How Weight Loss Surgery Saved My Life

by sandi on October 26, 2010

My friend Gloria and I in my old pants. Can you believe it?

 

I have been fighting the fat war since I was 4 years old. I finally won the war, leaving only small skirmishes that crop up regularly. My friends tell me these little battles are what a “normal” person always deals with. 

 Just five years ago, I was 424 pounds, had arthritis in my right knee, and had trouble walking across a parking lot. My asthma forced me to stop and catch my breath several times across those parking lots. I rented a scooter to be able to take my grandkids to Disneyland. I let my husband go into the market while I waited in the truck. People looked fearfully at me when I was getting on a plane, hoping I wasn’t sitting next to them.  In March 2004 I had a hypertension crisis that got my attention. To this point, my arthritis, asthma, reflux, and sleep apnea had not yet been enough to make me take notice. 

I have succeeded at most everything I have tried in life — I have a wonderful marriage of more than 40 years to my soul mate, a great daughter, four awesome grandchildren, and a successful business I built from scratch over 20 years ago. But I could NEVER get a handle on my weight for longer than five minutes. 

On 5/28/2004, at 55 years old, I had life-changing, and life-saving, Lap-Band® surgery. Within 28 months I had lost 250 pounds. Now, more than five years after surgery, I am holding at 175 pounds and loving it. I am off all my medications and move freely and vigorously through my new life. 

 With the help of this tool and a great support team I have reached a place where it is fun to go anywhere and try new things, and I actually enjoy looking at pictures of myself (well, most of the time). 

 If you are struggling with your weight, you may find some useful information and solutions here. I have created this blog because something like it would have made a big difference to me when I was going through the decisions and the process myself. 

 As the old saying goes, information is power. If you are struggling with your weight, I want you to have the information you need to answer the questions you have so that you can make the best decision possible for you to have a richer life. 

 I hope you find this useful. I look forward to hearing from you.  

Take a look at some of our Gastric Banding Tips —  Here

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Our New Book – Is Lap Band Surgery For Me?

by sandi on October 26, 2010

Our new book is now shipping on amazon!  Read an excerpt here.

Visit us at www.bandedliving.com

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The only thing I cheated was deathToday I am reprinting a blog I wrote back at least 6 years ago – Is Weight Loss Surgery The Easy Way Out?  I get angry every time a “newbie” tells me that folks are saying they took the easy way out by having surgery.

It’s not easy. Obesity is a disease. There are medical treatments. Surgeries are one of the recognized medical treatments. “Shaming” people because they chose surgery is absurd….Vent over, have a read, and tell me is weight loss surgery the easy way out? Was it for you? Here’s what I wrote years ago.

More and more seriously overweight  people are turning to weight loss surgery to assist them in taking off and keeping off the excess pounds that are causing or exacerbating other medical conditions and interfering with their quality of life. Many people worry that they will be criticized for taking the easy way out.

 Is this the easy way out?

Here are some views on both sides. You can reach your own conclusions.

Weight Loss Surgery Is The Easy Way Out

  1. Some say it’s easy because it is the only choice that makes sense for them. These are people who have failed multiple times over many years of dieting, people who may have other medical conditions that require them to lose weight in order to stay active, productive members of society.
  2.  

  3. It has been compared to the “ease” with which a cancer patient chooses chemotherapy. While this may be a bit harsh, it makes the point. It’s easy to choose something that may cure you over doing nothing and letting the disease take over.
  4.  

  5. It provides hope, where none existed, for a significant population. Many of those who are exploring weight loss surgery have tried every diet out there, had some minimal success, but could not sustain that success. The possibility of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight provides a light at the end of a tunnel that has been very dark.
  6.  

  7. It confirms that rather than a moral failing, obesity is a medical issue that can be addressed with a medical intervention. This is significant. The obese population has been discriminated against in every area of their life and the recognition that medical intervention is necessary offers another ray of hope.
  8.  

  9. It is easy because it works. This is true, at the beginning of the journey. Once the surgery “starts working” the patient can learn the behaviors necessary to keep it working. Weight loss surgery is a tool. Screwdrivers work, but only if someone is on the other end of them, turning the screw in the direction we want it to go.
  10.  

  11. It is easy because the patient, often for the first time in their life, gets the opportunity to physically feel full. The general population cannot begin to understand what it is like to finish a meal and be hungry again two minutes later. Weight loss surgery provides a “stop” that will allow the patient to recognize being done eating and to actually feel a sense of fullness or satiety.

