I am pre-surgery, but know this is what I want to do. I am going to have to wait until after the first of the year because my current insurance (BCBS) has an exclusion for any type of weight control including surgery even for Morbid Obesity. We have two other choices - both HMOs that in 2004 at least did not have the exclusion. Open enrollment is in November - effective Jan 1.
December 12, 2004
Well open enrollment has come and gone. The other insurance that my company offers will no longer cover WLS in 2005. So, I am looking at self pay. I have given this long and hard thought and prayer. Thought about going back to the "conventional" diets - but have decided that I am going to have the surgery. What concerns me about self pay is if there are complications. But there are risks to everything. You know the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Well I have done the diet thing over and over again - and I guess now I have gotten over the insanity.
Dec 15, 2004
I have made up my mind, I am moving forward. I have such wonderful friends. One of them's husband is in the insurance industry and so he did some research for me. Trying to find the silver lining and what I have come up with is that since I don't have to worry about the insurance, I can have whomever I want to do my surgery. There is one surgical practice here in Tulsa that does the surgery, and my friends husband found one in Little Rock that has done over 7,500 of these.
I am going to the one in Tulsa's seminar tomorrow night.
I talked to the nurse at the doctors office in Little Rock yesterday. Wouldn't you know it, they have the seminar once a month and it was yesterday (too bad I couldn't play beam me up Scotty and gotten over there yesterday - oh well in Gods good time). I was very impressed with the nurse and the information that she provided. We talked about surgery dates and I mentioned February (since I cannot go to a seminar until Jan 4) and she said that was entirely possible. (Another silver lining for not having to wait on the insurance).
Bottom line is I won't make up my mind until I have been to both seminars and seen what the programs have to offer, but I am a step closer.
December 31, 2004 - Haven't gone to any seminars yet. Despite what the one surgeon's info line said, that particular seminar was not held due to the holidays. So I am planning on going to 2 next week. One on Monday night here in Tulsa and the other in Little Rock on Tuesday. I have been on vacation and go back to work on Monday. I am sure that my boss is just going to be delighted when I tell him I am going to be gone on Tuesday. With New Years on Saturday we have a floating holiday to use between now and March so I am going to use that. I am really just kidding about his response, my boss is usually great about time off etc - knows that I know what I need to get done for my job and respects me to manage it.
I haven't talked to him yet about the surgery. Wanted to wait till I had some definite plans. I know that it will definitely put some stress on our project plans (I am an IS Project Manager) and hope that everything can be worked out with a minimum of distruption. It would have been nice if I could have gotten this done between projects, but it just did not work out. I will be starting a new project after the first of the year and it will be a 10 - 12 month project. I am not willing to wait till the project is done for the surgery so we will have to work out something.
I hope that these seminars will help me make up my mind. The surgeon in Tulsa did someone I know and they are very pleased with their results and the way that they were treated. This person is 2 years out so I know that that surgeon has done plenty of these (I will find out how many). I need to find out about the cost however. Since I am self pay that does come into play. The surgeon in Little Rock (Dr. Ozment) is supposidly about 10,000 less expensive - per what I have found out talking to someone (found through this web site). Now cost is not everything but Dr Ozment has done over 7,500 of these.
My concern with going to Little Rock is what if something goes wrong. I don't plan for it to - and pray and expect that everything will be OK, but I am a project manager by trade and part of that training is to do serious contingency planning. If I have the surgery in Little Rock and something goes wrong, can I get the help that I need? Little Rock is about 5 hours away by car and 3 or so by air (there are no direct flights, you have to change planes somewhere to get from here to there).
But 10,000 is a lot of money. I am hoping that the seminars will help me make up my mind.
Jan 6 - Went to both surgeons educational seminars (here in Tulsa Surgical Associates) and in Little Rock (Dr. Kerry Ozment). Tulsa was first and I liked what I saw. Had to drive to Little Rock the next day and actually left here thinking I was wasting my time because I was going to have it done in Tulsa.
After listining to Dr Ozment and his staff I changed my mind. I HAVE A SURGERY DATE - Feb 17, 2005. There were just a multitude of things that made me choose Dr Ozment - his experience, his manner, his command of the information, his sense of humor. We talked about my concerns about being so far away and I am OK now. Really excited!
