Life before the WLS

I thought I had better write about my issues prior to having Vertical Gasrectomy weight loss surgery.

In 2003 I was at my heaviest of 392 pounds. I normally don't have a problem with my weight, but I started to grow concerned. I decided to diet, I had never wanted to diet but decided I better. I went on the Atkins low/no carb diet. Over the course of 8 months I lost 71 pounds. I was feeling better than 392 but still not right. Then I had an oppurtunity to move with the company and moved to Redding, CA. I could never get back on track, over I would say 3-5 months I gained 30ish pounds back.

Then July of 2004 I was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy/congestive heart failure (CHF). I went on speacial care and meds. Did okay under care but never again was I 100%. I was fatigued a lot and my back and knees were killing me. Of course joints hurting was nothing compared to cardiomyopothy and CHF.

Then May 2005 I had a serious heart problem. Wound up in the hospital for 5 weeks. See August 7, 2005 blog entry for more details.

Lets list problems associated to weight.

Joints hurting and deteriorating
Major Heart issues - Cardiomyopothy and Congestive Heart Failure
Sleep Apnea
Always Fatigued
Kids embarrassed with size of Dad
Had to buy special clothes (5XL in shirts, 50+ in pants)
Well that is life before WLS. We will see what happens over the next few months.

1 week to check-in for WLS

Good afternoon:

I have one week left before I check myself in at CPMC in SF. My weight has been flucuating by 3-5 pounds over the course of the last 3 or so days. I feel good other than all the medication I am on for my heart.

Today I read that a SF Forty Niner player died after there game. He was only 23 years old. Cause yet to be determined, I hope this guy was not on drugs. If he was not and it was due to being over weight and has sleep apnia it will be a shame.

Received an email from Barbara Metcalf at PacLap and she asked if I wanted to go public with my issues. I told her if the WLS surgery helps my heart like we hope then heck yes. This is a serious problem, young people are dying for no appearent reason. Well it is due to a problem they have had for years. It is called morbide obesity and sleep apna.

My journey will begin in one week I am excited, yet nervous inside. I think I have everything in order/ready.

I look forward to writing about my journey and who knows maybe I will be a spokesman for something. Stranger things have happened.

Take care and look forward to writing soon.

12 Days to WLS

Good morning:

I am 12 days away from having Vertical Gastrectomy (VG). I have to go do preop stuff 8 days from now. I am anxious to get this done, but not so anxious about the preop stuff my cardiologist wants to do.

I am back to work and hanging in there, I get real tired by the end of the day.

I switched our cell phone service from Nextel to Cingular. That is new since last writing.

I will try to give updates from the hospital using my Blackberry. I want to try to keep my feelings and emotions in check and be able to recount my experiences during this new life changing event.

Take care.
WLS and Update

Were do I begin since my last Blog.

February 28, 2005 was my last day at Ch2m Hill. I went on to work for myself with one main contract in hand for NSI.

Things were going good and looking up as far as financial stability was going. The one thing that happened that was not good was I had to drop the family for medical insurance. I keep on with COBRA from Ch2m Hill.


May 3, 2005 - As I was typing an email to a client, I broke out in a cold clammy wet sweat from head to toe. At that time I thought I had to go to the bathroom so I did and nothing but I felt really bad. So I got up and then went by the fan and told myself just laydown for a minute or two and cool off. As I did that my chest started hurting. That is when I knew something was wrong. I was able to get up and grab my keys and head out for the house (stupid thing to do). I bearly made it to the house when I told my wife something is wrong and to get me to the hospital. She wanted to call 911 but I told her to drive me to Mercy hospital. I arrived there at 11ish am and told the clerk I think I am having a heart attack. She told me to sign in about the time she looked up and saw me she said, wait come right back. She took my blood pressure and her eyes went wide and rushed me to the ER. That is when all the fun began, they did all kinds of things to me and stabilized me. My cardiologist Dr. Mendelhson had an ECG done on me before he got there. They decided to admit me and when I got up stairs to a room my cardiologist came in to talk to me. He basically told me that he would not be able to continue care for me.That my heart condition has deterated tremendously. My Ejection Fraction was 10-15% and 2 months prior was at 30-35%. He began to talk to me about seeing a specialist that deals in this kind of thing. I recall him saying transplant facility once but just thought it was a place that works on rehabilitating the heart. So Tammy and I said yes lets make the arraingement to go. I told him to talk to them and I would drive down in a day or two. Well that is not what he had in mind. At 7 pm that night I was life lighted down to San Francisco and taken to California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC).

