Feb 02, 2007

Here it is February already, and I am a day short of 4 months out!  My how time flies!  I have lost a total of 56 lbs now, and have been toying with the last 2-3 pounds for the last 2.5 weeks.  I finally got my third fill on Monday, Jan. 29, and it has been working well since.  

It is amazing how this thing works!  After ALL the preparation and reading and interviews I did prior to the surgery, I was not "ready" for this.  I equate it to being pregnant for the first time.  There is a WHOLE bunch of things to think about, to do, to buy, to research, to remember and to fear.  The band is always on my mind, and I live each day to make it a "progressive" one.  

The NSV's I've had:
1.  Moved my car seat up a few notches to be closer to the wheel
2.  My undies are too big!
3.  My husband compliments me WWWAAAYYY more than before
4.  People at work have noticed
5.  It doesn't hurt to stand for long periods of time
6.  My son is fitting better on my lap
7.  My wedding rings no longer look like they are about to cut off my fingers circulation
8.  I can give my son a bath easier

Those are only a few of the ones I have had, but the most prominent.

I am turning 32 on Wednesday (2/7) and I cannot believe how far I have come, and where I am headed!  The band and my progress is truly something to rejoice in!

History Does Not Repeat Itself...

Jan 25, 2007

7/5/06: I am going to have the blood labs drawn tomorrow for my PCP consult on the 11th. That will be the last month of my 6 month documentation period! I am so excited- it seems like a LONG time to go through the 6 months. But, I figure it has taken me 31 years to get to this weight, I can wait 6 months to get some action! I plan on calling SPECTRA healthcare tomorrow to make my consult appointment too, so that ball will get rolling. Ideally, I would have had the SPECTRA consult a while ago, but I just found this surgeon, and I had to wait to attend his seminar and support groups to make the appt. So hey, I am on my way! I just pray to God that I don't have any strange disease or issue we would have to deal with before I get in to be banded...

7/7/06: Consult with SPECTRA is on July 18th. I am very excited to get this part over with and get in to meet with the surgeon. I still haven't decided on which Dr. to have do the surgery- Murr or Gallagher. That is not cool that we don't meet the surgeon before the end of the planning stage- what if we don't gel? Dr. Gallagher came to the seminar to speak briefly, so as far as I'm concerned, he's up by two points already...

7/20/06: The appointments with Spectra went well! I met with the nurse who took vitals, then with another nurse who talked with me briefly about the band and how it works. She was super cool- had lots of energy and was outgoing- someone I could relate to! After I met with Amanda, I then saw Jennifer, the nutritionist. She was a bit more, shall we say- reserved, and caught me off guard with her opening statements. She explained that she was there to inform me of the pre- and post-op diet and nutritional needs, and that MANY people do not get "passed" that day. And, oh yeah- there is an additional $70 PER Visit after today. So, ok, I then figured- good God! I'd better step it up and show this lady what I know and HOPE that she feels I am knowledgeable about this surgery and what is needed after for the rest of my life. No pressure... Um, yeah. Anyhow, the more she talked the more I relaxed and started to let it flow...

Yes, I knew about straws,
Yes, protein first, then veggies/fruits, then carbs last.
Yes, the 30/30 Rule- no liquids 30 minutes before, and 30 minutes after a meal so as to not wash the food out
Yes, I know what 4 oz. looks like (again, the visuals are shocking to me- I'm gonna be full on that? Huh?)
Yes, protein powder to help the intake
Yes, chew, chew, chew (28 times is ideal)
etc, etc, etc.

Well, I owe the fellow bandsters and WLS patients here everything- I PASSED! She seemed very impressed that I was that well informed- even made the comment that some people go into the meetings there at Spectra without as much as reading the material the Dr.'s office sent to them! Yikes!

Anyhow, then from the nutritionist, I met with the psychologist- Curtis, who was a bit intimidating- probably because we feel like these guys can make us or break us. Anyhow, a few questions about the family, childhood, spouse, motivations and hang-ups later, he passed me too! He was great to talk to, and gave me some pearls of wisdom to remember:
1) Pay attention to the Hunger Rating Scale, and try to start eating when I am a 3, and to eat until I feel I am a 5 (that will land me at a 7 by the time my brain processes the fact that I am full).
2) Satisfy myself with small portions of the things I desire occasionally. If I want a cookie, get a single cookie and enjoy it. DON'T buy the whole bag so they are in the house- got it!

