The great house search of 2014 has come to an end.

And not because we actually found a house to buy. Rather we called it off for health reasons.

Anne’s been suffering from a chronically sore back for some time now and our doctor had her go get an MRI done to figure out if it was muscular, spinal, or neurological in nature. Turns out it was muscular and the solution, as always, is to lose weight. Given that’s something we’ve both been working at for awhile, our doctor suggested we consider some form of bariatric surgery for Anne. Our health insurance has a $3,000 deductible so it made sense that we’d have to use some of the money we originally planned to use as a downpayment on a home to cover the deductible so we called our Realtor and let him know. Mike was great about understanding our decision and if you ever need a patient and hard-working Realtor in Michigan then you should look him up.

We started looking into the various forms of bariatric surgery available only to discover that our insurance doesn’t cover weight loss surgery of any kind. So now we go from having to cover a $3,000 deductible to having the cover the whole cost, which can average between $20,000 and $35,000. Hoo boy. I think it’s safe to say I will not be buying a home anytime in the next several years, but I’d much rather continue to rent and have a healthy and happy wife than a miserable one and a home that we can’t take care of because we’re not healthy. Apparently some of the clinics that specialize in this surgery have financing available and we’re looking into how many arms and legs that’ll take to acquire.

Why yes, yes I am.

Why yes, yes I am.

As for me, I’ve given up on trying to use the elliptical machine we bought and I’m going to try plain old walking for 30 minutes at a time now that the weather is getting better. I’m thinking I will try to sell the elliptical and maybe put the money towards a treadmill (for use in the winter or on rainy days) as that’s something Anne and I should both be able to use of a little more easily. We spent about $1,000 on the elliptical and it’s been lightly used enough that I think I could get maybe $750 for it. Anne and I recently upgraded our smartphones to Nexus 5 devices so I may try reinstalling one of the healthy eating/exercise apps I had tried to make use of previously and give that another go. At the moment I’m still hovering between 290 and 300 pounds and I’d really like to drop below the 290 mark sometime soon. My back hurts occasionally and my legs are sore more often than not so I need to find the motivation to make this a habit soon.

Lastly, our old queen mattress set is getting pretty long in the tooth and I’m sure some of our back issues are a result of it being worn out so we’ve been looking into spending a little of the money on a new king mattress and maybe a simple Ikea foundation to put it on. More specifically, I’m heavily considering ordering a Casper mattress as everything I’ve heard about it is pretty good. They make one model of mattress and it’s a combination of memory foam and latex foam. They fold it up into a box small enough to fit into a car and the price seems reasonable enough at $950 for a king with free shipping in the U.S.. Of course, as soon as I started looking into this new startup (they only came on the market back in April) I discovered a similar company called Tuft & Needle offering a similar product for an even better price. So clearly I have some more research to do, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to go with one of these two companies over the traditional route of visiting a local mattress store. If any of you out there have experience with either one then I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

So anyway, that’s what we’ve been up to lately and why I won’t be joining the ranks of home owners for a bit longer.

10 thoughts on “The great house search of 2014 has come to an end.

  1. don’t give up on bariatric surgery. Does it not really cover it or is the insurance company giving your the run around? if the latter is the case there are groups out there that can help you make the argument to your insurance company. i – sorry my shift keys have been uncooperative lately – used to belong to one but can’t remember the name. The cost seems high especially as traditional roux-en-y as well as lapband (which is fairly non-invasive) can be done laproscopically.

  2. I think walking outside in increasing distances is much more beneficial and less of a chore than using a machine in the house. If you have any walking paths that you can use that will get you to a place to have a picnic will probably be more motivating than using something in the house. I live in a town that has some lovely neighborhoods with interesting homes so it is very pleasant to walk varying the streets to enjoy the older (non-cookie cutter) homes. i am also lucky to live near a state park that has flat walking trails and more challenging ones that go up hills and are non-paved. the key is to take it slow and build your stamina. yoga is great for building flexibility and stamina but make sure you start with a gentle yoga class that uses a lot of props.

  3. Sorry to be commenting in pieces – re: the mattress – If you have a sleepy’s nearby, they may have a gadget that measures your body’s pressure points (or something) and the results will recommend specific types of beds. Mine was spot on and once i got the mattress, some of make back problems disappeared. Personally, I hated anything with a pillow top. bottom line, unless you can try it out before buying, i would steer clear.
    As to activity and food tracking apps – try

  4. From what I’ve been told, the way to get insurance carriers to pay for it involves doctors suggesting increasingly higher-priced alternatives where “bariatric” becomes more cost-effective than what their alternatives are. You start out with a diet plan (the cheapest option) and, if that doesn’t work, they ratchet things up (while leaving a paper trail) to the point where they go for bariatric at $30k or something else at $50+k. There’s some key buzzwords and timelines depending on the insurer. The bariatric procedure specialists know about extracting money from insurers if they can (and will also try to sell you on financing apart from insurance, of course).

