I just went to my first meeting with my doctor on 01/12/06. I am VERY hopeful that my insurance will say "YES". The only thing I don't have a record of is 6 months of consistant visits to the doctor. I do have a history of my doctor in Oregon strongly suggesting WLS, but my new doctors office in Tucson was VERY slow to pick up the ball. If they had done things the way I asked I could be having surgery by the end of April. DO NOT LET YOUR Doctor off the hook by putting you off.
6/2/06 WOW! After 6 months now of being on the doctor diet, trying to qualify for insurance I've pretty much made the decision to go with the Vertical Gastrectomy Sleeve. I feel I found out about this surgery in a miraculous way and everything just feels right about it. My appointment the Dr. Chaisson is June 26 and I hope to have surgery the first couple of days in Aug. YAHOO!!! My last fat summer is almost behind me.
6/27/06: Yesterday I had my consultation with Dr. Chaisson. Before I met with him I met with lovely Tonya and her had the pleasure of meeting her beautiful family. I'm hoping she'll be my recovery nurse, wouldn't that be special?
Ok so here comes the story...I had checked earlier to see if my insurance, which my surgeon is not contracted with, would pay for the surgery and they said, "YES, IF your PCP writes us a letter requesting that surgery, AND you meet all the qualifications." Well as you can imagine I was estactic! UNTIL I WALKED INTO HIS OFFICE. I have to say, that his receptionst, whom I'm SURE in time I will get used to was brusk, rude and VERY uncooperative. Told me flat out in no uncertain terms that the doctor couldn't even SEE Me, let alone TREAT me. Mind you, I was already prepared to self pay if I had to, but she jumped to all kinds of conclusions and I felt like this was combat. So I fought. In a waiting room FILLED with people I argued with her, I told her she wasn't listening to me, that she was assuming the wrong thing and if she would just stop talking long enough to HEAR me, I'm sure we could settle this. Then out of the blue...she says, Dr. Chaisson will see you. I fill out the papers, and wait just a little while until I'm escorted into the conference room where Dr. Chaisson explains to me that it's political etc. about the insurance and don't even TRY to get them to cover the surgery.
Then we had our consult and he accepted me as a patient. I do want to say at this point that I really like Dr. Chaisson. I felt he was listening to me, and I didn't sense that ego I usually sense in surgeons. I've been around a lot of surgeons because my step father was the head administrator of a VERY big hospital in Los Angeles.
I had most of my test already done, but I still have the EGD and the cardiac stuff to go, but the cardiac is scheduled for Thursday. I asked my PCP to refer me to someone for the EGD and he said he didn't understand why and to please have Dr. Chaisson fax him the reason he wants it done. SO I called Dr. Chaisson's office. AGAIN I get an office staff member who is more like a gatekeeper, trying to keep me away from anyone. I asked her name and she wouldn't give it to me. It was VERY WEIRD. FINALLY I told her I was a patient and I needed Dr. Chaisson to fax my PCP and she was friendlier but informed me that it could be several days because they are understaffed and very busy.
I can see this is going to be a journey of wits and wills but I can deal with that.
Today I went for my abdominal sonogram. The appointment was at 7am so I got to the hospital at 6:45am. For all of you SUPER obese (don't you love that term) don't you just HATE it when a medical facility doesn't have a chair you can sit on, or a cuff that can take your BP? Well not ONLY that but the person who did my intake over the phone apparently didn't do it correctly and it took almost an hour to get clearance and by that time, I had missed my appointment and had another with the cardiologist I had to leave for. So I left. But I decided to keep fasting (had I mentioned that this was a fasting test?) just in case I could get another appointment later in the day. I get to the cardiologist and again, no place to sit, and no cuff big enough to take my BP. Oh yeah, and the scale only went up to 300!! All his heart patients much be thin.
