September 8, 2020
Well... I received my official insurance approval for gastric bypass surgery today. I've been knee-deep in this process since February of this year. My insurance required 6 months of physician visits, nutritionists, psych eval, Upper GI, and a slew of other hoops to jump through.
Don't misunderstand... I am NOT complaining.
Every day of this process has been so valuable to me. Over the last 8 months (delays due to COVID) I've done a shit-ton to prepare for what my life will be like after this surgery.
I've successfully overcome my RIDICULOUS Diet Pepsi addiction. I'm working on switching to plain water (which I HATE), but for the time being, I've found a caffeine-free iced tea that works for me and Propel. I love Propel. Eventually I'd like to get away from anything with artificial sweetener... but one step at a time. I haven't had a Diet Pepsi, or any other soda for about 5 months. MIRACULOUS... but not as miraculous as my next accomplishment...
I have been completely caffeine-free for 3 months! Month 1 was 3/4-caf coffee in the morning. Month 2 was 1/2-caf. Month 3 was decaf. The first couple of days into this process was MISERY because of the headaches. But I did it. The trick for me was using good coffee. I'm a bit of a coffee snob so this was tricky for me. I drink Peets coffee. I found the exact same kind of coffee that I normally drink (Major Dickason's Blend) in decaf and it worked for me... THANK YOU JESUS!
I've learned to track my food intake (using MyFitnessPal). I'm not perfect at it but I'm getting into the habit of tracking. It sucks because it's just one more thing I have on my TO DO list every day, but I have a feeling it's going to be pretty critical to my success after surgery.
I've been slowly getting used to protein drinks. I hate them. Well, let me rephrase. I hate them plain. I love them mixed in my Ninja with frozen banana and frozen berries. The resulting smoothie is DELICIOUS. But I won't be able to have fruit immediately after surgery, so I'm trying to get used to drinking them plain. I have a feeling I'm just going to have to treat them like medicine and do a small shot every few minutes (or whatever) until I've got the required amount of protein after surgery. I'm told 60-90 grams of protein is critical immediately after surgery. And since I can't eat much, I'm going to have to rely on protein drinks and protein powder mixed with liquids. So... I'm working on getting used to it. IT SUCKS.
I've been working to increase my water intake. Like I said, I'm not doing so well with this but I'm trying. I guess the positive is that I'm no longer drinking Diet Pepsi. My nutritionist says Propel is fine and my decaf iced tea is fine. But I know I need to be drinking more water. I'm trying to be better about this. My doctor recommends 64 oz of water or calorie-free liquids daily and this is critical after surgery to prevent dehydration. Combine that with 60-90 grams of protein... that's a lot to take in each day especially considering that I won't be able to do much more than sip right after surgery. But I've been working on it.
These past months have given me time to break the news of surgery to my family and close friends. I told my husband and my best friends when I was just looking into the option. My husband has been so supportive. He is amazing in every way so his support did not come as a surprise. My family and friends have also been very supportive. Of course there have been many questions and lots of concern but for the most part, I'm so fortunate to be surrounded by so much love and support. My bosses at work have even been 100% behind me. I haven't told EVERYONE. I'm still figuring out who to tell and if/when. I'll figure that out in time. But for now, I feel good about the choices I've made so far.
I've also been able to do a significant amount of research on my own. I started looking in to the procedure about 2 years ago. I've watched informational videos on YouTube. I've followed several women on Instagram and YouTube to watch what they've gone through with this procedure. I've learned TONS about the pros and cons. I've talked very openly with my surgeon, psychiatrist (more on this in a later entry), and nutritionist during these past 8 months and I really do feel content that I've done my homework.
I've chosen the bypass over the sleeve for several reasons. I plan to do a separate entry on my reasons but for the most part, I suffer from really terrible heartburn. My surgeon (and my research) cautioned me that sometimes the sleeve can make heartburn worse. I'd rather NOT have the surgery than end up with worse heartburn afterwards. And... I have a few other reasons for choosing the bypass which I'll talk more about in another entry. The good news is that my surgeon/physician agree with my choice.
So... yes... today I FINALLY received my official insurance approval to go forward with this procedure. I'm relieved but there are a bunch of other feelings floating around right now and I think I need some time to let it all sink in. I'll call my doctor tomorrow to see about actually scheduling the surgery. More than likely, it's going to be October or November. COVID has delayed this entire process. I'm definitely not complaining. All of this preparation has given me plenty of time to get ready for what's coming after surgery.
I'm 50 years old
My highest weight was 283
My lowest weight (in 2011) was 183
My current weight is 255
My current BMI is 40.5
I've been overweight most of my life
I'm happily married to a man who loves me no matter what my size is. He's been through the ups and downs and back up again... and he is a god-send to me.
I'm surrounded by a fantastic family and a core group of very close friends who are cheering me on toward better health.
I'm in a good place right now and I plan to make the most of this opportunity to get my shit together. So... welcome to the journey.