2004 (My Weight Loss Journey Begins)
CHECK OUT MY PHOTOS at: http://www.picturetrail.com/gallery/view?username=julaine59&x=19&y=16
--You should be able to paste the link into your browser and get right in. But if not, the username is julaine59 and the password is ps (warning: they're graphic)...
Tip #1: BIOTIN -This vitamin supplement is bought over the counter and helps to keep your hair from falling out. After using for over a year, my hair has never been in better condition (and isn't falling out.) Why don't they tell us about this BEFORE we lose so much hair! (I've never seen it sold as cheaply as at Target, less than $2.50 for bottle of 100.) I highly recommend it.
Tip #2: Unflavored Protein Powder: You can put it into anything you desire without changing the taste. It may change the texture, but in some things, like protein shakes, it's actually makes it better!
Tip #3: Snickers Marathon Protein Bars *Carmel Nut Rush* These actually are a bit higher than my Dr. likes at 290 calories, BUT they are very delicious and when I REALLY need chocolate it takes care of the craving and my protein needs --at a whopping 20 GRAMS!!!
12/04 Well, first off, a big thank you to Rene S. (whose link is at the bottom of this page) for sprucing up my profile. I love it!
This being my first update, I feel I need to comment on the surgery itself. I had the Lap VBG and I have to tell you that it was nearly painless! Never in my wildest dreams did I think this was going to be such a breeze. Recovery was equally easy. I was back to work (I'm a secretary) only ten days post-op! But keeping my recovery in mind, I only worked half days for the first two weeks. It kept me on top of my workload, and still allowed me to take afternoon naps (which I was surprised that I needed), and let me recover beautifully. The only post-op problem that I encountered was with GERD (diagnosed during my pre-op testing). Most surprising to me was that it was WATER that was giving me the biggest problem! But once I got the script at my 1 wk. dr. appt., I was fine. My surgery was done on 10/19/04 and at my 5 week post-op dr. appt. I was down 39#! I'm tolerating food well. The only problem I had was once when I didn't realize I'd eaten too quickly, and once when I didn't "recognize" the full feeling and ate a couple more bites. That was a bit more than uncomfortable. I've only thrown up about a handful of times in my entire life, but on those two occasions, I did (although it was more like spitting up, I'd say.) Staying within the food guidelines provided, has made this a good experience to date.
Now that I am on a regular diet again, it has been interesting determining what can and can't be eaten. Especially since one day a food is fine, and the next it isn't! I read on-line somewhere that once the pouch is "ticked off" it takes 24 hours for it to get back to normal. That may be the answer. It seems to still be touchy for the next few meals after a vomiting episode. Even that isn't too much of an issue, this is a new process and I'm willing to learn from my mistakes. Since we have just finished the holiday season, I've learned that when in social settings with friends and loved ones, it is SO easy to go back to old eating habits while enjoying a shared meal. I'm not so much referring to the food choices themselves, as much as I am to the WAY I eat. I found myself eating too quickly, or taking too much food on the fork, with the expected results! It's getting easier to realize that the much smaller portions are satisfying (even for the "head hunger"). Tomorrow is 3 months since the surgery and I'm already down 60 pounds --that THRILLS me! I feel so much better, can move so much easier, and have so much more energy. This was absolutely the correct decision for me.
Although it would seem that my progress is creeping along, I FEEL so much better that it hasn't bothered me. I am down to 298. It is FANTASTIC to be under 300 pounds, and I really look forward to when I can say I'm under 200 --but first things first! I work out each and every weekday at Curves, and go before work (no excuses of too tired, like I was often prone to when trying to do my workout after my work day!) I was noticing that my hair is falling out, so I'm having a protein drink every night. I make it with skim milk and frozen fruit, and it almost seems like a milk shake! So it's a "treat" as well! I'm using the plain protein powder, so it isn't really adding flavor, but seems to be making it thicker --so it is affecting the texture (in a good way, though.) I highly recommend it! (It's the Whey Protein Powder.)
