Monday, November 23, 2009

Taste Test

Hope everyone had a marvelous weekend! Mine was pretty uneventful. I host Thanksgiving so there was a lot shopping and cleaning but that's about it. We also took this weekend as an opportunity to taste test these Unjury protein powders to see which ones are bearable and which ones we'd rather just stay away from. Turns out they're really not so bad. I think after 6 months of anything - even if there are 5 flavors - you're going to be sick of it. My hubby says they taste a lot better than the old Optifast thing he did years ago. The chocolate is totally doable in milk and the chicken soup...while not my fav...probably will taste pretty good after days of the basic flavors. So while hubby is still not looking forward to 6 months of it (who would?!?!) he's encouraged that these drinks don't taste like poop. So last night, we ordered up a good month's worth of this stuff so he can start the Monday after Thanksgiving (we have to wait for them to arrive). We also discussed what would be the best way for me to support him in this. Obviously we all can't do a 6 month liquid diet. We threw out some ideas that maybe he'll want to go for a walk or something while the girls and I eat dinner so that he doesn't have to be around the food. The obvious one is to get all the bad stuff out of the house. He's a snacker so no chips, popcorn, etc. The girls still have their Halloween candy but I'm going to hide it.

So reaching out to all you bandsters...Since all of you have been on a liquid diet for at least preop...any suggestions on what I can do to help? Is there anything you wish your spouse/partner/roommate would have done to help you through it? I appreciate any advice or tips you can give me!

In case I don't get back on to post before T-Day. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and remember all the great things we have to be thankful for this year!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Ready, Set, WAIT!

We had our initial consultation with the surgeon's office. This "quick" appointment took about two hours and it went about how I expected it to go. We met with the nurse first who weighed and measured us. Apparently I am 3 lbs heavier and 1 inch shorter in their office than I am in the rest of the world. We really like the surgeon...he was very nice, direct, explained things very clearly and answered all of our questions. They took my husband and I as a joint consultation so if I forgot to ask anything, he remembered.

Then we met with the "bariatric coordinator" which is basically the insurance lady, Jennifer. She's going to call United Health Care and confirm exactly what we need to do in order to be approved. I was a little disappointed that neither she, nor the doc for that matter, were concerned that I had no comorbidities. Jenn (because I just feel that I know her that well...LOL) said let's wait and see what they say about that before we schedule appointments for sleep studies, etc. Apparently, what she has written down for UHC is different than what we have. She's also going to doublecheck about the 6 month diet and whether we can do it with them or if it has to be through our PCP. I hope it's through the surgeon's office because I really dislike my PCP.

6 month diet! So if I can do the 6 month diet through the surgeon's office (which I think we can) it started yesterday! Jenn basically said that all I have to do during these six months is NOT GAIN WEIGHT. I asked about what weight the insurance accepts and she's going to doublecheck but she says they usually go by the starting weight so even if you fall below the BMI during your 6 month diet you'll still get approved but I'm going to wait on confirmation before I lose too much ('cause we all know that we don't want to get too thin. LMAO!). Of course my biggest concern isn't even so much about the diet or surgery itself, it's the darn insurance.

My poor hubby though...

He has to basically be on the preop liquid diet for 6 MONTHS!!!! My husband is a big guy with a BMI of 72. Doc says he has to get the BMI down to 50 before he'll operate on him. My hubby has done liquid diets before (lost 190 pounds on one and of course gained it all back). Doc says that he won't gain it all back because when he's done with the liquid diet, he'll have the band which will help with the appetite and all that. I'm still skeptical but my hubby is committed. So for all new bandsters struggling with the pre or post op diet, take heart. At least you don't have to do it for 6 months!! To get his BMI to 50, he has to lose almost 150 lbs exactly. Doc seems to think this is very do-able but I have my doubts. It's going to make eating around him a horribly guilty experience so I'm not quite sure how we're going to work this out. I told my hubby that the last place we had looked at only required him to get to a BMI of 60 before they'd operate so wouldn't he rather do that but he said no. Said he likes this doc and since he's really scared of something going wrong during the surgery itself, he'll feel better if he's as healthy as possible before it. So right after Thanksgiving, he's starting his very long liquid diet.

One nice and not-so-nice surprise is about the program fee. It's $1200 per person when I thought it was only supposed to $1000 so that wasn't so great. BUT it's not due until the 5th month or so of the preop diet. That's when we start the psych consults, etc. This is nice because most places want it at the initial consultation before they even do anything for you. Anyhoo...that's about it. So we're officially on the trail to Bandland. Yippee-Ki-Yay!

Have a great weekend everybody!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Too much time on my hands...

