Being overweight my entire life I didn't seriously consider weight loss surgery (WLS) until February 2009. My mom had mentioned it over the years and I always thought it was too extreme. It wasn't that I thought it was, "the easy way out," like many people do. It was more of the fact that I knew how much would be asked of me and thought I could lose the weight on my own.
The turning point wen I first considered WLS was when my mom brought a packet of information home from the hospital. I admit I was like most people and didn't fully grasp what weight loss surgery was, I was thinking Carnie Wilson and stomach stapling.
After reading the packet of information I was open to gastric banding and called to attend an informational session at a local surgeon's office. I was actually so determined about lap band that I remember trying to arrange everything while I was out of town. I have Kaiser so I was calling them to check on coverage and their people didn't even know what bariatrics were, I scheduled the informational session, I was busy and determined.
I usually research things thoroughly but barely had a chance to while I was away. I went to the informational session and fell in love with the program, the surgeons, and after receiving more information decided I was all for the RNY Gastric Bypass. I went home and scoured the internet for all I could find.
Long story short, Kaiser does cover WLS but since it is a self-managing HMO you need to go through them. I had my heart set on the local surgeon, but couldn't get financing. So here's my story with Kaiser...
- February 2009. Was told there was no bariatrics program
- March 30th. Received first inkling that there was a bariatrics program but not minimum qualifications
- April 9th. Called Kaiser, got bounced around to multiple locations and was told they didn't know what bariatrics was. Finally given number to head of Options program for Orange County
- April 5th. Spoke to head of Options and scheduled the pre-Options seminars
- May 14th. Attended bariatrics seminar
- May 18th. Attended weight loss seminar
- July - December. Participated in Options
- January 7th. Consult with KP surgeon and scheduled surgery
- March 24th. Surgery date
At the time I was losing weight on my own and felt optimistic about my chances, as well. I was quite honest regarding my post UKC struggles to maintain my momentum. After I stopped toing to the workouts daily I started "refeeding" myself food items I had banned from my diet and my I started regaining inches and pounds. (Early on it was just inches because of eating gluten, but that's another entry).
In Fall I hit a low and was frustrated with how short I had fallen from expectations. I started this weight loss journey almost 2 years ago now and watching shows like Biggest Loser feel almost entitled to instantaneous results. Of course I know that my wavering determination is a factor, but it is a privilege to be on Biggest Loser and it is a tremendous aid.
Kaiser has since stopped doing WLS in house because they got back logged and are now using Pacific Bariatric again. Although I felt very comfortable with the first surgery group I chose and think about the what ifs every time I pass their exit on the 73, I feel I am in great hands with Pacific Bariatric. I went in for a round of consults the second week of November and saw the surgeon, internist, and psychiatrist.
They had originally told me I could expect a February surgery date but given the holiday I was given a mid-March date. Since I have a mandatory travel trip the first week of April I had to postpone surgery until April 12th when I get back.
I know that I will continue to catch a lot of crap about getting weight loss surgery, but I hope by sharing my story and decision I can better educate people. I still have friends and family that while supportive stand by preconceived truths or what is out there in the media. I know that this is the decision for me and I've never prescribed myself to living a life any other way.