From Curtis, I then went to meet with Dr. Koch who was a high energy Dr with lots of enthusiasm. My time with her was very brief as she indicated they were concerned about me having Sleep Apnea. She said that I had a borderline measurement for my neck circumference, and that she wanted to rule that out.

The office was able to schedule the appointment for me as TGH gives priority to Dr. Kochs’ patients. When the nurse called for me she was informed that the hospitals computer system was completely down! She left it with me that the hospital would call me at home to notify if this Friday was available. So now I wait...

7/22/06- I was able to get in for my apnea test last night, and I HATED IT. I won't go into details, but it was not at all what I was told by the nurse. Very disappointing, and I was diagnosed with a "slight" case of apnea. What? Either you have it or you don't. The nurse said they are told to wait until a patient stops breathing 30 times in two hours to give them the CPAP machine. It was about 2:15AM when she came in and strapped that thing on... What a bunch of crap! Anyhow, I am now home and delirious from lack of sleep. Sounds like a great night to catch up on movies and hang in with the family...

7/31/06- not much has happened. It seems that things in my life are revolving around this surgery. I wonder if anyone else has this happen (actually, I am almost positive it has!). It is funny because I never felt like I had an obsessive personality or anything- it just seems that I am anxious for things to get rolling! I called Spectra today to see if they had my apnea test results back yet. Susan was the one to say she'd call me back with answers, but she couldn't find anything while I waited. JUST what I want to hear... Anyhow, she didn't call me by the time the clock struck 3, so I called them again. She seemed a little irritated to speak with me, but said that she'd located my file and placed it on Dr. Koche's desk earlier. Well...? Ugh! I thanked her and asked what the next step was. Susan explained that once Dr. K reviewed my file, and made certain it was complete, she'd forward it to Dr. Murr’s office. So, hopefully by the end of the week, I will get a call from Murr’s office. I do not have that famous virtue of P-A-T-I-E-N-C-E!!! I never have, and never will!

Until then, I have made contact with quite a few great people here on the site, and have made a local friend Beverly. Hi Beverly! She is cool, and we are still chatting away via email. Hey, we can use a few more friends, right?

I will try to update more later once I have something solid to report! Until then...

8/3/06: I finally caught up with Susan in Dr. Murr’s office- and she set up my appt for the consult! It's set for Monday, August 28th. I am having my husband, Joe go with me so he can "get all the info I get" (code for: I don't want to repeat it 12 times for the boy...). I couldn't help feeling like I was just a number when I was talking with her though. She seemed rushed, and had little time to spend on making the appt. Oh well- I hope that feeling doesn't resurface when I get there for my appt!

Also, the hospital called early this morning to tell me they DON'T need me to come in for the desensitizing session afterall. I guess I sweet talked the guy enough to convince him I didn't need that and I was fine with the mask I was sent home with. I just needed the darn machine so I could start reaping the benefits of it...

8/7/06: The CPCP machine will be delivered by a local medical supply company on Thursday. Oh joy! The Honeymoon is over sweetie... = ) *putting on my best Darth Vader act: "Luke I am your Mother..."

9/1/06: OY! My how the time has passed! I have had a few developments since last time, but I am now REALLY waiting for the insurance approval. I have been using the CPAP machine regularly, and I AM feeling better. I made and kept the appt with my selected surgeon, Dr. Murr last Monday, 8/28, and was pleased with the results. Myu husband, Joe, went with me to get all the info I was getting. You know, it was the "another set of ears" thing.

Once I was weighed in and my blood pressure was taken, Joe and I sat in our room for a little bit waiting for someone to come in. Lucy, Dr. Murr's assistant/PA and an intern who was along for the ride came in first. Lucy was very nice and truly sweet, and gave honest answers. Other than sitting a little too close to me, she put me at ease, and answered all my questions. I had a list of 32 in all, and she only left 3 of them for Murr to answer. She left the room and in walked a very tall (and handsome) Murr. I liked that he had a good strong handshake! You can tell alot about a person from their handshake! When he sat down he said "What's this I hear about a list?" I just laughed nervously and assured him there were only 3 left he had to answer.

Since I had gone through all the hoops already, the time with him was short. Joe asked a few questions too, which I loved (seemed to become more "real" to him I think). Once Dr. Murr left, then in came his bariatric coordinator, Susan. She was the same woman that conducted a portion of his seminar, so I already knew who she was. Susan was great in explaining to us how the whole insurance process goes. Basically, once she collected everything form me, she went back to her office and took it all apart to make sure everything was there, then forwards it on to the hospital's insurance dept. They then document the items, and forward it on to my insurance. She said if all goes well, Great West would have my file by the end of next week (9/8ish).

