Friday, January 28, 2011


Puttering around before my new job starts on Tuesday, I'm getting some calls made and trying to get over a cold that decided to appear at the eleventh hour. Imagine my shock when someone from the surgical center calls today and tells me that our health insurance actually has provisions to cover panniculectomy and abdominoplasty, or, the procedures that may help to modify my appearance and make me more comfortable.

is a procedure designed to remove fatty tissue and excess skin, or panniculus, from the lower to middle portions of the abdomen.
Abdominoplasty is a procedure involving the removal of excess abdominal skin and fat with or without tightening lax anterior abdominal wall muscles and with or without repositioning or reconstruction of the navel.

Thought I'd throw the definitions in there.

The insurance company wants weight to be stable for six months, BMI to be in the 30 range, bariatric post-op patients to be at least 18 months out, and for there to be other documented issues such as skin issues, interference with daily activities and where the skin hangs. (This last may require a photo taken by the doctor's office. Whoopee!) Liposuction is considered cosmetic, but then, so is removal of the skin so that the patient's back doesn't hurt.

I can't take time off to get anything medical done until my new job is over, and I am deeply skeptical of anything being easy, so until then I will remain...cautiously hopeful.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

"Heavy", etc.

I found a temp job through tax season helping a local CPA, which I'm very grateful for; it will get me off unemployment for a couple of months and possibly allow me to learn Quickbooks. I start next week. It's the only call I've had an interview since November. I would also like to go visit my grandmother for a few days when the job ends.

I was watching the most recent episode of "Heavy" on A&E yesterday and it made me think, mostly for navel-gazing reasons. Bariatric surgery is never, ever mentioned on this show; I am wondering if they are trying to keep it out of the equation altogether because of its controversial nature--there are still so many people who think "it's the easy way out" or "it's not the right way to do things". (These same people don't seem to get that those who have bariatric surgery have to make all the same lifestyle changes and stick to them or they don't lose weight and keep it off, either. Part of me doesn't want to delete this blog just because I get so sick of these and other similar biases.

The two episodes of "Heavy" I've seen have both focused on two subjects per episode--one man and one woman. The woman in the most recent episode started out at about my beginning weight, but our body types were completely different. They cleared her to have the surgery for excess skin removal after she lost 50 pounds. Mr. Salted was watching with me, and I said, "See? It's the same as me!" She looked absolutely awesome afterward. At the end of her six months, she was about fifteen or so pounds more than I am now, but she looked fantastic and planned to join the police academy. I wondered if she looked so much better because of the body type difference (she is more of a pear where I am more of an apple)--or she could have been taller than I am, too. I have to have long shirts to cover my stomach, which always carries the danger of looking sloppy--it makes it really hard to find a decent blazer and look presentable for a job interview, and for any other occasion where I have to dress up in general.

So far, I'm still liking this show. It shows the real struggle: the pain people are in, the trying to relearn how to eat, how those around you can sabotage you, how you can sabotage yourself.

(An aside: during the holiday season this year, it was as though almost everyone we knew completely forgot about my dietary restrictions--we even had people mail us baked goods as gifts. Only two people, both women who have always been supportive, said, "I didn't offer you guys any of my cookies because I know you don't want them in the house," for which I thanked them profusely. For everyone else, it was as though the surgery and the struggle was just over and done with. I was more disappointed than angry. People just don't get it.)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Plans re: plastic surgery

I wasn't real clear on how I planned to proceed when it came to the plastic surgery. I'm going to get a medical necessity letter from both the surgical center and my primary care physician. The surgeon said the best-case scenario is that insurance may (very big may) pay for a tuck/skin removal of the lower abdomen, but not the upper abdomen. If the two are done separately--and they can be--that would require two procedures and could result in more scarring, weird skin lumps and bumps, etc. There are worse things; (a) I'm not a model, and (b) if I can get insurance to pay for any of this, of course, that's the route I will take because it makes the most sense financially. I hate to think of incurring more debt. However, if we end up having to private pay the $9K, it would eliminate the hospital stay and include the liposuction, body sculpting, etc. (Mr. Salted's reaction almost made me weep. I said "nine thousand" and he didn't even blink. "We can do that," he said. "We'll find a way. It's like a car loan. We knew this would happen. You're worth it, you know." ??????)

I know insurance will cover the breast reduction--I have all that documentation--and I can take care of that at some point when this is all done. The stomach is bothering me a lot more.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Interesting day

This morning, I interviewed for the aforementioned temporary receptionist job. I think the interview went well, but I've had interviews go well and haven't gotten the job before. It's not my dream job, but I could definitely do it for a couple of months, which is how long the assignment would last. It's more money than unemployment, and I could go back on unemployment when it ended if I hadn't found something else by then.

This afternoon, I had my plastic surgery consultation. It occurred to me that there was a striking similarity between the two experiences: both required me to be naked (literally or figuratively) in front of a stranger who had something I need. I can't say I liked the feeling either time; and frankly, I think the plastic surgery consultation made me more nervous than the interview, maybe because it required actual physical nudity. The surgeon is from the same center that did my bariatric procedure.

