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Everything posted by MeganA

  1. I am writing this post in the hopes that I help others really understand what life with the band is like. I was part of the Swedish Adjustable Gastric Band clinical trial in October, 2003. I thought I was doing a great service for the medical community, as well as hoping that I might help others that have battled with their weight find an effective treatment. From the get-go, the band was a major pain in the arse. My fills had to be done by the surgeon under floroscopy because of the study, so I got to see lots of images of my stomach. My port was very hard to find as it had flipped and tilted upwards. I had my port moved once, and after that, we decided we would just have to live with it that way. I got to my "sweet-spot" once. I lost 70 pounds. I threw up almost several times a week, even though I followed doctors orders and all of the rules. While I was at my sweet spot, I wasn't hungry or thought about food at all. This was about six months of heaven. Then, I developed GERD and could not sleep in a bed because I would throw up food in my sleep. I was sick to my stomach all the time. I missed work, social outings, etc. because I was constantly in pain. My surgeon unfilled my band and let it rest. And then I got fills, unfills, fills, unfills, etc. I never found the sweet spot again. In fact, I never fully recovered from GERD and had constant heartburn for a few years. After about 8 years, I finally decided I couldn't take it anymore. I had gained back 50 pounds, and was miserable. My surgeon unfilled me for the last time. Not, I've spent a year working with an eating disorder clinic to help me find peace with food. Now, I am ready for phase two of my WLS surgery journey. I have been fighting insurance for almost a year for a revision surgery from band to sleeve. I finally won my appeal and will have surgery on Sept. 17th...almost 10 years since my band was placed. I weigh the same today as I did the day I got my band. If anyone has questions about long-term band issues, I'd be glad to answer them. In advance, I will ignore those that attack me for coming here and talking about complications. But like I said, I would be happy to talk to you about the band and any insurance issues you might have to revise to another surgery.
  2. You just keep telling yourself that Mis73. Newbies, like you, should be vigilant, not afraid. I'm pretty sure I said that already. Megan
  3. MeganA

    Severe Back Pain

    Hi Terri. So sorry you're having such trouble. I totally agree with everyone else- you need to go to the doctor! I do want to ask- Is the pain constant, or just once and awhile? I've had gas so badly that I felt like I was having a heart attack. I keep GasX with me at all times because the pain is so terrible and it comes on so suddenly that I can't even drive. You might try that, but GO TO THE DOCTOR, my dear. Megan
  4. I was like some of you a year or two out from getting my band. Nobody could tell me that it wasn't the best thing I ever did for myself. I just want to be clear: I am here to voice my story and my opinions about what the band did to me and to lots and lots of people I know. I had a great group of "bandsisters" when I was first banded right on this forum. NONE of them have their bands anymore. I am the last one. Please do not be in denial about the damage that the band can do. Be vigilant with your complications and please, please know that if you are out a few years and you are gaining weight back, this is the biggest complication yet. Do not blame yourself or feel shame that "you failed" again. Private message me so that you are not attacked by people that are still in the glory days of their bands. I will help you in any way I can. I wish someone would have posted something like this when I first started to have complications because I felt very much alone. This is why I am here.
  5. I've had my band for 9.5 years and next month will be revising to sleeve. I am so sad when people blame themselves for the band's faults. It isn't your fault that you gained weight back. The band does not work long term, and unfortunately, those of us out this far know that there is nothing that most people could have done to change the way it works. Megan
  6. Mis73, You and I have gone around and around before...so this is the only reply I will give to any of your posts in this thread. I've been around long enough to know that people have complications from all bands...sizes, manufacturers, etc. The Mayo Clinic, the number one rated hospital in the world no longer will place any bands. My surgeon at a University hospital will no longer place bands. If that isn't enough evidence that bands are not a great long-term solution then I'm not sure what is. Megan
  7. MeganA