I am VERY happy to report that I am down 80 pounds and I am now at 284. It is amazing how much better I feel. (I can't imagine how much better I am likely to feel as I get closer to goal weight!!!) Since this surgery went so well, I also decided to have LASIK eye surgery done! I am seeing 20/20 for the first time since I was 10 years old. It's miraculous what can be done today! --I am a surgical marvel!--
I was just weighed and measured at Curves, and I find it amusing that my BMI and the "inches lost" are the same --40.2! (Actually inches were 40.25 --but close enough!) That is probably not completely accurate since it is being compared to the first time they measured me on 2/11/03 --the truth is that I'd gained another ten pounds (and an unknown amount of inches) by the time I had my surgery. Anyway, as of today, I weighed in at 272. Which is great, I'm down 92 pounds --but I REALLY want to hit that century mark now! (Greedy, I know!) I'm getting some terrific reactions from people, which makes me feel great. Truth be told, I could double what I've lost to date. And good things come to those who wait...
Well, here's the latest. Down a total of 48" and exactly 100 pounds! HORRAY!!! What a great milestone, not too long ago I remember reading about someone hitting "the century mark" and I remember thinking how envious I was and wondering if that would ever be me. Well IT IS! Just think, the best is yet to come!
Well I'm now down 53" according to Curves (it's actually more than that since I'd gained since their first measurements, but this is close enough). I'm down: bust-9.75"; waist -13.5"; abdomen -11"; hips -10"; thighs -4"; arms -4.5"; weight -108 lbs. The weight doesn't SEEM to be coming down as quickly, but the inches are, and I can really FEEL the difference -which is what really matters. I feel so good and I'm getting such wonderful comments and compliments from people. I'm just SO sorry that I wasn't able to do this years ago...
Sorry! I've been remiss in keeping this updated. Here's the latest as of today's Curve's measurements: I'm now down 64" total. I'm down: bust-11.50"; waist -15.50"; abdomen -13.50"; hips -11"; thighs -8"; arms -4.5"; weight -120 lbs. The weight loss is coming more slowly, but the inches lost really seem to show more now. I HAVE to stop shopping :) I own 21 pair of capris that I hope not to be able to wear next season!!!! (All bought on sale though.) I'm having the time of my life. I have no qualms about throwing up if I feel uncomfortable --I certainly don't do it daily, and oft times not even weekly, but if I feel the need to, I do. (It's not at all like vomiting when you're sick, it's easier and I can now do it almost silently!) I feel instantly better afterwards. I work out faithfully three times a week and although I will NEVER be one to crave exercise, I will admit that I don't mind going! I look at my before photos and I can barely recognize myself. --I really should update those pictures soon! I just calculated my BMI and I realize that when I lose another 43 pounds I will be out of the obese category and will move to the "overweight" category; and after another 77 pounds I will be in the "NORMAL" category! I can barely fathom such a thing...
Here's the latest as of today's Curve's measurements: I'm now down 67.25" total. I'm down: bust-12"; waist -15.50"; abdomen -15"; hips -11.75"; thighs -8"; arms -6"; weight -125 lbs. The weight loss is still coming slowly, but the inches lost are still coming strong. I've diverted some of my shopping habits -actually I've only switched now to thrift stores! My entire winter wardrobe has been acquired that way! (It's SO much fun!) I saw the Dr. for my year post-op appt. and he assures me that I'm doing VERY well for VBG and that he has NO doubt that I will attain my goal weight. He said that at my next appt. in 3 months, we'll look at diet pills. The surprise must have been evident on my face, because he said that it's been proven to be highly effective after bariatric surgery and the biggest difference is that the weight stays off! (Hurray!) He said that once goal weight is attained we'll address the issue of excess skin. I asked what the chances of getting my insurance to cover THAT, and he said, "Actually, very good." He said that skin is heavy and that can result in another weight loss of 15 to 20 pounds! I was pretty jazzed after meeting with him! The one thing that I didn't realize that I'd gotten away from is drinking water. I am going to make a concerted effort to get back to it. (That also helps keep from "grazing". One, because it fills me up and two, because of the no eating for 30 minutes before and after rule.)
2/2/06 Well, I haven't been able to log on the last several times I tried. I finally took the time to look in to why that was (I needed to create a username!) So, that taken care of, I am happy to say that after being at a complete standstill for the past few months (just as Dr. Rudic predicted!) I was put on diet pills less than 2 weeks ago, and am once again losing! I still work out 3 times a week at Curves without fail --no excuses allowed. It's just something I insist on doing for myself. Believe me, NO ONE is more surprised by that than me! The Dr. reassured me once more that I WILL see my goal weight. He asked me what that is and I said, "Well, if I can get under 200 pounds that will be great. But if I get anywhere near 180 I will stop traffic!" He laughed at me, and I said, "I'm serious!" He said, "I can see that you are! And you will get there." Between you and me, I think that 180 would make me quite happy, but I think that may even be on the low end of my expectations. I could, in theory, get down to about 160 before I start to look what people tell me is "too thin". But it just seems like too much to hope for. Believe me 180 would be fantastic! That's still 55 pounds away -- but that certainly doesn't seem like much any more. The amazing thing, and what I shared with the Dr., is that it's all happened almost exactly the way that he told me it would! So as unreal as it seems that I can actually weigh again what I did in high school, I suppose I have to find a way to wrap my mind around it. There's no reason to think that he would start to be wrong now.
