The Holidays and delay of my surgery

Jan 01, 2008

On the 17th of December I started my vacation from work. It was nice to know I would have a week off before the holidays to get some shopping done and to just have me time before my surgery. But wouldn’t you know it I get a massive cold… And my Surgeon will not do a surgery if you have any symptoms within 7 days of the day of surgery….so I did my best to pump drugs into me but I was still showing signs so it got moved to the 31st. I also got word on the 21st that my insurance approved my surgery!!! I was happy but also fearing that all of my work to loose the needed weight and all of the testing I did was going to be for nothing as I would not have the surgery until late January. I was pretty discouraged when we also had to move my date past the 31st as I was still not better. Now I was pretty down because I ad been so good during Christmas and during all of my Holiday parties and for what??? I was pretty down on the whole thing! But I had my new date of the 9th and was thinking I might need to move it out further until the 18th due to work… I mean I had already scheduled 3 weeks off for everything how was I going to swing another week?

Well yesterday was the 31st and I got a call from my doctors office that they needed to move my date again. This time due to an emergency with my Surgeons family and he needed to fly back east the week of the 7th and they wanted to know if I wanted to do it this Friday the 4th… I was more then happy to accommodate as I wanted to head into the next phase of this journey! I was sad for my doctor but happy I would be getting the surgery sooner! I also let my boss know (who is the only person at my office that knows about this) and he was fine with the additional week… That sure was a load off my mind! So now I have an additional week off… at this rate I will have been off work of a month before I go back… Kind of nice and I sure will enjoy retirement when it comes… but then that is another 35ish years out

I will try and post again after my surgery but until then I hope all goes well! Happy New Year to everyone!

The Start of My WLS Journey

Dec 13, 2007

My Journey so far:


In the beginning of 2007 I had it in my mind that I am so big and uncomfortable that something needs to change. I knew my wife was not on board with RNY but I had brought it up in the past and did so again… again I got the no way in Hell would she be in favor of it. I would receive the same thing from my best friend of 20 years when I brought it up to him and he is also a big guy! So I would just resort to I needed to diet and exercise more… Until an appointment with my PCP... She has been working with me for the last 5 years to loose the weight and when I brought it up to her (she was never in favor of it before either) she said I think it is time. This was also about the time I had heard about the Lap-Band system and was thinking it would resolve my issues with weight but safe enough for my wife to be onboard (I really did not care what my friend thought at this point). Well my PCP was on board and even her assistant’s mom had done it and lost a lot of weight. She had used Northwest Weight Loss Surgery in Everett and was happy! So I called them…

They requested I call my insurance to see if it was covered and scheduled me for their seminar. At this point it is June 2007 and I was thinking I could be a looser by Labor Day… I found out that my Primary Insurance (Premera Blue Cross – Non Microsoft) did not cover it. So I call my secondary (United Health Care) and they did cover it! SWEET!!! I was good to go! So we went to the seminar and they confirmed everything evil we knew about RNY in that it was very dangerous with lots of complications and that the band was the best option and if needed can be removed. This was great! I will loose my weight and barely any risk! They also had people there to show off their new bodies! So at the end I went to their counter and spoke with the coordinator… (I had already told her about my insurance and that they cover it and who they are) Once I was already there and ready to start the process she informed me that they do not bill the insurance for their services so the $250 fee for the Surgeons consult, the ~$150 fee for the Nutritionist, and then ~$100 for the Psychologist would be out of pocket… Okay I can deal with that! But then I would also have to pay ~$9000 out of my pocket and then back bill insurance to be reimbursed… aaaahhhhh NOPE! I left there going well this will not happen and feeling a little Bamboozelled by that place.

I was pretty down about the whole thing but then a few days later I got a call from the University of Washington saying that they got a referral from my PCP about WLS. I thought this might be a sign and since they are a regular hospital they bill insurance and then back bill me for the out of pocket portion… Life was good and on tack again! But I had to go to their seminar… and it was not until the end of July… All in all not bad since I had my sleep study scheduled for around the same time (my PCP knew insurance would want it done so she had me do it through her). We did the seminar and got the feeling like yeah they did the band but that he did not like it and would much rather do RNY. But for me that was not an option! 

