Alexis, Finances and Appreciation

I’m not sure what to title this, so it’s untitled. For now anyway.

One of the women I’ve met through this blog, who has become an amazing friend, is Alexis. She’s in her early 30s and an attorney that lives in Vegas. She’s also preparing for the sleeve gastrectomy. Except hers is the day after tomorrow!!

I am so excited for her, I could almost pee my pants. (I kind of feel like that most of the time, thanks to Lasix, and my hysterectomy.) I feel as though I’m living vicariously through her all the time now. Most of my blogger friends have had their surgeries already; I was late into the game. But I can’t wait to have mine!

I have less than three weeks until my next appointment (Weigh In #6) with the PA, Jackie, and then we submit to Highmark! I am ridiculously excited about it! It’s all I think about these days. That and the financial part of it. That’s a little more overwhelming.

My GoFundMe Campaign Link

I started a gofund me campaign. As much as I wish I had the money socked away that I’ll need for the time I’ll have to take off work, I just don’t have it. But the idea of waiting until next year, with another deductible to meet, just makes me sick.  Apparently when I joked about not being above panhandling to have my surgery, I wasn’t really joking. Part of me kind of feels like a dick for making the campaign; like I can’t take care of myself. But you know what? I don’t have a husband to financially support me. I pay all my bills myself, plus I have my daughter and her boyfriend living with me as well. I’m a good person, and I deserve to have this surgery, and if this is what it takes to have it, so be it! So if you’re inclined to share the link, I’d very much appreciate it. At this point, every little bit is going to help.

Finally, I would like to thank everyone who has shown their support over the last five and a half months. Can you believe it’s been that long since I took my first steps toward surgery? I sure I can’t. The messages of support and love have been truly overwhelming. I have found that there are people who read this blog that I never expected, and their support has been wonderful. I promise to keep all of you updated in the coming weeks about where I am in the process, and thank you all again, so very much!

Take care of each other, and say love,

Linda ❤

A woman goes to the doctor. What they tell her blows her mind!

(Didn’t that headline read like one of those Upworthy posts on Facebook that is always way less dramatic and impressive than they let on?)

But I did go to the doctor today. Two of them, in fact.

My bariatric surgeon decided that for no other reason than I’m fat that I should go to the cardiologist for a cardiac clearance. When I scheduled the appointment, it took some wiggling, but I scheduled it and Official Weigh In #5 on the same day, so I could just take a whole day off work instead of dicking around and taking off more than one. Today was the day for both appointments.

Victoria offered to take me, which I very much appreciated. We took the scenic route (on 86, which we never do) and made great time, arriving 15 minutes before I was supposed to be there. (My appointment was originally scheduled for 1pm – they called last Friday and asked if I could arrive at 12:15 for a 12:30 appointment, which was fine by me.) I went over my personal information with them, filled out an ROS (Review of Systems) sheet, and was back in a room by 12:15. A quick work up from the nurse, and Dr. Kang was in the room by 12:30. Five minutes of talking, two deep breaths and a quick listen to my heart, and he told me that while I am a moderate surgery risk (because of my weight), I have low indicators and received the “OKAY!!” to have surgery!

We were out of the office by 1:00, which gave us almost 3 hours before my next appointment, which was almost literally across the street. Victoria was starving so we got her some grub (I try not to eat on weigh in days because, well, it’s a weigh in day!), and she asked if she could go to this cute little hippie store called Grasshopper. She didn’t know how to get there, so I talked her through it. She was in the store about ten minutes, purchased a couple of tie dyes to wear to work, then asked if we could go to their other location on the West Side. So we did.  By the time we were done there, it was about 2:30, so we decided to go to the bariatrics office to see if there was any way I could be seen early.

We walked into a FULL waiting room. My hopes of getting in to see Jackie, the PA, were almost gone when a woman walked out from the back and announced that the nutrition class would be held in the conference room, and anyone here for that should follow her. The room immediately emptied out, and in under a minute, I was called back for my weigh in.

I lost 5.5 lbs since my last “official” weigh in, which are the only ones bariatrics count. The tech that worked me up told me I was doing great, as I’m now, officially, 5.5 pounds away from my pre op goal. She took my blood pressure (which was higher there than at the cardiologist – Tori took credit for that, saying it was because of her driving!), then walked us back to an exam room, where we waited just a few minutes for Jackie to come in.

Jackie is a very sweet person. I was immediately comfortable talking to her. She said she was going to take a minute to go over my chart and then we’d talk. She congratulated me on my weight loss, and told me I was doing a great job. I reminded her that I’d updated all my meds and medical history via the UPMC portal last week, so everything was up to date, and she thanked me for that. (I am the portal queen for sure!) She went through the list of all my tests and procedures and whatnot that I’d needed to get done for surgery and was very pleased that it’s all been completed. I explained to her that the only thing I didn’t have done was my three support group visits, and that they can be difficult to get to as they are only once a month, and sometimes real life (work, kids, etc) make it difficult. I told her that I’d wanted to have them all done before my six months was up, but September was very difficult – Jamestown doesn’t have a September meeting (1st Monday is Labor Day), Bradford’s meeting was tonight and I couldn’t get there in time, and there isn’t a Warren meeting this month, because the leader is out of town. I told her that I’ve become part of a network of weight loss surgery bloggers, and that I’ve gotten some valuable insight and advice from them, as most of them have already had surgery or are almost to their surgery dates (I’m so excited for you, Alexis!!!!). She said that the reason for the support group meetings is to get that support from others that I’m getting from my blogging friends, so if I don’t make it to all the meetings, that doesn’t necessarily preclude me from being approved for surgery.