I just got a terrific email from a woman who is having her VBG next month. She told me that my experience, as it appears here, has really helped her. I was so pleased to learn that I've been a useful source of information for her. It's what finally led me to making the time to figure out how to get into this web page.
All of my stats from my last measurement at Curves are at work, but next week I will log on again and get it all down.
2/21/06 I was weighed and measured again today at Curve's. Since the last time (1/17/06) I'm down 10#. The diet pills seem to be just what I needed to jump start my weight loss again. They do have a few annoying side effects, but not enough to keep me from using them. I've noticed a very mild headache (only notice it when I'm sitting still, so not too often!) dry mouth (which I remember from the last time), some constipation (which could also be from food choices, i.e. lots of cheese) and my eyes are really dry! (But that too, could be more from the lasik surgery, although it's way worse since I began the diet pills). Here are my inches lost (74.50" to date --ha, I just realized that that's over 6 feet!!!) I've indicated first the inches for this past month and then for the grand total lost to date: Bust -1.50, total: -13; Waist -.25, total:-15.75; Abdomen -.50, total:14.50; Hips -1.50, total:12.75; Thighs total:12.00; Arms total: -6.50.
Curves told me that the thing that was best about it though is that of the 10 pounds lost this month, 8 of them were fat! So that was exciting to learn. I may have more to add tomorrow, since I'm seeing my Bariatric Dr. this afternoon.
I don't know what got messed up with my charting below. Curves shows I was 241 on 1/17/06 and it says 234 on 1/20/06. I think that was what I weighed at Dr. Rudic's office (which doesn't make too much sense to me now, but I guess we'll have to go with it!)
I'll tell you one thing though. I sure can't wait until my BMI takes me OUT of the obese category. I'm still there :(
After seeing Dr. Rudic this afternoon, his scale shows that I'm down to 230, so I'm changing my chart to reflect that extra pound!!! Hey, every little bit helps get me closer! He told me that I am a little ahead of the loss he usually sees after the first month on phentermine. Typically it's 6-7 pounds, so I'm a little ahead of the pack. (Should I consider that to be mean I'm above average, or as proof that once again, I'm not normal!!!!) lol
Scroll down to see my chart --
Well Curves scale shows 229, I already know that they are 2 pounds heavier than Dr. Rudic's scale, so I'm going with 227!!! I'm still 59 pounds away from where my BMI will put me into the normal catagory. That's depressing. Perhaps I should quit looking at that particular statistic.
Well this isn't good! I had the printout from Curves with all my info (weight, break down of inches lost and actual measurements) when I walked into work this morning. Now I can't find it. That's not really the kind of detail that I wanted made available to whoever ended up with it by mistake. Yikes!
10/4/06 Well, it has certainly been a long time since I posted anything. Things are creeping along. I've been trying to get approval for removal of excess skin. Of course, they have denied me--twice. I don't seem to have been able to convince them that this wasn't an excluded "Cosmetic" benefit. Dr. Chua's office kept thinking that they were supplying exactly what was needed, but in the end it was still denied. I'm now told that the only recourse I have is to appeal to my husband's employer. They have the ability to give the insurance company the ok. The board that makes these decisions meets on the 11th of this month, so today I am frantically putting everything together. I PRAY that this will do the trick. Your prayers would be appreciated as well.
10/17/06 It REALLY HAPPENED! I appealed to my husband's employer and they APPROVED my appeal! They actually have agreed to change their exclusion of cosmetic procedures so that I can have the excision of excess skin. I can hardly believe it. I have to wait until it comes to Dr. Chua's office in writing before they can write the order to get me on the books. So Jeannie (in his office) has been told that it will be available to her tomorrow. (My fingers are crossed, because I KNOW all too well that United Health doesn't usually do things when they say they will.) IF everything goes as it sounds like it should, I could actually be looking at November 13th! This would be in essence, a tummy tuck and removal of excess skin from my inner thighs. I will keep you posted!
