whole thing....very embarrassing. In my head I was thinking the treadmill thing would take an hour. I told her later I wish I'd known it was just a few minutes, I would have "endured" more. As it was, it totally threw me off that she immediately started it fast, and inclined, with the incline increasing every minute, or less. Both women/nurses were talking to me the whole time, asking questions about my family, etc. The 2nd girl was putting a BP cuff on me as I tried to keep walking....all very hard!
4/14/06 Well, this afternoon, I will call Dr. Daly's office and ask Tammy (hope she's there!) if any of my reports have come back (Nutrition and Psych. mainly). Then I will call my PCP and check on the status of those tests. It looks like I need to call Dr. Hart's office and cancel my appointment on the 20th... I am self-pay, so no waiting for approval. I just have to wait for everything to get into Daly's hands, and then he'll choose a date? Call me with choices? Call me and telling me he's going on a sabbatical????
My parents are paying for the surgery.....such a wonderful gift and blessing. My eyes fill with tears everytime I think about it. It was hard to accept. Anyway, they are very supportive. My dad asks lots of interested questions. My husband is supportive in a, "Whatever you want to do, honey, is great!" kind of way. He wouldn't get on-line and research or read articles, etc. So, he's not an ACTIVE supporter, but thinks this is exciting. My closest friends are clueless as to WLS, but will be happy to see me getting healthier! People, in general, seem to like to tell me who they know who has died from WLS. Humph! "Oh, my husband's cousin had Gastric Bypass and she died!" Thankyouverymuch!!!
4/17/06 This morning I actually feel a bit nervous as, if all goes well, I may get a date for surgery from Dr. Daly this week! I called Tammy (why is she called Tammy and also Carolyn??) and asked what results they'd already received. She had my Bloodwork, Psych. evaluation and Nutrition evaluation. So, I called my PCP (left a msg....ugh!) and said they still needed my X-rays, Cardiologist reports, and letter of clearance from PCP. Hope they call me back and say, "Done!!".
Tammy glanced over my bloodwork and said the following were high:
White Blood Count =11.4 (normal 4-10)
Glucose= 114 (65-99)
Cholesterol= 59 (5-40)
I wonder why my White Blood Count often is "slightly elevated"....wonder what that means. I do not have a cold or anything....and yet each time I do bloodwork, it's a bit high. I need to "Google" that and check it out.
Random Thought: I wonder if a person's feet shrink as the rest of their body does...... Hmmmmm.
4/19/06 Ok, I've been bawling for over 2 hours now.....it's CRAZY how hormones and emotions make this journey so......upsetting at times! My surgeon's office (oops, you know him, don't you!! :) told me that I still needed the Cardiac clearance and cardiac test results faxed in. Well, I called my PCP to leave ANOTHER msg, then went this afternoon with a professional, typed letter for him, listing what he specifically needed to turn in. I attached it to the list from Dr. Daly, with instructions for what he's to do (he already had 3 copies in his office, as different people had copied it). Tell me they didn't TOSS the letter back at me (my own LETTER to my DOCTOR didn't get to him!!!!) and tell me that I had to have the cardiologist do that stuff. I calmly tried to read the instructions to them, but to no avail. They were NOT nice. So, crying, I came home, called the cardiologist's office, bawled like a Looney, and told her the situation. She made calls to PCP and Daly's office, called me back and said, "Look, let's just get you back in here for a Cardiac clearance, and get it done". Of course, I'm thinking THAT"S WHAT MY PCP SHOULD HAVE REQUESTED TO BEGIN WITH! So, FRIDAY at 10:30 I have yet another appointment, this one may have a different type of treadmill test (more "invasive" she said", plus an Echocardiogram, etc. I am frustrated with almost the entire medical establishment for their lack of courtesy, communication, and general patient advocacy. Even Dr. Daly's office.....I mean really, Tammy/Carolyn (did you explain why she uses two names??) should just CALL a patients PCP office with what's needed, as she has POWER and INFLUENCE. One call from her, would cancel out the patient having to call HER every day to check on things. It all boils down to the truth: we're our own best advocate. We have to grab the bull (BULL!!!) by the horns and get done what we need to.
I'm actually calm now, even though it's about to storm severely and one of my dogs is panicking AND our A/C is actually broken---- I had to call the A/C guy back out today and "Oh, it's broken...it either needs a new compressor or you need a new unit. That'll be $3,200!" That started my day.....hence a little bit of the STRESS!
Oh, the funny thing is, as I'm acting like a lunatic, crying and sighing and moaning in the car, I pick up the mail at the mailbox and open up the report from Santavicca (Psych consult). Ironic that while I'm bawling, I'm reading how totally level-headed and calm and happy I am! LOL
Let's see, he said some interesting things in the report:
*She has done a lot of good research and continues to learn from others who have had WLS (Thank YOU CATHY!)
*She eats for "pleasure and companionship" (Cereal....my best friend)
*"Ms. K presented as a 42 year-old morbidly obese lady dressed well and groomed appropriately for the exam" (cracks me up!!)
*She had an evident happy mood and engaging manner. ("Soo, tell me, Big Boy, what's YOUR favorite food?")
*Her speech presentation suggested bright intellect. (Hmmm....ummmm.....sure, I guess.)
*Responses on a projective sentence completion test ("MEN....are a necessary evil") indicated themes of enjoyment of friendships, weight-related regrets and frustrations, hopefulness and optimism, bright intellect and social skills.
*Excellent candidate for surgery.
