Here I am three weeks out and finally getting around to writing something here. I used to love to write, but I have gotten so that my time is better spent enjoying Maui.
My story is like many. However, I did NOT suffer with obesity as a child. Quite the opposite. I was an active, athletic, dancer and never had to worry about a single pound! I always had a terrific shape and enjoyed fashionable clothes. Maybe that is why I had a difficult time with the reality that I was MO! Surely, not me?!!! I knew how good it felt to be active... look good... wear cool clothes. What happened to me?!
I have a plethora of excuses, but that is all they really are when push comes to shove. I lost control of myself. An 8 year divorce didn't help. Along the way, I found (or did he find me?) and fell in love with a wonderful man. Yet, I continued to sabotage myself and continued to gain weight. He never left and was still supportive. We ended up getting married in '98 on the beach here on Maui. He is still my rock.
I currently work at a fantastic animal hospital. One day, a lovely lady came in requesting quarantine information. After she spoke with our quarantine liaison, I continued speaking with her. This woman GLOWED! I mean, she radiated health and energy that was beyond belief!! She was probably older than me, but I could tell she was way ahead of me when it came to the good life! I finally couldn't contain myself any longer and told her how fabulous she looked.... how she radiated! A huge smile came over her face and she said I would not have said that 6 months earlier. She proceeded to tell me her story and about a wonderful man/surgeon who saved her life.... Dr. Paul Cirangle.
I don't remember which surgery she had.... I can't for the life of me remember her name. All I remember is that over a year ago, I went home that night and Googled Dr. Cirangle. On his website, there was a BMI calculator. Now, I knew I was over weight. But, when I hit the button and was eye to eye with the news that I was MO, I was horrified!!! I kept reading. I read about surgeries that were available to help. I read that at my age and weight, there was no way that I would ever achieve the weight loss I needed to.
Drawback... Dr. C didn't have an office on Maui. Darn! I contacted his office anyway and was given initial information and was told that he WAS looking to come to Maui!!!!!!! Woohoo!!!!!!! I followed his progress on this and finally, in February of this year (2008) I received notice that he was coming!!!!! I called and scheduled a Consultation.... March 7th.
It went very well. I was out of denial by this time and ready to go! I, like many, initially thought the RNY would be the way to go, but after Dr. C reviewed the different procedures, I decided to look into the VSG more. I liked not re-routing my innards! Dr. C does not choose your surgery for you. He wants you to decide and I agree with this methodology. After all, I am the one who will live with the tool and it should be the one of my choosing for the best success.
I decided (and hubby strongly supported) the VSG and we proceeded to the next step. Insurance. I won't even go into this because it is so negative. The bottom line was that if I left the state, my insurance would probably not cover it and if it did, my out of pocket expenses would be about $40,000.00. (Honest, no typo there!) I was devastated!!!!! I had been reading bulletin boards and would notice people being called "self-pay" but never understood what that meant. Now, I did! I wanted MY surgeon, MY procedure. I would not let them dictate my future which is what they tried to do. I wont' go on because I don't like negativity. :)
I found out that my out of pocket would be more like $17,500.00. Why do I even have insurance?! I will admit that I was able to get all my labs and tests partially covered and meds, too. Of course I will keep paying my premiums because for emergencies you just have to have insurance. Now, the next challenge was to find some money. We applied through some medical loan agencies and were approved, but at the very same time, my in-laws called and told us they would love to help us out with this. I am probably the luckiest person when it comes to having a loving and giving family... both mine and my husband's.
Checks were written and dates were set! I was on my way!!!!!!!! I was initially scheduled for May 27th, but during the final arrangements, I was asked if I wouldn't mind changing dates to the 31st. Dr. C needed someone for a live telecast that was within my BMI range. I jumped at the opportunity!!
Hubby and I flew to CA on Thursday night (red eye) and arrived in San Francisco early Friday morning. We checked into our hotel (all arranged by Dr. C's wonderful staff) and called them to let them know we arrived safely. We found out where they were located and took a shuttle over to their office where we picked out some post-op foods/packets that were included in my surgical package.
Everyone was a warm in person as they had been in their emails and on the phone. It was such a good, confident feeling!
Well, that's my story. My surgery went beautifully. I had minimal discomfort (notice I didn't say pain?!) and was discharged the next day. Hubby and I had to spend a week in San Fran until Dr. C was confident it was safe for me to fly back to Maui. Everything was wonderful except I found San Fran a bit on the chilly side! I walked in the hotel rather than outdoors more since I just couldn't get comfortable with the cool temps.
I am now three weeks out and back to work and loving life more than I have in a long time. I know all this will only get better, too!! I want to thank my family and friends for all their support. They are amazing and I believe all their positive energy only helps in my success. To all... malama pono!!!! and a hui hou!!!!!!!!