Julie's Journey

Friday, January 28, 2011

very sad

Well.... the results are in. They are NOT good. I have a bad erosion. I am losing my band and am very stressed about it. I am so afraid I will gain all this weight back .

I tried to talk the surgeon into converting me to something else while he's taking the band out, but he just insists that it is too dangerous. I spent most of yesterday crying.

I talked to the woman from Kaiser today about a bypass. She is going to send me an application. She told me not to send it back right away, because she doesn't want me to be denied due to too low BMI. Imagine.... me?? Too Low BMI???? Never thought I would hear those words. Hmmmmmmm... still too fat to be "normal" but not fat enough for surgery?? What a crappy place to be.

She told me their waiting list is about 9 months!!!! I guess that's not too bad since my stomach will mmost likely not be completely healed for 6 months or so (they say between 3-6...but knowing me it will be the full 6)

I am really truly hoping that I won't even need the surgery. I have learned some good habits in the past 2 1/2 years. I will just have to be dilligent about practicing them.

One of the things I am even more upset about is the plastic surgery. I was so planning it. Now I don't know when it will be. I am thinking I will give myself the 6 months, and as long as I have not gained weight (please, oh please let me not gain weight) I will look at going ahead and doing it. After all, I was planning on having it at the size I am now anyway, and I only planned on losing, at most, another 20 pounds or so. So...... as long as I can stay even I should be good to go.

The surgery is, as far as I know, going to be Feb 7th. I will be in the hospital for at least 2 days. Evidently most people who have this surgery end up with an abccess, so I will be on I.V. antibiotics for a couple of days. Oh Goody. At least the surgery will be done laproscopically.

Don't know if this is going to cure my gastroparesis. My guess is probably not (though I'm not a doctor, I just play one on TV ) In a weird, rather twisted way I am kinda sorta hoping it does not get better. It hurts to eat. I will not gain weight if it hurts to eat, right? Gee.... the girl will do anything to lose weight.....

I'll update after I talk to the surgeon.


Thursday, January 27, 2011


I finally got into the gastroenterologist, it took me 3 weeks to get an appointment, while I was steadily geting worse each day. I have gotten to the point that I am barely eating/drinking for the pain. Now I am so weak I can barely stand for more that a minute or two at a time.

I figured they were going to jerk me around... "Here, try this med and come back in a month" type of thing. But she was like "I can get you in tomorrow for an endoscopy" This would have been at the local hospital but admitting was already closed for the day, so we made an appointment for tomorrow at 11 AM at the Kaiser office downtown.

She will be looking for an ulcer or stricture, though she told me she doubts it is either of these things. I told her of my weight gain fears without a band and asked her if I truly have gastroparesis (basically your stomach muscles aren't working to push the food through... it just sits there and rots) if a bypass would fix it (that seems to be one of the few things that works for people).

She told me that if she doesnt find anything tomorrow she is going to call Natalie (the head of bariatrics) and suggest she refers me to Dr Metz for exploratory surgery and a bypass. She said she feels that this is being caused by something structural, and I will definetely have to have exploratory surgery, so they "might as well do a bypass while they are in there".

I am reallly freaked out about needing X surgery. And if I can't have a band I will take the bypass.

Now I'm stressing thinking that Kaiser will not want to pay for the bypass, since they tend to have a lot of hoops to jump through before they will pay for bariatrics. I am hoping that they will not deny this since:

1). This would be done to alleviate a very real, dangerous stomach condition. And,

2). I have "proven" myself and my commitment already by losing 113 pounds with the band.

Of course, now (for the first time in probably 20 years) I am under a 40 BMI. This may come into play also.

I didn't elect for bypass in the first place because of the risks and more danger associated with it.... but I guess the risks of ballooning up to over 350 pounds are pretty high too.

Figures..... I decided on who I was going to go to for my PS, and to have my boobs done too. Now this is most likely going to be put on the back burner for quite awhile.

Best case scenario: She finds an ulcer, and I am all better after 6 weeks of meds. I can get my band refilled and have my lower body lift.

Second best case scenario: Kaiser pays for a bypass, I quickly lose even more weight, and look even better after my LBL.

The last scenario: Kaiser refuses to authorize the bypass. Dr Metz removes the band and I see how much it would cost for me to pay cash for a sleeve while he's in there. There goes my plastics money..... OR ..... I go to Mexico for a sleeve or the new sleeve plication. Again, bye bye plastic surgery .

