2nd Time Around:  After failure of lapband as a weightloss intervention, I ventured onto vertical sleeve gastrectomy.

I am a single, motherless, Black female who has decided to have weight loss surgery as an instrumental tool in my battle in weight management.  My 1st surgery of choice was the Lapband.  My 1st experience entailed insurance denial due to a policy exclusion, after unofficial pre-authorized approval, onto being a self-pay patient having had a successful surgical experience performed in Tijuana, Mexico, by Dr. Ariel Ortiz.  Having experienced no post-operative complications, by the 6th month post-operatively, I had lost 40-45 pounds of my weight loss goal of 70 pounds.  Of the 40-45 pounds lost, 33 pounds were lost before any fills had been administered. However, as of September 17, 2008 9pm, my lapband was cremated ..I had the inevitable deal breaking experience of my failed relationship between my body and my lapband. After 20 months of fills and unfills, which led to stoma obstruction & finally pouch dilation & band slippage...I was forced to make a quick life-changing decision. I had to give up my band due to slippage and the reality that I could not say that the band was the best fit for me and lifestyle stresses. I do think and feel that my lifestyle and how I internalized stress definitely compromised the ultimate maximization of the efficacy of the lapband. However, I continue to perservere through this journey of weight management as a life long struggle. Resultingly, this experience led me to choose Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy as my 2nd choice as a weight loss surgery remedy.

Before Banding:  247 lb highest weight
Average Weight Post Banding: 210 lbs.
At Cremation of Band: 201 lbs.

April 1o, 2009
Surgery for Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy Approved!  2 week wait anticipated!
My New Journey toward Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy

December 14, 2009--6 months post op the 2nd Time Around
It's amazing....I am pretty much stabilizing at around 175# (heaviest: 247#)....unbelievable. I feel amazing...new found energies & appreciation for an old body frame. Now I am beginning to realize that I need to hit the gym to tone up the arms and the thighs and the butt. I have not hit the gym in about 1.5 yrs; however, I can say that since surgery I have intentionally been much more active (walking more, taking stairs, taking extra steps)....no matter what it still counts. The holiday was good for great shopping finds for me...all size 12 and with some dresses size 10. I have come to realize that I am really at goal; but expect that once I start to "work out" I will probably continue to drop # and firm up. It's been so rewarding to reconnect with old college friends who say I still look the same (from when they knew me back then, before my real battle with weight management). I still say that this lifestyle modfication is just that and a tool in fighting the struggle against weight management. Not a day goes by that I am not aware of, reminded about, or even grateful of this journey toward weight loss eradication. It's a tool & I use it everday, whether I want to or not. I have no regrets and would highly recommend without reservation the VSG procedure over the Lapband. I never thought I would be saying that! I look forward to the continued journey and in helping others in this life-transforming decision process of research and education. It's about making the best choice for you and your lifestyle...Keeping it REAL: I knew that there would never be enough incentive for me to work my butt off in the gym in order to reap these kind of results. That's real!

September 30, 2009
Well indeed, quite some time has passed since my last entry.....I am happy to report that since surgery, this week I marked the 50# weight loss mark! This was my 1st weight loss goal mark. The next is 170#. Problem is now....I need new stuff, although I have had clothes from size 20-12 for years....yet, I did not realize the smaller sizes really were not pieces that could/would carry me through a Chicago Fall/Winter. I am loving this journey. It's much different than my experience with the lapband.. I am able to eat! Much healthier and smaller portions...I eat everything. Today was the 1st time I had a bit of a candy bar since my surgery, but not my first candy. I would recommend this surgical intervention over the lapband at this point in my journey--because the risk of rejecting the foreign object in your body is too great and brings forth too much pain. I love not worrying about food getting stuck or needing an unfill. This is a joke of mine most often nowadays.

Quite a few other updates: Instead of wrapping up my Ed.D. degree by the end of this summer, I traded it in for a MRS. degree. I am a newlywed, just got married on 9/12. It has been an amazing experience.

I will try to still check in from time to time.

June 26, 2009

Yesterday marked 2wks post-op for me and my new sleeve. I must confess and say that this recovery is markedly different than my recovery from lapband implant and removal. Lapband implant recovery was a breeze, I really did not experience any mobility impairment; however removal was PAINFUL, especially since one of the incisions was through my navel. That was the hardest incision to heal. Resultingly, I made sure that Dr. Vitello knew to not reenter that site for access for this surgery & he did not and it made a world of difference. This recovery, I actually feel the healing process and each day I feel a little different. I am regaining my strength and endurance back b/c afterwards you tire so easily and quickly & move around so slowly, but the key is movement.

Week 1, I lost 15 pounds,
as of today, I have dropped 4 more pounds, so for 2 wks 19# weight loss.

