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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Correction

My bad! Here's the rundown -- it's not 6 in one year -- it's 6 over the course of 23 years! I was looking at the "Date Retrieved" column, not the "Date Field"

1982 (1)
2003 (2)
2004 (2)
2004 (1)

I have a friend in the legal field doing some footwork for me today -- so far she's not found more than I have. I hope it stays that way.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Investigative Reporting

Okay, so I have some issues of concern which are going to require some investigative research. A few entries back, I rant about our online supprot group moderator. I shared my frustration with her lack of details and innuendo which has left pre-op support group members wondering if our doctor of choice is the "wolf in sheep's clothing" she keeps referring to.

I used Lexis/Nexis, a leagal research system available to anyone online, and ir found 6 malpractice suits, in 2006, against my surgeon. Of course I know we live in a letiginous state; people sue for everything. This doctor has such an awesome reputation that I'd hate to fall into believing there is anything substatial.

So, now at least I have the docket numbers. I guess a trip to public records is in order. I messaged the moderator and asked her if I was on the right track, and she could only respond "I think so" and "there is more".

I hate that she's making me question my surgeon at this point in the game, but I have to do the due diligence. I have to.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Starting Month 6

Yesterday I had my appointment with my PCP, and so it marks the start of my 6th month on my medically supervised diet.

I verified that my papers were submitted to BCBS of TX on the 18th; no word yet -- just have to wait.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Vermont Addresses Obesity...

Nice to see that ieven if the Federal Government is not taking a stance on Obesity, that the local state governments are.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

September 24, 2006
By JAMES TASSE,

Director of the Rutland Area Physical Activity Coalition.

Imagine if a third of the population of the U.S. had a life-threatening infectious disease. The government would be looking for evidence of a terrorist plot. It would be perceived as a crisis of epidemic proportions.

Well, that's the situation with obesity right now. Thirty percent of Americans are obese — not overweight, but obese — right now. These individuals are facing substantially elevated risk of premature death due to chronic health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Vermont is doing better than the national average, with only about 20 percent of the adult population classified as obese. However, the Vermont Department of Health reports that 56 percent of Vermonters are overweight, a condition which also carries significantly elevated risks.

The epidemic is costly not only to the quality of life enjoyed by Vermonters but to our wallets as well. According to statistics from the VDH, obesity costs the state more than $141 million. Each person in the state of Vermont pays out about $228 to cover the costs of obesity, whether or not they are obese.

The VDH has developed a plan to fight the obesity epidemic by helping Vermonters make better lifestyle choices and by encouraging folks to increase physical activity and improve their diets. The Fit and Healthy Vermonters Obesity Prevention Plan is a multi-pronged attack on the problem that seeks to achieve the following goals:

  • Reduce the prevalence of chronic diseases associated with those who are overweight and obesity
  • Reduce the proportion of Vermonters who are above a healthy weight
  • Increase fruit and vegetable consumption
  • Reduce portion sizes
  • Reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Increase physical activity
  • Decrease sedentary behaviors
  • Increase breastfeeding initiation, exclusivity and duration

The plan encourages communities to adopt a variety of tactics to pursue these goals, including doing things like building sidewalks, walking trails and bike lanes, coordinating activity programs and working to educate the public on the need to change behaviors and diet choices.

The Department of Health is launching a series of forums around the state to inform people about the Obesity Prevention plan. The goal of the forums is to bring people up to date on current initiatives to fight obesity in their areas and to mobilize new community-based efforts to achieve these goals.

One such forum is happening on Oct. 10 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Rutland Regional Medical Center Conference Room. To learn about other forums around the state, contact the Obesity Prevention Plan Coordinator, Susan Coburn, at 951-5151.

While we're putting dates on the calendar, you might also mark Oct. 4, which is International Walk to School Day. This is a great opportunity to encourage your kids to get to school under their own power and to help them develop the habits to keep them immune from the obesity epidemic.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Like Opening a Can of Worms

Now I know from those who have gone before me and have had weight loss surgery that this is going to be one heck of a ride emotionally. I'm a firm believer with dealing with things and moving on, so I really wasn't prepared for some of the emotional eruptions I have faced thus far.