Jan 13, 2005 - 5 weeks from now I will have had surgery and be on my way. I am still sooooooo excited. At first I was not really going to tell anyone, but have changed my mind and have been telling anyone who asks. I work in a large company and in a department that has about 150 people in it. The division that I work in has about 800 people in it. I am rather high profile and most people know me. Word is getting around at work and everyone has been more than supportive. Everyone is very excited for me and is giving up prayers for me. Tonight I told my Bunco group and they were excited and supportive too. Even people that I was concerned about being negative have been nothing but supportive. This is so great. I am nervous too but that is to be expected.
Jan 16,2005 I am so very blessed. I went to a support group that is started here. The core group all had surgery with a surgeon that has left here. (He gave them lots of notice and from everything I have heard was great). One of the gals got with Obesity Help and learned about forming a group, so now we have one that is not affilitated with any specific doctor, hospital etc. Our first meeting was yesterday. I was the only pre-op there, but there were people from other surgeons including one gal who had surgery with Dr Ozment too. I had emailed her prior to going to Little Rock to see him. It was so great to meet her in person. Everyone was so great and so very supportive. I felt liked I fit right in. and for once did not feel "different". I mean to look at these ladies and gentlemen, for the most part you would never know that they had a weight problem. But they pulled their pre-op pictures out - WOW is all I can say. Again all very supportive and we went out to lunch afterwards and it was very comforting to see that they ate like "regular" people. We laughed and had a great time. Lots of plans in the works for activities etc. I can also see the support and it is great to know that these people will be there for me. Thanks Obestity Help for helping me find this great bunch of people!! One month from tomorrow! YEAH
January 29, 2005 2 weeks 4 days and 8 hours or so till surgery. I still cannot get over how much support that I have gotten. I am soooooo very lucky. Maybe because I am coming across as so positive but no one has even tried to bum me out about the surgey. I don't know if reality has set in really for me or not. I know that I am doing this, but it is almost like it is someone else.
We had a birthday party for my nephew tonight who is turning 5 on Monday. I went ahead and had my sister take pictures of me (my gosh I cannot remember the last time I asked for someone to take my picture or even voluntarily had one taken). But anyway I have my before pictures so one more thing done. I am excited, scared and just want to be on the other side.
Feb 5 - less than 2 weeks now. Cannot wait. Going to find a recliner to have so that it will be available for sleep. Getting a little nervous, but not too bad. Just does not seem real yet. Guess it will in 2 weeks huh?
March 16 - No it is not almost a month post op - I did not get to have surgery on Feb 17. I ended up in the hospital in Tulsa with an infected foot and just got released last night. I have a wound vac and will probably have it for 2 more weeks, and then we can start talking about when I can have WLS. I am concerned about work and whether or not I can afford to be gone another 6 weeks or so after having just been out 6 ot 7 weeks. I might be able to go back sooner than the 6 weeks after WLS -but since I am no longer a spring chicken (53 years old) and I am having it open I wanted to give myself plenty of time. I guess I will worry about that when I get this foot healed.
April 11 - Still no surgery. I am so very frustrated. Had to go back into the hospital with this dang foot on Good Friday. The good news I was only in till Wed. (the infection had come back). Guess we came off of the antibiotics too soon. (finished what my perscription and 2 days later the infection comes back - high fever, nausia, redness etc). I a now 12 days out of the hospital and am seeing some redness in the foot (well more pink than red, but not normal). I have a nurse who comes daily to changes the dressing. We tried to call my primary care physician on Friday and he said to wait to see if it got worse and then to call the surgeon. I did not even see the surgeon except for a brief consult during the second hospitalization. The practice that I use has for my primary care has a hospitalist that sees the patients when they are in the hospital. I wish I could see him as he really took good care of me. Anyway I have an appointment with my primary care on Wed (was hoping to get released to go back to work but don't think that is going to happen). We will see what he says - I bet he makes me go back to the orthopaedic surgeon. Don't think that I am physically ready to go back to work (at least not full time) since I have this redness - (but only low grade fever - good blood sugars and no real nausea), and still have drainage. I just so want to get back to work - emotionally and socially.