Got my hospital bill today. Lets take a walk down memory lane:
Lapband Surgery--(selfpay) $8500;
Lapband removal surgery--19,939.40 (co-pay $118);
Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy--$21,783.25.

This week  was pretty busy for me, I attended Bronzeville Nights 3 for about 1 hour; drove for the first time since my surgery & guest lectured a graduate course last night for about 1.5 hours and today Mom and I are hitting The Taste of Chicago to check out Charlie Wilson's performance.

I must admit, I sooooo missed the small portion allotments for my meals....I love that it has now returned. I am eagerly awaiting the medical research that follows vsg because the recovery process is different than lapband and rny. I saw on Big Medicine last night, the first time that I saw, referral to the sleeve as a wls option. That's pleasing, seeing its result 1st handedly, I think that it will far outcry the success of the lapband; however, it is a bit much to consider. But when you think about what the stomach does/does not do after lapband implant or after rny there is no real function for the entire stomach anyway. Think outside the box people for what may be your INTERVENTION.

May 13, 2009
I officially got a surgery date...June 11. I got the pre-op instructions and hospital admittance information. Pre-op appt set for June 4. God IS. This allows me to proceed with my research data collection, travel thereby associated, return to work to attend a national conference and then wrap up/prepare for my departure for surgery. Wonderful!

April 10, 2009

What an amazing update. I got approved yesterday! My surgeon, Dr. Vitello, advised me that I can anticipate a surgery date of about 2 weeks; additionally I got approval to proceed with my research! halleluiah.  KEEP THE FAITH!

I am headed for vacation for my 35th birthday celebration next week for one week in Panama City Beach, FL to a Smooth Jazz Festival & Lord knows that if I can be on the surgery table the day after my return, I will so do that...I so look forward to tiny meal portions as a lifestyle again!

April 2009
Hello Everyone,
Yes, quite some time has passed since my last post...I have bounced between optimism and sheer frustration. I am still awaiting insurance clearance for a new wls intervention. In the meantime, I am up to about 220; which is the size (give or take a few pounds) I was at 1 yr ago this same time; however, my clothes certainly dont fit the same...I am ready to proceed onto this new journey..its exasperating! I keep the faith none the less and keep envisioning the end result; yet, honestly, I am totally not moved to MOVE for exercise purposes...this may be linked to a bit of depression regarding this issue. I have plenty of things to occupy my time and mind in the interim....I am in dissertation phase of my doctorate degree, lots of pending reorogranzation change within my divisional unit at work (no impending doom like a lack of job security though), an aunt with a prognostic diagnosis of stage 4 cervical and lung cancer, a brother with tortuous kidney stones, a 90+ yr old great aunt experiencing kidney failure,  A TOTALLY SUPPORTIVE & ENCOURAGING SIGNIFICANT OTHER & MOTHER! Because of the hardships experienced with the lapband, I have decided to not share this decision with my dad preemptively...I dont want to hear his mouth & advice that "you just need to exercise, modify your eating and accept yourself as it is!" I call the managed health care group tomorrow & hopefully it is an update of an easy yes to proceed with surgery!

This is Holy Week, reflect upon the ultimate sacrifice that has been made as intercessory on our behalf..experience the true magnificence of Easter.

October 31, 2008

Hi Ladies & Gents,
Today, I visited my doctor and received a good recovery report ( I had to have emergency surgery to have my lap band removed due to slippage & a 20 month ordeal of unsucessful fills & unfills--I could never go longer than 3 wks without having to get an unfill--it would have been 2 yrs in December since lap band implant).

Additionally, we began the process to submit for approval for a revisional wls to my insurance company. Wish me well! I decided upon vertical sleeve gastrectomy. We discussed all of my questions about his protocol with the procedure & I am convicted in this decision as being the next best option for me. He stated that we should anticipate about 1 month for the approval process and that I should begin to decide if I would like to have the wls before or after the holidays. I immediately announced before the holidays...I need to finish this weight loss journey ASAP and I cant have it to negatively impact my dissertation timeline. With the Lap Band, I lost 33 pounds prior to fill 1 and then lost 14 pounds thereafter. I love those results, but still aspire to drop another 30/40 pounds.

I have to say I am a lil bit nervous in considering this new wls attempt...why? Because in this time that I have been in recovery, I only eat as much as I could with the band. I have not exercised, but for the most part have maintained my weight. I am afraid that what if the problem is not portion control and something else. I am not an emotional eater; however, my friends say that I unknowingly starve myself to death...to me I just dont really have an appetite or think about eating some days...yes, bad! I know. Any insight or words of wisdom?

October 9, 2008
I feel convinced that my next wls option is the vertical sleeve gastrectomy. I am moving forward in attempt to make this my next reality.