Next up was the consult with the surgeon but I had to schedule it first… 3 weeks later I had the consult, it was good to talk to him and I basically got the answer that they do the band because people are asking for it (business) but I just knew it was still for me! I was then told about getting my blood drawn, the social worker and the Nutritionist. I attempted to get it all scheduled as quickly as possible but I was still looking at September 10th before my information would be submitted to insurance. At this point I had called my insurance many times to confirm that all I needed was a doctor to say I needed the procedure since my BMI was already so high. I had also dealt with 3 insurance coordinators at UW and the last and most recent was very curt and short with me on the phone and would treat me like I was lacking in intelligence. But I was willing to deal with it as I just wanted to loose my weight! By October she had still not submitted the paperwork to insurance and called me saying they need 5-years of weigh loss attempts… but could not tell me what they needed to prove this… I mean who keeps receipts from the store for special food or meetings, or anything else to help loose weight? She finally submitted her 16 pages of documentation in late October… Well not a week later I get an answer back… DENIED I had to see one of Uniteds’ preferred Doctors for this procedure. I cannot tell you how many times I told them where I was wanting to get this done only for no one to tell me UW was not okay… 

On the letter there was three doctors that were preferred. So I Googled them! One was out of Swedish that had really poor reviews, and another was out of Valley in Renton , but I have a strict policy on never dealing with that place again! The last was Joseph Chebli out of Northwest Hospital . He was intriguing as he was a top100 doc in Seattle , and had GREAT reviews. So I called and explained my story… And yes I had to attend yet another seminar. However I was smart enough to also schedule my Consult for just a few days after the seminar. 

Incase you got lost we are now at about the 10th of November 2007 – 

I was dreading the seminar but we went anyway… I was actually very please by the information that was presented! It was not a sales pitch like Northwest WLS had, it was not a cattle call and who cares about you like at UW it was a we care, here is all the data I can give you (even about surgeries I do not do) and then to top it off he gave his own stats and showed a video of him operating! I was impressed… He also talked about his patient’s experience with the Lap-Band and RNY and how much weight you could loose and then the actual numbers between the two… For once it made sense that yes RNY was more dangerous but the outcome for WL was far greater. I was slowly changing my mind! But I had more questions.

Over the weekend I raised the question to my wife about RNY again and again she did not want to talk about it… But he gave such great data on it I decided to investigate it further… I played with his WL calculator and even with a successful loss on the band of 65% excess weight I would still be at 270… That was not good enough! So I came up with some good questions for me and my wife to ask Chebli during our visit.

The visit went great! In the end he said that which ever we decided on he would be in favor of but that RNY would probably result in more loss for me. I was also on board and my wife was coming around. I think it helps that for once we feel really comfortable with him as a doctor. I left there with a binder of information and a slew of tests I needed to get done before we could submit to insurance. So I was able to complete (in 3 weeks with the holiday) the following: Chest x-ray, EKG, Ultra Sound, Blood Draw, Urine Sample, Blood Gas, Nuclear Stress Test, Upper Endoscopey and Nutritionist. I also was finally told what the 5 year history was and what was needed… 5 years of my weight and height documented… My PCP had 4 so I just needed 1 more year… So I took a shot in the dark and sent a request to the place in that had been my hospital while growing up (out of state)… Needless to say they came through and got us 6 more years worth!

On December 3rd Lisa ( Chebli ’s coordinator) submitted the almost 60 pages of documentation to United. Through this whole process she has been great in answering all of my questions and just being very helpful! She also scheduled my surgery at this point as there is no way insurance could say no to me with the following: well over 5 years of history, a 57 BMI, Sleep Apnea, High BP, High Cholesterol, Chronic Body/joint Pain, Migraines, ect. So since she was so confident in that I would get approved I deiced I needed to tell my family and start loosing the 20 pounds that the doctor needs me to loose before the operation. 

I am now well underway to the date with 10 pounds off! I have to make it through the actual holidays but I have already done okay despite parties and a non-stop flow of treats at my work. Since I have not told anyone at work (other then my boss) I just get odd looks as they notice me not enjoying the treats and some have commented on the lack of diet soda flowing through me (6 - 24oz bottles a day and that was just at work)… I think the vending machine guy is depressed at his lack of sales! 

Well that is my story! It is December 13, 2007 and my surgery date is set for Friday the 28th.

About Me
Kent, WA
Surgery Date
Dec 05, 2007
Member Since

Friends 11

Latest Blog 12
7 Months out and doing GREAT!
5 Months Out
I Have Joined the Century Club!
2 Months Post-Op Today
Could I be a looser again? Let’s hope!
Slow Going
One month Post-Op today!!!
My First Follow-Up Appointment
My Surgery