Jackie told me today that at my next appointment, THEY COULD BE READY TO SUBMIT FOR APPROVAL!! I about peed my pants! I told her that Dr. Ali had initially said that my surgery would likely be in February or March. She said that they don’t often get patients with weight loss like mine, so she figured he was giving me time to reach my goal. He hadn’t expected me to get so close to soon! I was thrilled!

So now, here is the problem. I have no more v/s/p days to take. I used the last one today to go to my doctor appointments. However, if I can rustle up the money that I would have made at work for the two weeks I need off, and my boss will allow it, theoretically, I could have surgery in November! NOVEMBER! Holy crap! Jackie said I am totally ahead of schedule, and she’s really proud of me! I was beaming!

So now, I have to figure things out. I really would love to have surgery in 2015, because I’ve met my deductible. Waiting until ’16 means a whole new one, which I dread. So, now I do some math and figure out what I can do.  Jackie did tell me that once I’m approved, the approval is good for six months, so if I can’t have surgery until next year, they won’t have to resubmit, so that’s something.

If anyone has any input, or any dollars for that matter, let me know! I’m not above begging and panhandling at this point, if it saves me from another GD deductible!

Don’t worry, be happy!

Linda ❤

And September begins….

Yes, I know I said last time that I would write a blog post that following weekend, and I didn’t.

Life’s full of disappointments. But that isn’t what this blog is about at all.

I’d like to preface this blog by saying that yes, I understand that everyone is going to miss summer, but all I can say is bring on fall! Autumn is my favorite season – crisp air, falling leaves, football. I think it’s beautiful this time of years and absolutely love it. Well, if it weren’t pushing 90 every day this week I would, but soon enough, my favorite season will be upon us again.

The last time I posted, I had been at the hospital for my second sleep study.  I received the letter from the nurse at the Sleep Clinic telling me they were going to send a prescription for a CPAP machine to the local home health medical equipment joint when I walked in the door from actually picking up said machine.  The first night, the CPAP kicked my ass. I slept very little. I woke up in the morning feeling like I’d gone 10 rounds with Chuck Liddell. I had a headache, I had horrendous sinus pressure, and felt like crap. When I tried it the second night, I cranked up the humidifier on my machine and that did seem to help. According to my wristband fitness/sleep tracker, I did sleep lightly for over 6 hours, and was in a deep sleep for 20 minutes. Technically, 2 minutes less than night before, but I felt markedly better Wednesday morning than Tuesday. The old schnozz is a little ouchie yet, but I think in time, it’ll toughen up and I’ll be okay. I just really want this thing to work, and I’m willing to keep at it to make sure it does.

As of today, I’ve officially lost 27.2 lbs. I’m 8.8 lbs from my preop weight loss goal. (You can check out my “Weights and Measures” page to follow my progress.) I go back to UPMC Bariatrics on Monday the 14th, and I’d be pleased as punch if I could hit my goal at my weigh in there.  There is a HUGE part of me that would like to have my surgery this year. I’ve met my deductible for 2015, and of course, I would like to have it sooner rather than later so I won’t have to fork out ANOTHER deductible next year. But when I went to see Dr. Ali in May, he said February or March. The PROBLEM with having surgery this year is that I don’t have any more time off to take, so any time off will be unpaid. And there’s no way I can survive (as in pay my rent or utilities) if I miss 3 weeks work unpaid.  So unless someone out there wants to help a gal out, I’m probably still looking at next year, and a new deductible. *Shakes fist into the air!

I also have to go to the cardiologist on the 14th. I’m not too freaked out about it; I’m sure this all just CYA (cover your ass) territory.  That doesn’t make it suck any less.

On a completely unrelated note, my girls have got it going on!! Mariah has started grad school!!! She’s attending online classes through Clarion University to get her Masters in Library Science.  Victoria recently started a new job that she seems to enjoy (as much as any 19 year old enjoys a job), and from the feedback she’s received from staff and patients, she’s doing a great job! And Jordan started her senior year of high school yesterday. Where did the time go? I am SO  very proud of all three of my girls, and I love them very, very much!

Finally, there’s a boy in my life.  Well, not really a boy. More like a grown ass man.  He’s super sweet, and puts up with my bullshit and there’s been talk of the “f” word. Not THAT “f”word, you freaks! Future! We’ll see how all that pans out, but I am optimistic! I think he’s got real potential.

So that’s all the news that’s fit to print. I would like to take a second to thank all the wonderful people in my life for being there when I need you. My girls have been so terrific through all this, and yes, they are trying to make changes too! My Mom is a rock; always so supportive; I’ll never be able to adequately thank her. Alexis – you are amazing, and you are totally going to kick surgery’s ass in a couple of weeks. I wish I could be there to help you through it, but I’ll only be a phone call/text/email away.  And Dennis, thank you for wandering back into my life.  I look forward to everything my future brings, especially with you in it.

Be good to one another,

Linda ❤