I am a 38 yr. old mother of four. I use to say I gained weight after the children, but every now and then reality sets in and I remember having to lose weight to help get pregnant. Fertility pills definitely did not help my weight any. Currently I'm 236 lbs at 5'5" and a BMI of 38.9. That only on a good day though. Although I do not have any major comorbities, I do have arthritis in my right knee, past heart problems and difficulties sleeping. It has been years since I've climbed a flight of stairs without problems and even more years since I've squatted. It seems like a simple task; however, one I can't do.
Surgeon: Stanley M. Augustin, M.D.
4/30/03 - Met with PCP to get referral for WLS. He was not exactly supportive, but decided there was nothing wrong with me "asking" a surgeon questions about it. At this time, I have not yet chosen a surgeon. I've spoken to Dr. De La Torre's office, but not impressed with their rudeness. I hate to feel as if my questions are an interruption to their day.
5/13/03 - I attended a support meeting with Dr. Ali and his staff. I am impressed and sure I want to go thru with WLS. My PCP wrote a letter of medical necessity to my insurance and surgeon. However, he "over exaggerated" some facts. He stated that I was 5'7", 232#s and otherwise healthy when in fact I'm 5'5, 238#s on they day of my appointment and have PCOS, GERDS, Arthritis, a hernia - need I go on? That does change my BMI a little. I was PEEVED to no end!!!!! I have an appointment with Dr. Ali for 6/24/03 but have called back twice to see if they have any cancellations for an earlier date. I guess you can say I'm a little inpatient. One of the staffers have told me that I could see Dr. Stan Augustin on 6/4/03 as he was now working with Dr. Ali. Of course at jumped at the opportunity.
5/14/03 - While waiting to see Dr. Augustin, I have started gathering information. I have medical records, some blood work, my psych eval completed, filled out my patient history forms, scheduled my EKG and Sleep Study. Hmmm, what else?
6/4/03 - Finally, my first consult!!! I was a little nervous not sure what to expect. I saw the nurses first. Crap, after weighing in at 238-241, I weighed in lighter than I expected!! The staff was nice; Liz is funny. Dr. Augustin wasn't what I was expecting. Before he walked in the door I already had my defenses up and prepared to do battle. I had a clear argument in my head, some paperwork I'd hoped would back me up - in general, just an attitude. I expected him to briefly look thru my file, ask a question or two and then be on his way to the next patient. He smiled when he entered the room, placed my folder down and sat in front of me to talk. I'm not sure I heard the first few minutes of what he said because I kept expecting him to make his short statement and then pick up the folder and walk out. After a few minutes he made it clear he was going anywhere until be both had an understanding and was in agreement. He said he didn't want me to feel pressured or left with unanswered questions. Oh my God, a caring doctor!! Is this real!!
I've started my protein shakes and upping my vitmain intake in preparation for surgery.
6/10/03 - I have a abnormal EKG and have been referred to a cardiologist.
6/13/03 - I've had my sleep study, but don't expect them to find apnea. I've suffered from insomnia for years, when I can sleep I'm sure there's no apnea issues present.
6/18/03 - Met with cardiologist for quick talk and schedule more testing schedule. I will be back on 6/23/03 for a stress test and ECG.
6/19/03 - Received a denial from primary insurance BCBS; WLS is an exclusion in their policy. Now time to send off denial and request to secondary insurance, another BCBS government policy.
6/23/03 - I've spend the better part of the day during cardiac testing, but I'm hopeful as is well.
6/25/03 - My doctor's office faxed over my info to the secondary insurance company along with the denial from the primary. Now I'm suppose to patiently await an answer. I'm sure BCBS customer service will be just as glad I am to get an answer as I believe I'm driving them crazy with questions. Oh well, I pay for insurance, it is their job to answer questions, regardless of how redundant they are. I think I'll try to relax and read for a while. Hopefully, I can concentrate of something other than this website. My husband says I'm obsessed with it. Hmm, maybe.
6/26/03 - I'M APPROVED!!! I can't believe this. I kept waiting for her to say "psych, I was just joking!" It's true though, after only 24 hours I got an approval!! Now I have so many more questions. I want to schedule my date as soon as possible. What do I need to accomplish at home before I'm incompacitated? Oh snap!!! I'm am so tripping right now.
I just talked to the nurse at my surgeon's office. She said I can ask the doctor at my next appointment for a surgery day. Is this normal? Why can't I schedule it now, finish off any other requirements and my next appointment he can go over any final pre-op results? Does this make sense only to me? Maybe I'm just being inpatient as usual. I'll keep everyone posted.
7/02/03 - I'VE GOT A DATE!!! JULY 11, 2003!! I'm so jazzed that I can't stand it. I've have so much pent up nervous energy that I'm going for a walk. I'll check in again later.
