Sandi’s Story – How Weight Loss Surgery Saved My Life

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, at 424 pounds, 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.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Sally February 7, 2010 at 12:37 am

Congrats on the weight loss. I was banded mid Dec and have lost 10kg (22lbs). Your jeans photo is amazing. I look forward to exploring your website. Thanks

Michele J. February 10, 2010 at 6:43 am

This is a great site, lots of good information to reach a lot of people!

Kelly "Ginger" March 1, 2010 at 7:48 am

Sandi you are such an inspiration! Your strength is amazing. I am so glad to have met you and have you as my friend. I know you will help many with your courage keep it up Beautiful!!

Bonnie Hall September 24, 2010 at 2:24 am

Hi Sandi,

Thank you for sharing your story and keeping us close to share with us your experiences. It has helped me tremendously and I have not had the surgery yet! My operation date is Oct. 15, 2010 and I feel I am going into this process armed with a lot of knowledge and support because of you!

Thank you again!

Bonnie Hall

Tammy November 22, 2010 at 7:43 pm

Great job on the weight loss. I was banded April 23, 2010 and have lost 43 lbs so far. A friend had it done prior to mine and was a big inspiration to me. I have been taken off medications already and feel so much better. I can now keep up with my 11 yr old. It is a great feeling to succeed finally with weight loss. Thanks you for sharing your great progress. I still have a long way to go, but stories like yours keep me going.

jane hannant December 6, 2010 at 1:16 pm

hi had my lapband done 19th november 2010 just need so many question i need to ask need a friend to so i can talk about there highs and lows .you look wonderful you must be so proud of your self lots of love jane

kristy August 19, 2011 at 2:08 am

I am brand new to this site, i am having my surgery in 2 weeks on augh 31. im nervou, scared, frantic and overly excitied wrapped up into one huge ball of emotoin. I worry the most about not driking while i am eating a meal, and chewing slowly. i am going to have to work hard at that. i love seeing the before and after pictures and hope to be able to post mind one day. congratulations on all you sucess and weight loss, god bless you. kristy

Patricia August 20, 2011 at 2:28 am

Congratulations on your success! I’m so glad I discovered your site! It’s very encouraging as I am having lap band surgery next month on September 16th. I have been a little worried about having the surgery at my age (I’m 57), and am delighted to learn of your success when you were in your fifties. I’m hoping to be able to report my success soon. I have about 100 pounds to lose.
That you for sharing your story with us!

Pearl September 2, 2011 at 10:37 pm

Truly your story is so inspiring! Congratulations,you give me hope. I am 53 years old and I had my surgery on June 17,2011. Approximately 2 and 1/2 months now and I have lost 28# but I am struggling. I received my first fill but I can still eat as much as I could before and I get so hungry. He put 4cc (I have the AP large, holds 14cc I think) and I can’t really tell anything is in it. I do not have insurance so it is $130.00 for each fill but I am going back on the 20th of Sept to get another one. Thank You for sharing your story with me! You should be very proud!!!

Aussie Psych Student September 27, 2011 at 7:32 pm

Greetings from Australia. You helped me with my university assignment. Thank so much.

Sandy October 2, 2011 at 7:20 pm

Congratulations on your success. One really has to “be there” so to speak to undstand just what you have accomplished. It’s a tremendous victory!! I had my lapband surgery three weeks ago (no fill yet) and am struggling with a few things, but I’m learning as I go. I gave the lapband to myself for my 65th birthday, so I’m hoping that no one out there lets age stand in their way. I am a ovarian cancer survivor (3 relapses in 12 years) and gained a great deal of steroid (and ‘feeling sorry for myself’) weight during treatment. I have already lost 15 pounds and am really starting to feel so much better….mentally and physically. I have a whole list of health issues from all of the chemotherapy I have had over the years, and while I am aware that the weight loss won’t cure everything, I know it will certainly help. You are an inspiration and your story has strengthened my resolve to lose this extra 125 pound person that I’ve been carrying around with me. Thank you so very much.