  5. Thanks for the comments. We’re not giving up on the bariatric, but my health insurance isn’t going to cover it. It’s not that the company doesn’t offer it, but that the plan my company has gone with this year doesn’t include weight loss surgery of any kind. We were all forced to move to a high deductible plan this year (previously I had a more expensive plan that probably would’ve included it) as the company needed to cut back on healthcare expenses. It is what it is and we’ll find a way.

    As for walking outside, we’re fortunate to live directly across from one of Ann Arbor’s many parks that includes a walking path in the handy shape of a oval. My wife is also looking into Yoga and some water-based exercise groups at the local YMCA. I’d still like a treadmill for the winter, but that’s not a huge priority just yet.

    And as for the mattress, it turns out there’s a forum on the Internet for everything. I stumbled across The Mattress Underground which contains an amazing amount of information on how to pick the best mattress as each person is different. I’m still leaning towards one of the combination foam mattresses offered online, but will be doing a lot more reading up before making any final decisions.

  6. I would give diet and exercise another try before resorting to bariatric surgery, which can be risky. I lost 65 lbs (300 to 235) in 5 months a few years back through Medi Weight Loss Clinic – check them out online. I’m just a guy (PhD in human genetics, working for a pharmaceutical company in immunology), no involvement in the company, but it really helped me out. The diet is Atkins based, which means lots of protein and very low carbs. This causes the body to go into ketosis, which uses your body’s fat stores for energy because of the lack of readily available carbs to use for energy. It’s what our bodies evolved to do – put on fat stores in times of plenty to use during times of scarcity. Because you are eating a lot of protein, you can eat enough to feel full but you are not eating a ton of calories – I find it hard to eat more than 1000 calories a day sometimes. It’s the carb heavy foods – bread, pasta, chips, beer, etc – that ratchet up your calories and cause you to gain weight. You just need a little more will power than normal to not eat bread, pasta, chips, cookies, etc. I usually give myself one or two meals a week to splurge a bit, because you can’t do it indefinitely.

    Best of luck getting healthy!

  7. Just remember that given a choice of less-expensive or more-expensive, insurers generally opt for the less-expensive. What they SAY they will/won’t do and what they ACTUALLY will/won’t do can be two different things.


  8. I feel your pain buddy. I’m surprised that a health insurance plan wouldn’t cover bariatric surgery though; the inevitable health care costs associated with obesity far outweigh the price of the surgery. Although, perhaps, that simply makes too much sense which is why the insurance company isn’t doing it. One another note, the weight loss should definitely help with the back pain. I have worked for several years as a Correctional Officer which requires a great deal of walking, standing, and occasional running which has helped me keep my weight down. My personal recommendation for low-impact weight loss is jogging/walking. I hurt my back several years ago falling down a staircase at work and my weight climbed high enough that I had to do a LOT of cardio to get it back down. And with two bum knees I never thought I could do the jogging thing, but I finally settled on a routine that worked. I began by dedicating an hour to cardio by jogging for one minute and walking fifty-nine. I continued this approach, and steadily increased my jogging time by one minute every day for sixty days straight without a break. I found that the slow progression prevented shin splints and after sixty days I immediately moved to a running/jogging routine. After four exhausting months I had my weight under control and no more back pain. Of course this approach isn’t for everyone, but hey, it might be worth a try.

  9. One of the most effective diet methods I’ve discoverd is a note book. Just write down what you eat, everything, with at least an estimate of the calories. It take about a week and you quickly notice the things that are total crap that you are eating too much of. For myself it is usually pop, chocolate and ice cream. Having to record it, is that moment to reflect if i really want it, or notice I just had it, and actually will encourage you to make better choices. It is a lot like how any weightloss program works, it is having to admit to what you are doing that helps you avoid the bad habit. Now I am no great success still being at 200 lbs when I should be 165. I am lazy and easily stop doing even simple things like the note book. But when I had a steady office type job I was able to keep at it for 5 months and dropped 20 lbs just by doing that (then I lost the steady office job).

    So give it a shot, swap water and lemon for a lot of pop/ coffee. Do a weekly review for you both, hell post it on your blog, you have enough readers to make a good support network. Hell add a column for excercise in your book, just what you did and for how long..

    Make and stick to a few little changes and you should see results. And a note book that will fit in your pocket/ her purse will cost a buck. It is a really cheap bit of workout equipment/ diet equipment, certainly worth trying before undergoing surgery or wasting more money on exercise equipment. You already have all you need. Walk/ cycle, toss in daily pushups for both of you, make use of a good yoga class. Each pound lost is one step closer to that home, having that as a goal can help too. I hate to see people go surgical to address a weight issue, its too easy for it to come back.

    Lastly apply for the biggest loser. Seriously make it an adventure, you would have lots of people cheering for you, and they have a 70% success rate. Hell if they allowed forieners to apply I’d do it.

  10. Pingback: The great House Hunt of 2017. | Stupid Evil Bastard

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