My Lapband Journey: November 2005-September 2008


I am 31 years old, a single adult with no children, who has struggled with weight management since college. My average size is 12-16 and my all time high in weight is my current weight at 247 pounds, on a 5 foot 4 frame. I have managed to go from a size 12 to 18/20 within 2.5 years. I feel like I am losing control of this battle and need some assistance in making a fresh start.

I dont have any co-morbidities, but I recognize the increasing risk of the long term impact of the continued yo-yoing with my weight loss/gain cycle. I have several friends, co-workers, friends of friends and family members who have undergone gastric bypass with success. In the past, I had never considered this as a plausible option because it has been relatively easy to lose weight, but the aftermath of eventually gaining the weight back, is what has worn me down.

With such a significant weight gain in the last 2.5 years, and a feeling of a loss of control, and the never ending cycle of gain/lose/gain, I am turning to the prospect of laparoscopic lap band surgery as my tool of change for my struggle with weight management.

November 15, 2005
I attended my first WLS seminar on November 15 and have submitted my application packet, bio, full length photo and insurance information to the Atlanta Medical Center. With hope of seeking approval, patiently I wait confirmation of the receipt of the packet and then clearance to proceed through the process with documentation of medical necessity.

I have already called CIGNA, my insurer, and found out that my Network Plan would consider this surgery as any other surgery, as long as it is documented medically necessary, and would thereby pay at the regular coverage rate with a co-pay of $250 for the hospitalization. I know of one person under the same coverage plan with the same company that has been approved in the past. She referenced being denied initially and then being approved after appeal. It is my desire to seek approval with relative ease.

November 22, 2005
I received confirmation that the center received my packet and would begin the process. I am now awaiting the scheduled appointment to have the initial consultation.

December 14, 2005
I called on Friday to schedule the initial consultation and ended up finding out that CIGNA has erringly listed Dr. Fields as a PCP and she has not practiced under that title in over a year. Therefore, in order to keep my appointment for my consultation, I needed to expeditiously find a new PCP who would render me a referral to visit Peachtree Surgical. Well I selected another doctor and went to the appointment to establish myself as a patient and to secure the referral. The doctor was so non-supportive and uneducated about wls. This was disappointing, but I was confident in my decision to go forward with this endeavor. Hesitantly, she provided me with a referral and I was able to make my appointment. Well I met with the consultant and after initial screenings, I was confirmed that I could qualify for lap band. I was given the information that I must have a letter of recommendation from my PCP, which means I must find a new doctor, a psych eval and nutritional eval and then we submit everything to the insurance company to request approval. Additionally, I go blood lab work done. I was informed that the hardest part is the prep for approval and after approval, surgery is typically scheduled 3-5 weeks thereafter. I am excited but fearful that this may really become a complicated task to make happen. I am beginning tomorrow with my request for all of my medical records from previous doctors to assist in substantiating my case for the doctor's letter of recommendation and I will additionally begin scheduling appointments for the psych and nutritional evals. Well wish me luck or better yet God's blessings! P.S. Since I submitted my packet to the Center, I have lost 8 pounds.

December 23, 2005
I called all this week and last trying to get the insurance consultation done and get names to begin the scheduling of the nutritional and psych evals. NO luck...I found out on Thursday that the staff that renders these consult services are out on medical leave until after the 1st of the New Year. Well, I realize that it will probably being an unproductive week off in trying to get business taken care of due to this holiday season, so I will wait until the New Year. BAHUMBUG!

Meanwhile, I am trying to caravan into one place all of my adult medical records, which is a challenge since I have had 5 relocations during that time period. I have additionally secured a new PCP, who should be supportive of the surgery, and I think having the historical synopsis shall make it easier for her to prepare a letter of medical necessity/recommendation.

I am really beginning to waiver a bit in this decision. The reality of my weight condition is the fact that my body stays in starvation mode. I don't eat, I don't overeat, I don't eat for emotional comfort. I just don't eat. I barely get in 2 meals daily and it is because when I do begin to feel hungry I am typically TOO BUSY to stop to fulfill that basic human need. When I have been successful at weightloss, I have managed to intake at least 3 meals daily, routinely. I exercise almost daily, so I am not concerned about getting that caveat met. Perhaps, I should go through the nutritional and psych eval and see what I can apply to the current condition in changing my mentality. My fear is that if I go through this major surgical procedure and continue the same....will I get the same results? I can't...that can't be an option....so then I begin to think, maybe I could make the change for LIFE and then the next thoughts bring me back to this lifelong tool choice.

I solicit prayer in overcoming this battle with weight.
I just want to do this....do this now...and begin to be on the LOSING SIDE FOREVER!