Weight Loss Surgery IS Not The Easy Way Out

  1. Making a decision to have major surgery is not easy. Think about an obese person undergoing general anesthesia. This is not a simple decision. Risks are involved and benefits need to outweigh the risks for those who make that tough decision to go forward with surgery.
  2.  

  3. It is difficult to make the choice to not use food for comfort or reward. This is probably the first step in permanent lifestyle changes that needs to be made.
  4.  

  5. It is difficult because it requires permanent life style changes in order to lose the weight and keep it off. The surgery is only a tool and the patient is the one that chooses their food and chooses when and how much they are going to exercise. It takes years to undo the years of poor choices that became regular behaviors.
  6.  

  7. It is difficult because most weight loss surgery patients have to give up some foods permanently. There are some foods that are physically uncomfortable for weight loss surgery patients to eat and they may actually be among their favorite foods. Again, a hard choice to make and stay committed to.
  8.  

  9. It is difficult to learn all over again how to eat – to take small bites, chew food thoroughly, and eat slowly. Our culture is one of on the go all the time. Weight loss surgery patients need to learn how to take time out for each meal and pay attention to it so as to be able to avoid mindless eating, or mindless overeating. Drive through would become a thing of the past.
  10.  

  11. It is difficult to suddenly change a lifetime of behaviors and stay committed to a lifetime of these changes. How long did it take to learn how to sit in front of the TV or computer instead of going for a walk? How long did it take before grabbing something on the way home became the expected meal. It will take years to make the new behaviors part of a standard routine that is as habitual as grabbing a coffee on the way to the office.

What surfaces here is that people who choose weight loss surgery as a means to an end, that end being a healthy, normal weight, have to commit themselves to a lifetime of behavior changes- food choices, portion sizes, exercise, etc, in order to achieve their goals. Nothing about the decision to have surgery, or those changes is easy. The remotely easy part of this process is the knowledge that there may finally be hope for those who have failed year after year at trying to achieve and maintain a normal weight with diet and exercise alone.

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Making Peace With The Scale And Myself
Making Peace With The Scale And Myself
Making Peace With The Scale And Myself
Making Peace With The Scale And Myself
Making Peace With The Scale And Myself

As my journey continues and I stand on the scale every morning I find that I am no longer in fear of what the number will be.  I no longer stare at it for a moment thinking “I wonder if that _____ I had yesterday is going to show up as a gain today?” Or, I no longer hesitate, and say, ” I am not going to weigh myself until the end of the week because I can get the number down by then, so my weekend will not look so bad on the scale.”

I get up, I use the restroom, I jump on the scale and I head downstairs for my first cup of tea.  I record the number in the notebook that sits on my kitchen bar; I dole out my vitamins, open my tea bag, and get the hot water going into the cup.  When it’s done I sit down, turn on my Kindle and read the latest “junk novel” I have downloaded.

At about 6 am I go on line to Facebook and check in with the groups I am currently facilitating, read my email, and then head back upstairs to brush my teeth, wash my face, and get dressed to go to the gym.  And so on, and so forth, my day just continues.

So what’s the miracle here you ask?  It’s simple, getting on the scale each morning is just a part of my routine, like taking my vitamins, brushing my teeth or having a cup of tea to start the day.  It’s a habit.  The scale has absolutely no control over me.  It is an inanimate object that keeps a record of numbers for me.  What I choose to do with that information is what is important, not the number itself.  The number has no reflection on my character- am I a good person, am I a bad person….  How could an inanimate object determine my worth?  It can’t.  The scale does not speak to me of failure, or for that matter of success.  Sure I am happy when the number goes down to a new all-time low, but it’s not the scale that makes me happy, or the number itself.  It is the knowledge that I have taken the actions to create change.  Same holds true if the number on the scale is higher than yesterday’s number.  I have taken some action to create that change and what I choose to do about it is where the power lies.

So once again, I have discovered that I AM THE POWER – I have the power of choice – I can choose to cower in a corner afraid to jump on the scale because I had a glass of wine last night, or jump on it, see what the number is and go forward with my day and my choices.

I am the result of the actions I take daily.  I am a success because I work on being the best ME I can be each day.  Being the best me includes being healthy, happy and living a fit life.  Those actions are what give me the POWER to not let the scale influence my mood.  The scale measures my weight every single morning I am at home.  ME, I, my actions, my voice, these are what measure my self-worth!

