Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Beginning of Beekcake Powder

February 15, 2010

Today I had an appointment at Dr. Ganta’s office. I had a nutrition and exercise consultation with Emily and Pamela. Emily explained what I would be able to eat after the surgery as well as the two week pre-operative diet. The pre-op diet consists of a high protein, low carbohydrate diet which is meant to reduce the fat on my liver. This makes it easier for the surgeon since he has to pick up the liver to get to the stomach. My post-operative diet is liquid for the first two weeks after surgery, then pureed foods for weeks 3-4. Then, after that, soft foods for a while. And finally, real food again.

I learned that protein is a very important part of the diet of a Lap Band patient. Since Lap Band patients eat such small meals, they aren't always able to get all of the protein that their body needs. Therefore, they drink protein shakes; or as I call them - beefcake shakes (it's from an episode of South Park). I told Emily that I called it beefcake powder and she absolutely loved it. (Now I am known around the office as the beefcake powder girl.)

I also met with Pamela, a gastric bypass patient of Dr. Ganta’s. She also did my exercise consultation. She had surgery about 18 months ago. She weighed about what I weigh now and is now a size 10. She looks awesome. And she had the surgery when she was 60 years old! She was very nice and offered to exercise with me if I ever need a buddy for motivation. It was nice that she did the exercise consultation because she has been in my shoes and understands what is it like to be my size.

They also offered me a lovely discount if I decided to self-pay. I planned to use insurance, believing that my insurance would cover the procedure in September, but I decided to call ERS (Employees Retirement System) and Blue Cross Blue Shield to make sure the surgery would be covered in September. I didn’t get the answer I wanted. Someone at ERS told me that the Legislature had passed a bill last session that allowed ERS to research the idea of finding a way to cover weight loss surgery in a cost-effective way. They expect to have the results of the research in September, then they would present the results to the Legislature next year when they meet. When the Legislature meets around this time next year, there is no guarantee that they will approve the coverage. Last month we got an email about how the state is experiencing a $148 million shortfall for employee healthcare. They were talking about raising co-pays and deductibles and things of that nature. I think that if they are that short, there is no way in hell they will approve weight loss surgery for state employees. And even if they did decide to cover it, it probably wouldn’t be available until September 2011 at the earliest. So, that’s how I came to the decision to pay for the surgery out of pocket and accept their lovely discount.


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