| Profile: Kelly K
Surgery: Surgery date scheduled
I am 39 years old and happily married with no children. I have been steadily gaining weight since having radiation to destroy my thyroid. Thyroid replacement doesn't seem to control this. I'm considering the options. My main reason for wanting this is health related. I want to be healthy heading into my 40's and be as active as I have always loved to be.
10-10-04 I have my consult with Dr. Chebli this week on the 14th. I'm very excited! I've spent hours and hours reading all the profiles and weighing the good and bad. I am more convinced than ever that this is the right choice for me. I only hope that my lack of a thyroid won't stop me from having surgery. I guess we'll see. Keeping fingers and toes crossed :).
10-18-04 281/276/145 I had my consult with Dr. Chebli last week. He was very nice and seemed very capable. I've heard rumors of him being really cute and although he is, he's not my type. ;) I was suprised to find that I had lost five pounds since I had weighed myself the week before. I'm now at 276 lbs.
We went over the basics. I appreciated the fact that he didn't feel as if he had to explain everything to me as if I was a child since I'm a former medical professional and I've done a tremendous amount of research on this procedure (RNY). He spoke to me as an intelligent individual. That was a nice change for a doctor.
He asked me a lot of questions and came to the conclusion that I need a few extra tests because of some oddities about my body. I have to have doppler studies of my legs because I had DVT when I was 15 after having surgery. I'm also having an upper endoscopy because I have reflux and take medication every day for acid problems. He also wants to do an echocardiogram since I have been diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse.
We discussed the options of open vs. laproscopic surgery. Of course I would like to have lap. He said it might be more difficult because I had open surgery to remove my gall bladder several years ago. He thinks it's entirely possible to do though, it might just take more time.
So now, I'm on the atkins diet to lose weight before surgery. I actually like it. I've never tried atkins before because I thought I would miss bread and pasta too much, but I'm fine. He's told me I have to quit smoking......that's a tough one. I'm working on it though.
I have my appointment for my psych consult scheduled for Wednesday. Once I get through that they'll submit all of my info for approval. I'm lucky enough to have plenty of evidence of weight loss programs and physician supervision.
I've been fighting a lot of demons in my head for the past few days. I keep reading the profiles on WLS, good and bad, and as the profiles go so does my emotional status. Sometimes I feel that this is the best decision I could make for myself, getting healthy, being able to be active and doing so many things that I can't do now. Other times the fear kicks in of having major surgery. I ask myself if it's worth it. I wonder if I really need to do it...I'm not super obese. I wonder if I should just give one more diet a try.
I've also started thinking about what happens after the surgery. How will I handle the loss. Like many other obese people, I've had events in my life that likely contributed to my obesity. I've worked on those issues and am much stronger now than I have ever been. However, I still worry about losing that 'protection'. Then I realize that I've come a long way. I have dealt with those issues and now am married to the most wonderful, supportive, loving man in the whole world. He gives me strength that I never thought I could have.
Well, for now, I'm moving forward with the surgery. I want to lose the weight. I want to keep it off. I think this will work for me as long as I remember it is a tool and not the answer to all my weight problems. I know it's going to be hard work and I think I'm up to the challenge.
So....the journey begins. Wow. I think I just wrote a whole book! :)
10-21-04 281/274/145 I had my psych consult yesterday. The guy was really nice and very funny. I totally enjoyed talking to him. After I got back from my appointment with him I had a message from Sue at Dr. Chebli's office. They had gotten a response from my insurance company stating that they require the following items:
A letter from my primary care physician showing supervised weightloss attempts.
Documentation of six months of weightloss attempts.
A psych consult.
Well, that's easy, I have all of that information already so I'm faxing it over to Sue today and we'll see what happens.
I'm actually suprised it's happening this fast. :)I'm still wondering if I'm making the right decision but I'm getting closer to thinking this is a really good thing.
11-4-04 Well, all of the info has finally been sent to the insurance company today. The psych eval took forever to get. Now it's just a matter of waiting for approval or denial. I'm sure this is the hardest part. On a good note, I've been doing the low carb thing since I saw Dr. Chebli on the 14th of October and I've lost 10 pounds! :-) I've also lost a bunch of inches. This might be a good time to give measurements:
Hips: 56 1/2"
Thigh: 27 1/2
Up. Arm: 15 1/2
Wrist: 6 3/4
So....that's it for now. I'm definately more excited now then I was about this surgery. Keeping my fingers crossed and saying lots of prayers. Thanks for reading!
1-6-05 Sorry I haven't updated in quite a while. Everything is sort of on hold for now. I received a denial letter from my insurance company because they wanted additional information from my PCP regarding my six months of supervised weightloss attempts. Unfortunately, my doctor left the practice so I'm starting with a new one. This means that I'll have to redo the entire six months. It's OK though. I'm not really in a hurry anyway.
Here's my latest concern. I've been following the diet that my surgeon put me on. I've been doing well and have lost 15 pounds. My problem is that if I lose much more weight I won't qualify for the surgery. My BMI is barely 40 now. Sometimes I think that's a great thing but other times I think that this is just one of those times when I'm losing the weight but I'll end up gaining it all back. I guess I'm just going to have to take it as it comes. If I don't qualify for the surgery anymore then I guess I'll just have to fight it out to lose the weight on my own.
