I made it through the rest of the work week, but I was definitely dragging come Friday afternoon. I got home, fell into bed, and slept like a baby. Today, Saturday, I'm taking it easy, doing a little writing, paying bills, but most of all just resting.
Speaking of paying bills, my health insurance company refused to pay one single cent towards the cost of my gastric sleeve. When I called them to ask why, they informed me that weight loss surgery was considered a cosmetic procedure.
A cosmetic procedure? Really?
Let's review the facts. When I had the surgery, my body mass index (BMI) was 51, more than twice what it should have been. My blood pressure was high. My cholesterol levels were elevated. I was a diabetic and almost maxed out on my oral medications; the next step would have been insulin injections. To top it all off, I could barely walk a few dozen feet without gasping for air.
I was a heart attack or a stroke waiting to happen.
And it wasn't that I hadn't tried to take the weight off in other ways. I had tried exercise, cutting calories, cutting carbs, all the things that weight loss experts recommend. Sometimes, if I was very diligent, I even lost a few pounds. But I soon reverted back to my old eating habits and regained everything I had lost and then some.
Believe me, appearance was the last thing on my mind when I made the decision to have weight loss surgery. Sure, it will be nice to look better in my clothes, and to look into the mirror and see a person of average weight looking back at me. But that's not why I underwent a three-hour surgical procedure and missed two weeks of work. I did that because I truly believed I was making a last-ditch effort to live a normal, healthy life.
And the results so far? I've lost between 15 and 20 pounds. (I don't have a scale in my apartment, so I can't be more exact than that.) My blood pressure has dropped, and my doctor has discontinued my medication for hypertension. My medications for diabetes have been cut in half. Although I still tire easily from going through major surgery, I can already tell that I am able to walk for longer distances without becoming short of breath.
Yes, people tell me that I look better, and that's nice to hear. People told me I looked better, too, after my hysterectomy, when I was no longer pale and tight-lipped from blood loss and pain. But appearance is not why I had the hysterectomy, and appearance is not why I had weight loss surgery.
Weight loss surgery isn't about cosmetics; it's a drastic attempt to reclaim one's life from obesity and to restore one's health. Health insurance should cover weight loss surgery as the medical procedure it is.