    Minnesota Folks

    I just joined this forum and thought I'd post a note in the empty Minnesota section. I'm concidering having the lap band surgery and am going to attend the informational meeting at Abbott next Friday. Has anyone out there had this surgery done at that hospital? Can you share your experiences with me? Thanks!! Megan in Northfield, MN
  8. About a year and two months ago I was perusing the card section in a local shop and I came across one that read “Life isn’t about finding yourself. It’s about creating yourself” and I almost started to cry. I was at that point in my life where lots of people find themselves- I was morbidly obese, had a job I didn’t really life, a couple of guys who were hanger-on-ers and not really all that into me, a bunch of friends that felt like they were drains on me, and basically a life that didn’t feel like my own. I had made a promise to myself when I turned 30- that this was going to be MY year. I was going to turn myself around. I was going to loose 50 pounds before my 31st Birthday. At 6 months from my 31th Birthday I had gained 10 more pounds. After reading that card, I decided I needed help and had to do “something”. I was terrified of the bypass, but more terrified of continuing to live as I was. In the back of my mind I remembered seeing on the news an alternative procedure that didn’t involve cutting anything up. So, I started researching. And I found the band. Immediately I knew I wanted it. Needed it. Couldn’t live without it. I researched and researched and started posting those “newbie” questions that we old timers now can find a little annoying until we remember we asked them too. I got lots of positive feedback from people online. Then I decided to talk to my family. I was so scared but I knew two things- one, that I was going to have the surgery regardless of how they felt about it, and two, that I really wanted them to be supportive. And they were and have been. I’m very very lucky. So, to get to the good part- I found a surgeon I wanted to do my surgery, and was offered participation in the FDA trial for the Swedish Band. From the time initial call to the surgeon’s office to attend one of the seminars, and the day of surgery was about three weeks. Again, I am very lucky. It was one year ago that I had my band placed. As much as it is a cliché, it really was the day that changed, and saved, my life. I’m a slow looser…and that’s ok with me now. At first I spent a lot of time and energy negatively comparing myself to other bandsters. I’d spent my whole life comparing myself to other people- am I the fattest in the room? Am I fatter or skinnier than her? Do I dress like that? Does my butt look like that? I had a tough time in the beginning emotionally. Physically I healed quickly with little or no pain and no complications. Emotionally I was a mess. I stopped calling my friends, I stopped working very hard for my clients, and I retreated and withdrew from my family. I felt so different inside. Yet I still looked the same on the outside. I wasn’t loosing any weight, yet my eating was restricted. I couldn’t use food to get me through the emotional upheaval I was going through. I was so lost. Then one day I walked into my bathroom where that card is framed on the wall and thought- why am I waiting for the band to change my life? Why do I wait for other people or events to change my life? Why don’t *I* change my life? I suppose it was about 4 months after surgery that I started to feel like myself again. Only this was a new “myself” that I didn’t recognize. I went to my therapist and she helped, although not having a weight problem led me to teach her more than her teach me. But she did help me in so many ways. I started to stick up for myself. I felt worthy of being treated well for the first time since I was a little girl. I had a long and authentic conversation with my biggest client and told them if they didn’t start listening to me and my advice I was going to walk away. WHAT? I said that???? And it worked. They respected me in a whole new way. I told the guys in my life that showed up once and awhile that I was done with them. I told my friends that I was no longer in the friend-therapist business and that they needed to support me and be my friend. I lost some friends this way…but then they weren’t friends. I started to like myself. To feel confident and assured in a way I only remember feeling as a little girl. The biggest change is that I stopped trying to fix everyone else and started to fix myself. And it’s not like I’ve lost a ton of weight and found this new me. I’ve lost about 1 pound a week. I’m down -51 pounds as of this morning. I can’t begin to list everything that has changed in my life- but I want to hit some highlights. Especially to help those just starting the process or who are slow losers too. I can now run up and down the stairs. I can play with my dogs and chase after them. I can fit into the ‘regular” plus size clothes again. I can wear necklaces because I have a new neck. I can get in and out of cars without needing to grab onto something. I can fit in a movie seat without spilling onto my poor sister. I bought a little SUV with four wheel drive so that I never have to feel like I only have to take the regular road. I can create my own if I want! I am so much more compassionate of other obese people- I think not comparing myself to them and making them the opposition changed how I treat them. I volunteer more. I go out dancing. I get hit on by men. The door is opened for me. People meet my eyes. I get smiled at by strangers. I eat fruits and veggies and whole grains. My skin has improved. I have a little glow about me. I wake up in the morning so excited to see what is going to happen that day I can barely stand it. I laugh even when I’m alone. I no longer feel the weight of loneliness at the end of the day. Now I take the dogs for a walk and giggle at their silliness. I read a book or listen to a new CD. I take care of myself now. I like myself now. I have a long way to go to get to my weight goal. But I am very, very close to my other goals of creating a new life for myself. Having the band literally saved me-emotionally and physically. Megan
  9. Hello! I'm back from a long vacation from LBT. How are my old friends? Anyone still hanging around here? I am coming up to my 5 year anniversary on October 25th...and maybe I'm getting sentimental but I've been really thinking about the journey I've been on lately. I'm also back on the losing wagon because my goal was to loose 100 pounds and I've been stuck at 80 pounds for a couple of years so I've kicked myself in the butt and gotten busy. I won't write a long rambling post, but just in case any of you out there are struggling or wondering if it's all worth it- let me tell you- IT IS!!!! My life is amazingly different and wonderful. After surgery, I got myself into therapy and because I could no longer eat my feelings away- I've learned new ways of dealing with things. I got a new job, new hair, new clothes, new, awesome boyfriend, and a new life. I eat...I eat well. But I don't necessarily eat a lot. But the band is not something I think about all the time- it's just a part of me now. It reminds me it's there sometimes when I do something stupid but otherwise, it's really not a big deal. I have been struggling lately because I really want to get to my goal of 100 pounds lost by my 5th anniversary. I've only got about 23 pounds to go. I decided I needed some help so I joined weight watchers. Now, I know most of you are going to say- "But I thought I'd never have to diet again if I got the band!!". For some, that's true- for me, not so much. I need some help to get back on track with portion sizes and making good food choices. I do not look at it as a diet but just a check in. Plus, it helps to have someone to be accountable to other than myself. That's all. Again, no big deal. Enough about me- I'm curious to see how all my old friends are doing. And if anyone has any questions an old bandster like me can help with, let me know! Megan
  10. MeganA

