Thursday, October 6, 2016

Health Update

Yesterday was a blur of hospital appointments.

Couple of issues going on. I was trying to deal with them one at a time, but it appears that is just not how it's going to be.

First of all, I had a mammogram. A little over a year ago my routine mammogram revealed spots on my left breast. Probably benign, but warranting follow up. Three mammograms later, and they're telling me it's still "probably" benign. Apparently they standard of care is to follow up with repeated mammograms for two years. If there is no change within two years, then it's considered safe and I go back to routine yearly mammograms. Obviously if there is change, then we start a whole new ball game.

Secondly, I've been having gastrointestinal issues for quite a long time now. Months. Started out as occasional nausea, then more frequent, some bowel issues, heartburn... you name it and it's gastro, I had it. I treated with various over the counter meds. I tried cutting out different foods. The meds helped ease the problems somewhat, but nothing really seemed to really help. Over the past few months it has become more and more frequent, and more severe, until now I'm sick every single day, and the past few days the nausea in my stomach has turned into a dull ache in my abdomen. As in, painful. I finally gave in and saw my doctor.

My gastrointerologist couldn't see me until November, so I went to see my family doctor. He's not sure what's going on, but he's leaning toward the problem being my gall bladder. I have a CT and bloodwork scheduled for next week, a follow up appointment with him in a month, and a referral to my GI after all. He also gave me a prescription to help with the symptoms to take as needed, and I have to say I do think they are working. So that's a positive, I guess.

And then there's my metabolic disorder and related weight issues. It's been roughly a year since I had to discontinue my endocrine meds. I did meet with a couple of doctors, including the surgeon about the the surgery my endocrinologist wants me to have. Unfortunately, my insurance company won't cover it, period. You see, it's a bariatric surgery. Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy, also known as VSG or Gastric Sleeve.

Briefly, the reason my endocrinologist recommends this procedure is a little backwards from the usual reason, and is the reason it has to be this bariatric procedure, as opposed to others. You see, the part of the stomach that is removed during the surgery is the part of the stomach that creates some of the hormones and other chemicals that are out of whack for me. It is for this reason that this is the optimal choice for me.

In fact, in what was for me a surprising additional confirmation for me to have this procedure, at my yearly gynecological visit earlier this year, my gynecologist also recommended the procedure, having no knowledge that another specialist had already done so. The reason? Well, my weight for starters. But... he specifically noted that because of the change in hormones induced by the VSG, there's a good chance it would also help improve some of my gynecological issues as well.

My husband is on board. The more I learn about the procedure the more I'm convinced it is the best choice for my long term health. Unfortunately my insurance company seems to disagree. So... we're waiting for some financial items to fall in line, and hopefully we'll be able to proceed early next year.

In the meantime, I now weigh more than I have ever weighed in my entire life, and am bigger than I have ever been. In fact, even though I know expecting a big result is futile, I've started utilizing meal replacement shakes just to keep my waistline from growing further, mostly because I can't afford to expand my wardrobe again. It's depressing, I hate the way I look. But I keep trying to look to the light at the end of the tunnel and know that a year from now my weight, and more importantly my health, should be much improved.

So, that's about it health wise. Seems like there's a lot going and nothing going on all at once.

How are all of you doing?


S said...

Dealing with health issues is no fun. I hope you are back to feeling healthy and good about yourself soon.

Melissa said...

Sorry to hear you're having to deal with health issues, and the stupid ins company on top of it.
I don't know why they denied covering your surgery, but it might help to appeal the decision.
I know a couple of people who used to work for ins agencies approving/denying payments. They didn't know jack about medical issues, they just followed codes or whatever.
I believe when you appeal it actually goes to a medical supervisor or some such.
Try googling, I've always heard they will deny most surgeries to start with. Especially if they are elective.
Good luck. Hope things work out and you get to feeling better soon.

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