Almost two years ago I began a personal journey.
In September of 2017, my cardiologist suggested weight loss surgery. He knew that I had tried every diet under the sun, with none of them working. I had a really hard time exercising because I was so large that I had many mobility issues. Because of these reasons, and some medical ones, he felt that weight loss surgery was the best idea. My primary care doctor was also all for it, so I began the steps.
It is quite a process to become approved for this surgery. They won’t just do it because you want it. First, you have to go to an informational meeting. The doctor that performs the surgery, his assistant, a nutritionist, and a behaviorist all speak, explaining the process.
You then go home with a large packet to fill out. Questions about your medical history, your attempts at dieting and losing weight, even personal life questions.
For your insurance to cover it, and for the surgeon to do it, you have to meet some criteria. One is your BMI (body mass index) must be more than 40 if you have health issues related to obesity. High blood pressure or diabetes would be examples. It must be more than 50 if you don’t have those issues. At an all time high weight of 344 lbs and only 5’6″, my BMI was 54.96.
You also have to show that you’d tried to lose weight other ways with no success. My doctors were willing to attest to that.
Physical issues would also put you in the running for the surgery. I had been having issues with my left knee for years. Physical therapy would lessen the pain for a bit, but it would return quickly. I also had a major problem with water retention. My ankles and feet would swell so much that they would hurt because my skin was stretched so far.
Last but not least, you couldn’t be a smoker. If you smoked, you had to have quit for 6 months before re-applying. Luckily, I had quit that nasty habit in 2005, so that wasn’t a problem.
About a month after I sent in my packet, I was approved, and my journey began!
First, I had an appointment with the doctor’s assistant. She gave me a packet to read over, and told me that I needed to lose 10% of my weight before surgery, which was 35 lbs. I would have to attend at least 2 of the monthly support meetings that they held, and I would have to see the nutritionist and behaviorist regularly.
There are 3 things that you can not have after having this surgery. They are caffeine, carbonation, and nicotine. They can cause ulcers in your pouch (your new stomach.) Nicotine I had given up years ago. Caffeine and carbonation though. Basically the main staples of my life! Most of my weight had come from Pepsi. I had been a big drinker of Pepsi for most of my life, and it was nothing for me to drink 5 or 6 bottles a day.
I was determined however to make this work, so on November 8, 2017, I drank my last Pepsi.
To be continued….