Weight Loss Surgery - Ok, here we go! Some questions I am sure you have all heard befroe

06-17-2003, 03:29 PM
Hi! My name is GinaMarie and I am sure some of you will recognize me from the LoCarb board.

My DH Brian and I have decided to seriously consider WLS. I am 5 foot 4 and weigh 300 pounds. My BMI is 50. From what I have read, this qualifies me.

I have tried many, many programs and diets. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't, but when I am done (or go off) I always gain back all the weight I lost plus some more!

My question really is how hard is the surgery on you, how awful do you feel afterwards? How long does it take to not feel awful? If I can't get my insurance to pay for it, how much will it set me back?

Any experiances that you can share will be great! I just started my research, so I have much to learn.


06-17-2003, 04:25 PM
of COURSE we remember you...

now, here are a few threads in which some of your questions have already been addressed [in my not-so-spare time, i'm thinking of compiling a list of FAQs and include all these wise [and wise-a$$] answers in them.

but at least this will get you started...




06-17-2003, 04:53 PM
I knew you would respond!

Where should my first step be? Health Insurance Company (Cigna) or my PCP?

06-17-2003, 05:23 PM
Hi Gina!!

I had Cigna as my insurance company, a little hint........I wasn't required to do this, but I know that it is required now. You need to have a 6 month Doctor supervised diet before being approved by Cigna.

Give your doc a call and get on some sort of supervised plan.......even if it's the normal :rolleyes: diet the doc's hand out........doesn't really matter if you drop a bunch of weight or not, you just need that supervised diet.

06-17-2003, 05:47 PM
Does it matter that I have been "doing" Atkins since January? My doctor does know that I was on it... I guess I need to talk to him...

06-17-2003, 07:48 PM
Gina I don't know what the insurance company will accept. Have you been weighing in with him?

I would make an appt asap and get on a diet plan.........with the way weight loss surgeons are going, it could be a while before you get to see one. And really 6 months will fly by before you know it.

peach pit
06-17-2003, 07:54 PM
GinaMarie! :wave:

I like the questions...how hard is it on you? how awful do you feel, and for how long do you feel awful? I don't want to feel awful for a long time. I am hoping someone will come along and say I/we won't!!!!

who may be living in the land of denial but planning on breezing through the whole ordeal.

Is it worse than birthing a baby? I didn't get to sleep through that but my labor was relatively short.

06-17-2003, 10:32 PM
gina... talk to your doc. if cigna requires a referral, get it from the pcp. but make sure to do your homework before that conversation,. you need to find a program that's been around for awhile, not a start up [so many docs/hospitals are jumping on the bandwagon].

and since you're on LAWN GUYLAND you have access to some of the best programs in the country

as for the doc-supervised diet, yes, as long as you told him about atkins, that counts. so does any prescription for meridia or anything else. make up your diet history.

and debkay is absolutely right: if you think your doc-supervised plan may not stand up, get on one now!!! it'll take awhile to get an appt with the surgeon, so you'll have time.

there are a few husband/wife couples who've had the surgery, and they've been really supportive of each other. they've done very well.

keep asking questions!!!!!

06-18-2003, 11:33 AM
Thanks all for your replies!

Debkay, did you have open or lap surgery? I am wondering if Cigna will approve Lap. I am also having trouble finding out what surgeons Cigna has "on thier plan". Or does it matter?

I would like to use Dr. Garber (sp) from the center for minimally invasive surgery. He is affiliated with my local hospital and has some good accredidations from what I have read. My DH is calling to get an appointment with him. We will also go see the PCP and see what's what with referrals and whatnot.

If Cigna does not cover lap surgery, I may have to pay my own way. I do not want to have open surgery at this point. I have had two surgeries in the past two years and don't want another open procedure. Plus, I think I would lose my job if I requested another 6 weeks of disability!

I am glad to have DH to go through this with. We will try to sechedule out surgeries some time apart so one can take care of the other while they are down.

Keep the advice coming! I love it!

06-18-2003, 11:46 AM
Gina, my surgery, all three of them :rolleyes: were done lap......he was able to go back in for surgery 2 and 3 through the same lap-ports. To be honest with you, I would have gone open if I had needed to, but was glad I was able to have it lap.

I had Cigna HMO through a VERY large corporation......my husband's employer. I needed a referral to my surgeon, which came from my very supportive PCP.

You should be able to get on the Cigna web site to search for surgeons.

Gina.......PLEASE exaust all insurance options before going self-pay. The reason I say that is, my complications and my hospital stay cost $900,000+. Had I been a self-pay we would be in bankruptcy.

Off to fix one of my kids a late breakfast.......

06-18-2003, 01:34 PM
$900,00?????? DANG.....mine was $20,000 twenty two yrs ago and I thought that was a lot!


06-18-2003, 01:57 PM
I can see Dr. Garber out of network with Cigna. The deductable schedule is not more that I can handle. We called for an appt. We will confirm tomorrow. First available appointment is in October. I am not suprised.

If he determines we are good candidates for surgery and the surgery is performed at an in-network hospital, which Dr. Garber is associated with one near my home, the surgery will be covered in network by Cigna. I will just need my PCP to precertify me/us.