I have decided that I will probably wait until September to have WLS. That will give the foot time to heal (hopefully), and will get a project that I am supposed to be working on complete. We will see.
Lord, I know that you will heal me, but that all things in Your time. Please send me the serenity to accept what is going on - and continue to use whatever happens to Your glory.
03/16/06 -Long time since I last posted. 2005 was a difficult year for me to say the least. I ended up being hospitalized 4 times due to my infected foot and had to be operated on 3 times. The infection turned out to be MRSA (antibiotic resistant staff) that got into the bone.
If you are a diabetic and get an ulcer on your foot, be very very careful. Go see your doctor! I had to take hyperbaric dives (yes like they decompress scuba divers) - I had 80 dives (as they call them). Normal is about 20. Leave it to me not to be normal.
The second surgery - in early May - they had to remove a good portion of my heel. It was almost healed and the infection came back into the bone again so they had to operate again in August. I finally got to go back to work part time in early September after being off 6 1/2 months. After the last surgery they put me in a wheel chair. But I am healed now and starting to come out of the wheel chair. One of the Drs in the wound care clinic told me that I was healed enough to start looking into WLS again. I go see the surgeon (she has either been gone or in emergency surgery so I have not seen her in a month) tomorrow and I hope that she is as pleased and concurs that I can move forward.
Because I have moved forward. I had decided to have the surgery in Tulsa. For 2 reasons. One - after being so ill last year I just feel like I should be here in case something goes wrong, and two I now want the surgery done lapiscopically to lessen the chance of infection.
I had to change PCP. My PCP moved and the Dr that took his place is anti WLS. Someone I know at work had WLS and she gave me the name of her PCP. I went on Wednesday and I love her. She is wonderful and the whole staff was good and caring.
I have also decided the Dr. Gorospe is going to be my surgeon. I have a consultation with him a week from tomorrow. I am so excited.
Since my insurance has an exclusion from paying for ANYTHING to do with weight loss, I am going to be self-pay. I sure hope they enjoyed paying over $100,000 on my foot last year that might not have happened if I had had the surgery. And the healing sure as heck would have been quicker, not putting all that weight on it. Oh well that is all past me now.
03/30/06 - I MAY have a date. April 18 - it all depends on whether they can get me in for a sleep study next week. If not, we may have to wait for another week. After having the surgery postponed for 14 months I certainly hope that I do not have to wait an extra week. But this will happen in God's time. He has been removing obstacles from my path this time so may all will be well. I am excited and scared. But I am going to be so busy the next couple of weeks trying to get everything done that I won't really have too much time to get too nervouse (or at least I hope that will be the case)
04/01/06 - I do have a surgery date. It will be (with God's blessing) April 18. I went last night for a sleep study. Interesting experience. They did put a CPAP on me in the night. I could not sleep worth a darn. The CPAP was not the problem I could not sleep well before then. Even managed to fall out of bed in the night. I am OK, but bruised and sore. Oh well one thing down and 2000 to go. I go back on Wed for a consult and will find out the official results.
On Monday I go for a colonoscopy (being a certain age you know- nothing to do with the surgery), but they are also going to do the EGD at the same time. So after Monday will be two things off the list.
04/05 Well a few more things are off of my list, but it seems for every one thing I get done - two get added. Went to the cardiologist today. Everything looks OK, but he wants to do a nuclear stress test so that it 2 more appointments next week (as if I needed anything more to do).
Also had my consult today from my sleep study. I do have severe sleep apnea. Anything over 30 incidents an hour is considered severe - I was averaging 122! They want your blood oxygen to average 90 or better - mine was 79. Sooooo, I will be getting a Bipap machine. Another trip to get it when it comes in (should be Friday or Monday).
No wonder my metabolism is sluggish, and I am slow to heal - especially on my feet.
I was also told that I would probably be taken to ICU from surgery since the sleep apnea is so severe. Just as a precaution. As a self pay I hate that as it means more dollars, BUT I would rather be safe than sorry.
