Choosing a surgeon

This is part four of my weight loss surgery story. I thought I’d continue the story for those of you who are curious about the rest of my journey leading up to the actual surgery.

If you haven’t read parts 1, 2, or 3 you can click on the links to catch up.

So, I left off with the interaction with the surgeon’s office that made my blood boil. What was I going to do? I was wondering if maybe this was a sign that I shouldn’t be pursuing the surgery at all.

Thankfully, I have some great friends who encouraged me to not give up after the first try and find another surgeon.  And, I’m lucky enough to know someone in the same city as me who had recently had surgery and loved her surgeon.

So, I quickly booked an appointment with his office.  It was like night and day. The staff was very friendly and welcoming. They didn’t make me feel like I was an idiot. They answered my questions (and then some) and gave me plenty of information to help me make decisions.

Dr. Williams was the antithesis of the other surgeon. He was soft-spoken, kind and considerate.  He asked me questions to be certain I knew what I was getting myself into but I never felt uncomfortable.  He answered my questions and told me what my next steps were – which were few because I’d done a lot of my homework with the insurance company and I was prepared with the information they needed.

Fortunately, I have an insurance plan that covers obesity-related surgeries and the requirements are tied to BMI (body/mass index) and co-morbidities.  Some insurance plans (such as mine) require a certain BMI (i.e. 40 and higher) to qualify for weight loss surgery, or a lower BMI with co-morbidities (such as diabetes, sleep apnea, asthma, etc.) 

If you are considering having weight-loss surgery, you should check with your insurance company to see what their requirements are and what they cover before you spend any time (and money) seeing a surgeon. Many insurance companies require other things – such as counseling, nutritional coaching, x-number of months of physician-supervised weight loss attempts, etc. It’s good to have all the details straight from your provider before you even visit a doctor. Then, you are prepared and can tell them what you need them to do to help you achieve the goals you have.

For me, I had both a high BMI (over 40) and co-morbidities, so my qualification was very quick and painless.  The surgeon’s office handled all the paperwork and I had already gotten a letter from my primary care physician which stated his recommendation for the surgery. This was not required, but I think it helped move things along.

So, then I was prepared to wait – wait until all of the paperwork was through and I could be scheduled by the surgeon’s team.

Imagine my surprise when I received a call the weekend of Big Girl’s birthday (less than a week after my initial visit to Dr. Williams’ office)

His scheduler informed me that they had an opening the following Thursday and was I ready to get scheduled for surgery?

After picking myself up off the ground – was this really happening!?! – I asked if there was any way we could push things out at least a week so that I could make plans for my children and work obligations.  Before I hung up the phone, I had my surgery date – February 25, 2010.

Exactly two weeks away.

Well, it was now or never. The wheels were in motion and I was on my way.

Next installment – Surgery Day.

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