Wednesday, July 8, 2009

WLS Seminar

Last night was the weight loss surgery seminar by U.S. Bariatrics.  Dr. Marema's colleague, Dr. Koppman, was there to speak to us.  I really liked him and would feel 100% comfortable with him performing my surgery.  This is the second seminar we've attended.  The first was with Dr. Sebastien in Daytona.  I left last night feeling 10 times more comfortable with Dr. Marema and Dr. Koppman than I felt with Dr. Sebastien.  Of course, it didn't help that Dr. Sebastien was not in attendance at our seminar.  In addition to feeling better about the doctors, we also like the facility where they operate better.  

Flagler Hospital is a short drive away and has a recently remodeled wing set up special for U.S. Bariatrics.  Pictures can be seen on the contractor's website:  Steve has always been supportive of my decision to get surgery, but he was a little scared when I switched from thinking about the band (leaving everything intact, reversible) to the sleeve (changing my anatomy forever).  However, I did a lot of research and encouraged him to do the same and I feel like he's on board with it now.  

In the beginning of last night's seminar, Dr. Koppman was going over obesity's co-morbidities and effects.  Steve kept looking over at me or squeezing my hand because it was like Dr. Koppman was talking about me.  Lately, I've had these awful headaches.  I'll take an Aleve or Advil and then 4 hours later need another one.  Well, Dr. Koppman mentioned that many of his patients come in complaining of chronic headaches.  They are caused by blood pressure problems in the brain.  Even if the patient doesn't suffer from traditional high blood pressure (like me), they can still have problems in the brain.  Scary stuff.  He also talked briefly about sleep apnea (which I don't think I have, but Steve is pretty sure he has) and it scared the bejeezus out of Steve.  At the end of the seminar, Steve even mentioned that if he can't lose the weight with me after my surgery that he would think about wls himself.  Funny thing is that I was more worried at that statement than I am about myself going through it.

After dinner, we went to a restaurant that a former neighbor recommended.  We talked things through and really feel like I cannot wait for the small chance that our insurance circumstances might change.  I'll be waiting around forever and from all the research I've done the #1 regret of wls patients is that they didn't do it sooner.  I want to be able to enjoy my life more.  I don't want to avoid traveling with friends because I can't keep up with them.  I don't want to feel so damn tired anymore.  I want to be able to bend over in the car if I drop my cell phone (when I'm a passenger of course).   Not to mention the wider selection of clothes I can buy if I'm not a "plus size".  The cost of the procedure, including all surgery-related costs and complication insurance, is $17,765.  About $3000 more than we were expecting.  But a practical and safe car would cost just as much and wouldn't have the return on investment that the VSG surgery provides.  I applied for a medical loan last night and we were approved.  We will receive a Care Credit credit card in the mail shortly with the details.  

The patient coordinator told us last night that for self-pay patients, the soonest we can have surgery is 4-6 weeks.  That's ok by me!  That seems like such a short time away compared to how long I've been living like this.  My next hurdle is getting the time off of work.  I've emailed our benefits manager to find out my options.  

Overall, I am feeling very positive about this! (And the roller coaster continues...)

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