Also because of my BMI they are going to put in a vena cava filter. They will do that on the 17th.
One thing about it, we are going to know everything that is wrong with me - and when I get all finished I will be the healthiest that i have ever been.
13 days and counting! Sharon
04/10/06 Went to see the pulminary dr today and found out that I have a slight touch of asmtha. I did not know that I had so many things wrong with me.
Saw the nutritionist today too. So that is two more things down.
The Bipap machine has not come in yet. It should be in tomorrow. So after I go the cardiologist for the nuclear stress test, I will go pick it up (I hope).
A week from tomorrow.
04/13/06 - I have now finished all of my pre-op dr visits and everything is a go. I have to be at the hospital on Monday at 7:30 to have the vena cava filter put it (surgeon wants it because of my high BMI) and then back at 5 am the next morning (Tues April 18) for my 7:00 AM date with the surgeon.
Only 14 months and 1 day later than I had originally planned. I don't know if it has really sunk in yet that I am going to do this. A little anxious but a whole lot more excited.
4 days and 11 hours.
April 21 - officially on the losing side! Went in Monday for the vena cava and then back on Tues for surgery. Nothing was as bad as I had anticipated not even the barium for the leak test or anything. I feel like someone has punched me in the stomach or I did a bunch of sit ups but not too bad.
Went to my PCP today since my blood sugars have been running 154 -164 the last couple of days. She is having me start on Lantus again but just two units. She said that she thought within a month I would be off of that! WOW. Go back to see Dr Gorospe on the 5th. I don't have any scales at home, so that will keep me from weighing. At the PCP I was down 4 or 5 lbs, can't complain about that in 3 days. But I do not want to get in the habit of letting the scale determine how I feel.
Not a lot of stamina, but hey I just had major surgery.
May 5, 2006. Had my 2 week follow up with the surgeon. Down 23 lbs (YEAH). My mini goal was to be below 350 at this weigh in and I MADE IT. I also am released to go back to work with a 10 lb lifing restriction. That is not a problem since I am a project managers for IT projects and either on the computer, the phone or in meetings all day.
Everyone has been supportive. I feel so very lucky. My family, my friends have all been praying for me and pulling for me. I work in a company that now has almost 4,000 employees but when I started there were 350. Even though there have been a lot of people come and go, the majority of them are good people. The department that I work in - in many ways is like a family. And I am getting so much support from work.
I thank the merciful and powerful Healer (Jesus Christ) for my smooth path. I am so greatful that this appears to be the way that He wants this to go after all of what I went through last year. I always knew that I would be healed in His time, but boy it sure taught me patience.
I am planning on trying to take a 10 minute break at work every couple of hours and walk from one end of the building to the other. They say it is about 2 football lenghts - so that will be some good exercise. That is the one thing that I have not done as well at as I would have liked. Yes my foot (see earlier posts on the MRSA saga and my left foot) still hurts some, but it is also an excuse. I have a friend at work who I think is going to help me by walking with me.
05/18/06 - One month today and down 32 lbs. Work is going fine. Am doing some walking. And am on solid foods as of Tuesday. Went to the grocery store on Wed night and actually shopped without using the electric cart. That is a first in 15 months. YEAH
07/02/06 Time gets away from me. Did not realize that it has been this long since I have posted. Things are going well. Went to Nashville for a week long school - all meals either catered or out. I took along protein shakes and a little hand blender that I got at Wal Mart for less than $10 (in fact I had three of them - one at work, one in the car and one at home). Unfortunately I did not want to take a chance of my luggage getting lost so I carried it on - bad decision - there is a little blade and so it got confiscated at the airport. Not a financial problem, but did not really have time, nor transportation to replace it while I was at school so I had to stir my protein shakes - let me just say this - juck. I can see why people don't like those things. But for me when they are blended very well, I like them.
Did OK eating. Had a shake in the morning for breakfast before leaving for class (they had donuts, pastries etc at the school). For lunch I just took a little of whatever protein they were serving and a little salad. Stayed away from the desserts (and that was hard because they had delicous looking cheesecakes etc) but did it.