January 15, 2006
I was called on Friday by Peachtree Bariatric & Surgical and I finally had my insurance consultation. I spoke with Lolita who informed me that my insurance would require a consecutive 6 month dr supervised diet with monthly weigh ins, a letter of medical necessity with medical clearance, the psych and nutritional evals. She provided me names of doctors for both. They have someone who is selfpay of $100 for nutritional eval with an exercise physiologist consult and she told me for the psychs I can get a referral from my PCP. I only need to lose 10 pounds before surgery. Its a bummer knowing that I must wait 6 months and in essence do nothing....because I am borderline for the approval. The doctor wants me to lose a total of 80 pounds with the surgery, the fact is I know that I can lose the weight, its just that it will be back again with a vengence. So, I guess I must fail at this diet thing for 6 months...if that makes sense. I am still committed...because I am thinking about my longterm health. I will now begin scheduling my psych and nutritional evals. Wish me well!

January 21, 2006
I went into my new PCP's office for my new patient establishment. It was great. She was so very supportive! I had the EKG and Pulmonary Function tests and blood work done. I have begun the 6 month documented physician supervised diet. I am excited to get this underway. I was called to schedule the nutritional eval, so I will follow up with this next week.

Friday, January 27, 2006
What a day/week! I called on yesterday to begin scheduling my psych and nutritional evals.....How about I had my psych eval today with Fred Moeller in Roswell and he indicated that his prognosis is that I am a great candidate for wls and supports my decision and will follow up with the report within 7 days with a copy to me and PBSC. Yippee!!! This office has a policy of seeing clients within 24 hrs. The consultation fee inclusive of the evaluation and report was $275, which was covered on my flex spending account. My nutritional evaluation is scheduled for February 8. It is setup as a group session and I now await receipt of a packet to be completed for the session which will include a food journal log. Outside of attending at least 1 support group session prior to the surgery I will have met all of the reqs for the surgery and am just waiting to log the 6 months weigh ins. I am so excited! Everything is falling into place with ease...Thank you Lord for the favor, direction and guidance!

March 28, 2006
I went in on yesterday for my third month documented weigh in, no gain/no loss. That's good...I think that this is a first time in my adult life that I have been so conscious about maintaining my weight. It's really amazing, especially since I have not worked out since December. I went to water aerobics last night though, just had a lot of nervous energy and I think with the spring weather really feeling more like spring weather then I feel even more compelled to exercise, especially since this time of year I normally do morning outdoor walking. The documentation is mostly going along relatively easy. I have my nutritional eval rescheduled for April and I will satisfy the obligation of attending a support group or two in April and May. With those things checked off, I will only need to complete 3 more months of documented weigh ins and then submit for insurance approval.

I had my nutrional and exercise eval today. I will go in next week for my weigh in for month 4. Weight at 238.5. I will try to get into a support group meeting or two to wrap up those last requirements and will begin looking at the other information provided.

May 1, 2006
Well I got so tied up with work controversy and trying to seek some personal balance with an extended weekend birthday getaway...that I let the entire month of April getaway without getting in for my weigh in. I went in today to find that I have dropped an additional 2 pounds. I will plan to go in around 2 weeks from now for my May weigh in and around week 1.5/2 for June. I will also work in getting the support meeting requirement checked off the list as well.

May 16, 206
I have had my May weigh in documented. Additionally, my doctor began the medical clearance process. I have had an EKG, spyrometry test, autonomic immune system test, chest x-rays. I now await the scheduling of my sleep study. I still need to get checked off the support group meeting dates. My final weigh-in will be June 6.

May 31, 2006
I completed my sleep study last night with Total Sleep Diagnostics. After getting past all of the wires and connectors, the process was not a harrowing one. The technician was great, which I think is the key to alleviating most of the process related stress. Based on our debrief conversation, whereby I prodded him for as much information/insight that I could get, I was surprised to be told that I do reach REM sleep and that is when my apneas occurred and they occurred mostly when I slept on my right side and that had I experienced another 6 apneic experiences then he would have equipped me with the CPAP machine. I am resultingly quite interested in getting the comprehensive and complete examination report, which was indicated to take about 1-2 weeks. At this point, I have completed all other required tests and my last weigh-in is on Monday, whereby I will learn of the results of the last tests. Therefore, I look forward to the last requirement of the support group meeting attendance on Saturday, Tuesday or Thursday. I will phone the insurance coordinators to ensure that there has not been a pre-requisite overlooked during this process and prepare for the insurance approval submission process.

June 19, 2006
Well I was expecting to have received my doctor's letter of recommendation by now; however, I was called during last week to be advised that my doctor had prescribed that I undergo a second sleep study. This sleep study was to be administered under the precepts of cpap therapy. I completed the sleep study this morning, it was ok, but the cpap therapy process does take a bit to get adjusted to---for me it just attributed to interrupted sleep. I will follow up with the doctor tomorrow to see what the official mode of operation is regarding the next steps and how that impacts getting the insurance approval and then a surgery date. Again, the last step is to get in the support meeting requirement. I will follow up tomorrow regarding both of these initiatives; however, I expect that I will have to wait about 2 weeks before I get the letter of recommendation from the doctor's office for the insurance approval process.

