Bariatric Surgery Approved

December 15, 2008

For some reason my wordpress order at my new web hosting company hasn’t worked right, so until that happens I guess I’ll post some new things here.

So, the big news: my bariatric surgery – an open Roux-En-Y gastric bypass – has finally been approved by Coventry. I won’t have a date until after the first of the year – the surgeon is working on his 2009 calendar for trauma, conferences, etc. right now, but his secretary said last Friday that it should be no later than the end of February, 2009. 2 months!

My surgery will be three-fold, actually. They’ll be removing my gallbladder, which has been giving me more and more problems lately. They’ll be doing the full gastric bypass, which involves the stomach “stapling” and the bypass of the first part of the small bowel, and then they’ll try to repair some of the fascia (soft tissue) around my umbilical hernia and remove the failed mesh from the repair site.

I should be in the hospital – KU Medical Center – for 4 days or so, and then another week and a half at home before I can drive and work again, if everything goes smoothly. The most common problems, I’m told, include infection of the incision (which I had to deal with during my hernia surgery some years ago) and a possible “growing over” of the new opening from my stomach “pouch” to the bypassed small bowel. The latter is somewhat common but is an inpatient fix much like an EGD, where they sedate you and use a probe to break up the scar tissue that may form in the stomach.

As soon as I know the date I’ll be posting more either here or on my new blog, but I am VERY excited about this. It’s been a long road to get this far – I first started looking into this in September 2006, when Brian Shepard of the Poobahs told me about the lap-band procedure. I went to a Shawnee Mission Medical Center seminar in January 2007, then went back to Weight Watchers throughout 2007 because SMMC had a maximum BMI value that I was well over. I found out about the folks at the Minimally Invasive Surgical Center in January 2008, and had been working with them all year. They aren’t in-network for me, and finally Coventry suggested in August that I contact KUMC. I had an appointment with Dr. Udobi there, got them all my paperwork (and a new blood and thyroid lab), and they sent all the insurance stuff around the first of November.

Advertisements

Best Shopping Experience Evar

October 13, 2007

Today I managed to ignore my “never go to the Country Club Plaza” rule, because I really wanted to go to the Apple store. I dreaded the trip, mainly because I hate driving on the Plaza. So much. Pedestrians are quite insane there – I know they have the right of way, but that doesn’t mean that a couple of tons of SUV won’t cause some bruising if they walk blithely in front of one.

So I drove by the Apple store and was surprised to see an open parking spot right across the street. Nabbing it, I was amazed by all the gawkers inside the store – even though it was really rainy and generally “blah” today, there were still tons of people ogling the Apple goodness. I was there for a couple of specific things – a copy of Parallels Desktop and a wireless keyboard. I snagged both and also got a USB hub, since changing from the wired Mac keyboard to the wireless meant the net loss of a USB connection.

As Jen and I stood there wondering what to do next – there were TONS of people milling around the Genius Bar – an Apple employee walked up and said, “are you ready to check out?” Sure, we replied, and she then proceeded to whip a portable scanner/PDA off of her belt and scan our items, swipe my credit card and even send me an emailed receipt. She then grabbed us a super-cool Apple store bag and we were done – and never even had to stand in line!

So I’m now typing using a wireless keyboard, which is cool but SMALL – this thing has no numeric keypad and is missing a bunch of keys that I would otherwise consider important, like HOME and END and DEL. It’s going to take some getting used to, but I love being wireless. It was also so much easier to discover the keyboard on the iMac then in Windows XP, where I routinely seem to lose connectivity with the keyboard/mouse. Parallels seems pretty cool, I’m going to try to do some performance tweaking but I managed to get a Vista installation done in under an hour (before Windows Update, of course). Unfortunately it’s not a gaming solution – I’ll wait for Leopard and Boot Camp to do that – but it should be fine for running Vista, Office 2007 and even some Visual Studio goodness.

Tomorrow I’m smoking up a brisket and pork shoulder for a potluck at work, and then this week is United Way week – we’re doing all sorts of cool things, culminating in the annual chili cook-off on Friday. Can I keep the streak alive and go for the three-peat? YES.


The Return

January 14, 2007

Sometimes as I write these posts, I imagine some kind of low-level news interviewer in my head asking me inane questions. They’re around 25 or so, fresh out of journalism school with all their hope, dreams and relatively solid grammatical skills still intact. The weight of the world and the massive intellectual drag factor of the so-called Kansas City news community haven’t managed to mold them into the hollow shell that so many of our news professionals seem to become. At the same time, they’re not afraid to ask the obvious questions. Today’s question from my imaginary interviewer – let’s call him “Skip” – is the following: why have you decided to blog again?