Soooo, now it is a waiting game. I think my file is rather complete and extensive, so here's hoping to get a quick answer! Susan said the patient usually hears form the insurance first since their letters have to go through the in-house mailroom and such, so when I get my letter to call her. Once I fax her that letter, she can put me on the books and wait for her official letter. So exciting!

I will post the list of questions here for all those newbies out there. I was able to compile this list with the help of fellow bandsters, and hope it helps others as it is QUITE comprehensive. Obviously, I am a woman interested in having kids, so modify as you see fit! LOL

1. Do you think Lap-Band is the right choice for me?

2. Why do people say they tighten up when stressed? During period too?

3. Hypothyroid- will affect loss/rate of loss?

4. Who do I call at the office if I have a question or a problem, and how quickly will they get back to me?

5. What is your schedule for office visits after surgery? Who sets those visits? Are the visits covered by the surgery payment, or are they additional to the surgery fees?

6. May I have a list of your patients who have given you permission to have other patients contact them about their experience with you? (References)

7. What is the typical excess weight loss and improvement of associated health conditions for your other patients?

8. After receiving an insurance approval how long will it take before I am booked for surgery?

1. Experience? How many lapbands has the doc done?

2. How many slipped bands or erosions has the doc had?

3. How many conversions from lap to open?

4. How many have you had to remove that you yourself have put in?

5. Do you need to lose weight/be on a liquid diet pre-op?

6. Does your practice have weight limitations for patients choosing a surgical option?

During Surgery:
1. How does he determine what size band you get?

2. Gallbladder out?

3. How often convert lap to open?

4. Will you be doing procedure, or an assistant/intern?

5. Where is the port located?

1. What does his/her aftercare look like?

2. What does the post-op diet consist of?

3. What other support services (nutritionist, support groups, etc.) are part of the program?

4. How soon to get pregnant? Will you unfill?

5. What percentage of your patients have had major complications during or post-op requiring hospitalization?

6. How much time is required after banding to spend in the hospital? Is it overnight? Or outpatient?

7. How long will it be before I can return to pre-surgery levels of activity? Sex?

8. How soon will I be able to drive?

9. Will I be able to take oral contraceptives or thyroid pill after surgery?

10. What precautions do you undertake to prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism?

11. What is an incisional hernia, and what is the probability of having one after surgery?

12. How does he determine when you need/get a fill?

13. How often can you get a fill?

14. How does he do fills (in office or under fluoro)?

15. Who does the fills? The surgeon or a nurse or PA

16. Does my insurance cover fills?

17. How many fills are covered with the operation?

18. If the tube gets punctured and is leaking, how do you handle that? Who pays?

19. How available for unfills or emergencies is he?

Well, after only THREE days of insurance review- I AM APPROVED FOR THE BAND! I am so ecstatic beyond any wild imagination! After all the waiting, and hoop jumping, and "what if's" it is FINALLY here! My date was set for October 3rd too, only two weeks away!

Great West is really fast in the approval department. I was really ready for a fight from what I'd heard in general about the approval process. I am sure the fact that I kept in contact DAILY with the lady who was reviewing my file in GW, helped tremendously. She even gave me info about the hospital's approval department, and was great about calling me back.

This is IT! I am going in for my surgery at 7:30AM, and have to be at the hospital by 5:45. Here goes nothing!!!!

I am home again, and feeling alright. I had a good surgery, though my Dr. said my gallbladder has seen better days, and my liver was not only fatty, but enlarged. Not sure how those things will affect me in the future, so I have to research them... Recovery took a bit longer because my heart rate was SUPER SLOW- at a 30, when they expect it to be up at 90+!!! Anyhow, I made it through and went home on Wednesday. My poor roommate was a 50+ year old lady who had battled breast cancer, and had a bypass last year, and was in for repair on 3 hernias, and a tummy tuck! Boy, she was a trooper, and very brave, but had significant pain through the night.

My mom came down from NY to stay with me to help with my toddler, and keep my husband from going crazy! What a relief it is to have her here! Although I know I could do it by myself, it is just nice to have her here.

I have lost 3 lbs already (based on my pre-op testing last week)! So exciting! I am just now starting to gurgle a bit in the tummy area, and hope to pass the gas soon!

About Me
St. Petersburg, FL
Surgery Date
Jan 27, 2006
Member Since

Friends 53

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History Does Not Repeat Itself...