One night one of my classmates and I went out to eat at Lone Star, I got the grilled shrimp. Ate about 3 - 4 of them and had to excuse myself. We left shortly after that. I got back to my room about 7 and started throwing up - and continued for 3 hours. I was beginning to panic, do I go to the ER? do I wait for morning? what??? but I continued praying and about 10 everything subsided.
I was expecting a good loss when I got home - but I was the same. Oh well, I know that I did everything I could correctly - maybe I just did not eat enough because I was trying to be so careful.
The weight is coming off now again. Not as fast as I would like, but as I told the Dr. if I had my way it would all be off by today. I am just 2 1/2 months out and down almost 60 lbs so I cannot really gripe (though I would like to).
I am trying to exercise - but my foot still bothers me some. I think after the 4th I am going to see about getting a personal trainer so that I will push myself, and have someone who can help me find things that I can do that does not bother my foot. I have to realize that I have only been out of the wheel chair for a little over 3 months (after being in it for a little over 6) so it is going to take some time to build stamina.
I went to OKC last weekend to see Beth Moore (she is a marvelous lady that spreads the Word of God particularly to women). I bought my 2 sisters tickets for their birthdays. My BIL works for a hotel so he was able to get us friends and family rate at the Rennaisance in DT OKC - which was cool. I went to go take the bags to the room and when I got on the elevator, the floor we were on would not light up. I got off and found someone who worked there- and she said oh you are on a restricted floor and have to use your room key. We had a beautiful 2 room suite - it was great. The hotel was about .3 mile from the convention center. We had a wonderful time.
I just know that if I had not had this surgery, I would not have been able to make the trip to Nashville and the trip to OKC. I am so blessed!
08/11/2006 - Height 5'7" Weight 292.2 Inches lost 47.625 Weight lost 80 lbs.
Started working out with a personal trainer on 07/12. Since I have problems with my foot, I cannot walk long distances, but she has me doing some other aerobic exercise (like the nustep, which is a recumbent stair climber). Last week I tried a water aerobics class and the only problem I had was getting from the dressing room to the pool as I don't want to wear my tennies with the orthotics in them for that walk. It was OK, but the good news is that I was able to do the class. Sometimes they might do 10 of something I during the same time I would only get 7 in - but what the heck.
I meet with my personal trainer twice a week at 6 AM (ouch) - and we do resistence and endurance. I can really tell a difference in what I am able to do.
I had hoped to be at 100 lbs down by now, but I am doing everything that I can - getting the protein in, water in, vitamins and exercising. These are the only things I have control over, so I am letting God take care of the weight loss part. I still get on the scales way too many times - but I am not obsessing over it. The weight will come off, but in God's time - He knows what is best for me and my body.
The only problem that I am having is that I would rather just drink the shakes than try to eat solid food. I know that is crazy, but I never know if I am going to have problems (food stuck, pain, throwing up). One meal one thing will be fine - and then the next.... I am sure that I am either not chewing well enough, or putting in one too many bites - and I keep trying because I have to learn. It is strange though - eating to live rather than living to eat.
09/10/06 - Down to 278 this morning - closing in on the first 100 lbs. I have not been exercising as I would like. I got an infection in my big toe (caused a lot of anxiety to begin with and brought back lots of bad memories). I caught it much earlier this time, but even still my PCP almost put me in the hospital for IV antibiotics. I am glad that she wanted to be safe rather than sorry - but still after last year.......
I am going back to the Wound Care Clinic and it is getting better. They are letting me do some exercise but nothing that puts much stress on my feet. The conclusion that we have come to is with my weight loss my shoes are too big and during exercising I was pushing the big toes against the end of the shoe. I wear orthodics - especially since the heal on that foot is missing some bone due to the infection last year. The orthodic puts my heal up a little bit too. I haven't replaced the shoes yet, because I would also have to buy new orthodics - and they are expensive - and guess what - INSURANCE DOES NOT COVER!!!. I talked it over with the doc and am trying some lambs wool (like toe dancers) to take up some of the room to make these last longer. I know that I am going to have to replace them a couple of times - but I wanted to wait until I had lost at least half of my weight. I am about 20 lbs away from being halfway home.