So my initial consultation is tomorrow and as the title of this post implies, I've got way too much time to think about things. I'm excited because it seems like things are finally going to at least get started. But I'm also nervous because I've got all these ideas going through my head. "What are these ideas?" you might be wondering. Well, let me share. (Warning: Rambling ahead)

What if the doctor says I can't have the surgery? (can't imagine why he would. LOL). Or I'll try to hint about how I need him to kinda "find"a comorbidity for me and he'll tell me that I have to find one myself or how "unethical" that would be or how I'm an awful, cheating, dishonest person for even asking about something like that. Or that I'm not fat enough (whatever). Or even worse (and this is probably my biggest fear), he'll be on board and I'll do this 6 month diet and then United Healthcare is going to deny my claim so I won't even be able to get the darn thing.

These are the things I've been obsessing about today. And you can all see, I think most of them are pretty unfounded, or at least horribly exaggerated. I think the most legitimate fear is the last one. You never know with insurance companies. My husband's company has always been good, if not a little annoying. When I was pregnant, I had to call every time my doc did an ultrasound because they kept thinking I was asking for them instead of the doc ordering them. They also covered it after I called but I'm already imagining having to fight with them about it.

I blame most of this obsessing on work. Truth be told, my volumes right now are very low which is great for loss mitigation for my company (my area of expertise) but not so great at keeping my mind occupied all day. Incidentally, this is also part of why I'm overweight. An office environment where people are always bringing food + boredom = Fat Panda. LOL. Anyhoo...just thought I would share some pre-consultation rambling. Will let you know how the appointment goes on Friday.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

PreOp Goal? I know I have 6 long months ahead of me but I'm feeling encouraged. I got to thinking about the changes in my insurance coverage which the doc's office will confirm when I go in for the initial consultation. But under the old coverage, with no comorbidities, I had to have a BMI over 40 which is no problem as I am unhappily sitting snug at 42.5. Now, I need 35.1 with one comorbidity. Well, as far as the comorbidity thing goes...that's gonna be up to the doc to find something that will work and I'm really hoping he will. Isn't that kinda psycho to HOPE for a comorbidity?

Anyways...this DOES, however, open me up to losing weight during my 6 month supervised diet. Ya see, before the change, I'd pretty much have to fake it in order to still be approved for the surgery after the 6 months because if I lost weight, I'd dip below 40 which would give the insurance company an excuse to deny my request. Now, however, I get to actually try to lose some of this weight myself before the surgery. I know, I know..if I could lose the weight, then I wouldn't need the surgery but the hardest part about losing is keeping it off and there's no way I'd lose enough to get close to goal on my own. That's obviously where the band comes in. But I've figured out that if I get down to 200 lbs, that puts my BMI at 37.8. Above the requirement but way below where I am now. That's about 4 lbs a month, a pound a week, a half pound every 3 1/2 days. It's pretty ambitious but I think it's worth a shot and will be a good starting point when I do get banded. It'll also help me feel like the next 6 months are just waste of time. All things I will discuss with my surgeon (hopefully) at my consultation.

In the meantime, I find myself fascinated with reading other bandsters' blogs and seeing their progress. I know I shouldn't obsess like this for the next 6 months but it's tough...especially when the mind starts to wander.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Initial Consultation

So after much searching and research, my husband and I finally decided on the surgeon we would like to use for the surgery. Even though he has a pretty high program fee, we're going to make it work. I have called and scheduled our initial consultations for 11/19! The could get us in this Thursday but my oldest daughter got a fever yesterday and today so I want to save any extra time off this week in case I need to take her the doctor! I know I've still got the 6 months supervised diet to do but I'm hoping his office can help with that...if not, there's always the pcp. The question of the comorbidity is going to be the biggest thing though so we'll see. It feels good to get the ball rolling though! This doctor is so highly recommended but the initial consult seems REALLY short. They go over all the technical parts (the operation itself, etc.) at the seminar. Since I've already attended a couple of them w/different docs, the office says it won't be required that we go to this one. So the consultation is only 15 minutes and they start setting up the other appts we'll need - psych consult, nutritional consult, etc. I hope we like him...really don't want to have to find another one. Wahooo - feels like we're actually getting somewhere!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Getting To Know You

Since my fellow bloggers are doing it, guess I'll do it too. (And yes, Mom, if my fellow bloggers went and jumped off a bridge, I would do that too)


Age: 28
Annoyance: People who don't use spellcheck, judgemental types and mommy wars
Animal: Dogs
Actor: Michael Vartan or the main guy from "The Mentalist" - they're just so darn cute!
Beer: Coors Original at home but Bud Light out
Birthday/Birthplace: June 27, 1981/ Rockford, IL
Body Part on opposite sex: Eyes
Been in Love: Yes - still am
Been bitched at: Who hasn't?
Believe in yourself?: Working on it
Believe in God: Sure
Before weight: 225 lbs - unfortunately, still here

