Friday, February 13, 2009

The Bariatric Surgeon

Well, yesterday was my initial appointment with Dr. Arreola, my Bariatric surgeon. It started as a very windy morning. My straight shot the doctors office, turned into a winding road trip to the dock, where Emily was waiting patiently for me. At one point, sitting at the corner of State and the Bayfront, I thought my car was going to be flipped over by the wind.

Emily and I were the first ones to check in to the doctors office. There were only three of us in the group, so this was a really quick morning. First, there was the weigh-in. 295.5 at the doctors office, with a BMI of 45. They did some measurements, thank God I did not pay attention to that. But I will be taking measurements this weekend. This way I can track everything that is changing.

Well after we were all done with the measurements, we had to wait for the third person to come in. She and her husband got lost. They are from the Oil City area, and had a problem finding the Hamot Medical Center complex, which is where the office is located.

After they arrived, the insurance person came in and gave us our notebooks. There is a ton of information in them, including the post surgery diets. That I am not looking forward to. Most importantly, she went over the fact that we each need to do everything we possibly can to make sure we have all our information for her. She explained that insurance companies will do anything to deny this surgery, so if we cover all our bases, we are certain to get in. I have a food journal, and three of my six required PCP visits out of the way. WooHoo Halfway there.

When she was done, I got to sit and talk to the other two patients for a couple minutes. Dr. Arreola was affected by the wind storm also, and running late. There was one lap-band patient among us, and that was interesting to hear how that was done.

Dr. Arreola finally arrived and went right into explaining to us the procedures. He started with the Lap-Band and then the Gastric By-Pass. Even seeing the drawings on the white board, I think my stomach dropped when he explained the By-Pass procedure. He showed us the little tool that is used to staple and cut the pouch out. I don't know it I can do this after that. Wow I don't want that foreign thing in me. But then he said the magic numbers 60-80%. Most patients who have this surgery and follow the rules loose 60-80% of their excess weight. For me that is 90 - 120 lb. I am shooting for the 80% range. That would put me at a weight of around 175. Not bad for me.

We then had our personal consultations with him. I went first because I signed in first. He checked my heart and lungs. He guessed that used to be a smoker. I told him it had been almost 10 years since I quit and my 10 year anniversary was this year in August. He also asked about my heart murmur, and I told him that my Echo cardiogram came back negative for major defect. One less test for me now. Yeah.

We also talked about my snoring and my sleep study. I had a few questions for him about my blood work and the vitamins I took. Then he examined my belly button. I found that funny, until he told me that was there the major work was done from. When he was all done, he got which surgery I wanted and then order the rest of my tests.

I was finally done. Now I have three months to get all my tests and results to him. I would like to be able to call the office after my vacation in May and tell them I am ready. That would put my surgery in July. As long as I can take my mini-birthday vacation on the 10th, I will be fine.

I am now waiting for my packet from the office with the rest of my testing, so until then, keep warm, and dry and stay happy.

Happy St. Valentine's Day, btw. I forgot that is what today is (I started this on the 13th, but am actually posting on the 14th).

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