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Lap Band Success - What I lived and learned at YWM2015
Lap Band Success - What I lived and learned at YWM2015
Lap Band Success - What I lived and learned at YWM2015
Lap Band Success - What I lived and learned at YWM2015
Lap Band Success - What I lived and learned at YWM2015
Lap Band Success - What I lived and learned at YWM2015

I spent a fantastic weekend in San Antonio hanging out with great people, having wonderful conversations, learning new things, reinforcing existing skills, celebrating life, seeing the local sights and hugging new friends and old at OAC’s Your Weight Matters 2015 convention. It was great to be there as attendee, with no time constraints on my life, free to come and go as I chose.

I used the opportunity to wake at my leisure (which was typically 6am Central time), have tea and then coffee in my room, head down to the gym or the pool for my workout and then come back, get dressed and head to the convention area. That part was vacation like for me and I enjoyed every minute at the pool or in the fitness center.

I also enjoyed being able to go outside the venue for lunch on Riverwalk. What an amazing place.

Both evening functions were great fun! Wild Wild West night was truly a hoot. I found myself chatting with an armadillo….yes really!

So what did I take away from the convention besides fond memories? I got my annual dose of Vitamin M – Merrill Littleberry who is a wonderful motivational speaker as well as a therapist and fabulous person. Just being in her presence centers me and instills a self confidence that I can’t describe…you just have to be there. Anyone who has the opportunity to listen to this woman speak or have a one on one conversation with her please be sure you take advantage of the opportunity, and remember, focus on the things you have control of in your life, and love yourself first and foremost, you are worth it. We speak the same language of self acceptance being the first step towards success in all areas of life.

I also applaud the efforts of the OAC in their constant work with legislators to make our voices heard and to see that the needs of those with obesity are being met, and to train us as advocates so we can each be the voice that needs to be heard by all. I support the mission of the organization 100%.

The other presentation that I really enjoyed was that of Dr. Robert Kushner. Dr. Kushner has published on how personality figures in to our weight loss surgery journeys. He talks about how we can determine our particular patterns of behavior and then work on changing them. He has some great questionnaires for helping to determine your patterns and some great suggestions for working on overcoming these. While the information itself was not new, his approach is unique and extremely relatable, and fits right in with the educational programs that WLS Success Matters offers.

The most exciting NEW information was Apollo Endosurgery ‘s  introduction of The Orbera Balloon a non surgical tool for folks with low BMI’s. Know anyone needing to lose about 50 pounds who not only wouldn’t qualify for, but would not choose weight loss surgery? This just might be for them. Know anyone who needs to lose weight before they can have a knee replacement or a heart surgery? This might be for them. It’s exciting because it is so easy, so minimally invasive and not nearly as scary as surgery in my mind. It still requires the commitment to permanent lifestyle change, nothing is different there, for long term success we all must create a new relationship with food and exercise. It would not have been for me at 424 pounds, and possibly not for you either; however knowing that we have another weapon in the arsenal against obesity puts a smile on my face because I know that without my Lap Band I would probably be either dead or confined to a wheelchair instead of enjoying my life day after day, traveling around the world, free as a bird and no longer tied down by the chains of obesity.

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Is It Physical Hunger, “Head Hunger”, OR Am I Tired?For the last two days I have been hungry every couple of hours.  This is not good.  The first thing I do when this happens is try to figure out what is going on with me.  Because I keep a daily food journal I can review the days before to see if I ate too many carbs, or too much artificial sweetener, or didn’t have enough protein.  Checked this out and my eating was near perfect for the past 4 days, with firm protein at every meal and low carb veggies as well.  So scratched that as a cause off my list – not food choices!

Next I get to review my feelings – Am I stressed, angry, lonely, sad so that I am reaching for food instead of feeling my emotions and just dealing with them?  Hmmm, let me think a moment or two on those.  No more so than any day last week when I wasn’t hungry between meals.

One more thing to look at – water.  How much water have I been drinking?  Have I been getting in at least 64 ounces.  Went back to my food journal for that info and not only had I got in my 64 ounces of water every day for the past several days, most days over 80 ounces, and one day 110 ounces.  It wasn’t thirst disguising itself as hunger, that’s for sure.

