Saturday, January 29, 2011

Gastric Mind Band insurance payment

I can't guarantee that this will work for everyone. I have CIGNA and the claim wasn't put through as an eating disorder but as regular therapy. But Cigna paid about 80% of the bill. Obviously I still had to pay for my hotel, gas, food, etc. I do have a deductible that I hadn't met yet in 2010, so if you have such a deductible, you have to pay it, and they pay 80% after the deductible. Counting the deductible, I paid about 50%.
I know insurance coverage changes slightly every January, and this information was from last year (October). And yes, it took that long to have it processed, and even though I paid the bill in full to Deb's office, Cigna paid them and I'm waiting for a refund.
If you want to go to the same excellent GMB therapist as me, her information is in my sidebar, or you can email me and I'll send it to you.

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Plastic surgery update

I thought I wrote about this already, sorry! I did go to the plastic surgeon last week (I have a suspect mole and a thing on my finger that won't heal; both need to be chopped off) and while I was there, I asked him about my arms and boobs.
Last time I saw this doctor, maybe 4 or 5 years ago, he had said he'd gladly do a "lovely" tummy tuck on me if I lost weight. But now, unfortunately, he's not doing any big surgeries anymore--only little things that can be done under local anesthesia in his office. He said he is just too old and can't physically handle doing big jobs anymore.
He did look at my problem areas. He said for my arms, it would be best to wait as long as possible. The brachioplasty COULD be done now, but he said it can only be done once. Because they'd be sewing together some fat tissue, the healing/scarring could be problematic.  If I wait until it's just skin with little or no fat, the surgeon can do a better job.
He was explaining to me how bad my boobs are (like I don't know), how long the distance is from my shoulder to my nipple, and how much overlap there is. Although I feel like I have no breast tissue left, just empty hanging balloons, the doctor said it would still be considered a breast reduction. He showed where all the cuts would be. Apparently insurance pays for breast reduction if there is more than 2-3 lbs of tissue removed (I'm not sure if that's per breast or per procedure) and he said there would be no problem getting approved, that I have plenty of poundage in my boobage (well, not in those words). But again, the longer I wait, the more weight I lose, the better it will come out.
He gave me a photocopy of the CT Plastic Surgeons page from a doctor's directory so I can make calls when I am ready.
I was hoping for more concrete guidance--along the lines of, lose 50 more pounds, or when you weigh 200 pounds. "As long as possible"  isn't exact enough for me. I guess I can set my OWN goal but for some reason I do better with externally set goals. I don't want to pay the money for a consult with another surgeon to get that goal.
(image source)(my arms are much worse, btw)

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Friday, January 21, 2011

TLC follow up

The TLC lady called me back finally and the show is Freaky Eaters. If you haven't seen it, it's people who eat only ONE thing--pizza, cheeseburgers, raw meat, french fries, coca-cola. I'm not nearly that bad.
However, if anyone reading this IS that bad, they are still casting, so send me your e-mail and I'll send you the lady's number.
I told her to keep me in mind for other shows. Who knows, it might happen?

