Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Bariatrics, Part 8: SVs and NSVs

Today is the three-month anniversary of my surgery, and this morning, I weighed in at 254 even. As has become my custom, I asked Kevin to document the landmark last night because I was wearing something new and looked pretty good in it. While I've "only" lost 3.8 pounds since my two-month surgiversary (or bandiversary, as they call it on OH), our time frame ran from December 10 through January 9.

The loss was in spite of a lot of very naughty food -- probably not the best descriptor for food; food is morally neutral -- lying around the house and the office. Let's start here at home, for instance. We're talking about 4 batches of homemade candy (3 of truffles, 1 of maple fudge), most of which was given away, but all of which I sampled liberally. We're also talking about 5 batches of homemade cookies, some of which were given away. And that doesn't count the cookies and fruitcake my mom sent. And speaking of fruitcake, there was that fruitcake from Gethsemani Farms that the good brothers of the Abbey of Gethsemani make and sell. Now to be fair to me, I'm not a fruitcake eater (sorry, Mama). But I did eat some of the rum cake I baked for Kevin right after Thanksgiving and tried a muffin or two of the five batches I made for Grandfriends Day at Indian Creek, Madeline's school. I also made (and sampled) a chocolate Chambord cheesecake for Christmas Eve dinner dessert. Speaking of Christmas Eve dinner, there were those two rib roasts. Plenty of leftovers there. I also went to several parties, including a half-dozen retirement parties at the office. (Federal employees seem to like retiring at the end of the year.)

The thing that made this year different, though, was that I was able not to overdo it. The band is my friend in that respect. As long as you don't eat around the band by sending a steady stream of nibbles down the hatch, it helps you stay in control because you can't eat much at any given time. So ... yes, I partied a lot, but it was a meatball here and a chicken wing there, not overflowing plates full of food. At work, I used parties as an opportunity not to buy lunch, since most were scheduled for early afternoon. Probably added a whole $20 to my Christmas budget that way, but saved a lot of calories. I also kept up the exercise. Losing weight during the holidays? Priceless! Now, back on the wagon.

Here's the NSV: My big pants are now so big that I can no longer wear them comfortably. They gap at the waist. They drag the floor even with a belt. I can pull them down without unbuttoning or unzipping them. They have now been relegated to the guest bedroom closet to await their new owners.

I have a nice wardrobe in my current size. Unfortunately, it consists of spring and summer clothes. Back in 2000 and 2001, I was a patient in the George Washington University Weight Management Program. (This, by the way, is a great non-surgical weight loss program. Expensive? Yes. Covered by insurance? Not at the time, but this was during the Great Tech Bubble when Kevin worked in the private sector.) Horrified at the thought of being desperate enough to have an operation to lose weight, I enrolled after the first time a doctor suggested surgery to me. And I lost down to 257 pounds. I hit my low weight in the summer and bought a bunch of clothes for my then-job as an attorney in private practice. I still have them. I am hoping they don't look too ridiculous by the time I can wear them. On the other hand, a couple of the smaller outfits that don't quite fit yet are dressy suits, suitable (yes, that's a pun) for church or dinner in a very nice restaurant. A good thing, too, because my niece is getting married in April.

So I let myself go shopping for some bridge clothes. Despite the fact that I was surrounded by signage that said, "Up to 80% Off," I bought one outfit. At home, where I work 3 days a week,I can live in sweats and shorts for a few more weeks. I'm only in town on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Some winter things still fit well enough to wear awhile longer. The outfit I bought is washable. I won't go naked. (I wouldn't do that to people anyway.)

The really cool thing about the outfit, though, is my non-scale victory this week. Before October 9th, I wore a 28 at Lane Bryant, where I have purchased a goodly portion of my wardrobe for a few years. (I'm such a good customer, in fact, that I have their platinum card.) These pants, also from Lane Bryant, are a size 24! And they have a young, hip, skinny cut, too! Wouldn't have done that 60 pounds ago.

I love the picture. I can really tell I'm losing weight now, and when I wore the outfit to work, everyone else could tell. I must have answered the question, "Are you losing weight?" a good twenty times yesterday. I can also really tell in this picture how much I look like my siblings. With a fatter face, that was hard to tell. I blew the picture up to 400% and realized, "Omigosh, I look like a cross between Mike and Patsy!"

Enough about me. Here's a news item I saw today that's relevant to this post. Apparently, the Aussies are considering expanding coverage of lap-band surgery for the morbidly obese to include preventive surgery. Quite a concept there. Here, many health insurance providers cover it for the morbidly obese (body mass index of 40 or more, which usually translates to about 100 extra pounds), provided the insured has one or more co-morbidities (e.g., Type 2 Diabetes, Hypertension, etc.) and provides some kind of proof that she has been unable to lose a significant amount of weight by diet and exercise. I had to provide a big pile of paper to GEHA. (Not as much as I had to give to China for an adoption, though.) Even then, people get turned down.

The Aussie proposal sounds radical, but the bill for my surgery will come to about $22,000. That's cheaper than replacing both of my knees. Now, the old knees may make it until I'm eligible for Medicare. The surgery was probably cheaper than buying me several years worth of diabetes meds and disease management services, too.

To be sure, the Aussies have a single-payer system (i.e., national health care). But even in our patchwork system, the payer would realize a long-term savings by doing this, not to mention the benefits that would accrue to the patient. It's a darned shame most payers here are too blinded by the need to turn a profit each quarter to see the benefits down the road. It could be done here, too. Is it likely to happen? No.

P.S. If you're getting this on a feed, please forgive the duplicate. I am learning to fool Blogger. My dear friend Lorrie, whose closets definitely look better than mine, has now taught me how to fool Blogger into letting me skip a line. It was ignoring my paragraph breaks when I included a picture. I am certain that this is a bug and not a feature in the new release of Blogger.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Looking GOOD girl!

Yes, New Blogger is driving me wild with the small font and the paragraph breaks. I will explain how to make it do paragraphs to you in a private email.