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  • Cost of Supplements?

    OK, I get it that after surgery I will need to be a meticulous supplement user. And I get that it will depend on my lab work, exactly what I will need to take.

    But, I am concerned about the cost of these supplements. I went to vitalady, and her DS starter pack is $303 for only 3 months. Is this normal? Will I have to budget around $100 or more every month for supplements, and if I do, is there any way to get insurance to pay for this?

    I am pretty well sold on DS instead of RnY gastric bypass, but I am concerned where I will find the money for the supplements.

    Thanks,
    Lisa

  • #2
    If you can't afford the supplements and vitamins, do not have a DS.

    There are other costs too - which may not be covered by insurance - visits with specialists, frequent lab work, iron infusions, dexa scans....long term DS care for yourself is not inexpensive, and it is NECESSARY.

    It is also more expensive to eat a DS-appropriate diet. Eating protein is much more expensive than eating carbohydrates. Also you will need new clothes, and other things that will definitely not be covered by insurance - digestive aids (lactaid, etc), probiotics, odor controllers, etc etc

    If you are living close to the edge financially, think long and hard before you have a DS.

    Comment


    • #3
      Lisa -- everyone is different and I can only tell you what I spend, which is approximately $125 per month for everything supplement related (vitamins, probiotics, fiber, etc.). I do not take any protein supplements but I do spend alot of money for food. Vitamins are not covered by my insurance policy but I could use my health reimbursement plan (pre-tax) money to pay for vitamins with a letter from my doctor - just never got around to setting that up.

      I became very anemic about 3 years post-op. I had medical insurance but the iron infusions cost me $120 each out of pocket. I was having infusions once a week for several months, then monthly for a few more months. This turned into a real financial hardship for me but fortunately I've been able to get out of it. Fortunately a new job with great insurance changed that situation for me.

      DS200 makes an excellent point. The DS is expensive. There's doctor's visits, lab work, etc. Without insurance the costs can get pretty high. Like she said, eating a DS diet can also be expensive.

      It's good that you are taking these things into consideration while making your decision.
      Janet in Reston
      DS 2/25/03
      Dr. Elariny
      Starting weight 320
      Current weight 157

      Comment


      • #4
        Food cost can be deceptively cheap early after the surgery. You will only eat small portions of protein at a time, an egg here, a few bites of chicken there and you are stuffed. Not very expensive the first few months. After your stomach begins to strech a bit slowly each week you will need more food and good protein is not as cheap as carbs.

        After a while I got so sick of eggs and chicken that if I had one more ounce of either I would start clucking and scratching the ground for worms. Shrimp and lobster enter stage left. Seafood became my preferred source of protein along with strip steak. It seems excessive, but the desire for carbs is always still there so I use the better protien foods I enjoy to keep me away from the bad things.
        Mark in Webster NY
        Highest weight 626 BMI 80+
        Starting weight 596 BMI 78.6 August 2009
        Surgery weight 535 BMI 70.6 February 23, 2010
        Current weight 264 BMI 34.8 January 2012

        found a new favorite store, LL Bean. I went in to buy a pair of fleece lined jeans (it's cold on the shores of Lake Ontario) and I first tried on a 42. Too loose. Tried a pair of 40 waist. Snug but comfortable. I've gone from a 72 to a 40. I litterally had tears in my eyes.

        Comment


        • #5
          Ask Vitalady what the starter packet would be for RNY folks. It's not much different than for DSers. There is a cost to all the vitamins, but if you are on several prescription drugs, you might be saving there. I no longer need insulin, metformin, cholesterol & blood pressure meds, test strips etc. That wasn't cheap every month either. Basic vitamins I get at Walmart/Sams/GNC etc.

          Meat is more expensive than mac & cheese.
          Chris
          HW 225~SW 205~CW 139~GW 132 BMI 26.3
          DS - Dr Rabkin - Surgery 4/17/08
          PS in Monterrey Jan 13, 2011 with Dr Sauceda

          Comment


          • #6
            I am currently living in a nursing home, and it turns out that they are going to be able to pick up the cost of the supplements, like they do my prescription drugs. With your help, I was able to figure out that I can afford them once I leave here. If I ever get into a total crunch, my Mother is even willing to help. SO Thanks, everyone!

            Comment


            • #7
              Some people considered that their muscle mass increases with the help of
              protein supplements that contain certain blends of amino acids, such as creatine and glutamine...

              Comment


              • #8
                Vitalady is not the end-all, be-all for adequate and quality supplementation and her prices are not cheap. There is nothing that says you have to purchase supplements from her or from any bariatric-targeted supplier. I know dozens of very healthy post ops who have never bought supplements targeted to WLS patients.