COMIC RELIEF: If you look back at 9/20/05 you'll see that I was embarrassed to say that I owned 21 pair of capri pants that I thought would most likely not fit this summer. That pretty much ended up to be true. BUT who knew that I would get even more out of control! I was mortified to discover that when I put away the capris that I've amassed this summer --that the total is now a rediculous FIFTY TWO, that's right 52! (Again mostly bought second hand, and under $4, but STILL!) Many of them still have tags on them, since even I can't wear that many of pants in one season. So I'm either looking, once more, at not being able to wear any of them next year (after my surgery) or perhaps some of them will fit better... --Good God, they've created a monster! (Albeit a thinner, much more healthy monster, but a monster none the less!)
It is our 20th wedding anniversary! Plus I just learned that my plastic surgery will take place on Novemer 16, 2006!!! HURRAY! I am very excited, but I really don't know if it's actually sunk in yet... I have new photos to show. My husband treated me to a spa day that was amazing! It began with an hour long massage, a facial, lunch, a pedicure, a make-over-type hair cut and professional make-up. It was glorious! I was planning on using one for my new "after" picture, but I now realize that it is in actuality also going to be my "before" picture for PS! Scroll way down to the bottom!
Well just when you think things are going your way... I decided to check with Dr. Chua's office about what exactly is being done, since I've only ever seen Abdominal Lipectomy on the paperwork. I said, "I'm hoping that this somehow is 'code' to be including both the tummy tuck and the thighs". I was told that there was no mention of thighs in any of his charting or orders! Needless to say that is NOT what I was expecting to hear based on the consultation that I had with Dr. Chua. As evidence of what I thought was going to happen (both procedures) Dr. Chua had taken photos of both my stomach AND my thighs. He is out of the office until Wednesday, so I won't know what, if anything, can be done about this. Jeannie tells me that he never does both procedures at the same time because he's said it is too painful. (I told her that there are good drugs to deal with that concern.) It took SO much to get permission for this, I just don't see my husband's employeer agreeing to make yet another exception to their cosmetics exclusion so that I can have another procedure.
--I'm feeling a bit like a kid who's been given a puppy, that's now been yanked away...
I'm home from the hospital for two days now. Surgery was Thursday and I was home Saturday night. I stayed an extra night due to some fainting and a blood transfusion. It all resolved rather quickly, but they kept me to be sure (which is a good thing!)
On the famous pain scale of 1 to 10, my pain so far is ZERO! I'm taking the pain meds faithfully every 4 hours, and it seems to be doing the trick. Thank God!
Dr. Chua told me that he removed 7 pounds. I can't really see anything since I'm all taped up, etc. I did one quick glimpse the day of surgery, and I have to tell you that it is just plain WEIRD to look at your own stomach and see a belly button that isn't yours!
As expected, I am bound and there is much swelling, so I've had no indication of what I'll look like yet. I have a post op appointment in two days, so maybe that will be when I can get a look at the goods!
But so far, so good.
I'm now 10 days post op. Things are going well, with just a couple of "mechanical" mishaps. I saw Dr. Chua for my post-op on Wed., and ended up needing to go back later in the afternoon. The appointment went well, everything was progressing as expected. But about 3:30p I noticed that I was covered in blood from the insertion site of the 2nd drain. They asked me to come back in. It turned out that there was a clot stuck in the tubing, so it backed up. Dr. Chua showed me how to "milk" the tube, and we could see it start to flow again. Catastrophe avoided.
Last night I had an impacted bowel (I don't think to say so is an exaggeration). I felt just awful and was completely constipated. Not to get too graphic --and if you're squeamish, you should stop reading until the next paragraph). Things weren't coming out and weren't going back. So I was stuck there for more than 30 minutes. After much pushing (which I figured was probably not the best thing to do, but there was no other option at this stage of the game), I ultimately had to get out a rubber glove and un-impact. It was a horrible experience, and one that I'm sure will leave me with some sort of repercussions. At minimum, hemorrhoids will most likely be in my future. After the initial "dam" was dealt with, my bowels were able to handle the ridding of the remains. I still can't believe the mound of what I saw when it was all said and done. It took more than one flushing (and that was without tp to deal with).
Once things were moving, I felt SO much better! Later in the evening I noticed that I was bleeding from that same #2 drainage insertion site. I didn't know what the reason was, but I decided I needed to get off the bloody dressing so that I could get a better look. I did that, emptied the drain, and milked the tubing. I could see that it was collecting, so there was nothing blocking it. I had my daughter run out to buy some gauze and redressed the site. There has been no further break through.
