September 30, 2011

I'm Back - Celebrating My Surgiversary!


Hi My Dear Divas and Divos!

I have been away for a bit, but I wanted to touch base with you to let you know that I am still here!  I just celebrated my "Surgiversary" and I am proud to say that I have lost 100lbs.  I never thought I could do it on my own, and it has been a struggle on my journey.

For those of you new to my blog, I had Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy (VSG) on 9/27/2010 and I never looked back.  I began my WLS journey in March of 2010 beginning with an initial consultation with a surgeon.  He was excited at the prospect of my being such a great candidate. We discussed the three options for WLS and I was set on the Gastric Bypass. I was pretty pumped after that and decided I was going to do whatever it took to get me to the point where I could have weight loss surgery.  VSG had been the new guy on the block and may insurance companies were considering it as experimental.  After of month of working with my surgeon, my insurance company changed its policy and began covering VSG.  I was VSG all the way after that!  VSG, for me, had a lot more advantages -- no malabsorption issues, fewer vitamin deficiencies, no "dumping" syndrome, and you could still eat some of the foods you once liked -- in very small amounts.  A couple of the biggest drawbacks are that 95% of your stomach is removed and you may only lose 60% of your original weight, which is less than that of the Gastric Bypass.  I was willing to take the chance though because, for me, the pros outweighed the cons.

There are several hoops you have to jump through beginning with a psychological evaluation.  I spent four hours testing and then reviewing my results with the psychologist.  He had some really interesting questions that I had to take with me and think about.  But all of his questions only prepared me for the quest that I was going to take.  After the shrink, I went to see the "Nut".  That is a Nutritionist, who reviews your current diet and talks with you about how your diet will change when you have WLS.  The "Nut" gives you options to help set you up for a successful experience.  And as you draw closer to the surgery date, the "Nut" provides you with a schedule of when you will introduce new foods into your diet and what to introduce.  Sources of protein are also a huge topic of conversation.  I also met with an exercise guru who helped me to begin a walking program and set goals for my level of activity.

After meeting with the "Nut", I met several times with my surgeon again, had a sleep study, had blood work done, etc.  All of these meetings are typically required by the insurance company and your claim will not be acknowledged unless you have these tasks completed.  After you complete your requirements, your surgeon submits your package to the insurance company, and you wait for their decision.  Once approved, you can get your surgery date, and it's off to WLS!  It's all very exciting and nerve-racking when you get approved and begin waiting for the surgery date to roll around.

I hope that if you are reading this for the first time that you understand I am sharing with you my journey to WLS and it may not be right for everyone.  These are my thoughts and my experiences.  I hope my experiences will help any of you struggling to lose weight and are considering WLS as an option for your success.  I am more than happy to share my insight with you as well as how I dealt with anxiety, excitement, hunger, fear, etc.

Please give me some feedback on this post.  If you like this post, please leave your comments below and I will respond.  I hope to hear from all of you!