How I Put My Support Systems In Place For Long Term Success After Lap Band Surgery

by sandi on April 5, 2017

How I Put My Support Systems In Place I had weight loss surgery on May 28, 2004.  That is almost 13 years ago.  I went into surgery terrified, afraid I would fail at this last-ditch effort to shed some of the 424 pounds I was carrying around that were killing me slowly.  I woke up after surgery in pain and still terrified wondering what I had done to myself.

I sit here today writing this and reliving some of the almost 13 years since I had surgery and 11 + years since I have shed 270 pounds.  It was a slow and steady process, taking me 27 months and then 2 plastic surgeries and a redo of my lap band in 2014 due to a leak.  My only regret today is that I hadn’t done it sooner and reclaimed my life, my health, my happiness, my ability to move freely both physically and mentally through this world.  I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

That being said while I am responsible for the choices I made daily of what to eat, how much water to drink, when and how much fitness was going to be a part of my life I know I could NEVER have gotten here, today, to where I am at 68 years young, living and loving my life, sharing it with others, coaching others, publishing cookbooks, educating new and old patients alike and maintaining a healthy weight without my support network.

How I Put My Support Systems In Place Here’s what it looked like for the first 3 years – support group at my doc’s office 1x monthly, an appointment with my doc 1x monthly, an understanding and supportive husband who would (and did) do anything to help me, and some friends I made in the weight loss surgery community.  We would go out for dinner together before support group so we could learn as a group how to order and eat like a WLS patient.  We would call each other when we needed support, and we would also call our bariatric doctor’s office for help, support and to get our questions answered along the way.

Then I began speaking as a successful patient at my doctor’s informational seminars.  I liked this – why because it drove home to me each time I spoke just how far I had come, how good I felt and the changes I was continuing to make in my life.  It gave me a place to not only acknowledge my success but to also be accountable to another group of folks by being my authentic self when I spoke about my journey.

I then began blogging my journey and created my website and wrote and published my first book – Is Lap Band Surgery For Me.  Then came Facebook and all of the accountability that it offered to a huge audience.  I was selected by the makers of the Lap Band to join the OAC (Obesity Action Coalition) in Washington DC and speak with congressional and senatorial representatives to fight for treatment for obesity to be covered under all insurances.  I spoke to the international sales force of the makers of the Lap Band at an annual meeting about my journey and I was asked to join their Patient Advisory Council.

How I Put My Support Systems In Place At the first Patient Advisory Council meeting I was introduced to the WLSFA (Weight Loss Surgery Foundation of America) and it’s unique space as the ONLY foundation awarding grants for weight loss surgery for those that had no other means to obtain it on their own.  I knew I was fortunate, while my insurance didn’t cover my surgery I was able to find a way to self-pay.  Others are not that fortunate.  I became involved with the organization and today I am a member of the Executive Board of Directors.

We fund grants to help those in medical need of weight loss surgery (and reconstructive surgery) who cannot fund it themselves.  We have an application and screening process and I am proud to say this little foundation has managed to fund 21 surgeries to date and we are growing daily.

How I Put My Support Systems In Place We need your help.  Every year we have our annual Meet & Greet to raise funds for the grants for the following year.  This year our Meet & Greet is in Portland Oregon May 19 -May 21 and in addition to celebrating our new lives on Friday and Saturday evenings, we have a series of patient led and doctor led educational talks and panels all day Friday and Saturday.

Carnie Wilson is our Ambassador of Hope and will be available on Friday evening before the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party gets going.  Here’s your chance to mix and mingle with a woman who devotes herself to our cause wherever and whenever she can.  She is authentic, she fights the same struggles as each of us in her daily life and shares them openly.

How I Put My Support Systems In Place Here’s your chance to live, learn and spend a weekend with other weight loss surgery patients and find out how they do it while you share your tips.

Here’s your chance to speak to bariatric surgeons about possibilities and plastic surgeons about reconstructing your new body.

But most of all, here’s your chance to pay it forward and give back to the community by helping to fund a grant just by showing up.  Come and make a difference in Portland this May.  Here’s the link with all of the information you need

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