July 3, 2006
I received a copy of my doctor's letter of recommendation/detailed history of failed diet attempts. It seems comprehensive enough. I followed up to see if the Wellness Center Bariatric team had received the letter as indicated via fax and realized that they had not. I forwarded the letter via fax. The staff is out this week. Therefore the next step should be the actual submission to the insurance company for approval. I am scheduled to attend a support group meeting next Tuesday. In the interim, I already have my doctor working on the letter of medical clearance for Dr. Duncan's office. It should be ready for pickup later this week. I am now hopeful that my surgery can be scheduled for late August early September.

July 20, 2006
I called Atlanta Medical Center and spoke with Lolita. She was able to confirm submission of my packet to CIGNA for insurance approval for surgery on yesterday. She advised me to allow 3-5 business days for the information to be downloaded into their system and once I get confirmation of receipt on their end to begin the persistent follow up in securing an answer.

July 27, 2006
Here was my post to the boards on Monday, 7/24 & Wednesday, 7/26

Hello BAF,
I thought that I would be writing this post with such excitement...NOT! I am hoping that the expertise amongst this group may be some helpful insight as I prepare my appeal. I contacted CIGNA today to check to see if my information had been downloaded into the system and a decision rendered. I was surprised to hear yes and that an authorization decision had been rendered as well. DENIAL, based on the fact that this is no longer a covered benefit. I began this process on Nov. 5 with my first of three calls to confirm coverage. I was told that under my plan, I would only need to pay $250 as a co-pay once confirmed as medically necessary. So off I went to the orientation session, etc. Effective January 1, 2006, CIGNA no longer covered this procedure, according to the 2 representatives that I spoke with today. In my opinion, and validated by one of the insurance reps today, I should be able to appeal based on the predetermination stage. Wish me well. Has anyone else had this experience? Any insight/advice for inclusionary verbiage for the appeal letter? HELP!
Someone has told me that Georgia has a law that mandates insurance coverage once a decision of medically necessary has been deemed. Does anyone have knowledge about this?
Princz SG

Here is yesterday's posting:
I shared with you all that on Monday, I got the unfortunate news that CIGNA denied my request for lap band surgery based on the fact that "it is not a covered benefit". When I began the process it was a covered benefit in November 2005. Well it is with pleasure that I update you in sharing that today I submitted a 20 page fax which documented my appeal process. Of the 20 pages, 13 pages were supportive documentation showing proof that I began the process in November 2005 when it was a covered benefit. The other 7 pages were broken down into 3 pages rebutting the covered benefit notion so as to be "grandfathered in" because when the process was initiated it was covered. The remaining 4 pages rebutted the argument of medically necessary with verbiage directly from their own documentation in addition to referencing GA Code on health mandates (as this CIGNA plan is not self-funded), just in case they decided to review it and say that they do not believe that it is medically necessary. PROACTIVE! I am now waiting and hoping for the best. Thanks to all who offered great insight in my preparing this appeal letter.

Princz SG

I must admit the letter is TIGHT! Anyone wanting to use/reference it, just hit me up, I am very eager and willing to share! It took about 17 hours of development/review. I am proud! I pulled a bit from several other appeal letters that I have seen and did a bit of research on my own as well. Now, I am patiently waiting and calling 2x daily for a confirmation of fax receipt/system download and an appeal decision.
In eager anticipation!

August 6, 2006
On Friday, I called the insurance company and learned that they decided to uphold the previous decision. I tried to appeal my employer since it is employer specific as an exclusion, but they dont have an appeal process. I was advised of a possible appeal strategy to request service by the insurance company although it is excluded from my plan. At this point, I am weary of risking the next appeal level. Therefore, I am seeking insight from Obesity law center and WLs advocates. Although I dont want to entertain this I have looked into Mexico going to Dr. Ortiz for $8,500, but the fear is post-op complications that would not be covered by insurance.

August 13, 2006
Here's my post from the msgboards today:
Its time for an update. I received the response to my appeal....decision to uphold the initial decision. In the meantime I have begun researching options with Obesity Law Center. However based on the verbiage in the last letter, "coverage is based on when services are rendered" it makes me think that I should make alternative plans, just in case I am not triumphant in my attempts.