It did occur to me that it was more than possible that all of that earlier pushing could have been the reason for this, but I had to try everything to see what would happen. I now believe that is most likely exactly what happened.
In any event, things have been going perfectly well since then.
I took no pain meds yesterday. I had a fairly constant headache so I took 800 mg of Tylenol at noon and at 4p, and slept that entire length of time. I woke up with the headache pretty much gone, but I just felt crummy. (Might have been the constipation too.)
Today I took the pain pills when I got up and even though I don't necessarily feel any specific pain (i.e. nothing actually hurts) I still can see a difference. I just feel so much better today. So I guess I'll keep taking them for a while longer. I have another appointment with Dr. Chua on Wednesday.
I cannot wait until I can TAKE A SHOWER!!!
I wish I could say that my husband has been dealing with this surgery well, but alas, it isn't so. He's been, in my opinion, of little help and if anything a bit of a hindrance. He's managed to find a way to start an argument nearly everyday. It's all I can do to deal with my recovery without having to deal with this kind of stress too. During my two bleeding incidents, he never even suggested that he could be the one to help. He had our son John take me to the doctor and had me call Morgan home from her friends so that SHE could go to the store for gauze. (I was so upset with him at those times that it was best that he not be with me anyway.) But why should I have to rely on the kids before my husband... He has also been drinking too much again -- another layer of stress that I don't ever need.
He and John are gone now because they are driving Andrew back to UW-Madison. I have to say that I am enjoying the solitude. I told Morgan she didn't have to stay home, and she told me that she has her cell phone and that I could reach her at any time. What a sweetheart. My kids have been terrific!
Everyone will be back to school and work tomorrow, so I'll have the coming days to recover in peace --which is a very good thing. It wasn't the best timing to have had this surgery one week prior to Thanksgiving. But that's just how it worked out.
Merry Christmas! Things are coming along. I think that my recovery has been good. My only set backs have been mechanical. Meaning these blasted drains. I had the first one removed 3 weeks ago, but the remaining one just keeps working, which I suppose is a good thing. But it is very uncomfortable, pinches and twists and hurts when it pulls from clothing. I went back to work just after the 4 week mark --but only for a couple of half days. If it weren't for the drain, it would have been fine. But again, it's very difficult to be clad, and I actually had something new occur when I was at the office. The darn drain plug opened (without my knowledge) so the contents were all over me. Yuck. I had a dr. appointment the next day, and it was agreed that it was going to remain in. I was sent to have blood drawn just to be sure that everything is ok. I have been sitting with a heating pad on my abdomin as advised. I pointed out a visible "shelf" on the side that still has the drain, and I was told that is from the blood that is collected there. (Illustrating yet another reason to keep that drain in place.) Tomorrow will already be 6 weeks since my surgery. My biggest regret is that now you can really see just how terrible my thighs truly are. At least pre-ps I was proportionate. As I'd feared, I have had pants on that are big in the waist and tight in the thighs, or fit in the waist and are too tight in the thighs. This is going to be a concern. But with 3 kids in college next year, I just can't see that we'll have money for any surgeries --and I don't see how I'd ever be able to gain insurance approval for thighs...
But first things first. I need to recover from this now. And I don't want anyone to think that I'm not appreciative and grateful for what I've had done. I'm so glad that I took before shots, because it's amazing how quickly you forget what you once had to deal with! I'll have to do some investigating about how to get those pictures posted (privately, I think!) Once they're there, I'll be happy to give anyone who is interested the password so that they can be seen.
I have another appointment on Friday to see if the drain can come out --but unless things change dramatically in the next two days, I'm thinking that it's still staying.
The drain is still in. They told me to call to make an appointment to have it removed when the output goes down to 50cc or less. Deb suggested that I keep up the warm, moist compresses. The incision looks very good and I can now start using cocoa butter or vitamin e or "whatever you like". --I don't really have experience here, so I just got a tube of stuff at the store that was reasonably priced and said that it was for scars. (It contains green tea so that has to be good!) Not too much new to report. I'm working a couple of mornings a week for the past three weeks and will hopefully have this drain out when I go back full time. That's the only thing that is keeping me from my full work week. It's just too uncomfortable and too hard to be dressed with it in. (It pulls and twists and hurts. Plus as the day progresses, the swelling increases and then my clothing is tighter and it really hurts all the more). Well maybe "hurts" is too strong a word, it's just very uncomfortable. besides, the more active I am, the more the occurance of the collection bulb popping open becomes and the contents spilling out and all over. It is NOT something that is condusive to staying at work... It will be good (someday) to have it gone.
