March 23, 2000 - Appt. for referral to see surgeon. Boy this day started off rough. My appt. was scheduled for
Surgeon: David Spencer, M.D.
8:50 a.m. and as I was walking out the door and I got a phone call saying the Dr., "THE DOCTOR" called in sick and I would basically have to call the 1-800 tricare to reschedule. First of all, it took me over 30 days to get in just for my "referral". I wasn't about to give up. The woman had absolutely no sympathy at all for me. Not even the fact that I had taken the day off without pay and had to pay a babysitter. Okay, this didn't stop me. I changed PCM from Family Practice to Internal Medicine (the woman there was extremely rude and besides, I heard you could be seen faster in this clinic) and guess what? I got in the same day just an hour later. I rushed to my appt. and got my referral to see the surgeon. This was scheduled for May 3, 2000 at 10:00 a.m. I had called to get an appt. earlier but the schedule was booked up and had to call back in 3 weeks to see if I could get in on the new schedule. What a long 3 weeks!
I have told my mother all along. I was afraid to tell my father because my parents are divorced and remarried and I am just a private person and don't want everyone knowing. Well, my mother told my father but I'm not supposed to know this. Guess now I am forced to sit down with my father. I'm sure he will understand afterall, genetically, I take after him. I will pick and chose who I want to tell. Others will just have to believe I took diet pills and had self control!!! I don't want to hear any negativity I suppose. I think I've had enough in other ways. I am trying to help myself.
May 3, 2000 - I got to meet my surgeon. My husband came with me on this appt. We asked a few questions bla, bla, bla and found out I had to go through some steps and then come back and talk to my surgeon again and schedule a surgery date. I was told they need blood work and a urine sample. We walked down to the lab, thinking I could kill two birds with one stone, to find out I had to be fasting before I could get this lab work done. Anyone in a hurry for this surgery, I suggest fasting on the day you see your Dr. so you have your blood work that day instead of having to go back like I did. Not only do they need blood work and a urine sample, you have to get an ultrasound to make sure you don't have any gall stones and if you do, they will just take it out during the surgery. You also have to talk to a nutritionist and a psychologist. I went ahead and scheduled these appointments and then made an appt. with my Dr. so I wouldn't have to keep continuing to wait.
May 18th - I had my ultrasound to check for gallstones at
10:00 a.m.. I won't know the results until I talk to my surgeon on June 2nd! I was fasting for the ultrasound anyways so I went ahead and had my blood work done and urine sample. First time I ever had a bad experience getting blood work. The guy totally missed my vein and went into my muscle and I have big juicy veins! Oh well! I told him basically to get someone else. And he did!!!
May 19th - I had my psychological exam today at 8:00 a.m. Boy these early days are killing me. Especially when you have to park in the parking garage and get there early enough to get your records but I know it will all be worth it. Looks liked I passed the exam! HA! The psychologist was very nice and said alot of wonderful things about me and saw no reason psychology why I couldn't have this surgery and that she saw no reason for me to have any trouble after the surgery. YAY!!
May 23rd - On May 25th - I have my appt. at 8:00 a.m. to talk to the nutritionist. I hope this goes as smooth as the rest of the steps. On this day, it will be 9 weeks since I've started my steps towards this surgery. On June 2nd I have my appt. at 10:00 a.m. with my surgeon. I am supposed to get my surgery date on this day. Everyone else I have met having this surgery and going to the same surgeon seems to get a date 3 weeks later. We shall find out. I still have all kinds of mixed emotions about this surgery. One day I am so positive and I really want it and the next day I have all kinds of fears and I think I don't want it but I am continuing on.
I am going to go to dinner on Friday night with this woman my mother knows who is 3 years post op. She started out weighing 277 lbs. She is 5'4" and has lost around 140 lbs. I will find all the details on Friday. I can't wait to meet this person face to face and find out everything she went through. Maybe I will feel more normal after Friday and that I'm not the only one who goes through a roller coaster of emotions. I think about my 2 beautiful children every millisecond of every day. I live and breathe my children and this is my only fear. God forbid if something ever happened to me and my husband had to raise them. JUST KIDDING! No really, you know what I mean. There is about a 1 1/2% chance of death. My surgeon did tell me however, if he thought this would cause more harm than good he wouldn't have even spoke to me.
