Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I'm still not sure it's real...

Last Friday, March 9, at 4:04pm, I got a phone call from my doctor's office that my insurance company had approved my Lap Band surgery. 

Surprise!  I hadn't even realized they'd submitted me for approval.

Let me back up.

Last December, my partner and I took our annual New Year's vacation to Vegas.  God, I love Vegas.  Booze and food and slot machines and Dirty Shirley Temples and food.  It's like my Mecca.  Tragically, on day 3 of the 6 day trip, I developed horrific chest pains.  I could barely move.  I couldn't stop throwing up.  It felt like an Oompa Loompa was sitting on my chest with a large knife, repeatedly stabbing me in the sternum.  And I was 1,200 miles from home.

I spent New Year's Eve in bed at Aria in Las Vegas - in a gorgeous room with a view of Planet Hollywood.  I was curled up in the fetal position wishing for death. 

I'm not the type who goes to the doctor - ever.  But when I got back home, I went to the urgent care clinic and was diagnosed with GERD.  My sexy new disease caused me to miss a week of work.  I couldn't eat much of anything without wheezing and coughing and wishing for death.  No matter what or how slowly I ate, no matter how many antacids I took, I was miserable.  

And one day, I got fed up.  I got tired of it.

I got tired of the reflux and the coughing and the wheezing, but even more than that, I got tired of all of the other things that came along with my ballooning weight:

- Anxiety over fitting into airplane seats/rollercoasters/benches/booths, etc. (I fit into most airplane seats, but only barely - I'm That Fatty.  When you see me coming, you think, "Please, don't be sitting next to me.")
- Inability to shop for cute clothes that don't cost a fortune (Seriously, I refuse to spend $70 for a crappy LB cardigan)
- Need for midday naps (I hate that I need them, but I do so love taking them)
- Borderline high blood pressure (and fear of the bp cuff)
- Migraines (that developed right after I turned 30)
- Breaking beds (my partner and I broke two beds in the last 6 months, one of which was on our wedding night, and it wasn't in the sexy way)
- Acne (hot)
- Hidradenitis suppurativa (hotter! (no, seriously, if you don't know what it is, don't Google it.))

And I started considering WLS.  A did a quick spot of research (when I say quick, I mean about two weeks) and decided I wanted the Lap Band.  I called my insurance company to figure out what I needed to do.  Through them, I found out that there's exactly one doctor in my town who is covered by them.  I love it when the decision is easy (because otherwise, I will waffle harder than a waffley thing.  Indecision is my middle name.).  I made an appointment with him.

When I went in for my consult, I was ready with all kinds of questions (my doctor has had Lap Band surgery himself and looks great).  My doctor answered them all pretty quickly, and then we talked for a long time about how many people with my company get the Lap Band through him (my company and Allergan are competitors, though not in the gastric band arena).

My weight at this first consult?  314.  I was fully prepared for a weight in the 280s - I've been there before.  But I've never in my adult life been over 300.  I was sad.  But also happy, because at my height, 314 puts me at a BMI just short of 44 - meaning that I qualified for the Lap Band by almost 2 points (my insurance requires a BMI of 42 - there's no exception for co-morbidities).

Then came the fun things - the psych eval and the nutritionist.

I'll be honest, I was nervous about the psych eval (also, when you Google Images for "psychological evaluation," you end up with a lot of pictures of Casey Anthony.).  Nervous that the psychiatrist would ask me a few questions and deduce that I'm mentally unstable and unfit for the band.  But it went really well - she asked me 30 minutes of questions, mostly about my weight loss plans and support system, and then she told me that she'd fax her approval to the office that afternoon.

The nutritionist was fun.  I've been reading Lap Band stories for a while now, and I've been fascinated by the different methods used by different doctors.  I had a ton of questions for her, and I got a bunch of information that I've probably read 30 times by now.

I scheduled my endoscopy for next Monday.  They do an endoscopy on anyone with a history of heartburn.  I'm really nervous, mostly about the anesthesia.  On Tuesday, I have to get on a plane to New York, so I hope I do better this time than when I got my wisdom teeth out.

And I thought that was as far as I would get until after the endoscopy.  Until the phone call last Friday.  They told me to call back yesterday for my surgery date:

May 16th.  It seems a long way away, but I'm sure the time will fly.


  1. Hi Cat. You need to add a place on your blog for followers that will allow us to follow your site.
    May 16th wil be here in no time.

    1. Gotcha! I've gotta say, I do not find this Blogger interface very intuitive. You'd think my background in IT would help, but I find that the longer I've been out of the field, the more blissfully ignorant I become.

  2. May 16th WILL be here in no time.

    Thanks for sharing your story with us, can't wait to read more - you're a fantastic writer. :)

    1. Thank you so much. Yours is one of the blogs that I read from beginning to end while I was making my decision, so I wanted to take this chance to say thank you for being an inspiration!

  3. Hi! :) will you get a lap band or realize band?