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Marylou's story

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Like most of you, I've battled with my weight forever. I was actually able to get through high school at the perfect weight for me (120)...but only by being TOTALLY obsessed with it. I dieted and excercised constantly.

The real battle began after getting married and when I became pregnant. License to eat!! Whoohoo! And so it began...over the last 30 years, I've tried every diet, gimmick, pill and plan. And just kept getting fatter.

When I first thought about WLS, it sounded SO drastic! Surely, I wasn't THAT bad. But I went ahead and had the bariatric clinic send me all the papers, etc. As a part of their program, I had to provide a weight history. What an eye opener that was!

I've spent my entire life thinking about food and diets. I've been in a self-imposed prison...denying myself so many outings and events, just because of my weight. Or rather, my perception of my weight. I say that, because even when I'd get down to a reasonable weight, I still thought I was too fat.

Anyway, after doing about a year of research, I decided if I was going to have WLS, the band was the only way to go. My insurance company gave me the runaround for about seven months...long enough for the new year to begin when I received their letter saying, as of 2004, they no longer covered any WLS!

Thought I'd have to wait years to save up the money...then my dear mother passed away. And left me enough money to get the surgery done. I think of it as her last gift to me.

Off to TJ with my daughter on 4/22/04 to be banded by Drs. Ortiz and Martinez. Everyone was so kind and professional! What a great team they have put together.

My surgery went just fine. I had some pain the second night...trouble getting comfortable, but nothing I couldn't handle. The trip home was a little rough. In retrospect, I probably should have stayed another night in Mexico.

I had surgery on a Thursday and on Tuesday, I went to work (half-day). Again, probably should have given myself a few more days off. Nothing major, but I got tired VERY easily.

I had my first fill in TJ on 7/3/04. It was a dinky fill (.4). I think I was still tight from my period, because I'm able to eat quite a lot right now.

I will continue to go to Drs. Ortiz and Martinez for my fills. I prefer to rely on their expertise when it comes to my band.

It's not a hardship for me to get to TJ. I live near Sacramento and have family and friends to stay with in So Cal.

I'm learning how to work my band every single day. I've lost 32 lbs in the last three months and for the first time in my life, I'm not worried about gaining it all back!

This is the best thing I have ever done for myself. I LOVE MY BAND!




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Wow Marlou you sound like a mirror image of me!

Our stories are very similar. I was banded on 4/6/04 by Ortiz & Martinez and had my first fill on 7/7/04 1.1cc's I have lost 36 pounds to date. I live in So cal and will continue going to Dr Ortiz & Martinez for my after care , they are the best!

And like you, the band is the best thing I have ever done for myself..I have no fears either of ever gaining my weight back. I Love my band too :)

Congratulations to you..you are doing awesome!


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  • 4 weeks later...

If you don't mind my asking, what's a fill ???

I am reading LapBand Surgery boards because I just can't decide if I will be successful even if I do have the operation. If I can't stay on a diet now, how will I once I get a band ??

So many questions.. Hope you don't mind answering some of them.

#1 - How long do you keep the band ?? Lifetime ??? Just until you loose your weight ?? Is it adjustable ( expanding ) once you lose your weight ???

#2 - How much does it cost ? Ballpark figure... Here where I live ( East Coast), I believe it's around $ 29,000...

#3 - What can you eat that is good after you have it ?? I read where someone had food lodged in their throat and had to have it surgerically removed. This sounds rather expensive... Can't be doing that too often.

#4 - I have hypertension.. (stage 1)... Is that a concern and do they still do the surgery ??

Thanks .. that's it for now.

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When the band is put on it is empty. Think of a hollow tube. As you lose weight due to your appetite being so small, you get fills to tighten the band. Think of a belt. As you lose weight, you need to tighten the belt. Some people never need a fill, some need a ton of fills. Most need 2 or 3. They are done through a small needle in your abdomen so no recovery time and practically no pain.

The band is designed to stay in indefinately but can be removed.

The price varies but in Mexico most doctors do it for between $8500 to $10,000. I believe Dr. Ortez is $8500 with free fills, I had my surgery performed by Dr. Huacuz, www.huacuz.com, and the first fill is free, then $200 each. The fills can range from $100 to $300. Since most insurances don't cover the band, alot of people turn to other countries to have it done at 1/3 to 1/4 the price. Also, the thought of having it done in Mexico may be a bit scary...it is definately a culture shock, not an American hospital by far...but know the Mexican doctors have been performing the banding for over 10 years and have done 100's if not 1000's. It has only been approved in the us for a few years and most doctors have only done a handful. Actually, Dr. Ortez has trained several American doctors!

I had the surgery on July 25th and I am eating everything I was able to eat before. I chose to help the weight loss with a low carb diet. I eat chicken, beef, all veggies, milk, cheese, etc. You can really eat anything you want but some foods are hard to digest like fruit skin, popcorn, carbination, nuts. I was told to think of it as there is no stomache acid in your new stomache so all the food you eat has to be broked down enough the fit through the band without the help of stomache acid. The first few weeks are a bit tough because you are really restricted to liquids and then pureed foods, but thats the same if you had any major abdominal surgery.

I have hypertension, type 2 diabeties, migraines, PCOS, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, pretty much you name it I have it. The great thing about losing weight is alot of things will get better. I stopped taking all my meds after the surgery and in the short amount of time off of them and loosing weight, I feel great. If you have any weight related medical problem you NEED to lose the weight to save your life and the band will definately help you do that. I eat about 1/3 what I used to eat and it's all due to the fact I'm not always starving! I am satasfied with a single serving, not 5 servings!

Feel free to email me if you have any other questions.


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