    Almost 5 years since surgery

    Hi Della...here's my experience...it doesn't matter how much fill I have- everyone is different. I am as tight as I can be without having nightly reflux so I am not able to tighten my band anymore. I haven't had an adjustment in two years. But you know what- a tight band can be eaten around, too. I've learned some tricks over the past few years that I need to unlearn- no little Fluid in my band will help that. You hit the name on the head with the "healthy and sensible eating". That's the part that WW is helping with again. I don't see it as a long term thing- just long enough to reach my goal and remind me how good I feel when I eat well...that's all. It's nothing to be scared of. This is a lifelong journey not a sprint!
  11. MeganA

    Jogging- need help!

    Hi there...I have started jogging a little with my walks...I just can't seem to get my heart rate up without it. I have been bitten by the jogging bug now and want to see if I can work up to running a 5 mile fun run next year in September. I figure I can do it if I have a year to train :-). Does anyone have any tips? How long should I run at first? What kind of stretching should I do? Should I even be running at 240 lbs? Any help will be much appreciated.... Megan
  12. MeganA

    Jogging- need help!

    Thank you so much for the advice! I'm going to go check out that website. I need all the help I can get! Thanks again! Megan
  13. MeganA

    Holy Cow Restriction!!!

    Babs- Ain't restriction grand? I'm glad you stuck to your guns and didn't give up!! The lapband isn't for quitters- just losers!!! Way to go... Megan
  14. Bright! How are you doing? I have been MIA for awhile and missed most of this post. I'm right where you are weight wise, if that makes you feel any better. I was down to 223 and now I'm back up to 250 after an unfill and a bunch of messing around. I finally feel like I have a decent fill again and am really going to try hard to get back to 225. I highly doubt that I will ever get past that- for all the reasons Geezer Sue and you both talked about. I was very comfortable at 225 and felt "thin". I also felt like a success. I am lucky that I have a surgeon who asks me when I feel I will be a success instead of dictating a certain weight or weight loss amount. I hope your full time college gig is working out for you. Good for you! I'm so proud of you!!!! Megan
  15. MeganA

    Don't need a new band

    Babs!!!! That's great news. I, too, feel kind of weird not knowing exactly why I have perfect restriction at 7 cc's when I was wide open at 8.5cc's in my Swedish Band...what the heck!!! But I guess the answer is that there is no clear answer. Not only are the mechanics of the band still being discovered, but our bodiy mechanics will forever be a mystery. I'm so glad you don't need a new band or to reposition your current one. You've done so well so far and worked so hard... Megan
  16. MeganA

    Good News & Bad News-NOT

    Tired old man- So sorry to hear of your problems! I, too gained weight after an unfill so I understand that frustration. I sure hope your knee feels better after the rooster comb injections. How weird is medicine these days? Best of luck! megan
  17. MeganA

    STUPID f'n band! what is WRONG!!!

