Dude…that took some EFFORT. But I was APPROVED for bariatric surgery today! I am so freaking excited. I thought this day would never come. I thought I would get denied or I would have to jump through endless hoops…I thought…I thought…I thought. But I am thinking no more 😉 My sleeve has been approved.
I had a laundry list of things (hoops to jump through) to do that led to this approval.
- Online orientation “class”– I had to watch some videos and take some quizzes to show that I understood what the hell I was thinking about doing. I had to do this before I could schedule an appointment with a surgeon.
- An initial visit to the surgeon to basically meet and greet. He also feels you out to see if you are serious about moving forward or not.
- Psychological exam- yep…I had to meet with someone to make sure I was not suicidal, was not being forced into having this procedure, and was mentally competent to not eat my way back to fat. Good news…I passed!
- 6 consecutive, monthly nutritionist appointments where I learned how I will be eating for the rest of my life. This was also where I asked all my most candid questions about the before, the right after, and forever after.
- Medical testing: I spent a day at the hospital having an abdominal ultrasound, EKG, and upper GI. Good news…I have all of my organs and they are pretty much where they should be!
- Blood work: 5 vials of blood to test cholesterol, vitamin levels, a1C, basic blood levels, metabolic levels, thyroid function…I think the list is really endless.
- The paperwork: I had to round up my sleep study from who knows when and touch base multiple times with the company who has been hired by my insurance to approve my “packet”, and provide evidence from my primary insurance that they would not cover any part of the procedure.
From the day I made the decision to pursue bariatric surgery until today, the process has taken 6 months. Surgery was never something I thought I would do. I thought it was drastic, unnecessary, and the “easy” way out; no way was I going to have surgery for something I could do on my own. But on November 13, 2018, I messaged a friend on Instagram who had been looking more fabulous than she normally looked. She was radiant- just glowing! She looked smaller and happier…just flat out vibrant. I asked her what the hell she had been doing because I wanted to do it too. She told me she had weight loss surgery and you could have knocked me over with a handbag. I was in total shock and disbelief. She and I are twins- we weight the same, have (had) the same body type, were ACTIVE and didn’t eat crap, we both have amazing networks of family and friends, and we were both fat…for as long as we could remember. She totally blew my mind. WHY would she do that? She didn’t need to do that…she was not that big! She was my size! She was HEALTHY! She graciously told me that it was the best thing she had ever done and that she had no regrets. Ummm…WHAT? I was confused…so you did the thing I thought was a total cop out and you are not that kind of person…can not compute…She shared her process and her journey with me and I just kept staring at her words as they popped up on my screen. I just kept thinking “She did it…she fucking did it…and she doesn’t give a flying dutchman about what anyone else thinks of her choice. She actually did it.” Then she told me that she was going to do it two years earlier and chickened out, talked her self out of it. She regretted that and told me that she had absolutely no regrets, it was one of the best decisions of her life. That conversation changed everything for me. She was so open and honest about their journey and I saw myself in her story. If she could do it so could I. She took control of her life utilizing a safe and effective tool. She is clearly one smart ass lady.
I called Aetna only to discover that the plan I was insured under did not cover bariatric surgery. I asked them for an out of pocket cost and they told me that only the provider could answer that. I then called Premera, my secondary insurance through my husband’s AMAZING union, which we pay nothing for out of pocket. The procedure was covered and a local medical provider was in-network and a preferred provider. My next call was to CHI Fransciain and in 5 minutes I had an appointment with my surgon and was registered for the orientation class. After my first appointment with the surgon, he determined I was a great candidate for the sleeve procedure and encouraged me to follow through with the “steps” to get approved for surgery. He told me that only 30% of the people who come to see him actually go through with it- and the reason was not insurance. My mind was made up; he would see me as soon as the “steps” were done. Before I left his office that day I had scheduled my psychological evaluation, had booked every stinking nutritionist appointment, and have a voice mail into the person who would schedule all of the medical testing needed. I was done with living this way.
I was relieved when my medical tests came back all positive, clear, and normal. So I really am a healthy, fat person. Good to know. The only issue was my very low vitamin D level and no DUH- I live in a gray slice of heaven called Western Washington where sunshine *literally* hurts peoples eyes…TWILIGHT LAND PEOPLE! Do you wear sunglasses inside on sunny days? If so, you might be a Washingtonian. So no shocker there…but based on the URGENT message I received you would have thought I had 24 hours to live. “You need to call your primary care physical RIGHT AWAY- you have ABNORMAL TEST RESULTS!” OMG- I really am a Washingtonian! EEEKKKKKK! The really good news about my results is that I am going into this healthy and I will come out of it even healthier. I like those odds.
These past 6 months have been jam-packed with life. My family is notorious for “dog-piling”; we think it’s a really good idea to do ALL the things at once. So in keeping with tradition, I have carried on the family torch. I accepted a promotion at work and have been ramping up to the new responsibilities, we are building a custom home <please pray for my marriage and bank account> in a town an hour away from where we currently live, my husband is building the stairs and railing for said home while managing three different constructions sites, and now I will be having surgery. Sounds about right, don’t you think? I don’t think I have ever had to jump through so many hoops to get something accomplished in my life. I guess a college degree has some major hoop jumping but this felt different. Every step had some issue or complication…just getting them to send my packet to the right place was a monumental effort. I feel at peace now knowing that this is happening…for reals. I am ready to move forward so I can actually look and feel the way I think I already look and feel. Does that make sense? I am ready to look like the person I think I already look like. I am ready to feel like the person I know I should.
I know this craziness will usher in calm. Life is nothing but storms. When all is said and done there will be nothing left to do but enjoy the fruits of our labors. And by my estimates…we have some big fruit coming our way! I hope I can eat it all…SIKE! I know I will eat a small portion and be full. And how glorious that will feel.