I've never been one for patience. I'm the type of person that when I make a decision (after reasonable research and knowledge gathering), I'm ready to act on it. I guess you could say I'm not afraid of change, so I tend to not need a period of indecision. Most times I'm just willing to trust my gut and in a driven fashion, am willing to jump feet first in any way necessary to get what I want (within reason). I know that I want to have the Lapband surgery. I know that this is the best decision for me and will only result in me having a healthier and happier future. That being said, I'm now stuck in the holding pattern of patiently jumping through hoops to make it happen.
After months of reading blogs, researching and contacting my insurance company, I knew that the first step was to meet with my PCP to get a referral to the bariatric surgery program provided by a reputable hospital in the area. I was so nervous for this meeting because I wasn't sure if my doctor would look at me and tell me I was smoking something. Actually, being the nerd that I am, I had gathered a bunch of information and put it in a binder. I had called my insurance company to find out their requirements and had a list of questions ready. In addition, I had information I printed out from both the Realize® band and Lap-Band® websites, as well as printouts of the information provided by the website for the bariatric surgery program I was hoping to be referred to. My binder was a beautiful production and I probably looked like the an overachiever! :p
So I met with my PCP on June 24th. Needless to say, I worried too much for nothing! As soon as I told him what I wanted to do, he was immediately supportive and excited for me. In fact, he must have put a rush on getting the referral in, because the next day, the hospital called to set up a consult with the bariatric surgery program. He was impressed with my research and was confident that I was making an educated decision which he said was a positive move towards a healthy future. I was speechless.
I believe what is meant to be, will happen (probably why I don't have too much trouble jumping when a decision calls for a change that others would shrink away from). That being said, it must have been meant to be, because when the hospital called, they said they had a cancellation and could see me on June 29th. Normally, their appointments are booked for months!
It was a quick turn around, but still enough time for the nerves to develop once again... I was so worried that when I went to my consultation they would reject me as a candidate. Instead, I showed up (with my handy dandy binder of information) and they welcomed me with open arms. That day I officially started my 6 month journey and the program I'm part of is quite impressive. The doctors, nurses, PAs, nutritionists, etc. have come together to provide a 6 month educational program that meets the typical insurance needs while providing their patients with a supportive system for learning about the journey they are about to embark on. Then, after surgery, the support system continues with followup appointments and classes.
Each month, I have a consult with a PA, doctor, etc. followed by a class or medical evaluation. I can also participate in support group meetings twice a month, as desired. The first meeting was just an initial consult and distribution of reading materials on the program and nutrition tips to follow. On July 22nd, I went for my second meeting, which included a quick medical consult and participation in a nutrition class with a nutritionist. The class was pretty basic and really it didn't provide any information I didn't already know (from years of dieting). However, it was like a refresher course on what to do and not to do. The only complaint I really have so far is that the classes seem to be for both gastric bypass and lapband patients, so I'm not necessarily getting information specific to my particular surgery and situation. Also, I found out pretty quickly that I was the only lapband patient in the room!
Overall, though, the process has been relatively painless. My next meeting is on August 16th and will include a medical consult with distribution of more materials, a behavioral class and a support group meeting. I'm counting down the days...
Now, none of that sounds too unreasonable, right? Let me get to the frustrating point... I am 5'4 1/2" tall and my starting weight was 245 at the first consult. I believe this put my BMI roughly in the 41 range. So, I'm relatively close to the typical cutoff (aka BMI of 40). My insurance does cover surgery for someone with a BMI of 35-39, but you have to prove 2 or more co-morbidities. I have high cholesterol and PCOS, but the PA that I talked with seemed to indicate that I don't want to have to try to prove this is enough. I do have a family history of diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure, but I don't personally suffer from any of these. Also, sleep apnea is not an issue at all for me. So, long story short, I fall into the category of patients that have to complete the 6 month program without losing too much weight and drop below a BMI of 40. To be exact, I can lose at most 5 lbs. This 6 month program is an educational program for me, but is probably best described by LDswims as the "unweightless program." Thus, I seem to be stuck in a holding pattern for now.
Soooooooo... patience is a virtue, right? I have never wanted time to fly by so much before. But I am patiently completing each step and each task that is asked of me, so that when the time comes, I'm ready to start my earnest quest for a smaller, healthier me.
I can learn to be patient...
I can be patient...
I will be patient...
(but I want it NOW!)