Is It Physical Hunger, “Head Hunger”, OR Am I Tired?So what’s been different?  Has my schedule changed, am I getting in my exercise, what could it be?  Why am I suddenly hungry a couple of hours after eating?

How do you feel?  What’s going on?  I kept asking myself that question repeatedly, and finally the light went off and I had my aha moment.  I felt tired.  Why?  The reason was simple.  I had not been sleeping well for the past several days.  I intermittently have periods of time like this for a few days where my sleep is interrupted more than it usually is by the results of 100 ounces of water through the day.  This was one of them. 

Lack of sleep is a known contributor to both increased hunger and obesity.

Recent research has focused on the link between sleep and the peptides that regulate appetite.

“Ghrelin stimulates hunger and leptin signals satiety to the brain and suppresses appetite, ” says Siebern.  “Shortened sleep time is associated with decreases in leptin and elevations in ghrelin.”

Here it is as stated by another doctor: “A lack of sleep has also been shown to directly increase appetite and weight gain”.  As researchers at Laval University in Quebec City, Quebec, found, if you aren’t getting enough sleep you have a 30 percent higher risk of becoming obese and can expect an average weight gain of five pounds.

Deep sleep regulates growth hormone (the “fountain of youth hormone”), and controls the production of leptin and ghrelin.  Together, these three hormones regulate appetite.  This means if you don’t get enough sleep you’ll want to eat more, especially sugar!  Growth hormone also helps turn fat into muscle.  Increased muscle mass helps you burn calories more efficiently and improves insulin sensitivity – in other words, it stops sugar cravings, and makes you thinner.

Lack of sleep can lead to insulin resistance.  This means you cannot get sugar out of the bloodstream and into your cells where it is needed for fuel, so your body cries out for sugar, but can’t burn the sugar you eat.  You’re left endlessly craving sugar, overweight, exhausted, and even diabetic.”

Stated by another researcher :  “Studies have shown that when people don’t get enough sleep they:

• Have increased levels of a hunger hormone called ghrelin and decreased levels of the satiety/fullness hormone called leptin, which could lead to overeating and weight gain.

• Consume about 300 calories a day more than when they are well-rested.  Overall, most of the extra calories came from high-fat foods.

• Snack more and do less physical activity.

• Eat more than what is needed to cover the energy cost of staying awake longer, especially at night, which can lead to significant weight gain.

Research has showed that when study participants didn’t get enough sleep for five days, they consumed more carbohydrates and gained nearly 2 pounds in that time.  “When people are sleepy, they make poor food choices, and are more likely to eat more than they need, ” says Kenneth Wright, director of sleep and chronobiology laboratory at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

Is It Physical Hunger, “Head Hunger”, OR Am I Tired?Ok, ok I get it.  I need more sleep.  I try, believe me I do.  I will just have to try harder.  I’ll go up to bed ½ hour earlier to see if that allows me to drift off and stay asleep better.  I am not having trouble getting to sleep.  My issue most of the time is that of staying asleep for longer than 2-3 hours without waking up.

At least I know there is nothing wrong with my food choices, my water intake, my exercise program (which doesn’t change even when I have a bad night).  I am doing everything by the book.  Now just tell that to my pituitary gland and my tummy so that ghrelin, leptin, and other hormone balance can be what it should be.

I am writing this as I consume a few slices of deli turkey wrapped around pickle spears to try to deal with my 4PM hunger.  I am physically satisfied now and also aware that there are “chemical” changes in my body contributing to my hunger.  I will just have to deal with them, and NOT reach for the tortilla chips and guacamole which sound so dang good right now.

Before you reach for that high carb snack do you stop and ask yourself the following – AM I:

  • Hungry
  • Angry
  • Lonely
  • Tired
  • Stressed or Sad

Asking these questions has helped me avoid out of control snacking most of the time.  I am using the tool between my ears to solve the mysteries of hunger and satiety in those areas that my surgery doesn’t and can’t directly help me.

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Why I Attend Weight Loss Surgery Events - How It Helps My JourneyEvery year there are 3 significant weight loss surgery “events” where several hundred people come together in one venue for education, inspiration, motivation, and some good, down to earth fun, meeting old friends, and making new ones.

One is put on by the folks at Obesity Help, the other by the Obesity Action Coalition, and the third is the one that is near and dear to my heart – The Weight Loss Surgery Foundation of America.  I am a member of their National Board of Directors and I stand behind the mission 110%. 