I guess I'll have to trust God on this one. I'm sure He'll show me the right path. :)
3-3-06 Wow! It's been a loooooong time since I've updated my profile. A lot has changed in the last year. First, I've gained about 40 pounds in the last three months. This is really extreme and I've been seeing different doctors to try and understand the weight gain. My endocrinologist basically said that there's no way to control it since I don't have a thyroid and the only way I'm going to be able to lose weight (or at least not continue to gain) is to have WLS. However, he thinks the only surgery that will be helpful to me is the duodenal switch since after tracking my diet very closely for an entire month and doing a bunch of tests, he has determined that I don't eat too much at all. I average about 1500-1600 calories per day. With the DS, I will be able to eat more normally than with the RNY and yet lose more weight.
My company is self insured and they just randomly have decided not to cover weight loss surgery at all. There is nothing in writing that says they don't, they just said they won't. I KNOW if I took this to court I would win. The problem is that since the company is self insured, it's not like suing an insurance company, I'm actually suing my company. I really like my job so I'm uncomfortable with the idea. Sooooooo......I'm going to Brazil to have the DS with Dr. Marchesini. :) I've had my first email conversation with him and he seems wonderful. I have only read great things about him and feel confident that I'm chosing the right surgeon. I only wish that I didn't have to go all the way to Brazil. Ah well, it's an adventure. :)
I also FINALLY quit smoking!!! Yeah me! I haven't smoked since December 30th, 2005. It's a beautiful thing. :) I'm looking forward to being soooooo much healthier. Right now that isn't the case since for some strange reason as soon as I quit smoking my asthma went nuts and I've been having major problems with it. I've been in the ER four times since the first of January because of it. I'm sure it will settle down soon. My doctors seem to think it's the weight gain that's effecting my asthma.
I'm going to try to be better about updating my profile. I want to have a good record of my thoughts and feelings as the process goes on. Currently, I am very ready to have the surgery. I know this is my only option and it will change my life for the better. I'm hoping to have the surgery in June. It just depends on when Dr. M can do it.
Wow! A lot has changed since my last update. As it turned out, my 'asthma' problems were actually much worse than I thought. A few days after my last update I ended up in the hospital for a week. I was seen by a pulmonologist while there that walked in the door to my hospital room and proceeded to tell me that my problem with my breathing is that I'm fat and I need to get up and move around and stop eating. Well, needless to say, I was upset with that. As it turns out, he was completely wrong and apologized later. I filed a complaint with the patient advocate in the hospital about him.
After being discharged from the hospital I found a really good pulmonologist that diagnosed me with Sarcoidosis, Sjogren's syndrome and now steroid induced diabetes and myositis. I have since spent three more weeks in the hospital being treated with high dose steroids. The Sarcoidosis causes pneumonia and I have a lot of difficulty breathing. I had to leave work on short term disability and my company couldn't hold my position so now I'm unemployed. My long term disability claim was denied because they say it is a pre-existing condition. I'm appealing that decision. In the meantime I'm looking for part time work that I can do on a flexible schedule. I generally have 6-10 doctor's appointments per week.
I've gained a tremendous amount of weight since the beginning of the year. I weigh more now than I have ever weighed in my life. It is incredibly frustrating. It's mostly caused by the steroids and we're trying to get rid of them but it's really hard. I was taking chemotherapy drugs for a while but had to stop because of my liver. The chemo was supposed to help me wean off the steroids. we're now back to square one. We'll try again shortly.
Well, I now have communication with two different surgeons. I'll be seeing Dr. Michael Schweitzer in Baltimore (Johns Hopkins) on December 18th and I am talking to another surgeon's office and they are sending me a packet of information to complete and fax back to them. My husband changed jobs and we now have Aetna Insurance which just changed the policy so that they will pay for the DS now. I am only interested in having the DS so this works out well. :)
My health is not changing. My breathing isn't great. The muscle pain is pretty bad. The burning pain in my hands and feet seems to be getting worse. I've gained a few more pounds. I'm up to 335 pounds now. There just doesn't seem to be a way to stop it as long as I'm taking steroids. I'm seeing a new rheumatologist this week. I'm hoping she'll start me back on the chemotherapy drugs so that I can wean off the steroids eventually. I never thought I'd hope to take chemotherapy but the alternative is worse. I really want to get some of my life back. I want to be able to do some of the things I could do a few months ago. I'd like to go back to work and be able to do things like swim, play volleyball, etc. I just miss being active.
I know God has a plan for me. I'm just along for the ride for now. He'll see me through this. I'm very lucky to have such a wonderful husband. He has made this whole process bearable. I do love him with all my heart. :)
More updates soon.
Well, here we go again. As it turns out, my husband's company does have Aetna as their plan administrator but they are self insured and they have an exclusion for weight loss surgery of any kind. *sigh* So, once again I'm left with no option but to self pay. Since I'm not working right now it's really difficult to do that. It looks like I may have to wait until my other health issues are better controlled so I can go back to work full time and find a job that has insurance that will cover the surgery or my pay will cover it. Some day this surgery will happen if it's God's will for me to have it.
This has been such a bad week. I had found a job that I thought was going to work out for me but it didn't. My sister and her oldest daughter were in a really nasty car accident yesterday. Now I find out about the WLS not being covered. There's other stuff too but it's just more of the same. I just keep praying that things start getting better soon. I'm really struggling to stay positive right now.
More updates soon.
This is me at my heaviest.....I was so sure that little plastic chair would break!