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1 year post op, wanted to share my experience...


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When I went in for surgery, I weighed 235, with a BMI of 41.0. I was embarrassed that I was 31 years old, and morbidly obese. I didn't suffer major health problems, except for sore knees, god-awful snoring that showed slight sleep apnea, and I was always tired. I had two little girls, ages 2 and 4, who I wanted to have a healthy active lifestyle with. I knew that in my current state, that was not going to happen. As a woman married to a man who could eat ANYTHING and stay underweight, I was frustrated and jealous. I didn't seem fair...

The most discouraging part was the constant feeling of hunger. I was not someone who was addicted to food; I did not grab the bon bons when I was depressed. I was ALWAYS hungry. That feeling never stopped, even after I stuffed myself full after Thanksgiving dinner. I tried the diets, and lost weight, but it always came back, because that hunger was always talking to me. My husband and I talked about all kinds of options: diets, exercise, and surgery. He threw the Lap-Band idea out to me thinking I would reject it, and go on a diet and prove I didn't need a device. But instead, I embraced it. I was so tired of the roller coasters, the hunger, the tiredness. So, I did my research. I knew the likelihood of getting approved for a band with my weight and lack of health problems was extremely slim, so we decided to check out options in Mexico.

I did my research. I did not choose someone with the lowest price. I wanted someone with experience, low rates of complications, and someone with the reputation of success. I settled on a few different surgeons as options, and made some calls. I felt comfortable with Dr. Ortiz's staff, and booked my procedure... to happen in 3 weeks. It became a crazy mind-shift. I immediately had to go on the pre-op diet of 2 shakes and a Lean Cuisine. But, I knew I HAD to do it, so I didn't suffer. I just 'bucked up' and accepted it.

I flew to Mexico and met a woman named Julie down there, who was being banded the same day. We because fast buddies, and it was comforting to me to know I had a friend down there (my husband was at home taking care of the girls) who also was a nurse! We were both impressed with the facilities and the staff. I have 'hard veins' that are impossible to get an IV into. Each time I need bloodwork, it is a nightmare, and it is impossible to donate blood. They had a hard time to get blood, and trying to get an IV in, was hopeless. Numerous nurses poked and prodded, and nothing. I almost called for Julie, just so I had somebody there to hold my hand. But, Dr. Ortiz came in a visited with me, explaining that IV anesthesia was preferred but not the only option, and that I was going to meet with the anesthesiologist and discuss my options. He made me feel at ease and I was instantly calm. The anesthesiologist explained to me some different options and told me he wanted to do the anesthesia via IV, but would put me under with some gas so they could find an appropriate vein without all of the poking and prodding. I agreed, and soon I was on my way down to the OR.

Recovery was a blur, pain was minimal. Julie, her friend Lynn, and I went to a beach in Tijuana for a bit to walk around and just get moving, and it was fun to take it slow, but get out for a bit. After I got home, I took motrin for about 3 days and was fine afterwards.

I followed the post-op diet to the tee. It was not easy, but I also knew in order to have success, and to protect my investment, that is what I needed to do.

Weight loss was slow, but steady. Julie and I kept in touch, and we started at the same height and weight before surgery. We've remained neck and neck in our weight loss, always cheering each other on, and giving feedback and help as necessary. Julie has been one of the best gifts I've received out of this whole journey. Most people don't get to experience a change from start to finish with a friend, someone who knows exactly what you're going through, with someone who can be so supportive. We're going to Las Vegas next month to celebrate our bandiversary and I can't wait to see the new Julie!

I work in retail part time, a job where I am on my feet the whole time, running back and forth. The exercise I get from my job is great, low-impact, and I can't 'convince myself I don't have time for it.' I also have made a conscious attempt at keeping the time I spent on the computer 'on the couch' limited. My family and I have become more and more active as the weight has dropped.

Before my surgery, I lined up my aftercare surgeon who would do my fills. I chose someone who would follow Inamed/Allergan's guidelines when doing fills, as well as listen to me. Dr. Pleatman followed the specific guidelines for my VG band but also asked me if I agreed with those guidelines or wanted to 'tweak' that recommendation. He is honest with me in what expectations I should have with the band. He did not 'coddle' me and he did not allow me to have false expectations. At my last fill appt, he quite clearly told me, “You're getting down to the end.” His end and my end may be different. I will never EVER be complacent, and I am still losing... but he has kept me grounded.

