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Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Band

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Surgery [17 Dec 2012|07:08pm]

Ok so my last post a few months ago was quite depressing and it saddens me to think of how resigned I had felt at the time. Since then, I met with a different surgeon and needless to say, he is everything the other one wasn't. I am 100% confident with him, he has a lot of experience and I am hopeful for a good result. I am booked in on the 14th Jan next year and it's a little scary to think this time in 4 weeks I'll be in recovery.

I guess now I would just like to see if any of you wonderful people have any tips for the first weeks post-op. Any tips/tricks/what worked/did not work for you? I know everyone is different and will react in their own way to the lapband but just some general ideas would be nice.

Any info would be great :)
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Undecided [30 Aug 2012|08:55pm]

So today I finally saw a surgeon about having banding done. To say I left slightly devastated is an understatement.

Backstory: Had total colectomy 15 years ago (removal of whole large bowel due to disease). Have had various complications in the subsequent years due to this but nothing since 2007.

I went to the appointment with a fear that I would not be a candidate for the simple fact of all the prior surgery I had had. My partner could not understand why this would be an issue, so allowed myself to hope some.

The surgeon explained the risks of doing the surgery on a person with history such as mine. The initial incision and port site would have to be very high up, most likely just below my rib cage. The risk being not knowing where my small intestine is, how much adhesion/scar tissue is in there and whether organs (stomach etc) were adhered to, say, my lining and so on. He has performed the surgery on over 3500 patients, all successful. In his career he has only had 4 patients who have also had the same surgeries as I have. 3 of the 4 were successful, though they had not endured the complications I had. The fourth? Suffered similar problems and had a tonne of scar tissue etc. hen the surgeon made the incision, it perforated her bowel, laving her with a hole in her intestine that left in hospital for 6 months recovering. According to him the risks for the average person are low. The risks for someone who had surgery such as mine but no complications - 25%. With complications, the figure is doubled, at 50%.

Ultimately, the decision is mine. He will go ahead with the surgery if that is my choice. As I said at the beginning, I knew there may be risks and it may not be a completely viable option, but I guess to hear it like that made it reality and I'm now at a loss. I want this so badly, as I have tried so much and failed or plateau'd. I turn 30 next year and am desperate to have kids, which to date has been unsuccessful and no one will help until I'm 60kgs lighter.

I know you can't make the decision for me. I guess I just need to vent and wonder if any of you know someone who might be in a similar position? I'm going to contact another surgeon and see what he says. Google searches for similar stories have failed me.

Thank you for reading :)
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Had my band loosened, now I'm losing weight [12 Aug 2012|08:38am]

A little back story first. I'm 5 years out. Started at 292 and got down to 203 at my lowest. I started gaining weight about 2 years ago and got back up to 240.

About 4 months back I started having heartburn. I let it ride for a little bit, thinking that I was drinking too much coffee or something. I started taking omeprazole and felt better. I went through a 2 week treatment and tried to go without the medicine for awhile and found that I couldn't. I went in for a floro. The doctor said my band looked great! No slippage, no stretched pouch and then he offered to give me a fill to which I said no. (in my head I said "WTF man, I just said I'm having heartburn, NO WAY are you giving me a fill") The doctor said that I may have just irritated my stomach and that I should continue with the omeprazole. I had found a bunch of omeprazole on clearance so I took it until I ran out (at least two months) and tried to do without. The heartburn was TERRIBLE. I made an appointment with my doctor for another floro. Again, the doctor said that the band looked terrific. He suggested that I double up the omeprazole to get rid of the heartburn, I said no and I asked him to take some fluid out. He took out .4 CCs (I have a small 4 cc band), I could tell that it was better almost right away. (this left 1.2 CCs in my band)

I had the fluid taken out on Tuesday. The heartburn is GONE and I've lost 4lbs since then. At this new restriction I'm more satisfied with food. I can eat more at a sitting which is keeping me fuller longer. I'm not snacking anymore. Proteins go down easier. Veggies go down without a problem! I'm not HUNGRY any more. I think that my band too tight caused a pain that I confused for hunger. I haven't gotten stuck since the unfill. I used to routinely get stuck, I figured that I wasn't chewing well enough.

