#bcpoli – A message for our Health Minister

Dear Mr. Terry Lake,

My name is Robynne Devine, I am 44 years old living in Victoria, BC. By January 2014 I weighted 378lbs, I was depressed and lived in a very dark place mentally. I can’t say for sure what clicked for me other than knowing I was watching my kids grow up and knowing I wasn’t going to be there to watch them get married and have families or if it was watching an aunt who was obese slowly die from complications from her weight interfering with cancer treatment. I can’t say for sure but on January 12, 2014 I joined Weight Watchers online and decided I was going to take control over my life. Over the next few months I started to lose weight at a steady pace, eventually I became a bit more mobile so I started doing family hikes with my amazing kids and husband. By the end of 2014 I ran/walked the 8K Goodlife road race. Fast forward to now the end of 2015, I am at goal weight (173lbs); I have lost 205 lbs, I ran my first TC10K, did my first Tough Mudder in Whistler and then ran my first half marathon in October doing Goodlife half marathon, here in Victoria. I have changed my life forever. 2016 will look no different, this is the new me I am doing another Tough Mudder and several half marathons planned.

I am writing to you because yesterday I had a consult with Dr. Naysmith regarding my excess skin issues. I had requested this consult through my GP for a few reasons; I have repeated rashes in my abdomen area from my skin, not fat, just skin that I can’t and will never be ever to get rid of. Running is a huge part of my lifestyle today, this not only helps with my fitness but it also is an awesome way for me to clear my head when stress takes over. When I was training for my half marathon this summer I spent the entire summer with the inside of my arms raw from the extra skin rubbing together. No matter how hot it was I had to run in pants because no matter how much weight I lose I have an apron of skin on the inside of my thighs which rubs raw if I try to wear shorts.

Dr. Naysmith confirmed that I require three procedures. I require a thighplasty to take care of the extra skin in my inside of my legs which is where it rubs when I am trying to run. The third procedure is a bilateral brachioplasty which will take care of the skin on my arms and under my arms on my upper rib cage that rub raw when I try to run. A body lift which will take care of my abdomen area, as well as some of my apron on the outside of my thighs and my back. Currently the only procedure that MSP covers is a tummy tuck, which would only be covered because of the rashes etc that I am experiencing. Unfortunately when you gain weight, you gain it around your entire body, not just the front side. I have such a huge amount of skin that runs all the way around me (picture an entire apron of skin covering all of my body). To just get the tummy tuck is going make me look slightly deformed. I don’t even know how this is going to be possible given the flap of skin that wraps around my entire body. I am grateful to have the procedure to at least get rid of the rashes but it saddens me that I am not entitled to have all of my issues addressed. The total cost of the three procedures is 38,000.00; body lift 17,099.25; Thighplasty 10641.75; Bilateral Brachioplasty 9381.75. I am not a vain person; I am not wanting this so I have that rock hard body, I am asking for the same quality of life that any other British Colombian is given. I don’t have the money to pay for any of these procedures; if I can’t have this done under our medical system then I won’t be able to have them done. I am sincerely concerned what the long-term effect will have on me if I am forced to “just live with it”.

If I presented with lung cancer you would help me, if I was diabetic you would help me. An eating disorder/addiction is no different from any other addiction that results in costing the health care system money but yet it’s the one disorder that gets very little support. If I had opted to have my stomach stapled or lap banded, which at one point I had a referral for, it would have been covered and so it should be because for some this is the last resort to overcome obesity. I choose to do this my way which some would say is the hard way, that in itself has already saved the system money because I was in line for a lap band but I wanted to take control of my situation myself. I am so thankful for our system and the fact that it helps all those with any disease that needs help but what this disease? How are we as a society going to help those that struggle with this disease if you aren’t even willing to recognize it as one worth supporting? I would be interested in knowing the amount of money I have already saved our system by taking my life back and changing my lifestyle? I bet it’s more than 38,000.00 in the long run.
I understand there needs to be guidelines, I know there are some that would want this for purely cosmetic reasons but there needs to be an exception to these guidelines.

For those that are quick to judge that is for vanity, I can assure you it’s not. If I am able to have these procedures done I will be covered in massive scars. I don’t care; those scars would be my reminder of how far I have come and how hard I had to work to get here. I have lost 205 lbs, I live an extremely active lifestyle I just want to be able to enjoy it.

I hope you read this and can possibly make exceptions for extreme cases. For me, this is the last issue that I need to have addressed before I can say goodbye to 21 years of depression and obesity.

Thank you for your consideration, I would love an opportunity to talk to you and explain in more detail why I need these procedures done.

Robynne Devine
Phone: 778-678-3040

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