Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Update on Revision Surgery

I've been waiting to hear from the doctor about the "peer to peer" appeal he was going to do with my insurance company.  In being patient with the holidays and bureaucracy, I was going to wait to call until after the New Year, but I received a phone call this morning!  Unfortunately, it wasn't good news.  Because my insurance plan doesn't offer any bariatric/complication coverage, they are refusing to cover any revision or removal of my LapBand.  Awesome!  The quote given to me from the doctor (depending on where he'll be able to do the surgery) ranges from $13k to $17.5k.  Sure - let me pull that out of my pocket!  Get a loan you say?  Sure - my credit is perfect for that!

Blah.  I miss my old insurance with my old job - I've paid more out of pocket for barium swallows, check ups, medication (Chantix) etc. in the 5 months that I've had this job than I paid in the entire eight years at my old job.  And what kind of company doesn't provide bariatric coverage nowadays?  Really?

Get this - the insurance company also told my doctor that if my issues got to the extreme where I get so stuck I have to be admitted for emergency removal (a repeat of early October, but this time with no fluid to drain from the band)?  That wouldn't be covered either.  Eff this.

So what's my daily life like at this point?  Well, if I eat really small bites and graze all day long - never have an actual meal - I get by okay.  If I attempt a meal, it's going to either (a) be manually regurgitated or (b) remain so lodged in my body that three symptoms occur: my chest is tight/hurts, my back hurts and I get really cold (from the inside out).  Can't figure out why my back hurts or I get cold, but my boyfriend is sure getting used to my symptoms as I spend this vacation at his house!  To eat and be in pain, or not to eat and be hungry...that is the constant question I deal with.

On the plus side, I HAVE quit smoking!  Today marks two solid weeks of no cigarettes, although my actual quit date was a month ago (I slipped and had a cig now and then in the first couple of weeks).  I'm still craving the habit/nicotine - which makes me want to eat = get sick - but the thought of the taste of a nasty cig deters me enough not to go out and buy a pack.  Even in those two weeks of rarely smoking, the cig did nothing for me (I was on Chantix then) and they tasted gross and made my stomach hurt.  Don't know why I bothered to smoke at all...that's when I decided 2 weeks ago to stop completely.  I'm no longer on Chantix, but am doing great!

Sunday, December 18, 2011


As I reflect on my weight loss journey of 2011, I realize that I haven't really progressed much at all.  While I made glorious plans, and at least 5 "restarts," my whopping loss for the year comes to about 25 pounds.  Yes, I'm grateful that the number reports a loss, but I'm disappointed in myself for not having the perseverance I should.

I'm not going to make glorious proclamations about how much better I'm going to be in 2012.  2011 seemed to be a year of excuses as to why I just couldn't get my head in the "healthy eating/exercising" mode (slipped LapBand, moving across the country, starting a new job/career, quitting smoking).  Granted, those excuses are big ones - heck, most of them are some of the most stressful things people do in a lifetime - they're still excuses.

I'm reminded of a saying I've heard - "Excuses are like assholes; everyone's got one."  Regardless of what I can "justify" in my head, regardless of the fact that I did lose weight in 2011...I know I'm not living a healthy lifestyle (although quitting smoking sure has helped!).

I need to drink more water.
I need to take my daily vitamins.
I need to make exercise a habit, not a rarity.
I need to wear and utilize my bodybugg daily.
I need to reach out to my friends in this community and to my family to help me.
I need to accept that help.

No 2012 resolutions from me - just another list of things I've written before, and will probably write again...perhaps the more I see it, the more it will sink in?

I gotta look in the mirror.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

You know those annoying people... know, the ones who wake up at "oh-dark-thirty" to go work out?  I refuse to believe that there's anything good about waking up at 6am, putting on some running shoes and making a go at it.  Who purposely starts their day earlier?!