I am also a little concerned because I am eating like I have two (well you know), thinking I will never be able to eat these things again which I probably won't. I am eating like every meal is my last supper. Talking briefly to people who are post op, they say don't worry about it and go ahead and eat those things you may never be able to eat again. I am just concerned about the extra weight I will put on before surgery and don't want to get into the habit of just indulging myself with food and then BAAM!! You have the surgery and have to learn control (as well as forced control) over what and how much you can eat. Guess I will slow down a little and just indulge a little instead of every meal so this won't be so hard on me. I'm not really a sweet eater anyhow and I've been eating ice cream like everyday. Soon I will look back and laugh. I HOPE! All the things I hear you won't be able to eat are things us people in the United States shouldn't be eating anyways. That's why obesity is so high around here maybe. Guess I won't feel like the stuffed turkey during Thanksgiving anymore. The girl who I am talking to Friday night about the surgery said she just fixes her small plate and then fixes another plate for later so she can take a little in at a time and so she doesn't feel like she is depriving herself. Maybe she will tells me more tricks of the trade on Friday. It really does make you feel more knowledgeable and more comfortable talking to someone who has been through it.
I JUST WANT TO EAT TO LIVE AND NOT LIVE TO EAT!
June 2 - I went and saw my surgeon today and got a surgey date. July 11!!!!! Wa who!!! So far everything has gone smooth. Waiting is actually the hardest part.
July 5 - I went in today to get a review of the surgery by the nurse. She seems to think nobody needs this surgery!!?? I also went to APD and pre registered. I had to give a urine specimen. I also was told to bring in first morning urine on the 11th for a pregnancy test. That would be a shocker if it was positive. LOL They also told me not to drink after midnight on the 10th. I have been having mini anxiety attacks. I am getting sooooooo nervous and still wondering if I'm doing the right thing. Okay, so I don't do this surgery and by Christmas I'll probably weigh 300 lbs. at the rate I am going. I don't want to weigh 300 lbs. so I assume I'm doing the right thing.
Everyone says prepare for this. How the heck do you do that? If I could prepare and eat smaller portions and no sugar, etc. I wouldn't be getting this surgery!!
At this point I am just wondering about pain, etc. I just want to live!!!!!!
July 29th - Finally over with! I came home today!
July 21st - 248 (down 20)
August 7th - 236 (down 32)!!!! Not bad for 4 weeks post op
October 5th - 207 (down 61) 12 weeks post op. I've lost 43% of my excessive body weight. It is estimated that there will be a loss of 65% by January putting me at 170. We shall see. So far so good.
My first impression of my surgeon was a commendable one. He seemed very knowledgeable and appeared to be trying to do me more good than harm. There is nothing I didn't like about him but I have only met him once. I hear alot of wonderful things about him which makes me feel comfortable. He seemed sympathetic to my needs. I felt as if I've known him for years. I was extremely comfortable in his presence. He emphasized greatly on the care you need for yourself after the surgery. He thoroughly tries to let you know what you are up against. He pulls no punches. I will have more to say about him after I meet him again and then of course, have the surgery. I want to like him also. Afterall, my life will be in his hands.
Well, my first impression proves right. He's an astounding man as well as Doctor. Dr. Spencer is extraordinary. One in a million he is. I don't just care about him because he performed this surgery and I've lost weight as a result. He is genuine and there's not a civilian or other military doctor that can top him.
He has impacted many lives. Dr. Spencer is a prodigy and I'm indebted!!!!!!!!!!!
So far so good. I don't know about any approval letters yet. I know I see my surgeon on June 2nd to schedule a date so if I'm not approved I suppose he will tell me then. I have my pcm at Portsmouth Naval Hospital. It seems I get right in and get everything taken care of there and plus I don't pay cash. I have been really impressed with tricares improvements. This surgery could cost me $20,000 without them.