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).

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Third Appointment

OK, I am sitting here on Thursday morning, thinking about today. I have my initial appointment with my surgeon today. I realized that I failed to report on my third required PCP appointment. Well another 2.5 lbs lighter, my blood pressure is back to normal, and she thinks I am going to be very successful at this.

Dr. D told me she was so proud of the fact that I have started a food journal. I am tracking what I eat, not the measurements yet, but just what I eat. I also started to walk. On Saturday, after grocery shopping, it took me 45 minutes to bring the groceries into the apartment. By the time I was done, I felt like I had had a really good workout.

On Sunday, the weather was finally cooperating enough to take the Christmas Decoration back up to storage. That was another work out.

I have today off, so I am going to take a walk sometime this afternoon, probably in our mall, and that will be three days this week. On to next week.

At 8:00 AM, Emily and I will be sitting in the surgeons office getting the initial visit out of the way, and starting the main process. I will be scheduled for all sorts of tests, and will have three more PCP required visits to complete, then, hopefully by mid-May will be putting in for Insurance Company approval.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Conversation of Idiots

So last night was my first support group meeting for my Bariatric Surgery. It was not at all what I expected. For starters neither Drs Arreola or Ali were present. So they had one of their office staff cover for them. She did a great job considering she really wasn't expecting to do it.

Emily went with me, we actually had a very lovely dinner before, just the two of us. She was so funny. She warned me about the way some people act at these meetings. She was right. Some of the patients or patients-to-be were extremely rude. They were holding loud conversations while Jen (the staff member) was trying to talk about the surgery.

You know how every group has its know-it-all, well we did. What stunned me was it was not an Angel (someone who had had the surgery). This was a person that had not had the surgery yet. She was answering questions without give Jen a chance to answer. I wonder if she interrupts the doctors like that also. Emily kep getting more and more aggitated. This woman was answering everything.

I will admit there was a time I wanted to ask this woman to let someone else speak, but suprisingly she did answer some of my questions.

Jen did ask some of the Angels present to speak about their experiences. Another woman got up to speak, I think (but don't quote me on that) her name was Joyce. She told a really short story in a really long time. She could not stay of subject. She would mention one of her goals, then go off on a ten minute story about something to do with. I kept thinking "get on with the subject, I have already heard 10 times that you volunteer every where." Finally, Jen and I convinced Em to speak. And would you know it this Joyce interrupted her several times. Finally Emily just very politely said "excuse me," cut her off and went on with her advice.

The meeting ended early. Without the doctors there was almost a free for all. Hopefully one of them will be able to be at the next meeting. I understand that there is a very detailed presentation and a movie that is shown. I know that Dr. Arreola had a surgery, so that is why he was not there. I just hope that next months meeting is run a little smoother.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

6 more weeks of winter

So, tomorrow is my first support group meeting with the Dr's office and others who are going through this process. Emily and I are going to meet for dinner first, then head over. It is kind of scary. I mean up to now it has been the waiting game, but now, I actually have to start doing things. My third Drs appt is next Tuesday, then my initial appointment with the Surgeon to get all my tests set up and my insurance approval started. Wow, things are going to start moving really fast.

I promise to let everyone know how the support group meeting went.

Until then,

Lori Anna