Check out the pix (password is ps): http://www.picturetrail.com/gallery/view?username=julaine59&x=19&y=16
Before & After Stats: (Pre Op and 2 1/2 weeks Post Op)
Upper Rib Cage: Pre 40"- Post 39"
Abdomen: Pre 44" - Post 40"
Lower Abdomen: Pre 53" - Post 46.5"
Belly Button: Pre 22" Post: 18" --A full 4 inches higher than before!
TOTAL INCHES 17 days post op: 11 1/2 INCHES GONE! (And there is still swelling to take into consideration!) HURRAY!!!
1/12/07 The last drain is finally out, it was removed on 1/2/07! I feel SO much better. It was great to get back to my usual routine and back to work! They still want me to wait to excercise (looks like the 2 months post op is the goal). But I am able to walk, walk, walk. They said that's the best thing for me at this point. There is still a very "marked" and noticeable spot on the right side where you can see a dramatic indention. Deb told me that it was due to the fact there is still blood pooled there, but Dr. Rudic looked at the chart notes and told me that they had removed a lot from that area. So I guess I'll just have to wait the six months that they say to see what it will end up looking like --the same with my "Frankenstein scar" at the end of my incision on the left. Other than that, I'm feeling terrific!
My only regret now are these thunder thighs. There are pants that fit, or are even loose in my waist and abdomen, but that really pull in the thighs. I'm so out of proportion. My husband, God bless his soul, has asked what I think it would cost to have them done, he says it would be a shame to have come this far and then not finish the job! I have NO idea, I've not looked into it. I figured that I need to get this behind me first, but mostly also because next year we will have THREE kids in college and I just can't see how there will be any "extra" money for anything beyond what is absolutely necessary. But I love him for leaving the possibility open!
Page Spruced up by 12-08-04
If you'd like your profile spruced up
write to one of the HTML Volunteers here:
(Keep in mind that this starting point was post-op, I actually was heavier than what's indicated, but we didn't start charting till then. So in reality, my progress is even greater!!!)
|Date||Weight||Pounds Lost||Total Pounds Lost||BMI|
My first impression of Dr. Chua was gained in July at his seminar. He came across as a soft spoken man who is a leader in his field. I especially enjoyed his sense of humor. I found him to be the same at my consult with him today (9/23/03). The process is taking longer than I like, but I feel that he is the best at what he does, and it will be well worth the wait in the long run.
Dr. Chua's office staff have been incredibly helpful. They have called me back a couple of times to answer questions that I've had and at my request, even called me when an earlier appointment became available.
I feel that future patients should know that there is no one more qualified to do the surgery and I believe that the program is very well structured pertaining not only to aftercare, but pre-op as well.
Agreeing that no one will rate a 10, I would rate my experience so far as an 8. I don't like that I had to wait so long between steps. I saw the nutrionist and had the psych eval on August 6th, but couldn't get an appointment with Dr. Chua until September 29th!! (In my mind, that was TOO long and was 7 1/2 wasted weeks.) They were able to get me in 5 days earlier, which I was happy about, but it was still 7 weeks! I am fearful for how long it will take to get pre-approval from CIGNA now. But I'll have to wait to see how it goes... (maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised!)
09/27/04 Well, I never thought this was going to be easy, but I surely didn't think it would take THIS long to get approval. It has been 16 MONTHS since I first spoke to my PCP about bariatric surgery. CIGNA wasn't the easiest to work with, but after several rejections and appeals, I finally do have approval. My surgery will take place on 10/19/04. But CIGNA failed to let me know that they stopped approving LapBands the month after I first applied! I met with Dr. Chua again on 08/14/04 and we switched to laproscopic VBG, which was ultimately what was approved. (Dr. Chua's office wasn't aware that CIGNA will no logner approve LapBand either.) CIGNA also failed to forward all of the documentation on to the company that they use for appeals. I didn't figure that out for quite a few months and it cost me a lot of time and frustration. But Dr. Chua's office was always there to offer whatever help they could.
10/26/04 I am one week post-op! My laproscopic VBG has proven to be virtually pain free! I have to give credit to what I believe are the highly skilled hands of Dr. Chua, I think he really is a gifted surgeon. I wouldn't have trusted this surgery to anyone else, I truly believe he is the best in his field.