It Won't Be Long

Jan 16, 2010, I never said I was going to be a frequent blogger. I'm sooo not a writer. I just don't ever get the "urge" to tell the world how I feel. Maybe it's because I'm a private person, maybe not. Doesn't matter...'s been a long time since my last update. June 21st of last year, in fact. In the last almost 7 months, I've been through the ringer. I started my six-month doctor supervised diet with Dr. Tanton, an endocrinologist at Celebration Health. Actually, I was seen most often by his assistant, Jeannette, a nurse practicioner who is an amazing woman. No matter how bad I felt going in there, she was there with a smile and I'd leave smiling too. I had a few months where I gained a few pounds, but most often, I did lose at least a little weight. The most amazing parts were my weigh-in's for December and January. Somehow, and I truly don't know how, I managed to lose like 18 pounds OVER THE HOLIDAYS! Maybe it's because I don't go to parties and holiday get-togethers. It's just not my bag. However, during that time, I cheated on my diet a LOT. I became far too familiar with Crunch 'N' Munch popcorn, eating sometimes 2 boxes a night for days on end. Finally, I had the final appointment for my 6 month requirement and called Dr. Kim's office. They pushed me right up to practically the top of the list! More than anything, I wanted to have my surgery in January so that I could lose as much weight as possible prior to us doing the Abbey Road On The River Beatlefest in May. When we played last year, I was just in so much pain and could barely move. I'm hoping to shed enough to really make a difference. Maybe I'd even be able to stand up to play, which I haven't been able to do for more than one song in years. So, when I called Dr. Kims office, they e-mailed me a list of all the medical clearances that I'd have to have prior to getting a surgery date as well as instructions to begin the "Pre-Op diet, Phase One". I needed a cardiac clearance, pulmonary clearance, chest x-ray, EKG and an H-Pylori test. They also included a list of local doctors I could use to get these clearances. Being that I really don't know any doctors in the area outside of the ones I've been seeing, I went to the list. I started with the cardiologist and picked the first name off the list. When I called, the receptionist told me that the doctor was booked until January. Keep in mind that all this happened about two weeks into December. I knew that would happen! But then she paused and said "well hang on, seems we've had a last-minute cancellation. Can you come in tomorrow"? Can I?!?! Hell yeah! Wow, that was just too easy. Now onto the pulmonologist. Again, I called the first name on the list. Once again, the receptionist told me that they were booked into January. Once again, I figures...and once again, she stopped and said "well, hang on, seems we've had a last-minute cancellation. Can you come in tomorrow"? !!!!!!!!! I couldn't believe it. She literally said the same thing, word for word that the first one had said. So now I had two appointments at 3 hours apart the very next day! I knew the cardiologist would do the EKG and the pulmonologist would do the chest X-Ray, so that was 4 things that would be taken care of in less than 24 hours! Now, all I needed was the H-Pylori test, which is blood work. I had to call my PCP to get an order for that. I called his office and was told that if I could be there in an hour, Dr. Pinero could work me in!!! You've gotta be kidding me! So, off I go to get the orders for the blood-work. I also took the opportunity to let Dr. Pinero know what was going on with me regarding my WLS. If you've read my blog, you'll know that he actually refused to be my doctor for the 6 month diet, not because he didn't believe in it, but because he said he wasn't qualified. I knew that he'd been informed I was seeing Dr. Tanton, so it's not like I was hiding anything from him. Anyway, I went in, got the script and came back home.