At 7 pm I was loaded up and flown to SF and arrived in the hospital shortly after 9 pm. I was alone but in good hands. The nurses that flown down with me were extremely nice and supportive. Tammy was unable to fly down with me because of the kids. She inturn made arrangements for the kids and drive down the next day. My Dad and Uncle B drove down the next day as well.

So for the next 5 weeks I was in CPMC undergoing all kinds of test and evaluations. During the first 2 weeks I was in CCU. They had Swan Gans in me and IV's and checking my numbers every two hours. I saw probably 10 different doctors during this time. They decided I needed to be worked up for a heart translant. They wanted to prepare incase I needed to get on the transplant list. So for two weeks I was being told I was going to in for a long haul and would be on a transplant list. I finally had a break down about 1 1/2 weeks into my visit. I called Tammy and told her that I need to have someone down here with me at all times. Tammy was back and forth during this time. The doctors were just throwing stuff at me to fast. I need a representive with me. So between Tammy and my Dad I had someone with me for the next couple of weeks. Finally I had to say slow down people and let's discuss medications before putting me on a heart transplant list. So we started a vigours medication regimate. Over the next 2-3 weeks I started walking 30 minutes on the treadmill. I met with the mechanical heart doctor and he said your records don't match the way you look. He actually asked me what I wanted to do, I told him since we do not really know what had caused the heart to grow week and the best idea was the weight and sleep apna I have had all these years that was it. I told the doctor why can't we look at having Weight Loss Surgery (WLS). He agreed and so began that process.

My cardiologist called Pacific Laparoscopy to come speak to me. They send over a PA to show me the different surgery's. Then Dr. Robert Rabkin came over to meet with me. He then had his brother Dr. John Rabkin come in and speak to me and talk to me about what they recommended for me. They want to do Vertical Gastrectomy (VS) see attached photo showing my surgery. I agreed and they started the approval process with Blue Shield. During this time they sent Barbara Metcalf a very nice person. She was so happy for me and looking forward to seeing my progress.

As you can imagine Blue Shield denied my life giving surgery. So down and out I told the cardiologist unless were doing some thing else it was time for me to leave. I would fight the insurance from home and not the hospital. They finally released me on June 7, 2005, just in time to see my daughter graduate from 8th grade the next night.

That brings us to the end of June. I filled an appeal with Blue Shield and for 30-days I called the case manager every day or every other day checking in and telling her this is a medical need. Then on July 22, 2005 I received a call from Blue Shield and I just knew they were denying me again. Well the call was a great one...

I WAS APPROVED!!!!!!! (July 22, 2005 letter says)

I went back to work with Ch2m Hill on July 25, 2005. I have done pretty well so far. I have VS surgery on August 30, 2005 down in SF at CPMC. I have to go in on the 29th to have some precautionary measures down before the surgery the next day.

For the next 3 weeks I will be working, yet taking it easy. I can not have any issues before then. Let me list a couple of Newsgroups that I have been turned on to.

Pacific Laparoscopy -

VS newsgroup -

Some statistics before surgery. I am 35 yrs old, I am 6'1" and weight 320 Ibs, BMI 43.3.

That will be it for now. I may or may not be back until after my surgery. Then I plan on keeping my Blog up-to-date with my progress.

Have a great week.