The Months leading up to my Gastric Bypass Surgery

CalendarIt seemed like forever for my Gastric Bypass Surgery date to get here. Actually it kinda was forever – how about over 1 year of going through the motions. What a crazy year it was, that is for sure… Sorry this post is gonna be a long one – well it was a year ya know !!!

So as I have stated in my previous posts I started my journey by going to the Weight Loss Surgery Seminar in December 2010. That is what is required by my surgeon before you can go any further. The seminar was a combination of videos and people speaking about the different kinds of surgeries they performed. They also answered any questions we may have had. It was kinda like a live infomercial of sorts – horrible to say, but true.

From there if I was interested in continuing I signed up and gave them my name and number and filled out a couple other forms. From that point I had to wait to get a call with a date that I would get to meet with the surgeon. Of course I filled it all out and I was so anxious for that call.

Well I got that call about 1 1/2 weeks later and met with my surgeon on January 20th 2011 almost a year to the date of my surgery. When I met my surgeon I was shocked at how young he was – I mean he is no Doogie Houser, but younger than me and making me feel old. My hubby says we have to get use to it since we are getting old – whateva !! So my surgeon explained all the different types of weight loss surgeries he does. I was debating between the Lap Band and Gastric Bypass leaning toward the bypass. There were things about the Lap Band that did not sit well with me such as the constant adjustments and the fact you can feel it inside you – that would freak me out.

My surgeon thought I was a much better candidate for the Gastric Bypass as did my hubby and I. So that was it – I was going for Gastric Bypass !!! But not so quick… my insurance required me to go to 6 nutritional classes (1 per month), a psychological evaluation and get cleared by my cardiologist and a respiratory doctor. Holy overload !!! I had to wait 6 months? Are you kidding me? I am not one to have patience and wait for anything, but what could I do. Every insurance company has different requirements – some may only require 3 months of nutritional counseling – mine just sucks and of course would require the most. But on the upside I should have just been glad they covered the surgery at all – so many insurance companies still do not cover it. ( I am sorry if yours is one of those)

So I went through the motions did the classes and each month weighed in. I had my psychological evaluation – that was fun, they just want to make sure you are mentally prepared for what the surgery entails and that you are not crazy. I knew all about the surgery which was good but I am a bit crazy – I was surprised to hear I got a thumbs up from that – lol. I went and got my release from my Cardiologist – I have Tachycardia so they wanted me cleared. Then I had my Respiratory Doctor visit who added on a Sleep Study and a Pulmonary Function Test to make sure my lungs were good. My Sleep Study showed I have mild Sleep Apnea (not a surprise when you are overweight – I now get to sport a lovely mask while I sleep, oh joy). My Pulmonary Function was great even considering I smoked for years and still was at the time. I did not do so well with the weigh ins at my nutrition counseling sessions – surprise surprise. My very first weigh in I was up, next one down, then up, then down – this happened all 6 months. I was not happy with that, but did not give it a ton of thought at the time – stupid me.

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So the months passed – very slowly of course. I had also missed a couple of my nutrition classes which set me back – so now I had to wait even longer until I could have the surgery. Well the time came in September when I finished my last class and I was scheduled to meet with my surgeon for my pre op visit and surgery date. I was soooo wicked excited. So we met and I was given a surgery date of October 12th 2011.Yahoo I was done with the weigh ins – or so I thought. My surgeon wanted me to do one more since my weigh ins were not that good over the time I was doing the classes. URGH !! He wanted me back in 3 days for another weigh in before he submitted it to insurance. He told me to do a liquid diet, exercise and add in a laxative too. I know not very healthy, but it was just a quick thing.

So I did that – it was sooooo hard because at the same time I was quitting smoking. I literally locked myself in my room for those days and slept and watched TV – either that or I would have ended up on the news for murder. Oh and food commercials seem to be on even more when you cannot eat -just sayin’ !! I think I ended up losing 6-7 lbs. So now it was a waiting game and the ball was in the insurance companies court. Did I mention I hated waiting?

So I tried to keep myself busy preparing for my upcoming surgery by cleaning my house and getting things in order. I was mentally preparing myself and I was ready to go. It took the insurance company about 1 1/2 weeks to make a decision and guess what? DENIED. What? When the call came from my surgeons office with the news it was like waking up as a child on Christmas to find no presents under the tree. I was completely devastated.