The next day, I went early in the morning to have the blood work done because it had to be fasting. Afterward, I went to the first doctor's appointment, which was the cardiologist. They did the EKG which was fine. The cardiologist told me he had no problem clearing me for surgery. He didn't even do a stress test, which I figured he would. He wrote up the clearance letter and handed it to me. That was the easiest thing ever! Next, I had to haul-ass to Kissimmee to visit the next doctor, the pulmonologist. They gave me all the breathing tests and the chest X-Ray, which I passed with flying colours. Then I waited to see Dr. Martinez, the pulmo doctor. When he came in, he was looking at all my information and at the health forms I had filled out. He said "it says here that you snore sometimes. Have you ever been tested for sleep apnea"? Well, yeah, I had been tested, many years ago. The test was a failure because I couldn't fall asleep. That's when the shoe dropped...he said that he wouldn't clear me until I had a sleep study done to check me for apnea! I was heartbroken. It was the holidays. I was terrified that I couldn't get an appointment to have it done, not to mention the expense of it. To the credit of his office manager, they managed to get me an appointment that very night at a sleep center in Altamonte Springs, fairly close to my house. Okay, I'll do this and get it over with. It's not like I have a choice. So, that night, I went to have the sleep study done. They had so many wires and probes stuck to me I looked far more robotic than I did human. It was inhumane. They made me try and fall asleep at 10PM, which for me is basically the middle of my day. I'm a night-owl. I don't sleep at night. Secondly, they made me lie on my back. I haven't been able to sleep on my back since the 80's. I've got all these ruptured discs in my back and the only way I can lie down in relative comfort is on my stomach or my side. The pain was excrutiating. I spent the entire night crying my eyes out. When it was all said and done, they told me that I had "severe" sleep apnea. I asked how they could possibly determine that when I never fell asleep. They had no answer. So, I waited for them to send the results to Dr. Martinez. They told me on X-Mas eve that he wouldn't clear me for surgery until I did a second study with the CPAP machine. I was floored! I told him that there was no way I could afford to do that again and go through such pain. He insisted. However, he did contact the sleep center and got them to do it for free. So, the day after xmas, I had to go back and go through it all over again with the CPAP. Once again, I couldn't sleep. The stupid thing kept dripping water in my nose so I felt like I was drowning. Of course, once again, they said I had "severe" sleep apnea and stopped breathing 97 times an hour. Hello...when you cry, you DO gasp for air a LOT! I didn't get the CPAP. I just couldn't afford it. Dr. Martinez did give me the clearance though, so now that I had everything in order, I contacted Dr. Kim's office and at a few minutes before 5 on January 5th, I got a call back from the scheduler. She said (LOL) "well, I thought we'd have to push you into February, but about 15 minutes ago someone cancelled their surgery date. Can you do it on January 19"? Oh. My. God. AGAIN with the "last minute cancellation"! I definitely took the date. She gave me the instructions for the Phase 2 liquid diet and told me I had to start it the next day and be very faithful to it. I also had to have my initial consultation with Dr. Kim and go to their nutrition/exercise class as well as meet with their exercise guy. All of that would happen on January 7th, a mere two days away! I was so excited. After all the waiting, slogging through the 6 month diet and hoping against hope, it was finally happening! So, I got all the stuff I needed for the liquid diet (which is outrageously expensive!) and went to Celebration Health Hospital on the 7th, which is where everything would happen that day. First, I had to go have labs done, so I had to get there early. Then I went to the nutrition class. Then I went for my appointment with Dr. Kim. I got there and they weighed me and took my "before" picture (wearing my John Lennon shirt). I waited in the little room and Dr. Kim's nurse Vanessa came in, gave me 4 prescriptions that I'd have to have filled and went over a check-list of things I'd need to bring with me to the hospital, like a robe and my CPAP machine. I told her I didn't have a CPAP machine. She looked confused and said "you don't"? I told her that I hadn't had time to get one and that I didn't currently have the finances for it. It was January after all and I had to meet a brand new deductible for the year, which I hadn't met yet. She said "I'm pretty sure Dr. Kim will cancel your surgery"! I was crushed!!! She explained that Dr. Kim requires anyone with severe apnea to have been on a CPAP for a minimum of 3 weeks prior to surgery. She said to hold still and she would go talk with him. I was in tears. I felt like all that build up had been for nothing. Dr. Kim came in while I was still crying. He asked what was wrong and I told him that Vanessa said he would probably cancel my surgery. He explained why he had that policy. In his entire career doing bariatric surgery, he's only lost 2 patients. One, was a man who had a heart attack the day he was going home after surgery. That was totally unexpected and had nothing to do with the surgery. The other was a person who died on the table because they had untreated sleep apnea and wasn't getting enough oxygen. I was really upset and just couldn't stop the tears. I told him the entire story of my sleep studies and the pain and me not sleeping and how I was crying through the whole thing. He said "hold on" and left the room for a few minutes. He came back in and said that he was willing to get a second opinion on the severety of my apnea. He had contacted his colleague, a Dr. Alabi, a pulmonologist right there at Celebration. He said that Dr. Alabi is doing him a favour and is squeezing me in for an appointment Thursday of that week (which was last Thursday). He said that if Dr. Alabi is willing to "follow" me through the procedure while I'm in hospital, I can keep my January 19 surgery date. He said that in the meantime, continue on the liquid diet and everything just as if I'm definitely having it on the 19th. I thanked him, went to my other appointment of the day and went home. On Thursday, I went to see Dr. Alabi, who was a wonderful, friendly man. He looks remarkably like Taye Diggs which I thought was pretty cool. He read the report from the sleep lab right in front of me and said "well, these numbers show a very extreme case of sleep apnea". Once again, I told the story of the two nights of sleep study that I had. How I had been crying and didn't sleep at all. He told me that he wanted me to do him a favour. He left and came back in with a small box. He said that it was something called a Itamar Watch Pat-100, which is a fairly new contraption for checking sleep apnea. The difference is, you do it at your own home. You can wear what you want, sleep at the time you choose and lay however you want. It's a sleeve that goes over your hand and wrist with a small computer velcroed to the backside. You have two sensors that go on your ring finger and your pointer finger. There's also one wire that goes to a sensor that you tape to your throat. That's it. Totally non-invasive. He said he's sure I do have apnea, but also doubts the severity of it and that if I used it that night, brought it back in the morning and the results were markedly different than what was gotten at the sleep clinic, he'd be willing to follow me in hospital. That night, I wore the thing and slept fine. The only discomfort came from my cat who constantly tried playing with the wire. Finally, my partner had to lock her in the bathroom so I could sleep. Then she meowed a long time, then I slept LOL. First thing in the morning, I brought it back to them. They uploaded the data and what it showed was that yes, I do have sleep apnea, but instead of the 97 times an hour that the other clinic showed, this machine showed 18! He said that was "moderate" sleep apnea. He told me that he still recommended a CPAP machine, but he'd be willing to watch me in hospital. FINALLY!!! I got the last green light that I needed! All that...just because I said that sometimes I snore! So...I'll be having my RNY this coming Tuesday, January the 19th, a mere 3 days from now. I went and got the prescriptions filled that they gave me and I'm on day 11 of the liquid diet. It hasn't been that bad, really, but when I was going through all that crap my cravings went through the roof! It's settled down now. It's almost time. The weight is almost over...



About Me
Orlando, FL
Surgery Date
May 27, 2009
Member Since

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