TL;DR I was too tight even though the doctor said I wasn't. I made him take out some fluid and now things are awesome.
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a unexpected swan song to my band [22 Mar 2012|08:51pm]

[ mood | pensive ]

Why I still love my band and continue to hate my body.

The band was one of the best things to ever happen to me. I lost weight.

I went from 282 pounds to 191 pounds. I had my band almost a full year.

I made the poor choice and opted for the chicken tortilla soup at an Irish pub. I ended up with food poisoning a few hours later. My band had to be opened. I gained 20 pounds rapidly.

We retightened the band - and I began to lose weight again. I wrongly equated a tighter band with a more rapid weight loss. I was wrong. It led to reverse peristalsis. (My esophagus started working backwards)

I had to have my band opened again. I again gained what I lost.

The esophagus calmed down. I started the tightening process. I started to lose weight again. September of 2009, my mother died. I became an emotional wreck. I was crying so much that my pouch filled with snot. Vomiting up snot is about as sexy as it sounds. I had to have my band reopened. I mourned deeply. I ate my emotions.

I didn't go back for a little over 17 months. I had packed on nearly 40 pounds.

I walked back in to St. Vincent's at 247.

I started working out with a trainer and had my band retightened.

I currently weigh 219 pounds. I never dieted. I just ate less because I wasn't hungry and I worked out.

It had been nearly a year of great band health.

I started having periodic heartburn. It seemed to happen late at night after an especially trying day at work (did I also mention I started not - one but TWO new jobs this year?)

It had slowly escalated into the inability to eat unless standing - and then - an inability to eat anything other than liquids.

I booked my yearly esphogram. The news wasn't good.

No the band hadn't rubbed an ulcer - no - basically one of two things

Either my esophagus was trying to create a new stomach above the band (by stretching out) and sadly the lining of the stretched esophagus can't handle the acid


I have a hernia. (This is the probable answer -Occam's razor and all)

If this turns out to be a hernia -the doctor recommends repair of the hernia and removal of the band - replacing it with one of the other viable weight loss surgeries. (Sleeving or RNY). I know that the RNY isn't for me - and I know nothing of the sleeve.

My first emotion was shame. I felt like a fraud - a snake oils salesperson. IF I did another weight loss surgery I wouldn't want to tell anyone of my failure and shame.

But I was such a good band patient. . I have been such a band cheer leader - I HAD been such a good band patient. I never had issues with addiction transfer or body dismorphia. I never developed a secondary eating disorder post surgery.

SO not telling anyone was my answer last night when I went to bed. It was still sort of my answer this morning. By mid afternoon I realized I wasn't a fraud. I wasn't selling trombones to an innocent town.

The band had worked. It had worked for me - and I had worked it - and rarely abused it.

If I tried to hide it - - then it would seem like something was fraudulent - or wrong.

So - I'm looking at sleeving. I know enough from the many times that my band was open - that I don't have the hang of self regulating my own food intake.

7 comments|post comment

[11 Mar 2012|05:16pm]

[ mood | hopeful ]

I'm quickly approaching my 5 year bandaversary and thought I would update. I started at nearly 300 and I'm down to 240 right this very second. My lowest was 205 which felt pretty darn good, but 2011 was a bad, bad year. I can't believe that I let myself gain 35lbs in a year. What is terrifying is how quickly it came on. I had joined WW for a little while in an effort to lose some of what I put on, but I fell off that wagon after my WW account was accidentally cancelled.

I'm determined that 2012 will be a better year. I've joined the Y and my daughter LOVES going there, so I have lots of motivation to actually go. I'm working on a couch to 5K program, but I am cheating a bit and using the AMT instead of a treadmill because I HATE running but the AMT mimics the running motion.

All in all, I'm still glad I have the lap band. I don't think I could have maintained a 60 pound loss for 5 years without it. I am going to undo the 40 pound gain this year and my goal is to lose an additional 20. 180 pounds is doable.