Car: 2000 POS Chevy Impala
Candy: Chocolate
Color: Marron or Blue
Cried in school: No
Chocolate/Vanilla: Chocolate
Chinese/Mexican: Chinese
Cake or pie: Depends on occasion - I make great homemade pies
Country to visit: Italy, Beliz...anywhere but here

Day or Night: Night
Do the splits?: Definitely not

Eggs: Over Medium with toast
Eyes: Hazel

First crush: Scott Little - 8th grade
First thoughts waking up: Don't wanna wake up!
Food: Italian, chili dogs

Greatest Fear: Being a disappointment
Goals: To become healthy for my girls, To be more patient with everyone, To love myself and know that I'm good enough just the way I am
Get along with your parents?: Yep

Hair Color: Dark Brown with unnatural Blond highlights
Height: 5'1
Happy: Overall, generally speaking...
Holiday: Christmas
Health freak?: I wish!
Hate: Not feeling like I'm living up to my potential

Ice Cream: Mint Chocolate Chip
Instrument: Nope

Jewelry: My engagement/wedding rings
Job: Data Analyst (exciting stuff)

K- Kids: Yes, two girls. Madeline is 4 and Lorelai is turning 2 this month!
Kickboxing or karate: Nope, but if I were to do one, it'd be kickboxing...I think it would burn off aggression better

Longest Car Ride: 3 days cross country with a 6 week old
Love: It's all you need
Laughed so hard you cried: Oh yeah
Love at first sight: No but I believe in Lust at first sight (isn't that fun when it happens? be single again..LOL)

Milk flavor: Does milk come in another flavor other than chocolate?
Movie: Hmmm...I like them all but if I had to pick, Gone with the Wind, Galaxy Quest, My Best Friend's Wedding, Steel Magnolias
Mooned anyone?: Am I a guy?
Marriage: Yepperoo - 6 years this past August
Motion sickness? Through mountains
McD’s or BK: McD's

Number of Siblings: 1 brother 10 years older than me and 1 sister 8 years older than me...I'm the baby
Number of Piercings: 2 in each ear
Number: 10

One wish: To win enough money to get out of debt and not have to worry all the time.

Place you’d like to live: Somewhere with a milder climate and seasons (other than Hot and Hotter)
Perfect Pizza: I like simple - chicago style with sausage
Pepsi/Coke: Coke

Questionaires: Never do them...can't you tell?

Reason to cry: Do I need a reason?
Reality T.V.: The most evil thing to happen to television
Roll your tongue in a circle? Yes

Song: Anything I can sing along with (much to my husband's dismay)
Shoe size: 6 1/2
Salad Dressing: Ranch
Skipped school: Once
Smoking: Never
Sing well?: Eh - not as bad as some people who audition for American Idol
Strawberries/Blueberries: Strawberries

Time for bed: Depends on how bad my day was - anywhere between 9 and 11
Thunderstorms: Love them but they're too rare in Arizona
TV: It's always on in the background but don't actually watch much]

Unpredictable: I'm not but I wish I were

Vegetable you hate: Cauliflower
Vegetable you love: Asparagus or Brussel Sprout in low fat butter sauce (YUM)
Vacation spot: Sedona or anywhere with a beach

Weakness: Dessert or my girls (they can make me do anything)
When you grow up: Do I have to grow up?
Which one of your friends acts the most like you: Shelly by far
Wanted to be a model?: Really?

X-Rays: Never

Year it is now: 2009
Yellow: The color my girls look best in

Zoo: Columbus Zoo or the one in Washington, D.C. - they both rock!
Zodiac sign: Cancer

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Where do I go?

So I got over the insurance thing. I had Gestational Diabetes with both girls, lots of joint pain and a slight urinary issue since I've had my last child that may help with the comorbidity thing. I'm sure I'm prediabetic in some fashion and with my sleep disorder...who knows? Maybe sleep apnea can be part of it too.

I got the packet from my husband and the surgeon most recommended is Scottsdale Bariatric Group. However, looking over their stuff has me somewhat depressed. It seems they want you to do everything outside of their office and just give them all the completed paperwork to submit to insurance. I'll be honest. I'm kind of a baby when it comes to this kind of thing. I want someone to hold my hand and tell me everything I need to do. With this place, you have to have your 6 month diet completed (or you can do their program for $750 which to say the least might as well be a million right now) and all your comorbidity testing stuff done before your initial consult. You also already have to have a letter of medical necessity from your pcp. I thought the surgeon's office did most of this stuff?!?! I don't seems with this place, while highly recommended, you're just another number. So I'm in search of another office to look into as well. Thanks to an anonymous post from my local area here in AZ...I'm going to start with WLIAZ and see how we feel about that.