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

HEAVY, and other weight loss reality shows

The weight loss reality show Heavy started last night on A&E and I'd really been looking forward to it. I even watched it almost live (starting around 10:15; my husband had been watching something else until then).
I watch a lot of reality shows about fat people and losing weight. All the "half ton" shows, the gastric-bypass shows. Biggest Loser, Losing it with Jillian, Celebrity Fit Club. Even though none of them offer anything but inspiration (and sometimes discouragement, especially TBL--no one at home can lose 41 lbs in a week!), I keep watching and hoping to LEARN something. In fact, I'd say that the ONLY weight loss show I've ever seen that offers helpful information is the British (BBC) offering You Are What You Eat. Gillian tells her fat people they have to exercise 30 minutes, three times a day, and gives them plastic steps and mini trampolines to accomplish that. She lists the foods and quantities they usually eat in a given week and then offers them different, healthier foods. This is something you can copy at home. It won't be perfect--you haven't got her menus or her standing over you like a tiny blond British demon--but you can EMULATE the show. No other reality weight loss show goes into any details about food, and while most of them show you plenty of sweaty obese people working out, none of the exercises are explained in any detail. You might know that on TBL, contestants eat 1200 calories a day (of what, I wonder) and women have to work out 6,000 calories a day and men 8,000. That's it, that's the only plan you have to follow. (I can hit 4,000 calories a WEEK, but I have a life.)
I was pretty excited to watch Heavy last night.  The two featured obese people were Jodi and Tom. I really related to Jodi because she's a half inch taller than me and weighed 3 pounds more than I did at my fattest.  So essentially, we're the same size. I had high hopes for the show, especially since the advertising tried to differentiate it from TBL, but it was more of the same.  Trainers standing over people making them do things while they whined and said they couldn't.  Probably not 2 minutes of the hour was about food and in no detail whatsoever--not even their expected calories per day range.  I did empathize with Jodi over not relating to her trainer, a skinny blond named something awful like Brittney or Tiffany or Ashley, but with a really horribly cutesy spelling.  I'd rather have the big guy with the huge arms--if he yelled at me to do something I'd say "yessir" and do it.  Some little blond with an 80's name?  I could sit on her and crush her.
So Heavy is more of the same, unfortunately. I'll watch it because it makes me want to work out, and because I like seeing people succeed and be happy.  But I won't learn from it.

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

2 new obesity treatments

new diet pill 2lbs/week
I've seen a few articles on new treatments for obesity. One is a pill, another is a stomach implant.
The pill, ZGN-433, supposedly causes a weight loss of 2 lbs per week without changing your diet or adding exercise. Really? Sign me up. Sign us ALL up.
(Drug company) Zafgen....announced the results of a promising human trial of a drug called ZGN-433. The double-blind placebo-controlled study found 24 obese women lost an average of 2lbs a week over one month - which is the maximum safe recommended amount. The women also reported feeling fewer hunger pangs over the 26 days. The New Scientist described the results as 'stunning' considering that the women continued to eat normally and were not given exercise advice.
Really? Have I already said REALLY? You know how they say, if it sounds too good to be true...?
The by increasing the breakdown of fat.  (Zafgen) said the pill could potentially help individuals to lose 20 to 40 per cent of their body weight over nine months.
Dr Steven Smith at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in Orlando said it was the first drug that appeared to be as effective as a gastric band.
I suppose the FDA will find some reason to block it. :(  They are going into the next phase of human trials (to determine dosage) but I couldn't find any information on where to sign up.

screenprint of original article

weight loss implant
And there is also a new kind of weight loss surgery, an implant that controls hunger. 
The latest option for ­treating obesity is an electronic implant that tricks your brain into thinking you’re full....The new treatment works by detecting when food reaches the stomach and then sending electrical signals to the brain that say the stomach is full before it actually is.
It is called the Abiliti system and it's similar to a cardiac pacemaker. It's implanted laparoscopically.
(A) small battery-powered titanium ‘pacemaker’ (is) implanted under the skin below the ribs. This device is attached to an electrode and a food detection sensor, which are placed inside the patient’s stomach....When the sensor detects any food or drink, it sends a signal to the device. This then sends electrical impulses back to the electrode in the stomach, which stimulates the vagus nerve. This controls the movement of the digestive system and the production of digestive juices. The nerve then transmits a ­signal to the area of the brain that controls appetite (the hypothalmus).
This is the normal way the stomach works, except that the implant speeds it up significantly. And it also, somehow, tracks how much and how often you eat, so that your doctor can monitor your intake (by volume and; frequency, not what you eat).
A clinical trial conducted in Germany in 2009 found patients using the system reduced their food intake by 45 per cent at each meal. Some patients have reported weight loss of half a stone a month in the first year. (7 lbs per month, so just a bit less than the drug I wrote about, above.)
Once the patient has reached a healthy BMI (18.5 to 24.9), the device can be switched off or removed.
screenprint of original
So what's the choice here?  The surgical implant is appealing because it's automatic.  I wouldn't have to remember to take a pill.  It's a one time expense (of who knows how much) and it can be turned off (like an adjustable gastric band) and I suppose if a person gains back weight, turned back on.  But it's surgery and surgery can go bad in many ways.  My mom's friend's daughter nearly DIED from her lap band, believe it or not--she was throwing up so much it eroded through her stomach and she ended up a skeleton with a feeding tube before they could fix the damage to her stomach (including, of course, removing the band).
The pills are probably cheaper, although they won't be generic for 7 years, but you have to remember to take them.  Of course most likely insurance won't pay for either one, so unless you can get into a clinical study it's out of pocket.
It's useless, I guess, to speculate until the FDA approves them both, which is probably years away, but both of them sound promising. 

