I'm With The (Lap) Band

Friday, August 27, 2004

My little ol' heart....

Got GREAT news from Dr. Bavikati regarding all of those heart tests.

She called while I was out this evening to let me know that my tests revealed no threat of cardiac disease at all. She said that the tests show that I have less than 1% chance of having a heart attack at this point in life and that I should have no cardiac problems during surgery.

Makes me feel so good!!!

Matters of the Heart

Thursday and Friday of this week I got to go through the Nuclear Stress Test to determine if my heart was "up to" surgery.

What an experience! I was on a two day protocol, so it was two mornings of getting up and going in to be a human pincushion!

Wednesday, I was not allowed to have any caffeine, decaf or chocolate. Chocolate was easy - not having my Diet Coke was not so swift! But I made it.

Thursday, I had an 8 am appointment. I got there and they had to put an IV line in and then hook me up to all of the electrodes. Then I had to get on a treadmill and walk uphill to get my heart rate up to 156. I made it to 145 before I just couldn't go any more.

Since I couldn't hit the target, they had to give me this medicine that simulates a fast heart rate. Let me tell you, it is the weirdest thing to be sitting still and begin getting dizzy, getting short of breath and having your heart pump and chest tighten. As promised, though, 30 seconds after they stopped putting the medicine in, the effects stopped. (It was a 4 minute test.)

Two minutes into that 4 minute test, they injected the nuclear isotopes into my blood. Those, I never felt.

After that, I had to get dressed and go have a fatty meal. Gotta love a doctor who prescribes a milkshake with your meal! I went out and had a Sonic burger and shake - and then took a nap in my car.

I had to be back at 10:45 for the Machine. The Machine consists of a table that is literally about a foot wide - so you feel like you are laying on one of those gymnastic balance beams. You have to lay on this thing for 15 minutes - completely still - with your arms above your head. All the while you are laying still, this apparatus is closing in on you, taking pictures of your heart. (The isotopes help them see the walls of the heart by bouncing around in the chambers and help give the definition that the Machine needs...or at least that's the way I understood it.)

I finished up around 11:45 for the day and went to work.

This morning, my appointment was at 9 am and when I tried to leave the apartment at 8:30, I couldn't find my keys. Major panic - and finally, gave up and called my brother who just happened to be working at a hospital in Plano today. (He had confiscated our extra set of keys a few weeks ago and hadn't brought them back...) So, he left the job site to come pick me up - took me to Steak N Shake, since I had to have one of those prescribed milkshakes again and didn't have a way to go get them, and took me to the HeartPlace.

Today, I didn't have to do the treadmill test. I just had to have the IV threaded - which was a major task - and then the isotopes put in. It took at least 7 sticks in these veins for them to get a good one. Amazingly, none of them bruised. Then, it was out to eat my burger and drink my shake. That waiting room was soooo cold, I finally asked for a blanket - since I had to be out there for an hour and 45 minutes before I could be put on The Machine. I fell asleep and woke up to Brian's call telling me he was through with the job and would come pick me up. It was perfect timing - he had time to get there and eat his lunch in his van while I was on The Machine.

I got to work about 1 pm today...now just to wait for the results. I'm sure they are ok...

Thursday, August 26, 2004

MAJOR Frustration

Somedays I wish for the days of college when we would all go outside during exam time and just have "primal scream time" when we would yell at the top of our lungs just to get some of the stress off of our backs!!

I called the insurance company again today and they said that they still hadn't received a letter from my surgeon!

So, I called the surgeon's office and sure enough - that person temporarily in charge of insurance (thankfully, they have a new one now) was still going on the "you need a drug screen." UGH! I explained to them two weeks ago that the "Drug screen" just needed to be a part of the psych eval stating I was not alcoholic or addicted to drugs. They have now faxed my letter to the insurance company - so hopefully, we'll have an OK by this time next week - and then maybe a surgery date by the end of September. IF I'm lucky.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Yay hooray!!

Alek got a job!! He started yesterday and is really enjoying it! It's so good to see him smiling again.

He's working at CompuCom in Dallas - near Forest and 75 - so we'll most likely start looking for a house closer in to Dallas and not try to go to Fort Worth. His commute would be just too much on the trains and busses.