Well, Skip, it’s been a decision that’s been a long time coming. Stopping my prior blog was a pretty hard decision, and was one that I regretted pretty quickly. But one of the reasons I did that was because I do feel that if you don’t have anything interesting or at least amusing to say on a relatively regular schedule, don’t bother wasting precious internet resources with your mindless ramblings. I didn’t feel like I was really wasting space so much, but more that I wasn’t posting those things with the regularity that took my thoughts from “occasional ramblings” to the “fairly interesting” level.

So will that change in 2007? I hope so. At least I have something that I consider interesting to post about. What might that be? A big change.

Since around mid-September 2006, I’ve been thinking about having a Lap Band procedure done. I won’t bore you with the gory details, but it’s a bariatric (i.e., weight loss) surgery that is less invasive than the “standard” gastric bypass. A good friend (and blog reader!) was considering doing this procedure, so I thought I’d take a look too. After all, I definitely need to do something drastic.

I took my time thinking about this, reading about the procedure, and seeing if my health insurance would cover the procedure. Prior to this year, no, my insurance wouldn’t cover it – and the ballpark estimate for the procedure is somewhere to the tune of $16,500. That’s a lot of cash, and without insurance taking a chunk out of it, it probably would have meant taking a home equity loan or something like that.

However, when our insurance changed in 2007 to a new provider, what to my wondering eyes should appear but the paragraph in the policy that said, “yes, you can have this surgery, but only if you’re really, really overweight and have already failed at trying to lose it yourself. Twice.” That’s my paraphrasing there, but you get the gist of it.

So yes, I’m very, very overweight, and yes, I’ve tried many times to lose weight. How many? Let me think here. I can remember being called fat by other kids since I was in 2nd grade – I have a pretty strong memory of my 2nd grade teacher (in fact, almost my only memory of that teacher) talking to me about that. I remember going to Weight Watchers with my Mom sometime when I was in elementary school – I want to say somewhere around 4th or 5th grade. I remember going to Weight Watchers with my Mom when I was in Junior High – probably 8th grade – and then again in High School, around 11th-12th grade. I have gone on at least 5 different occasions after leaving High School. Each one of these sojourns has lasted somewhere to the tune of 4 months to around 1.5 years, and each time I have managed to gain everything back.

Pretty sad, right? I didn’t really think about it too much until trying to compile a personal history for insurance purposes, but in fact it is pretty sad. I don’t make any pretensions about the fact that in every single one of those instances, it’s been me that has failed – Weight Watchers never kicked me out saying, “sorry, we’re going to fail on you this time.” It doesn’t work that way. But at the same time, losing weight and keeping it off is obviously a difficult thing to do – if it wasn’t, there wouldn’t be a rampant obesity epidemic today.

In thinking about all that, I have decided to pursue the matter much more vigorously. Unless the surgeon tells me that I can’t have the procedure for some reason – and he could, I suppose, especially because of the hernia I’ve got poking out of my lower stomach – I’m going to have this procedure in 2007. Preferably earlier rather than later, but I likely have to lose some weight on my own before I can have the surgery. I also need to decide if I’m going to do the lap-band or the standard gastric bypass.

I’ve enlisted the help of my physician, who is referring me to a weight loss specialist (I’m making an appointment with them on Monday morning). I’ve also attended a very interesting informational seminar at Shawnee Mission Medical Center on the subject of bariatric surgery and learned a lot that I frankly didn’t know or thought I knew and was completely wrong about. The seminar itself has really caused me to give a lot more consideration to the gastric bypass surgery as an option – it’s still a much more serious procedure than the lap band, but it also has a much more significant and rapid affect on your health. In my current state, I think that might be a good thing – but I’m going to get the opinions of lots of medical professionals before I make my decision.

So there you have it – why I’ve returned to the world of blogging. Expect to hear a lot more about this new journey in the coming weeks and months, along with plenty of other boring details peppered in every so often. And welcome back!


Hello world!

January 9, 2007

Yes, this is the ubiquitous Hello World posting, announcing to the .000001% of internet users that care that my blog has once again returned for the joy of my readers (all seven or so of them).

I’m often asked why the old blog – “More Dwain Than the Law Should Allow” – went away. The answers are many, confusing and often contradictory. Essentially it was an emotional decision that I do in fact regret, but it’s taken me close to a year to decide to start blogging “recreationally” again.

I do have a work-related blog for the development/IT group at Sunflower – http://dwainitblog.spaces.live.com/ – but it’s pretty dry, and it does take me a lot of work to maintain. Or at least time – not work so much, as I enjoy doing the research for the blog, but it takes time for me to read the articles and get them compiled.

So why did I decide to restart my blog? Read on to the next post.