I did.  Today.  Working out has not become a habit for me yet, but I'm trying to force the habit as something about my weight loss journey I can control.  I hadn't worked out in awhile, and used the fact that I was quitting smoking as an excuse - didn't feel guilty at all about that one!  Started anew today at 6am.  Ugh.  What have I become!?

P.S. Those people who also claim that a morning workout energizes you for the day?  I call your bull shit.  I came home from the gym, ate a bowl of cereal, and I'm now more sleepy than when I woke up!  Ugh.  Off to the shower I go to get ready for work...if I don't return, it's because napping in the shower sounded like a good idea...despite the whole drowning thing.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Another "redesign" and "refocus."

Done.  I'm done putting my weight loss aspirations on hold because of what my LapBand is or is not doing.  I've used it as an excuse for a good year, as I've battled with this foreign object inside of my body.  I may or may not end up having surgery (depending on how the "peer to peer" consult goes between the doctors), but I've noticed an increased ability to eat during the day - although that lessens as the day goes on (complete opposite of how typical LapBand eating goes, I know).  At any rate, the "onederland by 2012" goal isn't going to happen based on the weight gain I had over Thanksgiving and my first week of quitting smoking - excuses, maybe, but I'll take a few pounds in lieu of a pack a day habit that was worse to my body than those pounds!

As such, I've readjusted my bodybugg program today.  My goal weight is 169, and with an average loss of 1.5 pounds per week, I can hit that by my 32nd birthday on August 28, 2012.  1.5 pounds a week is easy peasy, and allows flexibility for stalls, plateaus, minor gains, etc. along the way.  Besides, coming off of the last week where I downed bite sized chocolates from my candy dish at work (which I'm usually great at avoiding) as a substitute for nicotine, and Thanksgiving prior to that, I'm sure I'll easily knock out 1.5 pounds within a day or two...let alone a week.

I don't know how long this ability to eat in the morning/afternoon will last, but I do know that I can make healthy choices when I can eat.  And?  I totally will.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


After another barium swallow, there was no change in my LapBand's plan?  Surgery.  While I'd contemplated, researched and discussed the sleeve with others, I had decided that I would prefer to stick with LapBand revision surgery, knowing that the quality of after care I have now is what's necessary to be successful in the end of my journey.  I waited for a week to hear from the dietitian/nurse who would be contacting me with more information, but finally called her to find out what was going on...

...and, of course, the insurance I have doesn't cover anything.  Nothing.  I knew it didn't cover bariatric services (I've been paying out of pocket for all of these barium swallows and adjustments), but we assumed that since I am at the point where this brokenness is affecting my ability to eat, sometimes drink, live, would cover either the revision or removal.  Nope!  She told me that she even pleaded with the insurance nurse, telling her that I've been surviving mostly on liquids since they took over my case in August - nothing.  At this point, my doctor is going to do a "peer to peer" with the insurance doctor...basically, a last ditch effort conversation where my doctor has to convince the insurance doctor that surgery is essential for me.  They've told me so far that, if anything, the insurance would probably only agree to removal...definitely not a sleeve, and more than likely not revision.  When asked if I was okay with that option?  I have no choice.  I'm not independently wealthy, nor do I have the minimum $10,500 I was, if my doctor can convince the insurance company to cover LapBand days are over.

While it makes me nervous, anxious, frustrated, etc. to live without the LapBand after having preliminary success with it, I'll admit that it'll be nice to return to a life of normalcy where I can eat without vomiting, pain, etc.  I'll have to summon all of the courage inside of me to finish this journey on my own, but I'll have to be confident that I've learned enough about myself to do this.  Guess I'll have to change the title of my blog, eh?

Flip side...if insurance won't cover it?  Ugh.  I can eat nowadays, but my food choices and portion sizes are very limited...otherwise, vomit ensues.  I stick to mostly liquids for safety reasons (although, hell, the doc said if I were admitted under emergency care and had to get the band removed, insurance would probably cover that - but I'm not interested in going there), but I'll have to do a better job at those food choices and portion sizes if I have to live with this slipped band.