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The Wheels are Turning…

The wheels of my bariatric surgery process have officially been put into motion. With some excitement mixed with trepidation I had my first official office visit with the bariatric surgeon Dr. Adrian Dan M.D., F.A.C.S. Dr. Dan is part of the bariatric team at Summa Health Systems here in Akron, OH with Dr. John Zografakis M.D. F.A.C.S. (http://www.summahealth.org/medicalservices/weightloss) The journey thus far has been filled with some “hurry up and wait” periods and I was excited to finally in earnest start the journey. I was pleased that all of the paperwork that I took the time to fill out a week ago at home had made it to the office, and for once I did not have to fill out another scrap of paperwork during my visit. This in its own right was a little amazing as it is a pet peeve of mine filing out forms that have overlapping data fields at the physician’s office. All that was needed was for me to read and sign am informational document that outlined the process and what I was embarking on was no little operation.

The first part of the visit was the normal things, height, weight, vitals, past medical history, family medical history and finally my “before” photo. When I first met Dr. Dan I was completely put at ease. We talked in depth about the types of procedures that are available and what our plan of action should be. I will not lie, this discussion was scary for me. The implications of the surgery and truly understanding that this is permanent thing, does scare the bejeezus out of me. There is no going back once I enter this rabbit hole. While having the discussion with Dr. Dan he dropped a bombshell on me. He told me that I may need to have 2 bariatric surgeries. Due to my size, he may not safely be able to perform the gastric bypass RnY type of surgery. He feels that I may need to have a gastric sleeve procedure done, and then a year later a second surgery doing the RnY bypass to complete the entire procedure. Obviously my mind went racing with this news. Mainly what I kept thinking is “will my insurance provider cover this?” If they will only do one, what does this do to my overall plans? Will this be enough? Then to add on another secondary mini bombshell, Dr. Dan felt that it might be better if we first remove my gall bladder in a separate surgery before performing the bariatric procedure instead of concurrently. This I am not against, from time to time I get a gall bladder “attack”, and I would be very happy not to ever experience another one. Unfortunately that would require an additional week off of work that would really tax my vacation time coupled with the 3-4 weeks needed for the bariatric surgery.

I had plenty of questions, both before and after the bombshells went off, Dr. Dan was patient with me and answered everything to the best of his ability. He explained that his goal is to get me to a significantly lower weight by my surgery date so that he can just do the RnY and be done with it the first time around. However he did tell me that if he thought he could not safely do that procedure he would do the sleeve instead. He explained that it will take a lot of work on my end to get my weight down before the surgery. He will order me to 6 weeks of the Optifast diet prior to the surgery. This will probably drop at least 50lbs.off of me, and if I am able to drop an additional 20-30lbs. on my own prior to this, he is hopeful that this will be sufficient enough to do the RnY and not the sleeve.

So now I sit and wait, I am supposed to hear from the center in two to three weeks with the initial schedule that will be laid out for me. Hopefully this time will go by quickly for me.

The waiting game

I turned in my initial paperwork yesterday at The Bariatric Center in Summa Hospital, so now the wait is on for the phone call to schedule my initial consultation. I saw the lead bariatric doctor/surgeon in the hall as I was leaving to walk back to my car (which was a huge trek all in its own right) I took the time to say hello to him and let him know that I would be seeing him soon. He did stop and speak to me for just a moment as he was on his way to surgery, but he did recognize me from the seminar the week before and told me that he would be looking for me soon.

So now I sit and I wait for the call and then will have to wait again for the consultation to come.

The Choice Is Made For Me….

So after doing more research online I discovered my insurance company will only cover the Bariatric procedure at one of the hospitals I was looking at (Hospital #1 in the previous post.) Given this news yesterday I did not go to the other seminar and will turn in my pre-screening paper work today to set an appointment for an initial formal consultation. From all I have read and the people I have spoken to this is a 6 month process that will lead up to the surgery date. This would put me into the April 2013 time frame for a surgery date.

More to come once I have an appoint made….

2nd Meeting tonight

Went to a bariatric surgery informational seminar last week and going to another tonight. I think I have my mind made up already on the hospital that I would want to perform the surgery, but I want to make sure I at least look at both options in my area. It appears my insurance will cover me as my BMI and co-morbidities more than meet their criteria. The strange thing is my out-of-pocket costs are the same (less than $500) based on both programs in my area that perform bariatric surgeries, but the total anticipated cost of the procedure was wildly different. Hospital #1 a designated Center of Excellence estimated a total cost of $22k-24k for the procedure. Hospital #2 not a COE hospital estimated cost $14k-$16k. I wonder what one place does vs. the other?

Long time….

I haven’t used this blog in quite some time. I am thinking now is the time to resurrect it like a phoenix rising from the ashes….oh what a load of B.S. I am bringing it out of mothballs to put a few thoughts down and talk about my weight loss journey from start to finish. I have hit an all-time weight high and need to do something more drastic than eat less and exercise more.

Last night I went to a Bariatric Surgery seminar and plan on going to another next week at a competing hospital in the area. I have reached the point where my BMI has gone off any standard chart which lands me in a category well past morbidly obese. Something needs to be done and I need to find the resolve somewhere to do it.

In the notable phrase from Shawshank Redemption…I need to get busy living, or get busy dying.

More to come after I go to the second meeting next week.