Why I Attend Weight Loss Surgery Events - How It Helps My JourneyWhat is the Weight Loss Surgery Foundation of America you ask?  We are a charity organization (501.c.3) that raises funds to provide grants for weight loss and reconstructive surgery for those who have no means of covering the costs themselves.  We have a grant application, screening, and selection process.  Want more info – go to www.wlsfa.org.  We have surgeons who are part of our Network of Care and who provide their time, and professional services, at no cost to us for these surgeries.

Why I Attend Weight Loss Surgery Events - How It Helps My JourneyIsn’t it wonderful that folks who would not have any access to care are able to receive help and have their lives saved?  That’s what we do, we save lives, one grant at a time.  We have helped mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers of folks just like us – who are burdened with the disease of obesity, and either have no insurance, or no weight loss surgery coverage, or a co-pay that makes it impossible for them to have surgery.  They must be recommended to us by a bariatric surgeon as a good candidate for surgery before we even accept their grant application for review.  It is a vigorous process for the potential recipient to make it through all of the steps to submit a completed application for review and consideration.

Even with surgeons donating their time, it is still expensive.  There are operating room costs, anesthesia costs and the like, and sometimes travel is necessary to get the patient to the surgeon.  This is where YOU come in.  This is why we have our Meet & Greet event annually.  We need YOU to help us raise the dollars, to fund the grants, to keep the process alive.  Here is what you’ll find at the WLSFA events:

  • Friendly faces smiling at you wherever you go
  • Mix & Mingle get-togethers to meet new friends for those who are attending for the first time
  • Typically Saturday lunch, Saturday dinner, and Sunday breakfast is provided (WLS friendly), and appetizers at our Friday night event
  • Panel discussions, breakout sessions that are educational, inspirational, and motivational in nature provided by patient professionals
  • Keynote professional speakers of renown in the WLS community
  • Why I Attend Weight Loss Surgery Events - How It Helps My JourneyOur very own Ambassador of Hope, Carnie Wilson presenting or presiding over at least one public event
  • Vendors of all types of weight loss surgery related products for you to see and ask questions that are important to you
  • A Friday night get-together that is typically themed, and always fun
  • A Saturday night dinner reception and party
  • The opportunity to meet hundreds of folks at different places on their journeys – you are not alone – this is such a warm and friendly community
  • MOST OF ALL – the chance, through your attendance, to help fund a life-saving Weight Loss Surgery for someone who is in need both medically and financially.

2016 WLSFA Meet & Greet

I promise you, that you will walk away from our event with a smile on your face, many new friends, and lots of new knowledge.  This year our event is in Nashville, Tennessee – so come and join me May 13th – May 15th 2016, and let’s all Make a Difference together.

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How Does My Lap Band Work – No Really!

by sandi on July 29, 2015

Dr. John Dixon
2015-Patient-Advocacy-Council-Apollo-Endosurgery
Young Sandi
Sandi before Weight Loss Surgery

During my recent trip to Austin as a member of the Apollo Lap Band Patient Advisory Board I was fortunate to have the opportunity to listen to Dr. John Dixon speak via video conference on the subject of Satiety vs. Restriction.  He is an amazing man with a tremendous amount of experience, and looking around the room as he spoke I saw that all present were totally enthralled, and even excited, by his presentation.  He put into words and fact based statements what I have been saying since May 28, 2004 – “As soon as a band was put around my stomach the gnawing hunger I had dealt with, the never having had “enough” went away.  My hunger- satiety switch was obviously broken most of my life and Lap Band fixed it.” Those are my words describing what I learned from my personal experience.  Dr. Dixon said quite simply that “surgery changes the satiety regulation.”

Think about those words, roll them around in your brain, and let’s talk a little about satiety regulation and what that might be.  It was explained to us that by the time we are 4 years old our metabolic programming is set.  Funny, but my “story” starts with I was an obese child from the time I was 4.  We went on to learn that our bodies have a built in bias to “protect” against weight loss.  That is as our weight drifts up our body tends to defend it.  This translates to us as Harder To Lose Weight.  Any of you notice this as the years went on and your weight got higher and your need for food got stronger?