He did an EKG which I passed and he scheduled me for an EEG and a stress test that I will do with my arms. He said he didn't think the treadmill would hold me. This should be interesting. After the cardiologist I called scheduling and got a 10am appointment for the sonogram. I got there and took the exam which was a trip. The tech kept talking to herself about what she was finding, then another tech came in to confer with her I guess. It was like she didn't fully understand what she was looking at. "It's the fundus...no wait...it's something else...that shouldn't be there...oh wait...yeah that's ok" I said, "is everything ok? Should I be worried?" And she said, "I can't tell you." oh that was comforting. I guess I'll find out if I'm properly put together in a couple of days. FINALLY at 11am I was able to eat something and I went to work. It was a good day at work.
Is this the kind of stuff I'm supposed to be posting on my personal site? Anyway, all I have to do is the EGD, the EEG and the arm stress test. My last appointment with my PCP is on Monday July 3 at 7am, then we bundle up all the test results and off they go to Chaisson. As soon as Chaisson has them (should be by July 5 or so) I will get a surgery date...WOW!
Oh! One more thing. I had a big cry with my mom today. Last Friday at the pool I met a woman who is 5'6" and 160 pounds and GORGEOUS! I was 160 pounds once for a while when I was 15. I thought I was the biggest thing on the planet...I told my mom, who thinks I got MYSELF into this whole weight mess that I was having a very difficult time getting my mind around this. Why didn't I know I was beautiful? Why wasn't I told? Why didn't I have the strength inside me to know myself? And of course I started to cry. Then my mom said, "I know exactly how you feel. I was recently looking at high school pictures of myself and I had a lovely figure but my mom told me I was fat, fat, fat." So the cycle continued, but you know what? Now my mom sees that maybe I DIDN'T get into this whole weight mess by myself. Maybe I had some help, and maybe that helper looks back at HER in the mirror. It was a good moment.
OK, 1 week prior to surgery I started listening to a pre-op hynosis CD by Joe Casey 2 times a day, and had some energy work to have my ley lines reinforced the day before surgery. The hardest time I had was getting the IV into my body. I finally got an "A" line in my neck. Below are my first BEFORE pictures.
3 months out of surgery and I'm experimenting with food. Maybe that's not such a good idea, but I'm amazed that I really can eat anything. Now the trick is to eat only the good things. Of course the amounts I can eat are so small that I can't imagine that a cracker here or there will be a problem, but I don't want to get into old thinking and behavior. I still do my shake in the morning (I like the Dymatize Protein Powder) and I do my best to get in all my water, but I talk for a living and it's hard to remember to sip between words sometimes. I created a water activity program that includes a warm-up, aerobics, weight training, stretching and a cool down. It lasts an hour and I LOVE the way I can move in the water. I do this 3 times a week, then I go to Curves 3 times a week. It's a good routine for me for now. When I get to 350 pounds my plan is to get a bicycle and ride it for half an hour a day in the evening 3 times a week. As time goes on I will get up to 100 miles a week and by Thanksgiving 2007 my goal is to be in the last 35 miles of the Tour de Tucson which is a perimeter bike race.
I'm getting more involved with my local WLS group which has brought me many friends and support. Since we have several in the group who have had a VSG, I feel comraderie like I never have before. My life is changing for sure, and for the better. Now if I can only stay out of the Pepperidge Farm fishes!
My 50th Birthday...my last Super Obese birthday. We had fun.
Surgery Date 8/30/06 Weight 443.5
9/27/06 Weight 397!!!!
10/28/06 Weight 378!!!
11/29/06 Weight 370!!! I only eliminated 8 pounds this month, but the inches just keep on coming off! I had NO idea there was so much skirt in this suit.
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Surgeon: Patrick Chiasson, M.D.
My first impression of Dr. Chiasson was one of professionalism and courtesy. Over time I also found out that he's a bit dry, but friendly. I felt very confident with him as a surgeon. The office staff is protective of him, but all turned out to be friendly and very helpful. It's frustrating for me occasionally because Dr. Chiasson is difficult to be funny with, but I'm gonna crack him yet. The aftercare program is fantastic. Gayle checks up on my a couple times a week, always ready to answer questions, and I can go to the Doc's office once a week to weigh myself. I completely trust Dr. Chiasson's surgical competence, his bedside manner could use a little lightening up, but I ain't complaining.