I was told that the insurance company thought I did not follow the diet restrictions during the 6 months and my weight fluctuated too much. (oh crap I thought – I did this to myself). They did say, which was unusual, that if I did 3 more months of nutrition counseling they would reconsider, but I was not able to send the paperwork in until January 3rd 2012. At the time I was not at all happy, but I ended up coming to terms with it after a full fledged depression.

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I had the holidays to get through and maybe that would help the time pass. Well during that time I started to smoke once again – after I worked so hard on quitting not long prior. Damn Cigarettes and Food – both were killing me. I knew I would have to quit all over again because I had to sign a paper with my surgeon stating I would quit 6 weeks prior to surgery – it is important to do that.

So here I went all over again – 3 more weigh ins to go. I tried to eat well and I did watch my intake which was hard during the holidays. What I also did each time before weigh in was that Liquid/Laxative 3-4 day diet. I know I know once again so not healthy, BUT I was not gonna get denied again. It was torture I am not gonna lie, but I did what had to be done. One time the night before weigh in I put on layers and layers of clothes and went on the treadmill for about an hour or so and sweat like bullets.

So I got to have yet another pre-op appointment with my surgeon on December 22nd which I thought would be my very last weigh in and then I would be home free till my new surgery date in January. WRONG again !!! My surgeon scheduled me in for a new surgery date of January 23rd, but he wanted me to come back for one more weigh in on January 3rd. Are you kidding me I thought. Not only do I have to get through Christmas, but I have to weigh in right after New Years. For the first time I was having a party and planned to make some yummy food and snacks.

So my head was spinning of course thinking about all the food I would have to give up to do another weigh in – DUH what is wrong with me – isn’t this why I was going through this??? Food has a hold on me. So I got over myself and did what I had to do. Oh and on January 1st it was right back to liquid. On January 3rd I weighed in for my very last time and in the 3 months I had dropped a total of 11 pounds. Not too bad and I was happy with that. I had a weight loss at each weigh in.

So after I left they submitted my paper work to my insurance company and the waiting game began yet again. I did not stress this time – I had a feeling they were going to take a while before I heard anything. I also told myself what ever happens happens – if I am denied again then it was just meant to be so.

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On January 5th my phone rang and I saw it was my surgeon’s office calling (gotta love caller ID). I thought it is way too soon and I must have been denied again. So I pick it up and say “Hello” – the voice on the other end “Is this Nicole?”, “yes it is” (I am thinking just say it already !!!). She then went on to tell me they approved me. Shock set in. I hung up the phone and screamed. Hubby did not appreciate that since he was sitting right next to me – oh well. I got up and did my happy dance.

Next I was like – urgh I have to wait almost 3 weeks. Then I thought OMG I can eat !! No More weigh ins. See how my sick food addicted mind worked. So over those weeks I did not go crazy eating like a pig every day, BUT I did make sure to enjoy those foods I knew I would not be able to eat for a long time if ever again. The doctor’s say not to binge eat prior to the surgery, but are they stupid??- of course we will.

Some of the things I ate:

Steak – I know steak is so hard for bariatric patients after surgery

Entenmann’s Chocolate Donuts – Bought a few boxes

Hard Sourdough Pretzels and Cheddar Cheese Slices eaten together – my guilty pleasure

Gryo and Greek Salad

and a trip to the Chinese Buffet where I filled up on lots of Sushi and everything else – lol

So 4 days prior to my surgery date I had to be on a Liquid Diet. Every surgeon is different with what they require. I got to have Protein Shakes, Cream based Soups (strained), Yogurt, Broths, Jell-O. Decaf Tea & Coffee etc…

Ok so Decaf Coffee – I am a big coffee drinker so I had to give that up too. So now I was breaking up with food, I had already broke up with cigarettes (still struggle), I stopped biting my nails (forgot to mention) and now coffee. I am out of vices so now what? I guess we will see and I can only hope for the best. Maybe a new hobby or two huh?

And so the big days approaches – January 23rd, 2012 – the day that will change my life for the better. My 2nd Chance, my New start. Am I ready?

I had waited just over a year to get to this day.

My Story Continues in the next post with My Surgery Day, stay tuned…..

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