Bruno October 3, 2011 at 2:03 am

Truly your story is so inspiring! Congratulations,you give me hope. I am 53 years old and I had my surgery on June 17,2011. Approximately 2 and 1/2 months now and I have lost 28# but I am struggling. I received my first fill but I can still eat as much as I could before and I get so hungry. He put 4cc (I have the AP large, holds 14cc I think) and I can’t really tell anything is in it. I do not have insurance so it is $130.00 for each fill but I am going back on the 20th of Sept to get another one. Thank You for sharing your story with me! You should be very proud!!!

Leisa October 6, 2011 at 7:58 pm

Sandi, thank you, thank you for suggesting this site to me and thank you for your patience in answering my questions. I just came to this site not a half hour ago and have read some great and informative things. Your story inspires me. I can not wait to begin my journey!
Again Thank you so so much!!

Gina December 6, 2011 at 12:44 am

Had the surgery on Friday (Lap Band) and have been so hungry I thought I would vomit. Regret is here as I thought the band would get rid of hunger! I’m disappointed and dreading a lifetime of hunger.

Robin March 7, 2012 at 11:28 pm

I got banded this past Monday. Can’t wait to see what my new life will be!

ritacindyscott January 21, 2013 at 11:21 am

Hi Sandy:
Your story was so inspiring. I am ready in the next month or so to have
my lap band surgery. I too have a bad knee, I could hardly walk, I go
chair to chair. I also have sleep apnea which I just developed and high
blood pressure. I am happily married to my husband 4o years and he
has been amazing as far as doing things for me. I’m tired of being so
dependant on him, it’s not fair. I too rented a scotter to go on a cruise and
although I had a great time it was one big pain not walking. I am ready
for this and can’t wait to start living again.

I thank you for the encouragement!

Betty M May 12, 2013 at 6:56 pm

I am 8 days away from my lap band surgery. I am on liquids and am having some trouble not actually eatting. I have high blood pressure, sleep apnea and bad knees. I want to get this weight off so I can get into good enough shape to walk across our yard down to the lake, go to the zoo with my grandchildren and not feel like everyone is watching me when I get on a plane. I am 61 and have always had problems with my weight…I am looking forward to not having food on my mind but just eat to survive….not live to eat.

Thanks for everyones comments….it helps to read them.

Eric May 23, 2013 at 10:05 pm

I am so thankful for everyone comments! I just had my band on Monday , May 20th, 2013. I was so afraid fearing that I may have done the wrong thing ! Fearing that my food was going to get stuck, or that I was going to choke! I could not get a full night rest without thinking about everything !

Thanks Sandi for this site!

Yours truly,

Deborah Pridgen October 14, 2013 at 8:39 am

So excited to be a part of a group! I was banded on September 28, 2012. I was 54 years old. I am 1 year out now. I have lost 89# since my heaviest weigh in May 2012 and 74 lbs since surgery! I have at least 20# to go but no stress with that! I recently had a dilation because of an over fill and throwing up and probably other factors too. I had 3.4 cc removed and did a liquid diet for 7 days and liquid and soft for 7 day. So happy to say I’m ok now and have added 1.7 back to my band. Now back at 5.2 cc. Praying for future success!! The biggest problem for me is exercise and loose skin. Any suggestions? I’m not a good surgery candidate because of diabetes and my scars tend to get ugly! Thanks

sandi October 14, 2013 at 9:15 am

The BEST exercise for you an dyour loose skin is first and foremost the one you will repeat for 30 minutes every day. Don’t worry about the loose skin, especially if you are not going to be able to do any palstics for skin removal. Wear it like a badge of honor and be proud of it! That being said, fabrics with spandex in them are our best friends for keeping th ejiggles to a minimu . so glad youa re part of our group. Come to and join us for our FREE telephone support groups. We have one this thursday, October 17th at 5PM Pacific, 8PM Eastern time

Jenn November 6, 2013 at 4:29 pm

Wow Sandi, you rock!!! I’ve been battling my weight for as long as I can remember and was weighing in at just under 300 lbs before my lap band procedure. I just had the surgery this morning so I hope you won’t mind me looking to you as my role model 🙂

Jennifer July 8, 2014 at 5:28 pm

I have my band for almost 2 years and I have struggled with only loosing 30 lbs, I am very frustrated and would appreciate some help.

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