That being said, I always, always, always have to say my peace, piece, peas... whatever. :)

I am sure like many others in my situation, I have spent the majority of my adult-life working extra-hard so as to convince others that my weight doesn't bother me; that I know who I am and it doesn't make me less of a person. I try to be confident, and am told I come off so, but never have I felt comfortable in my body. Everyday there is something to deal with -- even if it is just a dismissive glance from a stranger.

I've done things that people at healthy weights wouldn't consider doing. I love cycling and I enjoyed pushing my body, as I did with the triathlon... I even loved taking tap dance classes. I love doing these things, but it also sent the message that I don't fit the stereotype of being fat, dumb and lazy.

It is a fact that my weight is a long-time source of misery for me, despite any contrary behavior I may have exhibited over time. Is being skinny going to cure all of my life's problems? Hell no! But it will give me peace with this one area of my life I have not been able to conquer on my own.

While on vacation I had a breakdown of sorts. We had a busy entertainment itinerary for the kids, including Sea World, Wild Rivers, LegoLand... you get the picture.

Wild Rivers happens to be a water park. I have never, ever, ever, ever been to a water park -- and there's a reason for that. I don't feel like sharing my pannus with the rest of the world. At 240 lbs, I might have... but I would have had to think about it long and hard (I even had a hard time with cycling shorts then), but at 288 -- no freakin' way. It took me all summer to find a swimsuit that hid enough, but didn't leaving me look like Omar the tent maker made me a moo-moo swimsuit.

To make a long story short, it was terrible experience at first. After about 4 hours, I eventually I got to the point where I felt comfortable, noticing there were other sizable folks there. It just seemed like everything we did on that trip magnified my weight issues. I had problems keeping up physically as we walked around the amusement parks, I couldn't fit on rides with my daughter and then the whole swimsuit-in-public thing just ate my heart and soul.

I was miserable and it showed.

As if my misery wasn't enough, my Sister created challenges, making it difficult to deal with her inconsideration and overall lack of communication/planning

I was so miserable that it came to a head after my Sister left, and my Mother persuaded me to talk. I finally told her about the surgery. She was supportive, and just wants me to be happy with myself. I was a little surprised because I wasn't sure how she was going to take it.

My Sister on the other hand didn't quite get it. She thought my misery took root in some childhood resentment of her. This doesn't surprise me that she'd think it was her -- that's to be expected. She said she was confused and that since I never showed my insecurities before that she didn't think they existed. She was basically challenging how I felt telling me my problem was otherwise.

She said some other things which I took issue with simply because it proved to me:
  1. How little really know one another.
  2. She will always think it is about her... she's the "pleaser" in the family when something is wrong, she thinks she has to fix it.
  3. She didn't even try to understand one thing I wrote

She went as far as to tell me that for the sake of my daughter I should deal with my issues so that I can live my life without misery.

Thanks for pointing that out Sis, because I didn't know that I was unhappy. She has quite the knack for pointing out the obvious.

My daughter is precisely the reason my eyes were opened and changed my heart towards weight loss surgery. I know this is the one area of my life I need help in conquering, and I thank God that there is a way to get help -- I will never take this journey (the good, bad and ugly) for granted. Every single minute of panic, happiness, sadness, grieving, elation, etc is a learning experience.

That being said though, I thought the really emotional part would be after! LOL

After I got home from vacation I wrote a letter to her and I copied my Mom on it, because there were some things in it I couldn't articulate to her directly. 2 weeks later my Sister wrote back with her half-hearted attempt, making me wonder why she even bothered.

I wrote her for one last time on this subject, and decided that was it. Just let things be. We'll just have to agree to disagree on this, because she'll always see the root of the problem as something it is not.

