Summer Catch-Up

Well, here it is, 3 months after my previous blog post.  It’s been a pretty busy summer around here.  We didn’t have any exciting week-long vacations or anything like that.  Hell, the kids have barely gotten off electronics enough to notice its only a couple weeks away from school starting again.  But I’ve sure stayed busy.

Once I was released to go about my normal activities after my big surgery, I found plenty to do.  Most of it just little stuff, day to day.  Hanging out with friends, going swimming with the kids, going for rides with my man.  I got a job delivering pizzas for Pizza Hut, so I’ve been doing that for a few weeks now in the evenings.  My boss and co-workers are pretty cool about taking it easy on me so I can sit when I need to, to rest my back and my hips.  Its definitely a blessing.

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Andy and I in the front, right, riding the Monster at Adventureland.

We had all the my boys’ birthday parties here at our home.  Andy’s was in May, Evan’s was in July, and Cory’s was this month, in August.  All went well, and smoothly.  For all of them I invited friends and family and grilled burgers and hot dogs out on our deck.  Then we had cake and ice cream, and did the gift giving thing.  I think for the most-part the boys got what they wanted.  Andy’s big present this year was one of the new 3DSs.  Evan’s was a trip to Adventureland.  And Cory’s was a new tablet for gaming.  Photos for all of the birthdays, and everything else I’ve done all summer (and all future activities) can be found on my Instagram.  I update there quite frequently.

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Jake and I at the Freedom Rally, 2017

Jake and I went to the Freedom Rally in Algona, IA in June/July.  It was my first time at any big rally, and I must say it was not at all what I expected.  It was a really chill atmosphere.  Everyone was happy and easy-going for the most part.  We had a really good time.  Good food, good music, and a great weekend of camping.  I look forward to going with him again next year!

Still to come, I’m hoping still to take the whole family camping, maybe next week, if even for only one night.  I have a weekend planned for HearthsOPhyre in Conesville, IA during the last weekend in September.  Its similar to Burning Man, only on a smaller scale and local.  Also, I scored us some Hollywood Undead concert tickets for October, and I’m looking forward to seeing Highly Suspect again in November, as they have become my favorite band.

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Not exactly the results I had in mind from my Panniculectomy. (4 months post-op)

On the health and wellness front: I’ve applied for disability since the outlook on my hip dysplasia is chronic worsening pain for at least another 20 years until they are so arthritic they need surgically replaced.  In the meanwhile I’ve had physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around my hips to better cope with the deterioration process.  I’ve been told since my hips are bad in the way that they are, my other joints will likely have similar problems as I age, and I’ve already starting having shoulder and knee pain.  So I’ve had physical therapy twice a week for the hips starting just recently, and physical therapy for my upper back, shoulders and neck for 6 weeks prior.  That is for insurance purposes to get me qualified for the breast reduction.  Which has been officially scheduled for September 1st!!  3 weeks from tomorrow I will be having the breast reduction to a C-cup, and the surgeon will also be doing a “scar revision” to take off some of the loose skin that was missed when I had my Panniculectomy, and straighten out my belly button.  I’m not too nervous about the belly area because I know what to expect, but I’m extremely nervous about having the breast work done because it such a delicate area.  I want it to be perfect, symmetrical, and I want to keep sensation to the area.  I worry too much about things anyway, but I really want this to be done well.  I have a different and more experienced surgeon this time, so I have higher hopes for a much better outcome.  I would post pics, but that could get my blog in trouble for mature content.  I’ll try to post reasonable, censored before photos on my Instagram before the surgery.

So that’s the update and what’s to come!  I know some of you have been bugging me for an update, so there it is!  Sorry it’s taken me so long to get some time to sit down and type it out.  I know I will have plenty of time to type in September, as I have to take pretty much the entire month off for recovery.  So I’ll seeya then!

How Do You Get Skin Removal Surgery?

So I have had several people ask me “how do I go about getting that surgery?”  So I’ll tell you what I did, and what the requirements are for most insurance companies (in the USA, anyway).

First of all, my weight had been an issue for years.  Ever since I had children, my metabolism was slow and I could never seem to take off any weight.  Admittedly, I was rather lazy and made poor food choices as well.  So after a few years of my family doctor telling me I needed to lose weight, and me genuinely wanting to but never making progress, she referred me to a nutritionist.  However, insurance didn’t cover a nutritionist.  So I was sent to Surgical Associates in Grinnell, IA.  That clinic specializes in bariatric/weight loss surgery, such as the gastric sleeve and gastric bypass surgeries.  I wasn’t really interested in such a surgery, but decided if I couldn’t lose the weight with proper nutritional counseling, it may be something I would consider.

At Surgical Associates, there is this amazing nutritionist/nurse Stef Noun.  She is the most upbeat, amazing weight loss cheerleader I have ever met.  She was always so inspiring to me, and every visit I had with her made me that much more motivated to take off the weight.  And since she was so encouraging, I never wanted to disappoint her.  She taught me how to eat properly, for nutrition rather than just for pleasure.  She taught me that I shouldn’t deprive myself of what I want, but I should use strict moderation.  She helped me cut out soda, limit carbs, focus more on protein, and really set me on the right path for my nutrition.  She also encouraged me to be more active, and always wanted to know my plans for diet and exercise at every visit, which was once per month.  At those visits she also documented any issues I was having with my sagging fat and skin, such as rashes, headaches, back aches, and things such as those.

For most insurance companies, all it takes is 6-7 months of regular documentation of following nutritionist instructions and proving you can change your lifestyle (losing at least a little weight) to be accepted for bariatric surgery.  I went ahead and submitted to insurance my request for the bariatric sleeve.  I was approved.  I refused the surgery because I thought I was doing pretty well without it.  And within a few months I had lost too much weight to qualify anymore.  I was able to use Stef’s tips and encouragement to lose the weight myself.  I know that is not possible for everyone, and that is why there are programs such as theirs.  My story just happens to be that I was able to lose it on my own.

Now, when it comes to the skin removal surgeries, most insurance only covers the Panniculectomy and Breast Reduction.  The Panniculectomy is the removal of the pannus, or the skin beneath your belly button that hangs over your pubic bone and hip area.  It does not include the repair of any muscle splitting from childbirth or obesity.  In order to have either of those skin surgeries, you need to have a steady weight for at least 6 months, and 6-12 months of documented health concerns directly related to the sagging skin, such as rashes or skin infections.  Once you have met those requirements, you’re eligible.

If any other skin removal surgery is desired, such as arms, thighs, back, buttocks… that’s up to you to pay for out-of-pocket.

And for those of you curious, I have state insurance – Medicaid, and it payed 100% for my Panniculectomy.  I plan on having the breast reduction as well sometime in the next 6-12 months.

Disclaimer: this was MY experience.  I’m sure insurance requirements and coverage can change at any given time.  So be sure to check with your healthcare providers and insurance companies for the up-to-date requirements and coverage.