Had a wow moment this past week. I have been cleaning out closets etc. I put on a pair of jean shorts that I could not even begin to wear before surgery. I had been wearing them on and off the past month or so. I thought about putting them in the donation sack, but since it can stay enough for shorts into early Oct I decided not to and put them on instead. Walked into the other room to put some clothes in a bag and the shorts fell off of me - zipped up, buttoned and all. Guess they will go to charity after all...
09/28 Down over 100 lbs. YEAH
10/23 Down 109 - but a big WOW. Flew this weekend - did not need a seat belt extension AND I could put the tray table down. WOW.
12/10/06 - Cannot believe that it has been almost 2 months since I updated. Down about 128. Still fighting with the toe infection. Had been released to exercise (non weight bearing), but then the infection started coming back - had to go back on antibiotics and no exercise for 2 weeks. Last week she (the dr) released me to go back to non weight bearing, but told me to make an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon. the toe is clawing, which causes pressure on the end of the toe, and she is afraid that it will become chronic. As I understand it they go in and put screws in your toe to keep them straight (doesn't sound like a lot of fun). I know that I have to do something, I just hope that it will not keep me from being able to do the exercises with my trainer. I am building muscle.
I know that I will have to have plastics eventually as I already look saggy and have another 80 - 100 lbs to go. I say that - I have a little less than 100 lbs to go to get where I want, but know that I will have skin to be removed which can be anywhere from 8 - 20 lbs. I will just wait and see what my body does.
The best news is so far I am continuing to lose over the holidays. Yes it is slowing down, but that is to be expected. As much as I would like to be at goal already, I am a realilst and know that it is going to take some time. I am proud of myself. At Thanksgiving I took a sugar free pecan pie (Susan Maria's recipe - yummy), but came home with almost 1/2 a pie. Since I was off work until Monday I knew it would be sitting there calling me - so I threw it away. Sorry starving children in whatever Mothers say today. If I could have, I would have sent it to you. But better in the trash than the extra calories in my body.
Dec 27, 2006 - Had a personal goal to be in the 230's at Christmas - Christmas morning I was 240.2 (oh so close). This morning I was 239.2 so... I had wanted to be at 235 by the end of the year, Don't think I will make that, but will be close - and considering it was 8 months ago I set those mini goals - not too shabby.
I did go to the orthopedic surgeon and not the news I wanted. Yes I am going to have to have surgery on my left foot - they will fuse the bone on the big toe and release tendons on the rest. I will have wires sticking out of my foot for 4 -6 weeks. I hope I do not lose too much ground on my working out (is that ME saying that??). Also the most disappointing thing is that there is nothing they can do to rebuild the support on the heel where I had MRSA - and most of the tissue removed and some bone. The ortho told me that even though the tissue has grown back (mostly) the heel is honeycomb and once you slice into it it kind of collapses. Means orhotics the rest of my life. A small price I guess for getting to keep the foot. I am just hoping that once I lose the rest of this weight, that I will be able to go without them for short periods of time, so if I want to go out in a sexy dress I can wear something besides tennis shoes or old lady shoes (the orthotics have to be built up quite a bit at the heel and there is no other kind of shoe I have found that will work).
Feb 3, 2006 Had the surgery on my toes last Monday and so far so good. The first few days were not too bad, as they gave me a nerve block as well as the general anesthetic. Have had more pain the last couple of days. Today I was able to shower (YEAH) and went to the grocery store and then over to my sister's house for my nephews 7 year birthday party. I am hurting now and getting ready to go to bed (and maybe take another pain pill).
I am proud of myself though. They had pizza, and I ate the toppings off of a piece. My sister's MIL had bought some of the Eddy's Dibbs ice cream (single bites) and I had ONE. ONE - and did not feel deprived. When it came time for cake and ice cream - I just said I don't care for any - and IT WAS THE TRUTH. What a good feeling.
Haven't lost any weight for the past 2 weeks - but haven't been able to exercise and with the surgery etc I am not too worried. I, of course, would like to have all of the weight off, but it will come off.