It's a good thing I'm so dissociated from my body. I didn't get drawn on with a Sharpie--I guess they only do that on TV--but there was some of "if we do this, then this will be gone" while he lifted things and looked at things. "Wow, you will love it when this is gone," he said, "you won't believe how much it will improve your mobility." We talked about recovery times and insurance and what if they pay for this and not that. He commended me for my progress thus far and was very upbeat and positive. He only handles the stomach stuff--someone else would have to do the breast reduction. He said he could remove five liters from my abdominal area. Five liters as in two two-liter bottles of soda and then a one-liter bottle and what that would weigh. Insert gasp here. Private pay including liposuction and body sculpting mojo with upper and lower abdomen included: $9,000.


But it would be so amazing to not have that appendage hanging off the front of me that ruins the way I look.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


I am almost afraid to say it...but I think I'm off it! I saw 202 the other day, which is the lowest weight I've seen yet. I'm waiting, with bated breath, to see a number that starts with 1.

I've been trying to remember when I last saw a number that started with 1. I thought my age also started with 1 the last time I saw a number on the scale that started with 1, but I was wrong. I remember weighing 186 when I was 23 and was maid of honor in my friend's wedding. I remember this (for some stupid reason) because we were the same weight at the time. 23 years old--that's almost TWENTY years ago.

I read somewhere that people who lose a lot of weight tend to experience some of the same emotional stuff they experienced when they were that weight previously. It makes me wonder. I have been in such a funk. Unemployment doesn't help. I've sent out at least fifty resumes. In response, I've had one rejection letter. Yesterday I got excited because I got a callback, but it was just a screening call--they'll call me back if they want an interview. And this is for a temporary receptionist job. Sigh. The holidays were a total loss because I had an epic migraine and was sick for a week and then Mr. Salted was sick and he's still trying to shake whatever it was, and I'm just getting over another migraine.

My first winter quarter class starts tonight--last week's was pushed back a week due to snow. Hopefully being back in class will make me feel less like a waste of space.

"Heavy"--new show on A&E

I watched this with some trepidation and was pleasantly surprised by what I saw. I had to watch, wanting to see how the issue was handled.

There are going to be people who watch it and freak out: "How did they let themselves get so big?" and "Oh my God, fat people are just so disgusting." That's par for the course. I thought the show was quite good, better than I expected (the first episode aired last night). Both people were likable--they had their issues and owned them; they were shown struggling but making progress, falling and getting back up again.

I'm sure this show, like "Intervention" (I am a fan of that show as well), will be good sometimes and not as good other times. You simply root for some people more than others. I actually liked the trainers on this show, which was a surprise. They were real, but compassionate. It was nice to see a buffed-out trainer offering his shoulder to a man over 600 pounds who couldn't walk for more than half an hour at a time; to the camera later, buffed-out trainer remarked, "Imagine if you had to walk up a hill with a refrigerator on your back; that's what this guy has to do every day." Not all personal trainers are meant to work with obese people, obviously, and this show found two that are. (The one I had certainly wasn't! I had to laugh; the female subject of this first "Heavy" episode said, "No fat person wants to work with a personal trainer who has never been fat." Preach it, sister!) The trainers were full of praise for a job well done; they knew how to motivate and really took the time to get to know the people as individuals.

The premise of the show is to follow the people for six months. The first thirty days, the folks go to a facility where they are monitored and trained and isolated from everything. The next five months, they go home and take the tools that they use. If they gain weight, they go back to the facility.

A nutritionist went to the store with them and taught them how to shop. They dealt with things in their personal lives; one gal asked her mother to move out of her house, and how to deal with unsupportive people was addressed.

I will be interested to see how this show progresses and is received.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Once upon a time...

...I used to write in this blog. I knew it had been a while, but somehow three months went by.

I'm still going to school, and I was let go from my job at They imposed a production quota, I couldn't make it. Neither could a whole bunch of other people. Whatever. The whole experience was a big letdown, even for a job I knew was temporary.

I didn't disappear from Blog World because I've been slacking off--quite the opposite. I'm plugging away at the swimming and the protein and the rest of it, all the bloodwork numbers are improving, I'm becoming more toned, my sizes are getting smaller (albeit at a glacial pace), and...I'm not losing any weight. This plateau has lasted many, many months. The nurse-practitioner who I see for the Berkeley Heart Labs has me on phentermine (they took phen-fen off the market, removed the bad fen, kept the good fen, what does it spell? PHENtermine!) temporarily to get me off the plateau. I've been on it a month. Not losing. Grrrrrr.

I went to a neurologist about my migraines and he has me off caffeine and aspartame and on magnesium and Topamax, which has improved them quite a bit.

I am seeing a plastic surgeon for a free consultation in a couple of weeks. Though my two-year surgiversary isn't until August of 2011, I know I will have to fight insurance for months and why not lay the groundwork now while I have all this free time? (I would get a tummy tuck tomorrow if I could get it paid for.)

I'm trying to decide whether to delete this blog or not. I still might. I don't feel like I have much to say anymore.

About Me

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Seattle, WA, United States
This blog focuses largely on a personal journey to and through weight-loss surgery. It's also about reading, writing, animals, photography, love, humor, music, thinking out loud, and memes. In other
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