It has been about 8 weeks since my life took a drastic turn. Check that, about 18 months, since it took a turn. I sent the following email to our family doctor on December 3, 2008 - who happens to be a family friend.
I am so frustrated with the whole diet/eating thing and I am totally embarrassed to bring it up to you again but I really need to do something - I have been doing what you asked and weigh every week. I have wavered between XXXXXXX for the last 8 weeks. I have to say I feel defeated every morning and I can't break through - my mind is not on board with my emotions.
Anyway, I am not sure what I need. I guess I feel like I need to have a jump start - 180 lbs seems like an impossiblity to ever lose. Is surgery a possiblity - I need you input but honestly I am humiliated to bring it up face to face. I am lame.
Thanks for caring - I know emailing is totally a wimpy way to appraoch you--
This set into motion a very challenging decision. I then saw Pete in the office and he recommended weight loss surgery (WLS). At this point, I was very on board and wanted to set the wheels in motion to getting to surgery day. After much prayer and talking it over with Ben we attended a seminar at the Nebraska Med Center.(2-09) Following the seminar, that surgeon appealed to our insurance and as the Lord would have it we were denied due to the Med Center not being a "Bariatric Center for Excellence". I was devastated and we were back at square one. I cried and prayed and sought encouragement from friends. As I look back now, I can see how the Lord was directing us to the perfect surgeon for me.
We then attended another seminar at Methodist Hospital in Omaha(4-09) and they appealed to our insurance. Again, I was denied but only because I hadn't proven that I had "dieted" enough under doctor supervision. Pete and the staff at the Oakland Medical clinic copied my chart and wrote a letter and sent them off to the insurance. I spent hours on the phone with insurance during this time pleading my case and letting them know that I was going to fight their denial. In the late summer, like the first week of school I got the provisional approval from insurance. (8-09) I then had to made an appointment for a consultation with the surgeon. That appointment was October 6, 2009.
The appointment with the surgeon, Dr. Winterstein, was my first time to actually sit down with "the" professional and decide which surgery was best for me. I originally was planning on doing the lap-band. After the surgeon talked with me I decided that the laparoscopic RNY was the best for my situation. I really didn't want to have a huge incision. There were lots of other reasons but I can discuss that later.
Following the consult with the surgeon insurance also requires a visit to the psychiatrist. The nurses at the clinic (and a few friends) kept teasing me that it could be the deal breaker. I passed the psychiatric question and answer session. (10-09) She did recommend me for "more sessions." I think she was just trying to drum up some business. After this I thought I was just weeks away from surgery. I really wanted it to be done in the winter so Ben would be around to help and it wouldn't interfere with his work schedule. I was wrong. In December, I was contacted by the surgeons office stating that there was an irregular heart issue and I would either need my primary doctor to sign off on the stability of my heart or I needed to see a cardiologist. I would not expect my doctor to write off on that - what if something happened. So I visited the cardiologist in Fremont in January 2010. Dr. Morgan was a great guy but he did say something shocking. He said, "either you have had a heart attack or the ekg is not reading your heart correctly?" I said, "I don't feel like I have had a heart attack!" He ran some tests and determined that my heart was fine.
I must point out that after every visit to any of the doctors I had to then follow the paper trail to be sure that everything go to my insurance or to the surgeon's office. That is the reason things took so long between appointments. Finally, the last week in January, the surgeon's office called and told me they had scheduled my surgery for March 5th! I was so excited. I never had any sense of fear or anxiety about the surgery.
The day of the surgery I had to be to the hospital in the morning and the surgery started about 12:30. I was so at ease with the nurses and all the poking and prodding they had to do to prepare me. I was ready for this big move. I had prayed and prayed and asked lots of my friends to join me in praying as well.
Surgery was a success and I went home on monday following the friday surgery. The next step was healing and learning to eat again. I had very little energy and for awhile I wondered if I would ever be the same again. It took about 3 weeks but now I have all the energy I ever had and maybe even more. I have lost weight -31 lbs so far.
The real battle was a mental one. I will post on that the next time I sit down at the computer. To all of you who have prayed for me ---thanks! God is at work in my life and to Him be all the glory!!