Today I am sharing the process I went through to get my gastric sleeve surgery. First let me tell you that I am thrilled, ecstatic, and pleased with the results of the VSG (vertical sleeve gastrectomy) surgery. I have lost a total of seventy-five pounds. Wow!
In the United States, the laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy surgery is covered by most insurances these days.
However, most insurance companies run the applicants through the ringer to get the surgery covered financially. The approval process involves, a referral from a doctor, proof of co-morbidities, mental health interviews, dietician counseling, weight loss prior to surgery, cardiology consults and a stress test (if warranted), attending group sessions to learn and discuss the process from pre-operative checklists to surgery, to post-surgical recovery. And life after surgery in terms of what to expect with food, exercise, and relationships.Then you have to wait for the surgery date to be assigned.
There are many good reasons to have the requirements in place to keep people safe. Risk factors that relate to poor outcomes of any surgery are much higher in morbidly obese people. Obviously, the doctor, the patient, and the hospital want the surgery to be successful. The insurance companies want to know that the money is being spent on a good investment. In America, everyone wants everyone to be informed about the risks and consequences of purchasing a service. I get it!
Most applicants for this surgery are obese, or morbidly obese. The term “morbidly obese” has some pretty negative undertones. The definition of the term is “a chronic condition…describing people whose BMI (body mass index) is over 40, or 35 to 40 with significant co-morbidities. Co-morbidities are the medical/health conditions that are caused by or contributing to other chronic conditions a person may be experiencing. These chronic conditions can include, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, chronic pain, stroke, COPD, anxiety and depression, arthritis, or asthma.
In many cases, losing a significant amount of weight can reverse or eliminate many chronic health issues. Sometimes our genetics play a role in our health that cannot be changed. For example, age, sex, and race can’t be changed.
I have wanted to get the gastric sleeve surgery for a number of years. In the past, my insurance provider didn’t cover gastric sleeve. I have participated in Weight Watchers at least 20 times in my life. I have tried exercise, mental health counseling, diets off the internet. I have taken Phentermine. I have lost weight with all of these methods. Great right?
Well for me, and perhaps many of you, losing weight isn’t a problem. Sustaining weight loss over the long haul is the problem. Many variables exist in the equation that keeps us fat. I decided that something in that equations had to change. I can’t change my age, sex, race, genetics. I can’t change my family history. I am not going to exercise like a maniac anymore. I am not going to starve myself. I m not going to change my occupation. I am not getting any younger. My back isn’t going to fix itself.
So I decided after 40 years of being overweight, obese, and then morbidly obese, I was going to get the VSG in Mexico. (post to be continued)