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To loosen or unfill? [03 Dec 2011|08:37am]

Hey folks! Its been awhile since I've posted. I had my band 10/28/08 so I'm a little over three years out. I'm a little over three years out and I've lost... 158 pounds. Yea. I did not need to loose a 158 pounds.

I'm 5'4 and I currently weigh around 112 on my home scale, I'm usually a little lower at the gym. My band is really tight, and I've kind of been putting off getting it loosened. I've kind of been in denial that I have a little bit of an eating disorder. I eat super healthy, but the restriction I have is not enough to keep my weight high enough while working out, because I'm very diligent about that too.

I'm starting therapy next week for my body image and anxiety. The problem is, I don't see myself as too thin. But I know deep down that I am. The thought of gaining any weight is very painful to me and I can't wrap my head around it. But I've had some very painful experiences because it is effecting my life and hurting the people I love.

My real question is, should I unfill completely or just loosen? Has anyone who has reached goal tried this? I know that this realistically is a question I can only answer for myself and with the help of my surgeons office. Its been three years and I pretty much have been able to stick to the no junk rule. I'm an awesome healthy cook. I'm considering with therapy being to stick to a healthy diet and exercise. My biggest problem is that I don't trust myself, which is why I've developed this mental problem, but also with this body dysmorphia thing I have going on. I'm thinking about giving it a try and being good about it and learning to trust myself again. I can always get a fill if I start creeping up, but I almost feel so awesome about having it completely unfilled and trying to get myself healthy again. I want to be in the 130s and I can't continue to eat healthy and gain weight. I would have to start eating badly and I don't want to do that when really I just need my band adjusted.I shouldn't have let it go this long. My life and health have taken a completely opposite turn at a time when my life should be amazing.
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[29 Nov 2011|10:18am]

Well, after just over 3 years since surgery (October 2009) and my most recent fill this past August, I'm FINALLY having consistent weight loss! I'm starting to finally feel how a bander is supposed to feel! So many people that I read about or even my mom have achieved far greater loss within a year of their banding and I was feeling really low about myself in comparison. I know it's stupid to compare for a lot of reasons, but regardless I'm finally there! For now I am at my "sweet spot" fill wise, and have a follow up appointment in about four months to see about adjustment (6 mos. follow up from my last appt.).
My highest weight was 298, my weight at the start of the surgery track was 284, my weight the day of surgery was 263. As of August first I weighed 250. As of this morning I weigh 226, and counting!
I'm finally starting to feel like a surgical success, and better yet I'm FINALLY finding the self worth again to take care of myself the way I used to so many years ago. I'm treating myself to non-food luxuries I for a long time felt unworthy of. I got a super bitchin' pair of 5 inch heels that I lusted over for a good couple months that I rock for any occasion I can even if it's just grocery shopping. I got myself a gorgeous dress for the holidays in a size 16, my fist 16 since high school! I'm doing my nails all fancy again, I'm shaving every other day instead of just when "I've GOTTA" (I don't have a man to keep standards for ::shame::shame::) I don't know I just feel so fresh and new and good and hopeful and positive. And compound that with friends and family taking notice and saying such nice things, I feel on top of the world!
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favorite protein shake [21 Aug 2011|11:06am]

Is using my vanilla protein powder - adding a 1/2 of banana and table spoon of peanut butter.

I'm trying to speed up my weightloss and thought about cutting out the peanut butter.

Has anyone tried the sugar free peanut butter flavored syrups?

what was your favorite?

Or which one should I avoid at all costs?

thanks in advance!
5 comments|post comment

Been a bit, howdy all... [02 Jul 2011|05:05pm]

[ mood | calm ]

Interesting 3 years out from my gastric band surgery, and I think I just for the first time experienced late dumping syndrome. It was extraordinarily unpleasant....

My 3rd surgiversarry is coming up in 2 weeks. So just an update.

Surgery 7/20/08
Dr. Colin Brathwaite/Winthrope University Hospital, Mineola NY
starting weight 450
Current weight 380.3

At 5cc fill on a 10 cc band.

Went back up to 416, but then joined, (Jah help me) Weight Watchers!! Been at it for 103 days now, I've lost over 30 pounds, and am in fact 5 pounds LOWER than the lowest I got after the surgery. Finding the new points plus thing extraordinarily easy to do.

