“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear” – Nelson Mandela

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Every time I look at my countdown I get excited and then my stomach turns in anticipation of certain things. It’s similar to the feeling you get before you ride a new roller coaster for the first time, your excited and terrified all at the same time. I got a letter from Cigna yesterday saying they received my surgeons request, and they now need my file to determine the necessity of an inpatient procedure. Now we wait (some more).

The closer I get the harder the fear kicks in, and the harder it is to put it to the back of my mind. To everyone I have not seen lately I am sorry but my anxiety surrounding this procedure has caused my social anxiety to kick into overdrive. Not to mention that I am having some body image issues which have made it all but impossible to get into the studio and dance. It’s strange to not have body issues your whole life, then all of a sudden be afraid of mirrors but it seems like since I have made the decision to go under the knife mirrors have not been my friend. I have become painfully aware of how much larger I am than the rest of my fellow dancers and instead of coming out of class feeling alive, I would just leave wanting to cry after an hour of being able to see them and myself in the same reflection. I am hoping this is something that will fade soon because I miss my Vertical Fusion family more than words can express.

Last night I joined a Facebook support group for Gastric Bypass patients. It will be nice to have a community of people whom have been through this process to seek advice from since I don’t know anyone who has had a bariatric procedure.  My surgeon offers them but they are during the week days when I can’t make it.

One of the things I have been most afraid of is what will happen to all my beautiful ink if I ended up reaching my goal of a 150 pound loss? None of the bloggers I follow are heavily tattooed and large portions of my body are covered. Luckily a number of people in this group are heavily tattooed as well and they all said they didn’t notice any change in their tattoo’s. Luckily for me I don’t have them any place where they might have to cut into them if I end up needing any skin removed.

Just the tip of the tattoo ice berg.

Just the tip of the tattoo ice berg.

In the thought that things are more frightening in the dark, I am going to shine some light on my fears in the hopes that seeing them written will help me deal with them. Here goes nothing.

1. The procedure and hospital stay- This is probably the thing that gives me the greatest anxiety. I hate needles (ironic I know considering the photo above but tattoo’s aren’t the same as an injection or IV). Anesthesia makes me very nauseated so I am afraid of how much it’s going to hurt if I have to vomit. Vicodin, Percocet, Dilaudid all make me vomit so there is a great chance that Morphine will too. Not to mention how little I am looking forward to having a catheter.

2. The financial piece of it – $500 is due to the surgeon the morning of the procedure (which I have now met my deductible so I don’t know if I will have to pay this or not). I was always under the impression that as long as you had insurance that you paid your co-pay  then the hospital, and doctors etc. submit the bill to your insurance company and then you are sent a bill for whatever Cigna won’t cover. The last time I was at my pulmonologist his receptionist was talking about how her daughter had to go to the hospital for something that she had to pay everything in full out of pocket and then was reimbursed for what the insurance company would cover. I hope this isn’t the case for inpatient surgery. I have never been admitted to a hospital so I have no clue how any of this works. Also I was under the impression that our insurance company had a max out of pocket expense of $2000 for the year for in network treatment. Today while I was on Cigna’s website I didn’t see the information about max out of pocket expense like I did when I was previously on there. I have been planing this whole time not to have more than a $1,200 expense since I have already paid $898 out of pocket so far this year (I have sent an email to my HR lady to see what she has to say about these two things). Not to mention all the vitamins, protein product etc that you have to buy.

3. What if I hate what I look like after – I know this is a strange thought for most considering the body image issues I mentioned above but I don’t hate the way I look now (as long as I don’t try and do stripper pushup in a mirror). In fact the only thing I really don’t like about my body are my arms and my trunk (the section starting above your ass and ending below your boobs) and my arms. I think I have a beautiful face, a killer rack, and a nice ass and legs. I just want to be smaller. It’s hard for me to imagine what I might look like at a size 8/10 because the last time I can remember even being around that size was in 6th grade when I was 12/14. This is a horribly bitch thing to say but I have seen people who look really scary after WLS (cough cough Star Jones granted she must have had some work done to her face because she doesn’t looks so bug eyed anymore for a while I thought she looked more beautiful pre-op) and the last thing I want is to feel worse clothed at 150 pounds, than I did doing burlesque at 300 pounds. It has been a relief to see a bunch of before and after pics in the support group because I haven’t really seen many (aside from the blogs I follow).

4. Failing – What if I go through all this and I never see Onderland (A weight under 200 pounds)?

5. Losing way too much hair – I have had my hair thin out before so much to the point that my hair dress was like “dude why is your hair falling out” at the time I had no clue that my thyroid was out of whack and perhaps during that period it was really out of whack (it’s always off on my blood work but not enough to medicate me for it). I know that there is nothing you can really do about your hair falling out after surgery I just hope I don’t end up with a bald spot.

Well that’s it for now, apparently I am long winded because I hit a thousand words easily. I really appreciate everyone who takes the time to stop by and read my posts, and everyone who has expressed their support thus far. It really means a lot to me.

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8 thoughts on ““I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear” – Nelson Mandela

  1. Wow, Desi. You have a big day ahead of you. You’ve read my blog about having an abdominoplasty and the emotional roller coaster it was for me. Please reach out if you need to talk. I’m glad you joined a specific support group. This is another important step to getting the life you want.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Viv. Once I have my post op class and I find out what I can eat I may call upon your awesome meal planning skills to help me create some tasty stuff to get me through the liquid and soft food phase.

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      • Absolutely. It is a huge decision. Your changing the anatomy of your body and how it processes and absorbs food and nutrients. The closer I got to my surgery the more I was nervous about my decision. I’m 7 months out and have no regrets. The first week or so will be hard, but once you adjust the new way of eating will be second nature to you.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Those are all very valid fears.

    I will say when I went to the hospital for my pre-op appointment is when I was given the total that I would owe them. They expect payment up front, but I didn’t have all $1,200 at the time. I had $800 left on my flex spending account and they took that. I received a bill for the remaining $432 about a week ago. I really hope for your sake that your plan does have an out of pocket max. I owe my surgeon and the anesthesiologist nothing, thanks to my out of pocket max.

    If your insurance Plan covers Nascobal, you should do it. Nascobal is a nasal spray B12, and the manufacturer has a deal where you can get it, your multivitamins, calcium, and iron, all for only $25.00 a month. It’s a great deal! I only had to pay the first month, since now all of my out of pocket expenses are covered.

    Lastly, I have found a great deal of support on the BariatricPal.com forums. There are people from all stages of the bariatric journey on there and I have been able to ask any questions I might have and get a ton of great information! If you join, add me as a friend: BariatricCeliac.

    Much love and peace to you, my RNY friend. I know exactly what you’re going through right now.

    Liked by 1 person

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