Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass
WHAT LED TO YOUR FINAL DECISION TO MOVE FORWARD?
I remember the notes on my medical records that said: Patient observed to be morbidly obese. General Appearance-well nourished. Really??
I had a blood clot in Feb 2008 in my left lung and the doctor said I was lucky to be alive. I really didn’t know if I felt lucky being so miserable in my own skin. I began the long road to blood draws, medicines, etc. Prior to that, my diagnosis ranged from obesity, degenerative disk disease, coronary artery disease, hypertension, thrombophlebitis, hyperlipidemia, hiatal hernia, GERD(barrettes syndrome), depression, anxiety, insomnia, swollen ankles, sleep apnea, shortness of breath, back, hip, and joint pain and the list goes on.
I have been on too many medications to count, 2-3x a week trips to the doctor, chiropractor, labs, acupuncture, massages, reflexology treatments, physical therapy, hospital visits for MRI and CT scans, x-rays, therapists, etc. I was so tired of all of this. Life was passing me by while I was waiting for the next doctor appt. Medical staff knew my name just like people that worked the drive thru’s. Now that is scary. I also think having to wear a C-Pap machine was a breaking point also. It took all that I had to sleep with it. It was uncomfortable and it made me feel I was on life support. I didn’t want this for my life.
I began researching online for hours at a time about weight loss surgery. I started the process to change my life. I started with one hospital and attended support groups and heard others talk about their journey. I did everything to prepare me for this process and then I was denied because I didn’t have the co-morbidities. I had a BMI of 46.9. I appealed and I was still denied. I knew this wasn’t correct and I was going to fight until I was blue in the face. I knew somebody didn’t do his or her part and it wasn’t me. Come to find out, my paperwork that I submitted to staff didn’t all get to my insurance.
I didn’t let this keep me down. I researched again and found that Sartori also did weight loss surgeries. I gathered up my Fossil red and tan bag with all my medical records in it and headed to a support group in Cedar Falls. I remember being very early; I sat down and completed the paperwork from Kim and Mary to get started. I stayed there until I was done and told them my story. I remember them saying, “Don’t worry, this doesn’t sound like you should have been denied, we will see what we can do.” From that moment on, I knew I was in good hands.
HOW HAS IT CHANGED MY HEALTH?
The surgery has changed my life and health! Everything has changed except the person that was inside my skin is now glowing outwards. I love my drive, desire, motivation, and determination. I appreciate life more and the people in it. I am not defined by the number on the scale. I have a wonderful family, husband, friends, medical team, and co-workers. I now go get a massage and chiropractor visits for pleasure and not pain relief. My ankles don’t swell up when I walk a few feet. I have not been back to the doctor except for routine labs and exams. I am off all medication except my vitamins that I take post surgery. I no longer need my C-Pap machine. My biopsy was normal from the Barrettes Syndrome (GERD), and I just feel great. I still have somewhat high cholesterol but this could be hereditary. I don’t have any shortness of breath and free from all blood clots. I did have to give myself two injections per day after surgery for 10 days to prevent clots as well. This was because I advocated having the gastric bypass instead of the lap band.
EXPLAIN YOUR DECISION PROCESS?
I knew it was time because my health was declining and I still wanted to get married and have a family. At the same time of the surgery, I was switching jobs in my department, getting married in Jamaica, and my husband and I were selling a house and buying a new one. I also didn’t want to wear a size 26/28 anymore. I didn’t want to wear a XXXL shirt anymore. I am now a size 8/10 and I wear a medium shirt. I also knew for me, the best decision was to have the gastric bypass and I had to convince Dr.Glascock that I would be OK with this procedure. He was firm that I had to follow all his requirements and I did. I was very nervous, scared, and excited all at the same time. I wrote letters to myself and all the people that mean the most to me in case something happened. I wrote up my will in case of an emergency. I knew Sartori and the staff were the best choice since that day I walked into the support group. They always returned my phone calls, all the staff were so nice, and gave me positive talk and reassurance. They worked hard and diligently for me. As a social worker, I always tell my clients, I will work hard for you but I expect you to work harder.
HOW DO YOU FEEL NOW?
I feel like a rock star! I can’t thank everyone at Sartori enough. My family, friends, husband, and co-workers have been my rock! I can’t thank them enough for their support, patience, understanding, and love. I would make this decision again in a second. This was the best decision in my life and the greatest gift that I could have given to myself. Am I perfect in everything that I do, eat, etc? The answer is NO, but the difference is I have the desire in my gut to keep going.
I enjoy working out six days a week. It is a process - you can’t expect to go run five miles the first time out. I started walking for 10 minutes, 15, and so on. Now, I can jog dive miles without stopping. I then joined New Life Fitness in CR and again gained a lot of new friends and support staff that has been with me through this journey. Most know my story. I started participating in cardio classes, strength training, etc and I love it. There is something about a group class that pushes you. I remember when I tried to do one push up and I was kissing the floor while everyone else was working. My favorite workout is kickboxing. I feel so strong and empowered.
Now the more I sweat, the better it is. I was asked to teach water aerobics weekly at the gym and I LOVE it. Exercising is key to your success - toning, endurance, strength, and then refueling your body with protein. I love the encouraging words and that people notice that I have worked hard. I love shopping and buying clothes. I love being in the sun all day and not get tired or grumpy. I love to park my car further away and walk into the store. I love that I have the desire to be a better person and a role model. The best news of my life is when I heard… Kristie you have been approved and your surgery is scheduled for June 26, 2009.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ENCOURATING WORDS FOR OTHERS CONSIDERING SURGERY?
Research, Research, Research! You have to gather all the information and find those who can give you professional answers and also personal experiences. Chances are your doctor or other professionals can hook you up with someone who has gone through the surgery. My doctor in CR calls me when there is someone that is considering surgery and she will give them my email and we will correspond and meet to discuss the journey.
Call your insurance, then Sartori. Keep bugging people, because you have to advocate, and be your own BFF. Don’t take NO for an answer. Continue to fight. If you really want this surgery and you want to change your life, then do something about it. I remember that staff and Dr.Glascock said, “The surgery is a tool.” This is so true. You have to do the work everyday. You have to follow the pre-surgery guidelines and the post surgery guidelines to be successful. Believe me - the staff knows what they are talking about. Believe in them, trust them, and give up that control that you think you have! Because let me ask you - how things are working so far?
Ask questions, prepare yourself mentally and physically. WOW!! There are days after surgery that I would stand in the shower and cry. What was I crying about… I don’t know. It takes awhile for your mind to catch up to your body. People are saying nice things about you and you are thinking….yeah right??? Learn to say Thank You when someone compliments you. This is still hard for me. Because I feel I am admitting to doing a good job. I have to be selfish at times and put me first. I can love others more because I love me now. Your skin will sag in places that you didn’t know it could, but I will take that if I am healthy and happy.
Surround yourself with positive people and don’t allow others to sabotage your efforts.
You can tell people that you are having the surgery or not. I told a few people and waited to the end to tell my parents. I thought they would be scared and want to talk me out of it. I was wrong, my sister already told them and they were so supportive and there for me. I don’t care if people know I had weight loss surgery. I tell them when I had it and that I work out 6 days a week and watch what I eat. It is up to you what you feel comfortable with. I know others that say nothing and that is OK also.
Remember this is not a sprint…it is a marathon. Find what works for you, don’t compare yourself to others and their time it takes to lose. My favorite quote: Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away!!