                That said, you do need to be aware that supplementation is a lifelong thing and that there are specific requirements for DS patients that are different from other varieties of WLS. Most of them are available at stores with a large supplement section. But...

                ...and this is a big one...

                ...Should you experience complications or have lab work return results showing major deficiencies, you need to be prepared for what can be very high costs to remedy the situation. This could be anything from specially formulated ADEKs to iron infusions to specific types of calcium supplements.

                It's not cheap and it is rarely covered by insurance until it becomes a "condition" requiring a prescription or a treatment.
                http://allmyhoods.wordpress.com/
                It's back, a little bit.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I second everything GeekCachet wrote! Thank you, MB!


                  Originally posted by GeekCachet View Post
                  Vitalady is not the end-all, be-all for adequate and quality supplementation and her prices are not cheap. There is nothing that says you have to purchase supplements from her or from any bariatric-targeted supplier. I know dozens of very healthy post ops who have never bought supplements targeted to WLS patients.

                  That said, you do need to be aware that supplementation is a lifelong thing and that there are specific requirements for DS patients that are different from other varieties of WLS. Most of them are available at stores with a large supplement section. But...

                  ...and this is a big one...

                  ...Should you experience complications or have lab work return results showing major deficiencies, you need to be prepared for what can be very high costs to remedy the situation. This could be anything from specially formulated ADEKs to iron infusions to specific types of calcium supplements.

                  It's not cheap and it is rarely covered by insurance until it becomes a "condition" requiring a prescription or a treatment.
                  .
                  Melanie in Valrico, FL, age 51
                  LapDS by Dr. Rabkin 10/19/99
                  Starting weight 299, now 148
                  Starting size 26/28, now 8

                  http://www.duodenalswitch.com/Patien.../melaniem.html

                  Direct replies: melanie@themagruders.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Little update on Provolisa: She had her DS, had some postop complications that slowed her recovery, but now all is well. She was able to move home YIPPIEEEEE!!!!!! That was beyond anything she dared to hope, as she needs two new knees and was pretty much immobilized and unable to care for herself.

                    The DS has already completely transformed her life . If all continues to go well, she'll have her first knee done before the end of the year, last I heard. Or maybe she'll even get them both done at once, a thought that strikes terror into my heart.

                    She doesn't have great internet access, so she doesn't get around to many forums at the moment. I've gotten this information from Facebook.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thank you for the update!
                      Melinda (Mindy) from Maryland
                      Lap BPD/DS 11/19/2002
                      Dr. Hazem Elariny in VA

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        If you find a way to get insurance to pay for vitamins please let me know. I cannot even use my HSA account to pay for them without a letter of medical necessity from my doctor. It can be an expensive surgery to maintain and you need to be sure you can swing it financially, I'm having a ball right now doing that as I was recently laid off. I have to put vitamins ahead of many other items in the bills these days. Just after the mortgage and car payments, before utilities and cable bills.
                        Mark in Webster NY
                        Highest weight 626 BMI 80+
                        Starting weight 596 BMI 78.6 August 2009
                        Surgery weight 535 BMI 70.6 February 23, 2010
                        Current weight 264 BMI 34.8 January 2012

                        found a new favorite store, LL Bean. I went in to buy a pair of fleece lined jeans (it's cold on the shores of Lake Ontario) and I first tried on a 42. Too loose. Tried a pair of 40 waist. Snug but comfortable. I've gone from a 72 to a 40. I litterally had tears in my eyes.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The way to have insurance pay for vitamins: Have your doctor write a prescription.
                          http://allmyhoods.wordpress.com/
                          It's back, a little bit.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mark540 View Post
                            If you find a way to get insurance to pay for vitamins please let me know. I cannot even use my HSA account to pay for them without a letter of medical necessity from my doctor. It can be an expensive surgery to maintain and you need to be sure you can swing it financially, I'm having a ball right now doing that as I was recently laid off. I have to put vitamins ahead of many other items in the bills these days. Just after the mortgage and car payments, before utilities and cable bills.
                            Mark -- your surgeon should be able to get you a letter so you can use your HSA account.
                            Janet in Reston
                            DS 2/25/03
                            Dr. Elariny
                            Starting weight 320
                            Current weight 157

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Vitalady is not the end-all, be-all for adequate and quality supplementation and her prices are not cheap. There is nothing that says you have to purchase supplements from her or from any bariatric-targeted supplier. I know dozens of very healthy post ops who have never bought supplements targeted to WLS patients.

                              Comment

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