I'll post when I know more.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Todays thought

Act as if you were already happy and that will tend to make you happy. -Dale Carnegie

Friday, January 21, 2011

Plastic surgery, still not feeling well, another NSV

As I said before, I have been "interviewing" plastic surgeons. I am done. I have decided on who I want to go with. He is the third guy I saw. I saw one after him who was quite negative and refused to operate on me. He told me I need to get down to a BMI of 30 (I'm at 37) before he would even think about doing surgery on me. He told me that at my "Still very large size" there would be too much chance of healing problems. Getting own to a BMI of 30 would mean about 30 pounds loss. He wasn't too thrilled with my reasoning that if you remove 30 pounds during surgery I will be right there!!!

To be honest, even if he was willing I would not have gone with him. The main reason for this is that they strongly recommend either a night or two in a recovery center or a private nurse. The center they use is the one pretty much all the surgeons in the area use. It looks nice, but it is a good 25 miles from his office/surgical center. The recovery center supplies transport, so after being cut and sewn up all the way around they put you in a vehicle and take you to the center. The next day they take you back to the doctor, as well as the day after this, if needed. This is a lot of getting in and out of a vehicle with all these stiches (not to mention a whole lot of pain, I'm sure) in my opinion. I would rather not do this. I feel all this moving is just more chance to pop stitches.

The surgeon I have decided on is Dr Murphy. I saw him for the second time a couple days ago. He answered all my questions He seems very knowlegable and confident in my results.

He said I am NOT too heavy. Basically what he said is the only areas I am bigger are the ones he will be removing. Also, since I will be staying in the hospital his office is attached to I will be taken by gurney to my room. He will come visit me for follow up (he also comes to his patients at the aforementioned recovery center, as opposed to making them come to him) I like this.

I talked to him about doing a boob lift at the same time. I was on the fence about having them done, or doing a upper body lift later on. A upper body lift comprises the breast lift and your arms. I do want to get my arms done (as well as my inner thighs, later on) but decided it would be more adventageous to me at this time to pay the little bit more (it adds about 3K) instead of waiting and paying 10K later on. Maybe when it's time I can work out a deal for my upper thighs and arms!!!

Now, of course, I still am not able to schedule it becasue I am still having stomach issues. I ended up going to the ER a week ago for the stomach pain. They called my band surgeon, Dr Metz. Now, we just joined a diferent insurance carrier. We just started with Kaiser Permante. I had made an appointment to see a gastroenterologist, but it is taking me 3 weeks to get in!!! Dr Metz called me a couple days ago and told me he just joined up with Kaiser and I should see if I could get a referral to see him. I am now working on this. Dr Metz says I have something called gastroparesis, which basically just means your stomach is not emptying properly due to lessened muscular contractions. He says my band may be causing this. He says it may be pressing on the vagus nerve. He says we may have to remove my band. I say NO FRICKIN WAY. This is not even a consideration..... unless I can get something to replace it. I would be willing to have a vertical gastric sleeve done. But I am not, let me repeat this NOT going to have my band removed and be left out to dry. I know I would gain all this weight back. I need the tool. I can't even stand the thought of all this I've been through the last 3 years or so being a waste.

Not to mention, people who have never had any sort of abdominal surgery can get this too. There is no guarantee that removing the band would even cure the problem.

Guess I'll just have to wait and see how this whole thing plays out.

Now... on to another NSV.

My friend and I took our daughters to the stock show here in Denver. They had a "super dogs" show. It was in the colisseum. I was sitting in my seat and actually thought the arm rest was up between out seats since I didn't feel it sticking into me. Imagine my suprise when I looked down and ralized the arm rest was, in fact down!!! What a pleasant suprise. I honestly can't remember the last time I had enough room in a seat.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

my latest NSV

For those not "up on the lingo" (and you know who you are, Sheila... ;) NSV means non scale victory.

K and I went with my friend and her daughter to a sports complex this past Sunday. There were bumper cars there, and the sign said weight limit 275. I am way under that, so I went on!!!! It was a lot of fun, once I got into the car. I am having major issues with my left knee (guess carrying way too much weight for nearly 40 years will do that to ya). But, I must say it was worth the struggle to get on. It was so much fun, not to mention how good it felt to be able to do something "normal", something someone non obese would not think twice about doing.

