Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Preparing for the surgery

I let this blog go fallow because the time seemed better spent on other things, given how pretty well the only people who read the blog were people I knew in realspace who already knew most of what I would write here. That hasn't changed, so I don't know why I'm writing again, or whether I will continue. But I don't want this post to be entirely meta; I can write another time about what I wish I could get out of the blog vs. what I did get. If I think I can get what I want from that conversation. (Didn't I just say I was trying not to be too meta?)

Instead, the news for today is that Cigna has finally been persuaded to authorize the MGB surgery about which I have written so much, and furthermore, High Point has also been convinced to put us on the schedule. So on February 12th, we'll both be getting the surgery. Travel arrangements have been made, time off scheduled, airplane tickets purchased, etc.

I think all the preparations have completely failed to really make it sink in yet, what's going on, what's going to change. I know everything that's supposed to happen but so far, it still feels like something I'm writing down, which might be about a character in a story I'm writing. The whole detachment in my head is, as it always ends up being, that I haven't quite attached all that stuff I know intellectually to myself.

The one bit that is sunk in is the diet I'm on now. When I started this at 487 pounds I was told, and read in High Point's patient manual, that 450 pounds was the required size for them to be able to complete the procedure, and for many months I held fast to that. I told my dietitian that, I wrote about it on my blog, and I held it in mind as my target. Cigna's requirement was only 462 (5% off) but I congratulated myself to think I could do that and push on to past 450, and indeed, I got down into the 430s. Was feeling pretty proud of myself and confident about being well under High Point's requirement. They said "keep it up, get as close to 400 as you can" and I took that as general: always better to get lower, sure, but I'm still well within the requirement. Then when it was time to get scheduled, they dropped a bombshell on me: they were unwilling to put me on the schedule, for fear I might not be able to get my weight down far enough in time. And here I'd been thinking I already had done that months before and everything after was (pardon the inappropriate idiom) icing on the cake!

There's no sense dissecting precisely how this communication gap occurred (though after this is all done I might ask them to read their own patient manual). Instead, I'm doing what has to be done. I've more than doubled my exercise: from two 10-minute sessions a day with occasionally a third, to three 20-minute sessions a day, on the recumbent bike, without fail. I'm sore all over, my knee hurts, my back hurts, and I am not sleeping as well, but I can live with that for a month. Also, after a few brief experiments, I'm on the Atkins induction diet. Occasionally having a craving for a cookie, but it's nothing I can't easily fend off. I can put up with anything for a month, and if that's what it takes to make this happen, it'll be well worth it.

Truth is, I could probably make it without going to these lengths. But I want to be sure. If I took a less aggressive diet for two weeks and it wasn't getting me there in time, it might be too late to use a more aggressive diet to get there. So I'm starting out aggressive now, and if I get there at 395, that's just as well.

It's hard to overestimate how much of my life this will change. It's hard even to speak about it without sounding like an overused cliché, like one of a million commercials telling you how a new brand of dish soap will change your life. Compared to a change like that for a whole lifetime, what's one month of being tired and sore and cookieless?