The band is NOT a perfect fix. It is NOT an easy fix. YOU MUST WORK THE BAND. You MUST be conscious about what you eat and the exercise you get. You must have a dialogue and consistent follow-up with your doctor. YOU MUST REMAIN POSITIVE. You will plateau. Over and over. You'll go up and down. BUT, you must remind yourself that as long as you keep doing the right things, you will have success.

On my one year bandiversary, I weigh in at 164. I have lost 71 pounds. My BMI is now 28.6. I went from being morbidly obese, to the middle of the overweight category. I have gone from a size 18/20 to a 10. My shoe size has gone from a 9 to a 7 ½. My goal weight is 140, so I hope to lose another 25 pounds in the next 12-18 months. BUT, I am realistic. If I stop losing weight and am doing the right things, then I know I am at a good final weight. There are no disappointments with my band, because I'm so much healthier in the new shape I am in.

As soon as a moderator approves my pics, you can view them at: http://www.lapbandforum.com/index.php?auto...m&album=139

I also duplicated this post at: http://www.lapbandtalk.com/f286/one-year-b...ge-thing-79277/ Pics are on that post. :)

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Katy...thank you for your post. I was banded a little over 2 weeks ago, Oct 8. Wow, you've lost a lot and you did it in YOUR own time frame. You should be proud of your success. I wish you luck in the remaining poundage to want to lose. I am printing your post as a inspirational to keep me focus and to move forward. Thanks for sharing and keep us posted on your progress!

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What an inspirational story. I too am soon to be at my 1 year bandiversary. I will be in the Mexican Riviera to celebrate. Congratulations on your hard work and perserverance. You go, girl!!!

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Thank You Katy,

I really, really, really needed to read something exactly like your post this morning. I got my first fill 2 weeks ago and I feel a little out of control emotionally and still hungry! I booked a second fill for Nov. 6th. I was reading last night, my fill centre gave me a guide book for the band and it asked me how committed I was to my weight loss journery on a scale of 1 to 10. It was like a reality check because the last few days have been a slide back into my old ways.

Thanks for taking the time to put down your thoughts, it was very thoughtful of you.

KIM

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You look wonderful! :lb13: This just shows when you work with the band, it will pay off! Thanks for sharing your story! It definitely gives me a lot to look forward to. (my first fill is Dec. 8) Keep it up! You look great!

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Great post, I to found great friends that were banded a day before me Jann, and with me Janet and Helen who I keep intouch with on a daily basis. That is the one thing we always need is someone that is going thru the same thing to keep us going. SO for that I thank God every day for my 3 wonderful friends. Love you Guys.

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Great post, I to found great friends that were banded a day before me Jann, and with me Janet and Helen who I keep intouch with on a daily basis. That is the one thing we always need is someone that is going thru the same thing to keep us going. SO for that I thank God every day for my 3 wonderful friends. Love you Guys.

Love ya Babe!

Jann

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I hope that those scheduled for surgery are able to make friends with those who go on the same day... and keep in touch with them. It truly does make a world of difference.

Thanks for all of the compliments... I appreciate it! I am not 'there' yet, but getting there, for sure. And DH took a picture of me this weekend in my bathing suit, AT MY REQUEST! That is a FIRST, I guarantee!

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What an inspiration! Your story is very similar to mine. I was just banded on 10/24 and am so excited to begin the journey. I weighed 230 on the date of surgery and look forward to the weight loss. I also have two young girls ages 5 and 3. Thanks for your story, stories like yours keeps us newbies hopeful and expectant of the future! You look wonderful, keep up the good work...you are an inspiration to many!

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Ditto to what everyone said - thank you so much for posting this! It really helps to see the long term success of those banded. Like many, I am just beginning this journey and am motivated now, but know I will need things like this to keep me going down the road. Congratulations on your success and your support networks. Not sure what I would do without everyone on here! My friends will be supportive, but can't understand what I am going through so this site is invaluable!

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Wow that is so great, thanks for the post, we newbies need people to keep us going. Sometimes it is hard but it all worth it.

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I hope that those scheduled for surgery are able to make friends with those who go on the same day... and keep in touch with them. It truly does make a world of difference.

Thanks for all of the compliments... I appreciate it! I am not 'there' yet, but getting there, for sure. And DH took a picture of me this weekend in my bathing suit, AT MY REQUEST! That is a FIRST, I guarantee!

That was truly a great post. I am getting banded next Friday. I have so many different emotions going on right now, NEVER have I been skinny and hard to think I will be skinny, but to hear your story gives me SO much hope. I have done GREAT on my pre-op, so much better than I have expected. Congrats on your success and I look forward to hearing about you reaching your goal!

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