One snail

One snail

Friday, August 24, 2012

Starting point

Why did I start on this journey now?  I have severe arthritis in my hips and at least one knee (they have  never x-rayed the left knee).  Even thought it's the summer, I have been in increasing pain, so I went to see my orthopedic doctor.  After reviewing my latest x-rays, he told me that I basically have no cartilage in my left hip--it's bone-on-bone. Clearly I will need a new hip...however, it is much harder (and riskier) to have a hip replacement with my weight so high.  He didn't say he wouldn't do it--just that he'd rather me lose weight first.

There was one more thing to try--injections.  He gave me an injection in my right knee, and I went to a different office to have my hip done (they need special equipment for that).  The success of this type of treatment is variable--for some people it might work 3 or 6 months, or even longer!  For me, it turned out...the relief is very short.  In fact, one week later, my pain was back with a vengeance.

As soon as the pain returned, I determined to explore weight loss surgery.  I started with my insurance company, and discovered they do cover 2 types of surgery (lapband and gastric bypass), but there are a whole series of hoops to jump through first.  I filled out a brief application online, and received a letter back in about 10 days telling me I might qualify based on my answers.  I had until August 31st to do these things:

  1. Call my insurance company to speak to a case manager about the program requirements.
  2. Get a referral form from my primary care physician faxed to my insurance company.
  3. Get an official start weight and height from my doctor. 
I've done all three as of Tuesday, August 21st, and am waiting to hear from my case manager when they receive the documents from my primary care doc.  My official start weight in the doctor's office was 335 pounds.  (At home it was 333, so I will add two pounds to what I weigh here in updating my stats until I have another official weight taken.)

The next hurdle:  I have to work with a nutrition program (called Accomplish) to lose 5% of my body weight within a 6 month period.  For me, that's 17 pounds.  I assume I will get the referral to Accomplish when I hear from the case manager.  At that time I have to pay $1450 to them--totally on my own, not covered on my insurance nor does it count toward my out-of-pocket maximum.  I get phone consultations (monthly I think) from this phase through the surgery (if I qualify) and into aftercare. It seems to be a show of dedication.  It probably also has some research behind it.  I have read that those who lose some weight before their surgery do better in the long run, so I'm fine with doing it.  And 17 is such a drop in the bucket from all I need to lose!  :-)

I am starting to revise my diet now, though, in anticipation of the Accomplish program.  I'm trying hard not to do the "last-meal" syndrome!

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