Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Breakfast at Epiphany's

Current weight: Dunno. But I'm eating a bag of popcorn instead of a bag of chips. Is that good?

Current mood: Buttery and Salty

So after mentally processing all of the requirements necessary to satisfy the AETNA Fat Police and thinking that it's easier to get a divorce in this country than it is to get insurance to pay for anything preventative, my thoughts turned to the gale-force gastric bypass winds that howled forth from the Good Doctor earlier in the day.

Truthfully, it felt like the Wife and I were well within the blast radius of an atomic bomb, minus the skin-peeling radiation and whatnot. Yes. It was THAT bad. No hyperbole here at all.

And we didn't see it coming at all. There we were, all relieved that our lengthy visit was coming to an end and WHAMO, the Good Doctor steps in all ninja-like and slaps us in a gastric bypass front face lock. I'm fairly certain that if it weren't for the 50 other potential gastric bypassers comfortably seated in his waiting room, he would have cinched it in until we tapped out.

I started the day confident in my Lap Band decision, knowing the risks and maintenance involved in having a mechanical device put into my body. Now I was doubting myself and considering the re-routing of my digestive tract as the lesser of the two evils.

Not so long ago, evidently, gastric bypass surgeries were performed with the reckless abandonment reminiscent of the Old West. No standard procedures, no regulation, whiskey used to sterilize big-ass Bowie knives .. (OK, maybe I made that last part up). That's why, said the Good Doctor, you always heard such horror stories about gastric bypass surgery.

But 'round about 2006, things changed. Regulators started regulating, and standard procedures were put in place. Heck, it can even be done laparoscopicly now. Things are so ducky in the gastric bypass world that the Good Doctor has ditched his comfortable Lap Band britches and now proudly hawks the bypass as his weight loss surgery of choice.

To prove his point, he produced a set of numbers showing his increase in bypass surgeries and related decrease in Lap Band surgeries since the Regulators whipped those no good Gastric Bypass boys into shape. To further prove the point, his benefits coordinator offered up that the Good Doctor has performed the bypass on six ... count 'em, SIX ... members of his own family (what that says about the relative health and eating habits of the Good Doctor's family, I'm not sure).

As for the Lap Band, he all but guaranteed that I'd be back to see him within five years to have some sort of procedure to fix, adjust or flat out replace. Why? It's a mechanical device, and by nature, mechanical devices wear out.

The debate dominated the conversation between the Wife and I for the rest of the night and raged on in my head well into the wee hours of the next morning. But when I awoke from my two hours of sleep, I had a moment of clarity. A gut feeling, if you will.

The choice is mine. And my choice is the Lap Band. I can deal with the fixes and adjustments. Hell, I can even have the thing taken out if I want. But I can't have my colon unwired. That shit is permanent. I trust that the Good Doctor will get on board with my decision and drop all that gastric bypass prattle like a hot colostomy bag (colon humor - HA!).

So when my gut talks, I listen. Of course, that's the reason I'm so fat in the first place.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Hurry Up and Wait

Whoa. Information Overload.

My head is still spinning from the three hours my wife and I spent at the Good Doctor's office this morning. This thing isn't going to be quite as simple as I thought it was going to be. Why?

One word: Freaking insurance.

I knew there would be hoops. But good grief, there are hoops within hoops that are under hoops that sit on top of three well placed yet precariously balanced hoops.

Long story short ... I'm required to wait 3 months. And within those 3 months, I must complete the following:
  • One doctor and nutritionist visit per month (today's counted as No. 1)
  • Documented weight history for the past two years
  • Letter from my primary care physician supporting surgery that also:

a. lists all diets failed
b. lists the health problems that my weight is now causing
c. indicates that bariatric surgery is medically necessary

  • Psych evaluation
  • Nutritional evaluation
  • A three-month, medically supervised multi-disciplinary diet that must be documented by both the doctor and dietitian
  • Cardiac Stress Test
  • Some sort of gastric procedure where they put me under and snake a camera down my throat and into my stomach to have a look around, AND
  • A bone density scan
Oh, and none of this touches on the evangelistic-like full-court press we got from the benefits coordinator on the advantages of gastric bypass over the lap band. My wife says she's had church experiences that were less pushy and hardcore.

So , now that I've decided to go down this road and thought I had my mind set on the lap band, we get the push from the Good Doctor and his sidekicks that the bypass is the bee's knees and end-all-be all.

But that's discussion for another day. Right now, I must put on my hoop jumping shoes and prepare myself for some hoop jumping.

Monday, May 4, 2009

My First Hunger Pangs

Current weight: 327 lbs.

I have my initial appointment with the Thumb Stomach Doctor on Thursday, May 7. It's then when I truly start my journey.

I'm supposed to meet with a number of folks, including a nutritionist and the insurance coordinator. Since I'm trying to get my insurance to pay for this, there are a certain amount of hoops to jump through and tests to run, presumably to confirm that I am as morbidly obese as I say I am. I guess a good eyeballing is just not enough these days.

ANYwho ... I just got back from Austin where the family and I enjoyed the Old Pecan Street Festival. Music, food, drinks, booths full of art, candles, tire swings that look like horseys, tie-dye, etc. Our girls had a big time at the petting zoo. They had a freaking kangaroo there!

One of our favorite things about the festival on Sixth Street is that you can pretty much get anything you want to eat there ... and on a stick no less. Shrimp, Gator, grilled corn, sausage, vegetables, corn dogs (yes, by definition corn dogs are already on a stick) ... you name it ... you can eat it ... it's on a stick.

And beer. Beer stands filled with cans of cold, frothy goodness as far as the eye could see.

So as I indulged on multiple courses of stick food and visited each beer stand at least once, I did so with a tinge of nostalgia, knowing that from here on out the only beer I'll be drinking is a can that has been sitting open on the counter for two days and the only stick food I'll be eating will be Popsicles.

What a bummer. I need a drink. First round of beer-sicles are on me.