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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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Gloria Samuels January 29, 2010 at 7:13 pm

You are such an incredible inspiration. Even though you’ve been my mentor for nearly 4 years now, and I know your story well, I am still in awe when I read it. You have taught me so much. Anyone who has a band or is considering one can learn so much from you and how you’ve learned to work this tool to achieve your goals. Thanks for paying it forward.

Suz February 6, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Looks GREAT, easy to navigate and graffics ar eye catching…..CONGRATS !

Michael C. Pickart, M.D., F.A.C.S. February 9, 2010 at 12:43 am

Sandi, your sincerity and earnestness ring through! The creation of this site speaks volumes about your commitment to self-improvement and to your out-reach. I am so proud of you for your transformation and for your leadership.

Alison January 10, 2012 at 12:34 am

Thanks for the words of encouragment. I had the lapband surgery over a year ago. I have not lost much weight compared to other family members that have had the same surgery. When I read it took you a few years to reach your goal, it encouraged me to keep doing no matter how long it takes!

Jamie March 23, 2012 at 10:08 pm

I continue to read your story over and over for the encouragement. I’m just starting the Lap Band process with a surgery date pending. I’ve struggled with my weight for years and have tried all the diets. I was reading some of the comments on Carnie Wilson’s latest ‘2nd’ weight loss surgery and people can be so cruel. I started to doubt myself and think “am I making the right decision to have the lap band surgery?” Any words of encouragement?

sandi March 24, 2012 at 6:15 pm

Jamie: Ignore the negative people- they are all around us. Stick to the positive ones who support your quest for your own health and are not judging you and your decisions. After all, who are they to judge your decision? Have they dealt with obesity? do they suffer from any of the co-morbidities? Do they actually care about you or what they are saying or writing or do they just need to vent their anger on the world? Make your decisions from an intellectual place, researching results, speaking with professionals. The lap band is not a CURE – it is a tool, when combined with lifestyle changes will help you achieve health and well being. It was the tool I needed to get my hunger and eating under control and my only regret, and remember I am just shy of 8 years post op, is that I did NOT do it sooner! Good luck on your journey.

Christine April 3, 2012 at 3:10 pm

What a great success story! I had lapband surgery about 4 months ago and haven’t lost much weight. Has anyone else out there had this problem?

Traci Smith July 17, 2013 at 7:58 am

I haven’t been big all my life I was weighing only 135 at my wedding 24 years ago and never realized at a young age that one day I would need weight loss surgery. It scares me a little to have the surgery because all the things I have read about what has gone wrong with the lap band. I know if I don’t have the lap band done I won’t see 43. I’m 41 right now and weigh around 347 and I’m always tired and don’t want to do anything with my family because I am to big and to ashamed to be around anyone. I want to be a nurse but how can you help someone else when you need help yourself. I haven’t graduated from college yet ,but I don’t want to be one of those nurses that people look at and feel sorry for because I’m to big to and out of breath and wonder if I can take good care of them. Can you give me some advice in what I need to do?

sandi July 17, 2013 at 8:41 am

Tracy we all need to follow our hearts and our dreams. I would start by going to a weight loss surgery center informational seminar close to you. I am sending you a direct email with some additional information.
If you are considering LAP BAND I would download a copy of my book and read it, do the exercises in it and use it to help you determine where your head and your heart truly lie. This saved my life 9 years ago and my only regret is not having done it sooner. I also offer FREE telephone support groups 2x monthly – check them out at and join us to get some of your questions answered. Good luck to you. Follow Your Dreams!!

leslie schneider January 30, 2014 at 7:58 am

I am scheduled for lap band surgery in just a few days. I am excited to finally have a tool to keep the weight off forever. I am also grateful for the support that this website offers. Hope that I can pay it forward.

Angela Bradley February 3, 2014 at 7:35 pm

Hi Sandi! Been 4ever since we have gotten together. Any local events to attend in the coming months? Cant do meet & greet 🙁

Tania Garofalo May 20, 2014 at 8:56 am

Hi Sandie
I have been considering lapband Surgey for over a year now
Have researched it till the cows come home and can’t seem to make a decision due to the fact that there are some real horror stories with people that have had it done I am 62 years old relatively healthy with borderline diabetes at this stage I weigh 85 kg and I need to do something about my weight before my diabetes gets out of control I also have back and knee problems
Please advise and if you can put me in touch with people that have actually had the lapband thanks

sandi May 20, 2014 at 6:39 pm

Tania I am 65 years old and my lap band 10 years ago was the best thing I ever did for myself. come to the website, come to my Facebook page sandi lapbandedliving and ask questions of the thousand of folks who have had the surgery.

Anna August 23, 2016 at 4:24 am

Nice blog…

Dr Jaydeep Palep- Bariatric Surgeon January 7, 2018 at 11:47 pm

Your Blog is Really Inspiring !! I will refer this to my patient so that they can learn from You !!

Thanks & keep Inspiring this World !!

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