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Monday, January 10, 2011

TLC picky eaters show wants Rosie!!

Every few days I check my comments. The really nasty ones (calling me a fat pig and a glutton, etc.) I don't allow through. I read all of them and 95% of them are great and helpful, even the sad ones from others trapped in the quagmire of the morbidly obese.
But on Thursday, something different came in.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "food neophobia":
I’m a producer for a hit TLC show and we’re currently looking for ADULTS who are food neophobic. If you’re interested, send an email to with your name, number, and brief description of your eating habits.
Hope to hear from you soon,
I wrote back with a brief description of my various insanities. And I sang Cartman's "I'm gonna be on television!" song from the South Park Weightgain 4000 episode. (The first one I ever saw and I nearly busted a gut laughing--I couldn't find the clip on Youtube though.)
But it's highly doubtful I'm gonna be on television.
In my other, real life, I am actually semi-famous for something that has nothing to do with being fat.  And I have been invited to do other mainstream media including a wife swap show (no, a thousand times no).  I was invited a year ago to HOST a whole SERIES (it still hasn't been on so I guess the pitch to the  network failed), and a month ago I was offered a weekly radio slot (it turned out that I'd have to PAY for the privilege so again a thousand times no).  Believe it or not, all of these offers have happened in the last 13 months.  So I'm guessing eventually, for my weight or my ocd/eating disorder or my other specialty, I'll end up on some show. But I honestly don't feel in my heart that THIS is the one.  But you never know, right?
A longtime dear reader posted a link on my Facebook page to a blog post from someone who was also invited onto a TLC reality show and had a pretty bad experience, and it ended up that the show was not as pitched, but she didn't actually appear on it.  That makes me hesitant too.  
And I'm scared of aversion therapy and being forced to eat fish and vomiting and having a breakdown on camera.  (Which would be great TV for everyone but me!)

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Tuesday, January 04, 2011

clothes shopping

I was insistent on waiting for the 100 lb mark for getting new clothes but my mom (who was buying) didn't want to wait. My ankle got sprained 2 weeks ago and it's still not at 100% but we went shopping today anyway.
It was nice to figure out I can get into a smaller pants size--I fit into 18/20 now instead of 26/28. I found so many really nice shirts. My mom was trying to get me into an 18/20 shirt which is stupid with my boobs. My BODY fit into a 22/24 shirt but my upper arms don't, and that was my fear. They really aren't shrinking at all. So I am just going to keep my larger size shirts since my arms fit. No new shirts (3 pairs of pants--black jeans and 2 pairs of regular plain black pants).
Then we headed to another store. I didn't like any of their shirts but they were having a bra sale. The sales woman was SO kind and helpful. She lost 85 lbs and knows what it's like to have long boobs and not know what size to wear. I literally tried on EVERY style in the store, in 2-3 sizes each, trying to find something that worked. I was in the dressing room over an hour. She'd come in, look at how the bra fit, and run out for a different size or style depending on where and how the bra didn't fit. The band was often too big. The cup shaped wrong. Boobs hanging out the bottom, shoved into my armpits, pushed up into the middle. We finally found two that kind of fit and between those two I picked the most comfortable. Not an ideal solution--there's a huge gap between my front shoulder and the bra strap--but better than the too-big ones I'm wearing now that literally keep coming unhooked.
I'd like a few new shirts, but if I have to buy a 3 or 4X still what's the point? I'll just keep wearing my old ones.

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