Dr. Ortiz has a special for 8500 for surgery, hospital stay and 2 nights hotel stay and post op fills . I just must pray that I experience no post op complications. I am planning to execute this plan B in Nov while at a conference in Las Vegas, go to San Diego have the surgery, return back to the conference and then home. For this travel, I do not plan to have a travel companion. Is this possible? advisable? I am thinking that although I may have some soreness and gas pains, it should be possible with maybe a bit of discomfort.

Travel specifics: Well I was planning a flight from Vegas to San Diego and Ortiz staff drive you back and forth from San Diego to Tijuana Mexico--15 minutes. So my only travel by car would be by taxi to the airport and back to San Diego and then back to Atlanta. What do you think?

August 24, 2006
Well it has been about 1 wk since I made up my mind and moved forward with securing Gary Viscio as my legal representative for handle my last appeal. Now, its the waiting game, along with prayer. Im PUSHing..Praying Until Something Happens.


October 28, 2006

Well indeed some time has passed since my last post.  However, I can certainly report that this time has been filled with tasks associated with my weight loss surgery coming to fruition.  Since August, I began the appeal process with Attorney Gary Viscio.  The final CIGNA decision was again to uphold the initial decision--deny the surgery.  In the interim, I began activating that plan that I shared.  I have a surgery date set for November 16 by Dr. Ortiz in Tijuana, Mexico.  I plan to fly out on November 15 and depart November 19 and hang out in Las Vegas until November 21.  I have pooled my resources to finance this procedure and associated expenses.  I am scheduled to go out on leave from work Nov. 8-Dec. 15.  Last week I received a document notifying me that my case had been submitted by Atty. Viscio to the GA Dept. of Insurance for an external appeal.  I am still prepared to move forward with my plan; however, it would indeed be wonderful if the GA Dept. of Insurance could mandate coverage by CIGNA.  So, in the meantime, I am excited, ready and waiting. 


October 29, 2006

I contacted the GA Dept. of Insurance to be advised that the case had been assigned to an investigator and the results will probably be right up until the day in seeking resolution.  I'm on pins and needles!


November 08, 2006

I have followed up with the GA Dept of Insurance and I dont expect any differing outcomes.  I am still set for November 16 as my surgery date.  I have forwarded a copy of the cashier's check to the OCC office and all airline and hotel arrangements have been confirmed.  I have made some pre-surgery purchases of supplies that I will need pre and post surgery.

 January 17, 2007

Well, I am 2 months post-op and I am down by 33 pounds.  This experience has been amazing.  I have experienced no complications--besides burping from ingesting air/air bubbles.  I have no regrets and am so hyped about the journey towards additional weightloss and ultimately the maintenance of the weightloss.  This past summer I had packed and stored away all of my clothes that ranged from sizes 20-10.  I have already started on the bin of clothes for sizes 14/16/12.  I am preparing for a new job relocation in the Chicago, Il for February.  A lot has transpired.


March 5, 2007

Well, I am back from having had my 2nd fill administered by the staff at Dr. Ortiz's office.  I did a one day turnaround trip.  Flew out of Chicago at 7:55am and was back in Chicago by 12:30am.  NOTE:  Because of the horrendous traffic/lines at the Customs Border--dont travel on Fridays or Mondays--this was my 2nd Friday travel trip to Mexico.   I almost missed my flight by sitting at the border from 3:15pm-6:15pm.  Yeah!  My flight left at 6:45pm and that was with a 10 minute delay that I prayed for!  Nevertheless, the experience was again a GREAT one.  This was my 2nd fill.  The 1st fill I got 1.2cc and this time I got 1cc (at first 0.8cc and then they sent me out to test it--I had  fish soup, a few tortilla chips and salsa, a fillet of fish with broiled veggies and a scoop of rice--went back and stated that I think I could stand a bit more of a fill and got an additional 0.2cc). I did get a bit of a bruise from this fill's  needle pinch--not quite sure why--but it did seem a bit difficult to hit that right port position--although the Dr. confirmed that the port and the band were in good condition and position.  I was advised to consume a liquid diet for 2 days.....ow!  I made it!  Yesterday I had already dropped 2 pounds.  From the first fill, I lost 7 pounds during the first week and then I did not experience any additional weightloss.  This was also during the time period when I was moving and relocating from Atlanta to Chicago as well.  After I made the move, some time in mid-late February I realized that I was dropping inches however had gained 4 pounds. So I began the workout routine for 4 days--made it up to 15 minutes on the elliptical glider and 15 minutes on abs...Results were the loss of the 4 pounds.  Then the next week I did not work out and planned for my fill.  This fill is my new motivation to get it going to get it READY for SPRING/SUMMER....whichever comes first here in Chicago.  I have about another 30 pounds to lose...the Dr. said that this fill should last about 4-6 months.  Will this be my last fill?  Im uncertain, but have no issues with going back for a 3rd.  I will just make sure that it is on a Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday for easy travel purposes.  Toward the end of February,  I realized that my burping was beginning to wane in not being as grotesque as they once were.  It was comforting to meet others who confirmed similar experiences....That should be listed as a side effect:  The development of the MANLY BURP--UNCONTROLLABLE AT TIMES! 


