Wednesday, April 29, 2009

They Are Going to Find Out I'm Nuts.

I received another appointment in the mail today. It is for my Psych Evaluation for the weight loss surgery. I know that a lot of people have suspected that I am at least half a bubble off, but now I am going to be to be certified! LOL!

June 1st @ 9:00 am and it will last 3 hours!!!

Also, I am down to my last 4 cans of diet soda. YIKES! I have been informed that after the surgery I will not be allowed to have carbonated beverages, so I am going to stop drinking diet soda (the only carbonated beverage that I consume) once these last 4 cans are gone. I thought that I was doing well because I only drink one can of diet soda per day, but the thought of giving up that one can is almost heart breaking. I look forward to it as a treat.

Next month, I am hoping I can screw up the courage to give up Caffeine. Heaven help me! I only drink one cup of coffee per day, with breakfast. Occasionally, I have a cup of tea in the afternoon. We'll see how the soda deprivation goes first.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Today's Mail

I had a nice surprise in the mail today. An envelope from the SWLP (surgical weight loss program) letting me know about appointments that they have set up for me to see a dietitian, a nutritionist, and a physical therapist. These appointments are prerequisites to get my surgery. If these professionals don't pass me on in the program, then I don't get to have the surgery.

Yesterday, I also received a phone call to set up a consult about a sleep study. They will decide if I need to have the study done to see if I have sleep apnea. I was told that they would be sending out a questionnaire and information to me and that packet of paper work arrived today as well.

I am very surprised at how quickly things are moving along once they got started. I know that I was told to expect this pre-op process to take between 6 to 9 months to complete. I am trying to keep that in mind, so I don't hope for this to go faster than it really will.

My appointments so far, are scheduled as follows:

  • May 11th @ 2:30pm- Sleep Study Consult
  • May 13th @ 10:00am- Nutrition Class
  • May 15th @ 9:15am- PCP
  • June 5th @ 2:00pm- Physical Therapist
  • June 5th @ 3:00pm- Dietitian
I will post after each appointment and I will update as new appointments are scheduled.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Yesterday, I went to EMMC's surgical weight loss program (SWLP) orientation, followed by a support group meeting. I wanted to post about this last night when I got home, but the long ride to and from the meetings and the 4.5 hours of meetings that I sat through were very difficult on me physically, so I have been resting (the pain made sleep a bit elusive). I have extreme stiffness and pain in my hips and lower back this morning, but I just couldn't wait any longer to post to you all about how it went.

First, I have been through this orientation once before, about 2 years ago, before I had any Medicare coverage. A few things have changed, or been updated, but most of the information was very familiar to me from the previous orientation and my 2 years of internet research.

The orientation meeting was filled with information about the 3 types of weight loss surgery that this program offers and the doctors who perform it. Because of the huge amount of information, they provided us with binders of information for us to take home and review. We were informed that as we proceed through the program we will be tested on our knowledge about the procedure we have chosen to have performed, because they want us to be so well educated that we become experts.

I loved that the presenter, didn't sugar coat things. She was very forthright about the risks of the surgery and the programs rates of complications and mortality. She explained the reasons that people have died during surgery and post-operative. That way we can go into this with our eyes wide open. Anyone who thinks that having weight loss surgery is taking the easy way out, doesn't realize how brave a person must be to put their life on the line by having this surgery. Although, the risks of not having the surgery are almost as great, since my life expectancy is drastically reduces and my mobility is steadily declining.

One issue I have that could not be addressed during either of yesterdays meetings, is Medicare coverage and its requirements. I was advised to contact the programs director for information about that, so I called her this morning. I explained to her that when I contacted Medicare they wouldn't really give me any information about what pre-qualifiers I need to have. She informed me that I would need a BMI over 35 (mine is 65) and one other co-morbidity.

Typically, a co-morbidity is high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or sleep apnea. I have not been diagnosed with any of these, so I was concerned that I wouldn't qualify. She read over the information that my PCP had sent over with my referral and found that one of my prior PCPs had written a perfect explanation of the severity of my osteo-arthritis and that if I did not lose a large amount of weight I would never be able to get the needed hip replacement surgery. The director told me that should be just the ticket to qualify me. She also said that based on a sleep questionnaire that I filled out at the orientation, I will have to go for a sleep study to see if I have sleep apnea, which she thinks is probable. This may not seem like good news, but if it is another co-morbidity, then it would not only seal the deal for me, but it is a dangerous condition that I would be better off knowing about and having treated.

Over all, I think that this was a very positive step forward toward my ultimate goal of better health and better quality of life. I will be reading and rereading the binder of information that the SWLP provided and waiting for them to mail to me my next appointment. I am aiming to attend one support meeting per month, because the people there offer more than just encouragement, they have lived this and really know better than even the doctors how it is to live this surgically altered life. Also, I will keep trying to lose weight, because that will reduce some of the risks associated with the surgery.

Please let me know if you have any questions, because I want to help anyone I can, and I can also learn from you! Thank you.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Better than gaining.

I saw my doctor this morning and I was filled with trepidation when I was led to the scale. I knew that I hadn't eaten the way I should have in the past month. I knew I hadn't been to the pool as often as I should have been in the past month. I knew that I was PMSing and feeling bloated. This was going to be a disaster, and my doctor was going to be upset with me.

I stepped on the scale and I lost 1 pound. HOW? It makes no sense. All I can think of is that the thyroid medication, that I started on 8 weeks ago, is still kicking my metabolism into gear and working despite my bad behavior. Just imagine how much weight I could have lost if I had stayed on track. What a wasted opportunity, but I guess it is better than a gain.

Bonus: My blood pressure came back down into the normal range.

This coming Tuesday, April 21st, I will be going to my orientation for the surgical weight loss program at EMMC. I have so many questions to ask and I am worried that I won't get them all answered. I have been trying to find out what to expect from support groups and Medicare, but all I get is generalities and told to ask some other department. I am getting very tired of misinformation, and avoidance. Medicare has been the worst. They really don't want to give out information. Can you tell that I am frustrated? I just hope that I will get more information at the orientation. I will blog again after that meeting.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


I need to get back on track. Only 6 weeks into this attempt to lose weight and I have already fallen off the wagon. I am not being as careful about what I eat and I am not making it to the pool as often as I should.

I thought I should post that I am going to try to get back on track so that I would have some public accountability. Anonymity allows me to briefly think I am getting away with something when I consume food that I know I shouldn't. Who am I kidding??? Myself obviously, because the doctors scale is very objective and will show no mercy.

My next doctors appointment is on April 17th, and I will let you know then how this re-commitment has gone.