*She displays good general self-regard. (Oh, I LOVE myself in spite of the rolls!!)
*She has constructive beliefs and positive attitudes and outlook, which tend to promote resilience.
*She has sound motives for pursuing surgery and realistic expectations. (Good-byeeee Lane Bryant!)
*She has good intellectual abilities for understanding medical explanations and instructions. (They cut my WHAT? And put it WHERE?)
*I see no need for psychological follow-up. (Wahhhh, I want a therapist!!)
4/19 I just ordered "Gut Feelings" and "I'm still hungry"....Carnie Wilson's books, off the used book site, Half.com. Hope those are the right books!
I look forward to getting and reading them!
4/20 My exhaustion continues.....
Tomorrow: 2nd visit with cardiologist, which I pray is my LAST appt.
4/21/06 Friday, I had the 2nd appointment with the Cardiologist. This time I actually saw HIM, and he did nothing but ask me a few questions about my families medical history. He listened to my heart and told me he wanted me to have an Echo Ultrasound. The girl at the front desk said it would be Tuesday before they could fit me in. I was disappointed and said, "Tuesdayyy?" She made a call and said if I could get over to the hospital, I could get it done right then! Yay! I did, and I really enjoyed that appointment. Back when I was in college, my dad worked at a couple different company's (was President of both) that "invented" and manufactured things for Ultrasound before it was widely used in hospitals, etc. I remember Dad talking to me about ultrasound and what a huge difference it'd make in medical diagnosis, etc. Anyway, it was fun having one on my heart. The Tech chatted the whole time she worked on me, telling me about the 2 people closest to her who've had Gastric Bypass. It was interesting. Both had used Duncan, of course (Everyone I meet has used Duncan!) I asked her if she saw FAT around my heart and she checked and said there wasn't any. I was happy to hear that....I picture a layer of fat around my poor, overworked heart. By the WAY: they had nice, roomy, comfortable gowns to wear!!
SO, she said it would take up to a WEEK to get the results read, the report typed and faxed over.....so now I wait this week. I'll probably start calling Tammy/Carolyn on Wednesday!
4/23/06 I told an older lady at church yesterday that I was pursuing this and she got "The Look" on her face. I said, "Ok, you know of someone who has died from the surgery." She didn't....but didn't like me doing it. "Is it really necessary?" "Can't you just try Weight Watchers?" etc. (Betty, I've done Weight Watchers every 2 years since I was 20) "Don't you want to try it again?" (Betty, I recently joined WW AGAIN, paid for 10 weeks, and haven't gone.......another one bites the dust). She called me today and feels much better about it as she talked to Pat, a mutual friend, who's a nurse and has seen lots of success stories from this surgery. <>
I feel a nap calling my name.
4/27/06 I checked phone messages tonight and while I was taking a nap earlier the Cardiologist called. He said my Ultrasound was "perfectly normal" and he'd be sending the results to Daly and my Internist. Also, he'd be writing up a cardiac clearance letter. But when? I'll call Tammy tomorrow afternoon, just IN CASE! w00 h00, it's getting closer!!
I received Carnie Wilson's book, Gut Feelings, in the mail today! I am excited to read it. I hope that's the right one to read first, as it's the only one I have so far. The novel I bought, "Conversations with the Fat Girl" is not that great, but I'm plodding through it in case it turns better the 2nd half.
4/28/06 I have to MAKE myself not call Dr. Daly's office constantly to see if my paperwork has arrived. But Tammy is so kind and she said calling is FINE! Unfortunately, they still don't have my Cardiac tests results, or my letter of Cardiac Clearance. Once those are in her hands, my paperworks gets transferred to Dr. Daly's hands, and if he OK's me, a date is PICKED! w00, it could even be TODAY! If not today, I will wait until Tuesday to call back, since Tammy is not there this Monday. I'm trying to remain calm....and my moments of intense stress levels have reduced this past week. I'm just ready to DO IT!
5/2/06 I called Tammy today and asked if my Cardiac info had been faxed in. She went to check and YES, it had been. She "felt" she had everything that was needed, so would give it to Dr. Daly to look over.
I called back at 4pm (just as they were closing...wanted to catch her!) to see if Dr. Daly had looked at my stuff.....but No, he hadn't been in the office that afternoon. Tammy said to call back THURSDAY because Dr. Daly won't be in tomorrow......so Thursday it is! It can't go on like this forever! Can it??
**I've even gone back to biting my nails~! <>
5/4/06 Ok, called again today, was so excited, and yet AGAIN he still hadn't looked over my paperwork. I totally realize I'm not the *only* person waiting.....but it sure FEELS like it at times! I'm quite disappointed....
5/5/06 I called this morning as I'd been told, my surgeon HAD approved me, but now Tammy had to negotiate a date for me....so more waiting. She said she'd call me later.....but I called her back since I was leaving the house and didn't want to miss her call. She had a date for me! I HAVE A DATE!!!!!!!! w00 h00!!!!
May 22nd will be the beginning of the rest of my life.......
I had my first consult with a surgeon on 3/30/06! I chose Dr. John Daly based on my research and the specific things people mentioned on this site (and others). He is the Chief of Bariatrics at Northside Hospital and I also like that he is a General Surgeon (doesn't just do WLS), so can take care of different needs that might arise in a patient. My first impressions of him: He's nice, confident,experienced, funny, and answered every question to my satisfaction. I'll write more after I see him the 2nd time.....
BCBS, Blue Choice Option POS