The net take from this is that obesity is a physiological disease, not a lifestyle choice – as some would like us all to believe.  Once you get that, then you can understand and appreciate that Lap Band surgery provides an immediate and permanent reduction in physical hunger.  It did for me, and along with that reduction in physical hunger came my ability to demonstrate what Dr. Dixon called “cognitive restraint”, which was accessing my power to change my food choices and my portion sizes.  Makes sense when you understand that the physical need to eat hunger, was significantly reduced by putting a Lap Band around my belly.  It was a relief to not be driven by hunger all the time. 

The mental part of the game- the choice of what foods I was going to use to feed the physical hunger, the need to remove sugar from my eating plans, all of that was up to me.  No surgery will deal with those issues permanently. 

I chose Lap Band originally because I knew, based upon my doctor’s words at the informational seminar, that I would need to make those changes immediately, sooner rather than later.  While the other surgery choices might give me an immediate weight loss due to the anatomical changes that would be made in my body I wanted to not have a honeymoon period where I could count on anything but my choices and my WLS tool to facilitate the weight loss.  I didn’t want the most invasive surgery; I wanted the least invasive surgery.  For me it worked beautifully; hunger was reduced, I made the long term changes necessary and it was not about restriction, it was about learning and cherishing that new feeling – SATIETY.

There is a misconception out there in the world of bands that restriction, the inability of food to move through your band is what we are looking for.  All I can say to that is – ouch and NO.  I don’t know about you but I hate “getting stuck” and PBing.  As I have been learning so does our band and our esophagus.  A tight band would make the assumption that delayed gastric emptying – or in my terms keeping the food in your “pouch” or your stomach longer to achieve a higher level of satisfaction is how the band works.  NOT SO.  We are not out to have a girdle so tight around our stomachs that nothing passes through it easily.  Our pouch empties in less than 3 minutes.  The band is but a speed bump for the food we choose.  That is, well for me, a foodie who enjoys eating, actually SILLY.  Why would someone want to not be able to eat at all?  We have to eat to live, and what we eat might as well be enjoyable.  If not, just have your jaw wired shut and drink your food for the rest of your life.  Not much difference to me.

I have never functioned in the world of a band that was so tight I couldn’t enjoy foods.  Sure, we do get some restriction along the way as the band is adjusted to make sure that physical hunger between meals is reduced.  This is what my Lap Band is about.  This is how I have managed to lose, as of this morning, 270 pounds over the past 11 years and create a full, vibrant life for myself.

One side note from Dr. Dixon was something totally new for me.  I heard him say that a craving for sugar was actually your body asking for protein.  So yeah, grab that piece of chicken instead of that cookie, and see what happens.

As your journey continues or just begins, remember that a Lap Band is about hunger being diminished, satiety increased, and not a tool of torture.  You get to choose the foods you eat, and in those choices lie the weight loss you can and will achieve.

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I have just returned from my fifth annual trip to the Lap Band Patient Executive Council meeting.  I was honored to be invited to listen to an internationally renowned surgeon, Dr. John Dixon, and others speak about what it takes to have long term success with this incredible medical device that I credit with saving my life. 

2015 Patient Advocacy Council Apollo Endosurgery

If I came away with one piece of information to share with all of you, it is to stay connected to your surgeon.  It’s more than fills and un-fills.  Don’t need an adjustment, haven’t been to see the doctor in years, what if I told you that if you went in for a “tune up” visit at least once a year you might decrease the odds of having any issues down the road?  Would you do it?  Yes – well I’m telling you – call and make that appointment.

New Gastric BandWhen’s the last time you did a swallow, had a fluoroscopy, or an endoscopy?  Never you say?  How about calling and seeing if your doctor would like to check you from the inside to look at your band position, the state of your stoma and stomach, and tell you that all is fine?  Wouldn’t it be nice to hear at least once a year that everything is in good working order? 

Having a little reflux, or perhaps recurring stuck episodes?  Can’t tolerate firm protein?  What if these could be resolved by visiting your doctor, and sitting down together and honestly discussing your habits, what you might change and what he/she can do to help you?  What if it didn’t include long term medication, but the possibility of some positive short term changes, and BAM you’re back in the green zone again?  No reflux, no stuck episodes, no eating slider foods only because nothing else works.

Remember, the “head adjustments” we get by staying connected with our surgeons for regular visits is as valuable as the band adjustments, as long as we are honest with our surgeons.  When asked if you have reflux, answer truthfully, when asked if you are eating firm protein with no problems, answer truthfully.  Don’t be afraid that you will either get “yelled at”, or that your band will have to come out.  The statistics I heard at this meeting were that in 95+% of the cases of reflux, stretching of the esophagus, and yes, even slips, were resolvable without removing the Lap Band. 