The issue of cost has also come up. Without going into too much detail, my family's financial situation is rocky, at best. This is why it's so important for insurance to cover the surgery. I can handle copays and stuff (as long as it's not due all at once) but these program fees I'm seeing are crazy. The one I looked at last night has a $350 fee just for the initial consultation and another $350 for a psych eval. Another place I looked into last year, True Results, wanted $1000 program fee PER PERSON (my husband is getting the band too) due up front "in case we go through all this and the insurance doesn't give approval." I'm sorry but that's a lot of money for us and we just don't have that kind of cash.

I've decided to start the 6 month diet with my pcp because that's probably cheaper and that way I'm not wasting any more time than I have to. And if he wants to write a letter of medical necessity for me too (and he better), then that'd be great but no rush on that since I've got six months since I need to submit to the insurance anyway.

So that's where I'm at with everything. Got some researchin' to do today. Special thanks to Dash for following along with my blog! I've been checking yours out..I think I'm up to May. LOL. You're doing fantastic!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Insurance requirements

So feeling kinda down. Hubby came through and talked to the insurance company about the band. They recently changed their requirements and we wanted to make sure it was still covered. It is but it's definitely changed and, at least for me, not for the better. I've compared the two below.

Old coverage:

BMI >40 alone or >38 w/two comorbidities

6 month supervised diet

New coverage

BMI >35 w/one comorbidity

6 month supervised diet

Okay...I know this doesn't sound too bad. It actually sounds better with the lower BMI right? Well, here's the BMI is 42.5 and, as far as I know, I have NO comorbidities. The reason I'm getting the stinkin' surgery is so I don't develop comorbidities. My father has Type II diabetes and heart disease. My grandfather died of complication with Type II Diabetes. There's history of several different kinds of cancers on my mom's side, breast and ovarian for sure but don't remember the others, but I recall reading somewhere that obesity can increase your odds of getting them. I don't want to deal with the diabetic nonsense which is why I wanted to do this. I'm still going to go see a surgeon and see if they can find a comorbidity to that insurance will cover it but I'm not as optimistic as I was. What I was really hoping for with the change of coverage was that they would do away with the 6 month diet. At six months, if I get in to see the doc in November, the earliest I could have the surgery is May/June, but realistically July. That's sooo far away.

Picture Day!

I promised pics so here they are. I even included a couple of good faith that I won't break the internet.

My girls and I baking

 those were me. Now for the cute people...My girls in their costumes and hamming it up.

And finally, my hubby...isn't he sweet to put up with me?

Alrighty, so I'm a woman of my are posted. In band news, my husband heard from his boss (the doctor) who is working on this informational packet type thing with highly recommended surgeons, etc. Apparently, there's one really good group here in Phoenix from all of her research and she would recommend that one. She's supposed to be bringing the packet in for him today so hopefully I'll be able to do some research tonight.
Hope y'all are having a wonderful day!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Paranormal Activity

I know I promised I would post pics of my girls for Halloween and I totally will...tomorrow. Can't hook my camera up to this pc so it's gonna have to wait until I get home. They were adorable and got tons of candy...I have no idea what we're going to do with it all. Weekend was good and I got my second round of medical records. WAHOO! So that's 5 years baby! Now to just set the darn consultation appointment. *Sigh*

Moving on, I wanted to spend a little time telling you what I thought of the movie "Paranormal Activity." My husband and I used to be movie people...we saw anything and everything that came out in the theater. Then we had our we see maybe 4 movies a year. That being said, we try to pick our movies carefully since we don't get out that much. Since our date day was near Halloween, we wanted something scary and heard that this was just the ticket. *********Spoiler Alert*********** If you're planning on seeing this movie, you may not want to read any more. For everyone else, this movie is NOT scary! I'm sorry, but a big part of it is the"possession" of the main character where she gets up and stands by the bed, rocking back and forth and then going downstairs and sitting outside...all the while in this sort of catatonic state. BIG DEAL! Now to understand why this is not spooky to me...I'm a sleepwalker. I walk, I talk, I hit, I yell, I run around and, yes, I've even woken up outside not realizing how I got there. So I'm watching this thinking "Big deal. She's not possessed. She just has restless leg syndrome!" LOL. My hubby, however, now has serious doubts as to whether my issue is biological or supernatural in nature, so he may be sleeping with one eye open after this movie. hehe. Anyhoo, not a bad flick, especially since it was made for like $15,000 and it does have creepy moments and the end is good. If you're looking for a good scare, however, I recommend "Drag me to Hell" or go with a classic "The Exorcist."

That's my rant about the movie. Will definitely post pics soon. Happy Monday everyone!