Still "interviewing" plastic surgeons. I am getting excited about this, though a bit anxious and uneasy when I think about the pain.

Made a appointment with a gastroenterologist (earliest I could get in is 2 weeks). I am hoping that if my stomach is not completely better by then that they can figure out what is wrong.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

How to lose 8 sizes in 6 hours

I am planning on plastic surgery!!!

I have the $$$ for it, just need to working out the logistics of aftercare.

I have been looking at my options for a coup;e of months. I have otten 4 quotes so far.

1) A surgeon in the area. He wanted to do surgery "in stages" The first stage would be a paniculectomy (for those who do not know what that is, it is just basically removing the apron, or hanging down, stomach skin. His charge for this was over $12,000. (this would be after having someone completely different repair my hernia.) The next stage would be either a tummy tuck ($17,000) or a lower body lift ($32,000+). Are ya freakin kidding me?? I was so upset I cried for a couple of days.

2) A surgeon in Mexico. A friend of mine here went to this guy, and had great results and nothing but good to say about him. I sent him pictures and he also wanted to do the panniculectomy. His quote was a much more reasonable $5,500. This would require 13 days spent in MX (included in the price) and someone else doing the hernia repair beforehand.

3) Another guy here in town. He said he could do a tummy tuck on me, no problem. Then he recommended a lower body lift. This would basically take care off the huge, hanging down skin on my stomach as well as the loose skin on my backside. He has worked with many band patients, and told me he could get a low profile port for me and oput it in during the surgery. His price was $10,000 for the TT and $17,500 for the LBL. This included repair of any hernias he might find. I asked him if I should lose any more weight first, and he told me I really don't need to. He said I have no extra flesh on my upper abdomen. (and he's right).

4) One more guy here in town. He quoted me $19,500 for a lower body lift. This includes 2 nights in the hopital, as well as a piece of mesh for the hernia repair taht he may or may not have to use. When he first came into the room to talk to me I was sitting down. He asked me how much more weight I wanted to lose (about 40-50 pounds) He told me I probably wanted to lose the weight first before surgery. We then walked into an exam room. When we got into the room he told me "You do not have to lose any more weight right now, you are a good candidate and will have great results". This made me feel much better.

He is figuring this will bring me down to about a size 10. I have not been a size ten since I was 8 or so!!!!

I may talk to a few more surgeons, then make a decision on who to go with.

I am so excited.

Monday, January 3, 2011

6 weeks with an empty band

Well.... a bit over 6 weeks ago I started having a LOT of pain. It felt like when I first got my band, a sort of building pressure/pain that went up from the center of my chest all the way up to my ears. It got worse and worse. After about 4 days I called my surgeon and talked to his PA (it was Thanksgiving week and the Dr was not in) She told me to come in and she would completely unfil me. I was, to say the least, not happy. We were heading to MI in a couple of days, and I sure didn't want to go with an empty band.

I immediately felt some relief, though still quite painful.

I went to a support group for a different surgeon here in Denver that night. The pain started to get worse again so I called my husband and told him I was going to the ER there at that hospital. They did a CT scan and told me my stomach was distended. They called the surgeon who works out of that hospital, and he said it sounded like a possible ulcer and I should be able to go home that night, and he would see me the next day.

I went to Dr Snyder (the one they called) the next afternoon and he went to his office to look at my scan. He came back in to the room and said "Your stomach is HUGE" He said it was the size of a football (and the normal stomach is about the size of a fist) He said I should not get a fill until I was feeling better. He gave me some meds and told me to come back in 3 weeks. Hr also ordered a Upper G.I. I was sent right over for that and the radiologist told me my stomach was emptying VERY slowly.

Nothing was done to figure out why.

The good thing was that there seemed to be no problems with the band (yayyyyy)

So, I went to MI with my band empty. I gained my usual 8 pounds while there. I have been back 3 weeks and am back down to my pre problem weight.

I am still having problems (pain/nausea) when I eat, though not quite as much. I have a whole lot of restriction. Not sure if it's the stomach issue or the band, empty or not. Yesterday I ate a small piece of bread and took a gulp of O.J. I though I was going to D.I.E. I couldn't believe the pain. I threw up quite a bit after this. I have had a couple other bouts of getting stuck, but nothing like this since my unfill.

So now I am just waiting for the issue to be resolved so I can have my fill back.

Hopefully soon....