April 11, 2007

Well I have lost a total of 37 pounds to date.  I must be completely honest....I LOVE MY BAND.  I work out about 2-3 times weekly doing an hour walking or elliptical glider and then 20-30 minutes abs.  I eat ABSOLUTELY WHATEVER I desire, within reason and moderation.  My issues pre-surgery were that I did not consume enough and did not work out consistently.  Post surgery I have really begun to cook at home 100% more than I ever have in my life.  Weekly, I cook about 4/5 days of the week and I take my lunch to work daily--this is a lifetime first.  Choices!  They are key to success.  I feel stuck in a way.  Why?  Well all of the clothes that I had once packed up to wonder when I would ever be able to fit them again--those are the only clothes that I now own and FIT!  All of my old clothes--were too big even when I moved them from Atlanta to Chicago--but moving pass the flatulating denial--it was real that I would not be returning to those clothes sizes again.  They are gone.  Since I am able to fit the old clothes, it is really satisfying and fulfiling.  I still would like to shed about 30 more pounds, so I am still hanging in there...dropped 2 pounds last week. 



April 23, 2007

I have celebrated another birthday.  To top it off-I got a fill today of 1.1cc; resulting in a 3.1cc fill in my 4cc band.  This was my first fill in the US.  I went to Day 1 Health at 900 N. Michigan Surgical Center.  My fill was administered by Dr. Shuyani.  This fill was $250--fluoroscopy ($100) and fill ($150).  The Tanita body analysis profiled that I should have about another 30-56lbs to be within ideal range.  Overall, this was a good fill experience and I have no hesitation and/or reservation about returning for aftercare here.  Over the past 2 weeks, I had the opportunity to reflect upon progress and realized that I had only experienced a 5 pound loss since surgery and additionally noticed that my restriction was no longer satisfactory.  With this realization, I decided that it was time for another fill and time to gear up for the 2nd leg of this weightloss process.

May 29, 2007

A bit more time has passed and pounds and inches have melted away.  Since my last post, I have suffered with the effects of an overfill that worsened even more after returning from vacation.  I had to make an emergency appointment on Memorial Day with my fill doctor to have an unfill administered.  What relief I do feel now! I was up to 3.1ccs in my band and had an unfill of 2.3ccs, which leaves me with about 0.80ccs.  I will recoup for now, regain nourishment and hydration and then return for a fill.  Meanwhile, I am wearing all size 12 and 14s.  What a delight! Technically, I have met my goal of returning to this size range, but I still desire to attempt the additional 30 pounds...to completely be at goal.

July 12, 2007
Not much has changed.  I have not gained nor lost any weight.  I have had 2 fills since my unfill.  The first was 1.2ccs and the second was 0.8ccs, for a total of 2ccs added which should be 2.8ccs in my band.  There was a 2 week gap between the 2 fills being administered; however, there was no weight loss and no apparent difference in restriction level.  I have proceeded with the establishment of a PCP and began the process for a referral doctor for fill administration through my insurance company.

July 14, 2007
Received an approval letter for my insurance to cover my lapband adjustments on yesterday. Yippee!
Additionally, I got confirmation that my thyroid is properly functioning.

September 16, 2007
NO change.  My insurance will cover my aftercare for my lapband; however, I cannot find a doctor to accept me as a patient since they did not perform my
[email protected]#$%!  I am still stuck fluctuating with a 5 lb window...but essentially no weight gain...I refuse to go back to the last doctor..as I just am not comfortable with his medical acumen, although he is very attentive and comforting.  I like and want to know the specifics, whereas he does not...that does not work for me.  I am debating on making a run for the border for my next fill, as I have been GOOD for the last 3 wks...meals with caloric intake no exceeding 310 per meal and working out....no change.  I am also thinking that Depo is playing a major inhibiting factor....what else could it be.  All of this is said; but I still look good and feel great about the process.  I am actually really comfortable with my progress.  I really think that I just need to get lipo and tummy tuck for my ab area and will be a solid 10, all else I am so comfortable with.