I have some issues still with weird pains and soreness from the surgery, which I think are nerve impingement's from the band. On the whole though, I still think it was a good call.

Peace all


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Lapband Kicker [25 Jun 2011|08:32am]

I just found out that some weightloss centers are now prescribing  "Adipex"  to aid in weightloss.

Is anyone taking it?  Would you care to share your experiences? 

I've had a band since 2007.....


282 / 191  / 233 / 160
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ONE HUNDRED POUNDS! [14 Jun 2011|06:04pm]

I reached my eighteen month anniversary of my gastric band on the third of this month. A couple of days ago I weighed myself and I have lost exactly ONE HUNDRED POUNDS since I had it installed! My BMI is now exactly 22 so I am 'normal weight' for the first time since before I fell pregnant with my son.

This huge achievement is marred somewhat by the fact that my eating disorder (directly caused by the installation of the gastric band) is still raging strong. But hey, I'm not underweight, I'm normal, and that is an achievement in itself. :D
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Progress pics from 50lbs down... [27 May 2011|03:48pm]

Reposted from my personal journal...

I wish I took pictures at my highest weight. I completely forgot the night before I started my liquid diet. I at least remembered the night before surgery, which is the picture I'm using to compare.

306 lbs - 15 down269 lbs - 52 down

I personally see more of a difference in the side shot and am of course being highly critical of myself. Even though I'm happy, I'm still obese so it's hard for me to be completely happy about the pictures.

I will take progress pics again at 75lbs down.
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How do you know when you are too tight? [16 May 2011|02:39pm]

I got a fill last Thursday and am on my second day of mushy foods post fill.

I am having a lot of trouble digesting some canned salmon (boneless/skinless) and mayo.  I feel a PB coming on, but I've been able to keep it down so far.

How do you know if you are "too tight"?
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Stall broken? [02 May 2011|11:34am]

I'm almost too scared I'll jinx it by reporting it....but i broke my stall today.  I'm at 219. This is 4 days after my 3 year bandaversary. 

I have lost 53 lbs total as of today.  Yay.  next stop...60lbs down from highest weight (pre-surg of 272).

I'd love to knock off 19lbs this year...but considering my stalls and how my body tends to lose very slowly (PCOS and weird tightness issues that keep my from eating but somehow don't manage to let me lose despite the no nutrition going in my body) ..and it being May already...I'll settle for 215 or even 210 by years end.   

i know its silly...but I remember the last time that i weighed 214lbs..and i looked dang good.  lol.  That is my measuring stick...and its 5 lbs away.  I MUST get to 214!
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[27 Apr 2011|01:44pm]

I'm having a major problem with food right now. I want to eat constantly. I blamed work and stress and a busy lifestyle but I know what the problem is: sugar. I had too much of it during the holidays and then on my trip to Disneyland and now I am having a hard time controlling my entire diet. I want every carb I see. I'm quitting sugar cold turkey today. I'm going on Atkins diet for 2 weeks. That's 20 carbs or less allowed per day. I'll be eating mostly meat and veggies. After that I'll start adding carbs back into my diet, mostly in the form of fruits and beans. I need to steer clear of all white carbs. I need to be picky about what I put in my body.

I'm going to start reading the Dr Beck Diet Solution book again. And I'm going to watch the Jamie Oliver show. It really motivates me to eat healthier. I don't want my daughter to pick up my bad habits.

Ok, thats it for now. Just needed to write this stuff out.
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I was interviewed for an article! [25 Mar 2011|02:32pm]

When I started this blog and then later agreed to have it linked on the NSMC website, I was comfortable with it because I was still invisible.

My first name is on this blog, but that is it.  No last name, no pictures.

Well now that is changing.

The Salem News was doing an article on the 10 year anniversary of the weight loss surgery program at NSMC and asked to interview me as they had read the blog and liked what I had to say.

I have to admit that I was really hesitant at first to be interviewed, but I decided to do it anyway.

I was really honest about everything and started freaking out about it about 10 minutes after the interview as I felt I was too honest.  I gave a little bit too much of me.  I told him my real weight!

