I want to offer a special thanks to Christina
DeSantis. Here is her story:
Hi everyone! I'm
Christina DeSantis. I am 30 years old and am from Indianapolis,
Indiana. I have never been married and I have no children. I had a
Lap RNY surgery October 25, 2005. Here is my story as it occurred…
Then and NOW!!!
Currently I am 323
pounds. I have been overweight since the 1st grade. I remember lying
about my weight in 4th grade or so when we had to put it on an "all
about me" sheet. I put down 71 pounds when really I was 93. Pretty
sad that at that age I was already lying about my weight.
I started to become
interested in bariatric surgery when I learned about Al Roker having
weight loss surgery. At the time I was about 245 pounds and didn't
have any major health concerns. Since gaining almost 80 additional
pounds, I now have the following:
High blood pressure
Sleep apnea (setting 10)
Heavy periods and cramps
Irritable bowel syndrome
Restless leg syndrome
Currently I take
the following medications:
Needless to say this
is too much for a 29-year old to have wrong with her!
I finally decided in
2002 that I wanted the surgery. After applying for coverage, I was
denied due to the insurance not covering the surgery for anyone even
if it was "medically necessary."
In 2003 I tried again
to get approved when I switched jobs and got new insurance. They
were self-insured and turned it down as fast as it hit the finance
Then I got angry. I
took it to the HR department, who advised me to put together a
report of why I felt I needed the surgery. They made me gather a
collection of notes from all of my physicians explaining why they
believed that I needed the surgery. Additionally, I had to show
proof that I had tried a medically supervised program for 18 months.
After all that when I turned it in, in 6 months I still hadn't heard
anything. By this time it was late 2004. I kept after them to give
me an answer every week. They would tell me that the medical board
for work was going to meet and discuss me but as of May 2005 when I
quit that job, believe it or not, I still had no answer from them.
My new hope began in
May of 2005. I began working for Charter One Bank in their Business
Banking division. Their insurance is with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue
Shield of Rhode Island. I decided to wait until August to turn in my
request for the surgery yet again because I wanted to get some time
under my belt at the new job. I turned in my request for surgery on
August 18th. Three days later I had in my hands an approval letter!
I only have to pay my deductible which is $300.00 out of pocket and
then they pay 100 percent!
My surgery is
scheduled for October 25, 2005.
Best of luck to all
of you reading this that haven't been approved yet. I'm proof that
even after more than 3 years of denial, there is still a chance for
approval and a chance to change your life.
I am looking forward
to this journey, getting off my medications and living life again.
Just in time too, because a few weeks ago work sent me to
Pennsylvania for training and for the first time I had to ask for a
seat belt extension. That was so humiliating and made me realize
that I've defiantly made the right choice for me. I need this
surgery to live a healthy life and to live longer. I want to be able
to have children some day and I want to be able to do whatever I
want to do and be healthy doing it.
My life has totally changed for the better since my surgery.
I had a few minor complications along the way like strictures,
dehydration and esophagus spasms but I can now say I've lost 151
pounds and I am only 9 pounds from my goal. Even with my
complications I would do it again in a heartbeat.
I no longer have
heavy periods and cramps. I don't have to use a C-PAP machine to
sleep. I don’t have hemorrhoids anymore. My Irritable Bowel
Syndrome is gone and my knees and back don't hurt anymore. Out of 9
medications, I’m only on 4 of them now which include my birth
control pills, my 2 thyroid medications, and the Prevacid.
blood pressure is under 120/80 and my heart beats are around 63 per
minute which is excellent. I have
more energy than ever. My self confidence is “through the roof!” I
have dates galore. I can run. I don't get out of breath when I climb
the stairs. I can chase my dog around and not get tired. I actually
have so much energy that I only need about 6 hours of sleep.
My clothes actually
fit. I can buy a size 8. I haven't been this thin or healthy in my
life. I've added about 10 years to my life. I will now be able to
have children if I ever get married. Before surgery I would have
been too heavy and unhealthy.
I can now ride in
roller coasters, sit in movie theaters without feeling squished, buy
clothing in regular clothing stores, and get in and out of my car
with ease, I’m not out of breath when I talk anymore. There are so
many reasons to have this surgery.
Best of luck to all of you who are having the surgery or are
considering it. You will add years to your life. You will feel much
better, look much better and most importantly be healthy!!!