It's starting already though -- I'm changing my role in their lives, and they don't know how to cope. I'm no longer keeping my feelings wrapped up nicely in a little box, tucked away in the corner of my brain, and pretending that I'm okay with my body anymore. I'm letting it all out. They can, as my friend says, "be part of my team" or they can warm the bench.

No one is going to stop me from making me the best I can be.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Prayers for our Pin-up Girl!

Oh my goodness! I'm so excited for Danyele. Today is her re-birth -- she's having her surgery.

Watch out world, here comes one hot Pin-up girly-girl!

By the time you see this blog Danyele, you'll be home recovering. It might get challenging at times, but keep focused on your end result and how good you'll feel later.

Truth be told, you strike me as a pin-up girl already!

Positive thoughts are of you today! I look forward to seeing an * by your name again!

*hugs*
Donna

Saturday, September 16, 2006

And We're Off!

Well, I finally made it to the point in my journey where I actually got to meet my surgeon one-on-one. I was surprised to find I had 2 messages from his office when I returned from vacation, because I thought we weren't going to submit to my insurance and just wait until January when I'm on my husband's policy.

My H. Pylori test was negative -- one less thing to worry about. Dr. Naaman was exactly as I expected him to be. He was friendly, professional and forthright. His office staff was accommodating, and seemed to genuinely care about getting me approved and to my end result.
So in less than a week (as of today) the surgeon's office will submit to insurance. I'm fairly certain I will be denied, but it's a step in the right direction. Denied only because I haven't completely satisfied BCBS of Texas' pre-op requirements. But, you never know, someone might look at my 5 years STRAIGHT worth of Weight Watchers books and say, "yes".

A girl can dream, right? LOL

To change the subject, I'm a little troubled. Not enough to change surgeons, but troubled nonetheless about some unexplained innuendo and overall change of heart by our online support group's moderator with regard to my surgeon of choice.

See, the support group moderator was the director of the Bariatric program at the hospital I will have my surgery done at. For whatever reason, she was very troubled at work with ethical issues and stress. Ultimately she had to leave.

Everyone knows that this woman's passion is fighting the cause against Obesity -- so when she announced she was taking a job at a posh advertising agency, we knew something was up.

She says she's taking the high road, and wants to remain professional, yet now she is making off-color, negative comments that implicate that there is more to the problem than meets the eye at the hospital. She's even said to beware of wolve's in sheep's clothing. Enough to make one nervous to say the least.

She's made a 180 degree change in supporting Dr. Naaman -- Dr. Naaman was always regarded as a highly skilled surgeon on the boards, but she's totally changed her opinion -- even eluded to the fact that we should check the courthouse for litigation suits against him. "Do your homework" If she really cared and he really was involved in some serious, why won't she tell us? Especially if life-decisions are at stake.

It is so bothersome that she obviously knows something terrible-- but she won't say what it is. She says little things here and there, but never explains it all. It's so frustrating.

Another member of the group posted, mirroring how I felt. I took the opportunity to respond as well, however my post was banned.

I've certainly upset her by my response, and I've written her directly as well -- to date, I've received no response. I wanted to be direct, but also honest and forthright. I'm really not trying to be accusatory, but this is my life at stake!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

My Heritage...

In the words of Ellen, this "freaked my freak!" LOL Thanks Dagny and Shel for sharing!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Back to the Grind

Well, it's back to the grind for me today. We returned home from sunny, beautiful California on Sunday -- thank goodness we had Monday's holiay to recouperate. I still need more time; I am simply exhausted.

We did the pool, Wild Rivers, SeaWorld and Legoland. We also visited a friend's restaurant which just opened in May out in Oceanside.

I didn't bring much home with me, except for a case of sun poisioning -- ouch!

Much to my surprise, when I did get home, I had a message from my Surgeon's office. They want me to come in for my initial exam! They're going to try to submit based on what Dr. W has documented so far. I'm not hopeless, but I can't say I'm hopeful. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas is pretty stringent with their requirements.

More later.