7/03/03 - Today had been a very emotionally trying date. Murphy's Law or the devil was running free hand thru my life. I have so many questions and just want to talk about my upcoming surgery and the changes that I will need to made; unfortunately, my husband has chosen now to further distance himself from. My New Year's resolution was to get healthy, start putting me first and a few others. I've always held everything inside, always accepted what was given (or not given) and not asking for more. I decided I wanted to be treated differently - I going to stop trying to please everyone else, cry when my feelings are hurt (instead of eating) or when I happy or just feel the need to, I'm not going to go home after working 8 hours and clean up every night or cook dinner-it's about time I got help and there's nothing wrong with cereal for dinner is there? With that said, I sat down at my computer today after receiving some bad news and being told by my spouse that he'd have to call me later because he was too busy now, I opened my surgery notes and read all my well wishes. Being the woman that I pledged to be this year, I cried. I am truly blessed to be in a place where so many people care. Thank you all!!
7/05/03 - Hello family!! I feel so touched by everyone's support that I can't think of anything else to call you!! I've been going through so many emotions lately that it's been hard to sit still, let alone concentrate. I'm 6 days away from the biggest step in my life. I don't think I'm scared, nervous, anxious maybe. If I could see God's faces right now, he'd probable would be rolling his eyes thinking - "why can't she go to sleep and stop talking" I've cried a lot, ate everything in sight and of all times my monthly cycle finally arrived!! She's been absent since April and now she wants a family reunion!!! The nerve!! Oh well, may be that explains my current emotional state. It's late, so I'm going to try to get some sleep. I will talk to you all tomorrow. HUGS!!!
7/8/03 - I'm three days away from the biggest decision of my life. I'm feeling a little nervous, a little scared. Not from the fear of not waking up or any major complications, but from the fear of pain, the loss of my beloved Lemon Cream Cheese Pie from Marie Calendar's, giving up my old friend brownies and what's a cold holiday morning without homemade cinnamon rolls. My friends will be sorely missed. There is also the fear of how I will see myself, how others will see (most of my family and friends don't even know I'm having surgery). My mom found out a couple of nights ago and made no quams about her dislike for this surgery. As she was babbling on, I was making a mental note to myself - "don't tell my sister anything you don't want the rest of the population to know about."
I think most of my questions about the surgery has been answered. Right now I'm preparing my bags for the hospital stay and preparing the house for after care. I'm trying to make enough advance meals that I can take out and feed my kids. I've decided to let them stay home with me for the next two weeks since I wasn't sure I'd be in the position to drive. I'm trying hard to not concentrate on anything else right now and haven't been on the computer much. I'm hoping to stay very busy right up to the minute and go into surgery so tired I'll look forward to just lying still and sleeping. It's a thought.
I again wanted to take a moment to say thanks to my AMOS family and friends. Without this site, I would not have the support, information or love that I've received so far. Much love to all!!!
7/10/03-With less than 24 hours to showtime, I think I've gone through all of the known emotions. I think I'm at peace with the surgery, just ready to get it over and done with. I guess my biggest fear is hunger. I am doing a clear liquid diet and I'm not sure how much longer I can do without something of substance. My goal is to go to bed early tonight, that way, I won't be tempted to do some late night snacking.
I'll talk to you all soon and let you know how I am doing.
7/30/03 - Well the past two weeks have been eventful. I ended up having an open RNY on 7/11/03. I had a few complication during the lap and now I get to sport a line of staples down my abdomin. And yes, they hurted like hell.
I spent 5 days in the hospital, 3 in ICU. It wasn't bad, but I was ready for a shower and the comforts of my own home. My first week was spent sleeping in the recliner. My enery level was shot. If I walked to the kitchen table, I was too tired to drink. After about a week, I had a little more energy, but not enough to return to work.
My first followup appointment with Dr. Augustin was 7/23/03 and I was down 18 pounds - go Lisa, go go go Lisa!!! I can't tell, but I'll take the scales word for it. I also had my staples removed that day. My drain was taken out before I left the hospital. Now I get to see that nasty line of holes running down me. Right now I'm still a little scared of it, but I know in time it will fade and I will feel better about it as the weight loss is more visible.
In the past few days, I had to increase my vitamin intake and have started soft foods-apple sauce, mashed potatoes, I can even tolerate mac and cheese and scrambled eggs. Now that I am regaining some energy I do a little more. I've just started walking more. Before I'd be exhauseted inside of ten minutes of moving. Life is looking up right now.
My next appointment is 8/6/03 - I'll let you know how I'm progressing.
I went into my appointment with my guards up and ready to do battle. Dr. Augustin surprised me at how thorough and competent he really is. He's worked with Dr. Ali for about a year now and has a few WLS patients of his own. I felt very comfortable with him.
Blue Cross Blue Shield, PPO