Do you go to the dentist once a year?  How about taking your car in for service once a year?  Getting those mammograms annually ladies?

WHY would you not have your surgeon check out your implanted medical device at least once a year? 

Problems with your band do not necessarily mean another surgery.  You just do not know unless you see the surgeon and ask.  If you are told your band needs to be removed, ask WHY, and be sure you understand that there is no other alternative. 

Gastric BandI keep hearing things like my band isn’t working, I’m not losing weight.  Well, guess what folks, the reality is, if you have another surgery it may work for a while, but if YOU haven’t done the work, you will see the weight start to come back on again.  Surgeries are tools; they can help us control the amount that we eat as long as we choose the right foods to use the tools.  In every case, that is firm protein first.

Want to keep your Lap Band, and yourself, healthy and happy?  Get connected with your doctor, get the education and support you need, and get that Lap Band tuned up to get your lifetime of success in place.

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Long Term Lap Band Success – Move Your Body And Watch What Happens

July 15, 2015

I listened to my doctor from the first day of the informational seminar and followed his instructions to the letter.  His instructions included eating protein first, drinking 64 ounces of water, and moving my body every day, working up to 30 minutes per day, every day.  I worked diligently at all of it from the […]

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Long Term Lap Band Success – Body Image – The Eyes Have It

July 8, 2015

One thing I have learned this past 11 years is that the brain does not always register what the eyes see.  Let me begin with me – at 424 pounds.  I was going through life every day, doing the best I could, getting my hair “just-so”, putting make-up on every day, dressing nicely, and not […]

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Never Lose Hope – Long Term Lap Band Success

July 1, 2015

Webster’s Dictionary defines the verb to hope as follows:  “to desire with expectation of obtainment”. I don’t know about you, but that is how I went into this Weight Loss Surgery thing.  I had the desire to resolve my health issues by losing weight, using my Lap Band as a tool to reach my expectations. […]

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Life After Lap Band Surgery – What I Did On Summer Vacation

June 24, 2015

                  I just returned from 10 days in New Mexico, Utah, Arizona and Colorado.  I am officially in love with the Four Corners area of our Southwest.  What beautiful country, what wonderful people, and what a great experience to be able to move freely hiking, climbing and […]

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Long Term Lap Band Success – How I Celebrate Goals Achieved

June 17, 2015

It started when I was a child; it continued into my teen years and never stopped until I reached over 400 pounds.  What was it you ask?  It was food as the answer for everything. If I fell down and got a “boo boo” it was here, have a cookie it will get all better. […]

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Long Term Lap Band Success – Fifty Shades of …Yogurt

June 10, 2015

I posted a picture of my 6 ounce container of Fage 0% Greek yogurt with a note that the entire container was 100 calories and 18 grams of protein and I just added hot salsa to it for a taste treat.  I asked for everyone else’s ideas on how they used it and thought I […]

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Long Term Lap Band Success – What Is This “Normal” Everybody Seems to Want?

June 3, 2015

As my 12th year as a weight loss surgery patient begins I think about what I keep hearing day after day on Facebook, in my groups, on my website, at support group meetings from other weight loss surgery patients.  Here is what is said, if not in these words, in words very similar to them: […]

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Long Term Lap Band Success – Getting That Newbie Feeling Again

May 27, 2015

Today, May 28, 2015 is my “Bandiversary”.  On this day 11 years ago, weighing over 400 pounds, I had Lap Band Surgery.  Today I weighed 162 pounds and my next goal is 159 which has seemed so elusive and so hard to reach until my first fill since my new band placement in November of […]

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Being Invisible And Obese

May 20, 2015

This blog is going to be a bit of a rant.  Last week in the gym I came across the most awful example of how “invisible” we are as obese people.  I was swimming and finished my 45 minutes of laps and was giving myself 5 minutes in the hot tub as a reward.  As […]

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Long Term Lap Band Success – Transformation Happens Everywhere

May 13, 2015

Here I am, approaching my 11th “surgiversary”, and I am reflecting on how the world around me has changed over these years.  This was brought on by a waiter at The Marriott in Riverside, CA who asked if we wanted bread, rather than just placing it on the table assuming that because it was part […]

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