So the article finally came out today.  You can see it here:

A Weighty Decision

I'm still not fully comfortable with it being out there, but I think I will someday.

I actually had some random person in the hospital hallway say something to me already because they had read the article moments before and recognized me.

I'm just going to keep repeating to myself, this is a good thing.
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Soo... [19 Mar 2011|02:20pm]

[ mood | determined ]

Kind of disgusted with myself, but in the good, get your ass going way. Just weighed in. I'm 408. Up 23 pounds from my lowest. Fixing this post f$#%ing haste. Reason I know my weight is I joined Weight Watchers!! I think the structure will help me. And the band CAN'T but help here!! Onward and downward boys and girls...


3 comments|post comment

Signed up for the NSMC Cancer Walk [18 Mar 2011|01:17pm]

This is a cross post from my personal journal.  I took out the fundraising information as I wanted this post to be more about the weight loss accomplishment and the difficulty with the walk and the heat last year.  If you would like more information about the walk or donating, you can email me or comment.

This will be my 4th year in a row doing the NSMC Cancer Walk.

Last year the walk was so hard.  I was at my heaviest and it was just so hot out that day.  I felt like I was going to die and I don't think I could have finished the whole 10k.

We did the short version of the walk because my dad had only be recovered from having pretty severe pneumonia for a couple of weeks and being so hot out, we were worried about him.

My dad is currently in remission for CLL Leukemia.  He did a 6 month round of chemo almost two years ago (wow, has it really be that long?) and had quite a few bumps along the way.  First round, he had a stroke and amazingly the clot cleared and he recovered.  Second round, he passed out.  Last round, he has a mini-stroke.

Since he finished chemo in June of 2009, things have been pretty good except for a bad bout of pneumonia and another mini stroke that happened during that time.

My father is currently in remission and has had a really healthy year.

My mother is also a survivor.  When I was 19, she had uterine lining cancer that was caught quickly.  She had to have a hysterectomy and radiation just to be sure.

We have had so many family members pass away due to cancer.  Too many to even list here.  My mother's mother died when she was 19.  My father lost one of his sisters when she was only in her 50's.  My husband lost his grandmother soon after we got married.  So many more.

I walk in honor of all of those who survived as well as in memory of all of those we have lost.

I'm really excited about the walk this year.  I'm currently 45lbs less than I was last year and hopefully by June 26th, I'll lose even more.

I was glad to use my dad as an excuse to do the short walk last year as it was so hot and I don't think I could have actually done the whole thing.

This year, with so much weight gone, I'm hoping that even if it is unusually hot again, I'll be able to do the 10k with no problem.
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ARG! Frustration! [16 Mar 2011|07:05pm]

[ mood | hopeful ]

Well, go ahead and slap me because I KNOW what I'm opening with will be frustrating to those 'banders still with little fill, and those who have experienced difficulty with their post-op.
Read more...Collapse )
I've been a little angry, dissapointed and resentfull the past year and a half with my surgery, etc because I was still in such a loose state, but the last couple of fills over the past few months have brought me back to that good and hopeful state of mind again. When I chose this surgery I *KNEW* why I was choosing it, because I KNEW it was the slower, less permanant option. 6 months ago if someone had asked me if I regret choosing band over say full bypass, I MIGHT has said yes, very much so. But that would have been entirely premature. Yes I could be half my size and then some already just over two years out, but I could also have had gallbladder attacks and eventual removal, I could have hangy loose skin which I have avoided ANY trace of so far (minus the bat wings, because really who can NOT have a touch of batwings?) I could have ulcers and leakage and require infusions and have serious deficiancies, and all that. But these and for other reasons are why I chose the band. I knew it would take time, ACCEPTING that it takes time is the often challenging part.
So those who are new to their bands and are feeling lackluster in the success department, chin up and have hope, you will get there. I know how dissapointing it is to have a surgeon who is stingy with the fills, but I also know how it feels to have NEVER EVER had something stick, have to puke, have a dilitation of the band or need so much as a fluoroscope to see if it's still in proper place. It is, and will be worth it, just let yourself get there, slow and steady.

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