So off to the PCP we go to have him put us on a stupid diet for six months. Thanks for the heads up advice Debkay! We are going to try to get him to recommend Atkins for us...

So, we shall see what happens next! I will keep you all up to date and may lurk around until my appointment with the surgeon.

Again, thanks for everything!

06-18-2003, 04:51 PM
Don't lurk Gina......post with us!!!!

Another piece of advice, find a support group in your area NOW and start attending as a pre-op. I did that and it was a very good thing.

Yep BOB......900,000+! Needless to say the complications were not fun.......but I am so thankful that I had wls. I'm finally living my life, and enjoying every minute of it. :dancer:

06-18-2003, 05:06 PM
Debkay - The doctor that we are seeing does host a support group that we will be able to attend both pre and post op. So that is a good thing. Going to see my PCP on 6/24...

I am so sorry to hear that you had complications. That must have been so awful for you. I am glad that you are doing well...

06-18-2003, 07:07 PM
As far as the feeling awful phase ... I had lap RNY on 2/7/03 ... I had a complication ... an abscess that caused me to bounce back into the hospital for 2 subsequent admissions. During that time they couldn't figure out what was wrong with me ... I kept having fever/chills and accelerated heart beat. They did every test known to man and after discharging me for the 2nd time thinking I had a virus I was ... terrified. I thought I had some major complication and I was going to die. However, soon the infection showed up and with a few antibiotics and a few weeks of packing an open draining wound (YUCK) I was better than ever.

Now ... only 4 short months later I am -93 lbs and in control of my life. Food is a non-issue to me. I eat because I have to and not one time have I felt deprived. I am exercising regularly and have gotten out of a really bad relationship. Life truly is grand ... and better than I could've ever imagined. I am no longer invisible ... people stop to talk to me and say Hi to me for no reason. I think it is because I have a renewed confidence that I CAN do this and I will. The 'awful' doesn't last long. Without the complication I bet I would've been up and around in a week. It honestly wasn't that bad. The first few days are the worst ... but every day gets better ... just walk walk walk and drink drink drink and you'll see that you'll bounce back in no time.

Even with the complications I went back to work in 4 weeks.

Keep the questions coming ... that is the key to your success.


06-18-2003, 08:57 PM
gina marie... you are NOT allowed to stop posting here!!!!! we'd be heartbroken!!!

You and hubby should probably be granted insurance approval. it's pretty much a slam-dunk if you follow all those stupid rules. except for chickadee who has kaiser and they can't tell which end is up or even what to do with it when they find it!!!!

06-19-2003, 10:27 AM
Thanks Justpranz2 and Jiff!

I am just afraid that I will feel so terrible after surgery.

The last surgery I had was on my arm. A plate that had been put in the year before didn't heal correctly and they had to remove it, put in two more and do a hip graft! I was on the table for 10 hours, and I felt the worst I ever have in my life after that. I am sure that a 90 minute Lap procedure won't make me feel that bad.

I am also afraid of the vomiting and "dumping". That does not sound good at all! Have any of you been able to avoid it?

Also, am I going to have to give up sugar forever??? I don't think so. But I have read that the body can no longer handle it post op.

Calling the Surgeon again today. Should have a date for a consult later today!


06-19-2003, 11:20 AM
Gina keep the questions coming.

I for one have never thrown up! I can eat anything, as a matter of fact on Saturday I had birthday cake. Not dumping.......I don't dump......is a blessing and a curse. It's a blessing cause I can eat anything.......it's a curse cause I can eat anything :lol:

My motto is "everything in moderation." Now the first few months there will most likely be trigger foods that may make you ill.......you may not thorw up, you might just feel like you want to.

I really need to let the other's share their first few months experience here, mine was spent in the hospital, so there is nothing typical about my first 3 months.

And Gina, you will feel less than perfect after surgery, but it will not last forever.........and in my opinion it is so worth it!

06-19-2003, 05:36 PM
dumping is NOT PRETTY. nor is throwing up on a regular basis. ice cream is a major no-no. more than 2 tbs make me very very ill [dumping]. tiny pieces of cake are ok. a couple of cookies are ok, especially if eaten at the end of the day after meeting protein goals.

neither of these things is fun, but it's not the end of the world. at this point, i throw up because i either ate too fast, it was too dry, or i didn't chew well enough. or i ate 1 bite too many. in other words, it was all my fault.

and remember i threw up for a solid month, several times a day. it ended. it's ok.

and you won't feel great after the surgery, but it won't be anything at all like you experienced with other surgeries. unless, of course, you'[re debkay and end up with complications

06-20-2003, 10:45 AM
The more research I do, the more I realize that the big challange will be health insurance approval! I am NOT looking forward to it. But I will persevere!

06-20-2003, 12:59 PM
Gina that is a big hurdle. You sit on pins and needles after everything is submitted....it's like they have your life in their hands and I guess they do.

I think Cigna has tightned up somewhat, but still overall a pretty easy company to get approval from, from all that I have read. Of course it depends on what exclusions your company had written in. Check your handbook. Mine said.......treatment of obesity if medically necessary.

Don't worry we will talk you through it!

06-20-2003, 03:33 PM
OOH! Good point Deb. I will have to check out our insurance handbook!