All that time we've been looking at houses over there in HEB and Ft. Worth - and being upset about not being able to afford them - we're lucky we aren't going over there! I would still like to be closer to Brian and Donna and Matthew, but we may be where we are supposed to be for now. (I've always been a believer in the philosophy that God has 3 answers to questions - Yes, No and "Not right now".) Maybe getting a house for us is in that "not right now" category.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Another Day...A Better Feeling

Just spoke with the office manager - Nancy - at Dr. J's office. Feel MUCH better about everything. I just had to make sure we were all on the same page now.

Now, I just need to write a letter to my insurance people so I will be able to let them know how I feel about the whole process. (The Insurance rep suggested this.)

Monday, August 16, 2004

Insurance Requirements...yet again.

I'm a bit frustrated with the surgeon's office. They seem to have lost an insurance person and I'm not sure the new person konws what needs to be done for the letter of medical necessity! Ugh!

I was NOT happy with her on Friday. What she got out of the conversation with the Insurance Co was that I had to spend 6 more months being on a diet from my doc's office and I had to have a drug test to show I'm not addicted to cocaine or any other illegal drugs. When I called to question the insurance company, they told me that the letter from the surgeon (for medical necessity) had to indicate that a doctor had been monitoring my weight for more than 6 months and that my psych eval had to indicate that I had no documented drug or alcohol addictions. What a difference!!

I'm trying to get all of my records faxed to the surgeon's office so I can talk to them again tomorrow - and hopefully get this started again.

Now that I know that my insurance company will only take up to 5 days to get an answer out to us, I know that the ball was dropped elsewhere and hopefully we can get it rolling in the right direction now.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

My Endocrinologist...

I went to see Dr. Lahkian today. She had asked me once before if I had ever thought about WLS - but I had only heard of the bypass and was - and still am - against it for me. I thought she'd be happy about the Lap Band...but she could only give me the negatives and failure rates associated with it.

I know I need to hear what could happen - both good and bad - but I thought she'd be more supportive. I still love her! She's one of the best docs I have ever had.

I was not happy with my blood sugar count - when I went in last week it was up to 126. I've been taking the glucophage for over a year now, and it just seems like my blood sugar just goes up and up. I was happy to hear that when I have the surgery, I will be getting off the medication on the day of surgery - then we'll see where I am in December.

If I never have to buy another one of those bottles of pills again, I'll be happy!

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Wow....never thought I'd say THAT!

Was chatting with a dear old friend today about the band. She had the RNY Bypass a few years ago, so she understands some of the "insurance anticipation" feelings I'm having - along with some of the thoughts of "I'll never really be able to eat this or that again."

In our discussion, I came to the realization that I honestly don't care if I never get to eat a ribeye steak after getting my band - and if rice is something I can't tolerate, then so be it! I just want to be healthier and happier!!

Monday, August 09, 2004

This Roller Coaster I'm On....Or Back to the Banding

It's been a week or so since my last confession.....oops, wrong spot.

The last week or so has been a big period of ups and downs in this journey - mostly dealing with Insurance and who covers what - and what all they require in order TO cover it. Ugh! I just want it to be done.

I had to cancel my Nuclear Stress Test last week and have it rescheduled for the 18th and 19th of this month. I'm hoping that the insurance company will come through for me before then - and then when we get the stress test results back to Dr. Jay, we'll be able to set a surgery date - which I'm hoping will be September 20th.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

More on Sabine

They aren't sure exactly what caused her to get sick - but feel like it was a bacterial infection of some sort. They scared me when they threw out the "Parvo" word on Saturday, but they were able to rule that out. Thank God! (Evidently they can still get it even when they have had all of their vaccines.) Dr. Carver told me that we did the right thing, though, in bringing her in when we did 'cause he was able to catch it early and keep her from going through a really rough time.

When I went to pick her up yesterday, she literally leapt up in my arms and gave me a good five minutes of kisses. She was still kind of tuckered out - but you could tell she was so glad to be back home. She'd go from my lap in the recliner to her favorite place laying on the back of the couch with her nose poked through the blinds.

I was able to sleep last night knowing that she was back there with us.