October 4, 2007
Yesterday was my bandster hell date.  I flew out last Wednesday--2 hr flight.  On that day, I took it light, did 2 bowls of soup.  Since my last flight experience, did not know what to expect.  I returned home on Sunday--2 hr flight.  I ate a bowl of soup and a half slice of bacon.  No problems.  Later that evening, could not get down soup, red beans/rice, yogurt, hot tea.  Next day....much of the same.  Yesterday, HELL!  I took 2 bites of red beans/rice and slimed for 5-6 hrs thereafter....so much so that I went to the emergency room.  BIG MISTAKE....DONT EVER DO THAT!  And this hospital has a bariatric division; they looked at me as if I were an alien....WHAT IS A LAPBAND? AN UNFILL?  2hours later, I had decided that enough was enough after the dr essentially said, we cant help you.  Luckily by then, the sliming had finally ceased.  I went home and realized I was totally desperate...I had to go back to see the QUACK DOCTOR.  I did...I went to see him today & literally had to fight for an unfill.  He heard nothing that I said, he was only focused on the fact that I had not experienced any weightloss since April...I had to firmly, yet emphatically DEMAND an unfill. I had gotten a second and third opinion from my surgeons who concurred that without question it seemed as if I was already too tight and the flight did me in.  I got .05ccs removed; he would not do a total unfill.  Hopefully I can get the ball moving with this new aftercare doctor quickly.  I felt instant relief...walked down the street and bought a bag of Garrett's popcorn...just ate the mashed potato bowl from KFC that I got Tuesday night but could not eat!  All is well now!

October 26, 2007
Well, last week today I went to see my NEW aftercare doctor, as approved by my insurance.  He seems to be a really great fit for my expectations and personality style.  He seems highly competent and knowledgeable, besides being recommended by my surgeon.  I am excited.  I am scheduled to get a fill adjustment on Tuesday.  Let's see how we progress....

November 5, 2007
Down 6 pounds.  Got a fill on last Tuesday.  But today, I got a 2 bite meal of chicken salad on a bed of lettuce stuck.  I have been feeling the results ever since.  

My doctor adminstered a 1.0cc fill during my visit last week.  I requested a purge, but he forgot and did not realize until we were done. If all of my previous fills are still there and were accurate, I should have 3.3ccs in my band.  Up until today, I have felt great restriction....today its too much.  

I cant really say I am in pain, it's just a mild discomfort, that golf ball in the middle of my chest.  I called my doctor today, as he is scheduled to do fills/unfills tomorrow.  He suggested that I wait it out until the AM, if I still feel the same we could do a slight unfill.  I really appreciated his attitude.  He complemented me on the progress so far.  

Having been too tight in the past keeps me focused on not wanting to do any upcoming holiday travels under those conditions every again...so we will see what tomorrow brings. I have in the mean time gotten down a bit of chicken noodle soup broth and a bit of hot lemon water.  I feel ok..but feel that golf ball sitting there and those darned hiccups come and go!

June 14, 2008
Yes, It's been soo long since I last updated my page.  Much of the same fill/unfill. I have come to terms with the fact that I know my body and trust my intution..Lesson learned: my doctors have been too aggressive with the fill adjustments and by week two (every time), my fill/band adjustment gets tighter. I think this has been most truly and most valuably learned from within the last month or so.  It seems that I am now in a range where I have never been and it seems to be really working for me---2.3-2.6ccs.  

I have committed to working out. Hired a personal trainer at my gym--what a financial sacrifice and I can already see great muscle tone development, can feel the different in my cardiovascular health and overall fitness level. I have been working on with the trainer off and on 1-3 times weekly for the past month and have just decided to apply my learning on my own. I felt like only showing up at the gym for our training sessions was inhibiting my motivation. Since then I worked out everyday this past week, a first. I am pleased though that since the last week of April, I have been committed to working out at least 2-3 times weekly. I received a just because gift of a bike from my boyfriend, really it was incentive to get me to consider the sport...I love it!  I can tell a significant loss of inches and thus far about 13 pounds.  

I am not scheduled for another fill until July and my last adjustment was on May 27 and my 2 wk get tighter kicked in by Wednesday of this week. So, I think I am doing pretty good. 

I would just like to inspire those considering this change....essentially, I live by the notion that this is a life tool, USE IT! To date, I have lost and maintained 44 pounds--would not have been possible otherwise.  Recently, I had the opportunity to reflect upon my weight yo-yoing--started in college--wow, I am really amazed at how I did not REALLY see it holistically....I just kept buying new clothes, diet like heck to lose weight and then the yo-yo would kick in! 

I am really pleased with my life....for the first time, I realize and feel the impact of having a well balanced lifestyle.  Its jammed packed, dont get it twisted; however, I am managing it well and really focused on taking care of me.  I am working full-time as a college administrator, working on a doctorate degree (3 classes this summer, 4 classes this fall, comp exams this fall & I should be ABD), and trying to work on being the best significant other I can be within this relationship that I am in.  Its work.  Additionally, I have fully committed to working out--no, I dont like it/never will--however, I realize that weight loss management shall be a lifelong struggle for me & I would rather be on the winning side.

About Me
Chicago, IL
Surgery Date
Nov 15, 2005
Member Since

Friends 73