So! It’s been a while since I’ve posted and whoa, nelly have there been some changes.

According to my previous posts, you would probably expect me to have had surgery by now. But you would be wrong. It’s a long story so make sure you’re comfortable.

Around December I had been just about done with all of my pre-op requirements and was psyching myself up for having surgery. I still had concerns about being approved, but I tried not to let that get me down. I did find out that I wasn’t too fond of my first surgeon choice, but figured I could easily go with another one in the same group (which I have done, and am quite pleased with my new one).

However, life, doing what life does, decided to pull the rug out from under me. I learned that my insurance company would be changing at the beginning of 2011 and that my new insurance would not cover the VSG for someone with my BMI. Well, fuck.

Needless to say, I was rather gobsmacked. Although I had previously wanted to believe that I could just blithely hop off to Mexico for surgery, when faced with the reality of that situation I realized I just wasn’t comfortable with it. Not to mention it would have demolished my savings. So I frantically went through the list of what was covered in the hopes of finding another option, because by this point, I was not ready to give up on having surgery. …Lap-Band. Of course. No thanks. …RNY. Oh HELL no. Next! …Duodenal switch. -Wait, what was this again?

And that thought right there began a whole new roller-coaster. Not only did my surgery options change, but also the requirements for surgery. Instead of a three month plan, they wanted a six month supervised diet, of which I already had three months logged. However, that was ALL they needed, which means an approval was much, much more likely.

Still, I wasn’t sure about this whole duodenal switch thing. When I began exploring options, I immediately ignored anything involving malabsorption and when I ruled out the band, I was left with the VSG. Well, if the VSG is a firecracker, the duodenal switch (DS) would be a military-grade ordnance. It combines the same sleeve-type stomach as the VSG but then adds a highly malabsorptive rearranging of the small intestine.

What you’re left with is 50-150 cm of small intestines where most of the absorption will take place. As a result, you only absorb about 20% of fats, 60% of protein, 40% of complex carbs, and 100% of simple carbs. You’re also left with a lifetime of significant, required vitamin supplementation to make up for all the nutrients you’re malabsorbing as well.

Sounds pretty wild, huh? It was certainly a major change that I’m not ashamed to say scared me at first (and still makes me worry at times). It took me a month of diligent research and reading other people’s experiences for me to make up my mind. And not only that, but to accept that perhaps this should have been my choice all along. Although I will need to be absolutely vigilant about my health for the rest of my life, I do believe that this surgery has the best chance of not only helping me lose the weight and keep it off, but also to prevent the advent of diabetes and high blood pressure problems. Sure, the potential for complications do exist, some more severe than others, but I’m hoping my roll of the dice proves to be a lucky one. Or at least good enough for me to break even.

So fast forward through three more nutritionist visits, the last of which was just last week. My paperwork was submitted for insurance approval the next day. I was still anxious that my insurance company would find some reason to deny me. Some loophole I missed. I was shocked when I called Monday night and was told I had been approved, just two business days after submission. The next day I called my surgeon’s office and was eventually given a surgery date of May 12th, almost two weeks after my 32nd birthday, and 9 months after beginning this process. Happy Birthday to me!

This has definitely been an emotional time, filled with plenty of thoughts and uncertainties about what the future will hold. It’s exciting and frightening, but through it all, a strong sense of hope has been lighting the path. And to think, this is really just the beginning.

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