    Had the endoscopy and everything looks fine! I'm very relieved. This last fill seems to be a really good one and I am no longer driven crazy by hunger. I don't want to count my chickens before they hatch but I feel like maybe I've reached a good place. What I have learned, though is that I need to maximize the opportunity and not let the band do all the work. Good choices and exercise here I come! How is everyone else doing? Shelly? Babs? Leatha? Megan
  18. MeganA

    I really NEED some answers

    Babs- So sorry to hear about the slip/prolapse! What did the doctor say about corrective action? Maybe you wrote about it on another thread but I've been gone from LBT so long it's hard to catch up with all of my old friends! Megan
  19. MeganA

    STUPID f'n band! what is WRONG!!!

    Thanks you guys...I was feeling so scared that I was the only one and that maybe I had done something wrong. I can't wait for the endoscopy so I can know the whole story. I am so scared to get another surgery but I am more scared to weigh 308.5 pounds. Jack- I think the sadest thing for me through this whole "unfill" process is that I have learned that I have learned nothing and I know nothing about how to lose weight- without my band in working order. I thought after almost three years the habits would have been formed but the first time I could eat a whole plate of chinese food I remembered how goooooddddd it used to feel to do so. And just like a drug addict- I was hooked again. I need my band. I need something in place to stop me for I can not stop myself. Megan
  20. MeganA

    STUPID f'n band! what is WRONG!!!

    Hi guys...I've been MIA because I was in complete denial about my band. But now I see that you are all going through the SAME THING!!! I had an unfil in May because I was too tight and I got reflux that would wake me up at night. Since then I have gained at least 15 pounds. I got three fills and could still eat like a horse. I went in yesterday for another fill and was suprised when he said he DIDN"T think I had a slipped band. When I had all my Fluid out there was 9.5 cc's in it (I have the swedish band) Yesterday before I had another fill I was at 8.5 with NO RESTRICTION. I could eat a 6 inch subway sandwish no problem. So, he took out all the fluid and there was about 8 in my band- so no leak, that's great. But then what? He said I had a dialated pouch but not a slip and he isn't worried about it. He wants me to get an endoscopy to rule out erosion. I am pretty sure I don't have that- I have no symptoms. He did fill me up to about 7 but I was so tight the barium was barely flowing through...at 7? I was at 8.5 when I walked in and could eat anything. This makes no sense. I am tired of getting poked in the belly five times. I am tired of this game I'm playing with my band. I feel like no one understands- except I come here and I find that my old friends are struggling and I feel comforted. I really don't think I have eroded. I just think my throat is sick and tired of this game. The study that I am part of ends in October- so yesterday will most likely be my last free fill. I need an endoscopy before the end of the study because I can't afford to pay to have the band taken out. I had such high hopes for my band. I have a much better life than I did. But even if my band is broken I still feel like I need inside of me. My surgeon did say that he could take it out and convert me to the DS. WHAT? ME???? THen I think...if I don't have my band I will gain every pound back. I am scared shitless. Sorry you are going through the same thing...but I'm glad I'm not alone. Megan
  21. Hi Bright! It's so good to see you! It sure doesn't sound like that big a deal to me but I'm no doctor. What I think I would do in your place? Get the flouroscopy and if everything looks ok? Then you can pretend nothing happened and move on with your life. And, ahem...but what the hell kind of question is "do you really think the band works?" from your doctor- haven't you lost 92 pounds? Of course it doesn't work like the bypass...but YES it does work just fine, thank you very much doc. Just my 2 cents! Megan
  22. MeganA

    Band lost its glow?

    I hear ya banded mama...and everyone else! I was unfilled and have had one fill again...and it gave me no restriction. I have another fill scheduled but I know that it takes good choices. I, too, feel like I was so enthusiastic after surgery and so excited to see the pounds come of that it was fun. Now it isn't fun and it's just an every day thing. I still love my band...but the newness has worn off. I keep thinking that one day I'll wake up and be all excited again. I wonder if it's kind of like marriage? :-) Megan
  23. Dr C- I think one of the best gifts you could give your patients is to get a band yourself. I wish all the surgeons that place bands could feel what we feel...not that you can't use your imagination and years of education...but the first time you feel your stomach and the sensations the band creates, it's really cool. Thank you for all you do for those of us that struggle so. And I love that you posted your BMI! Megan
  24. MeganA

    Port Infections

    DrC- thanks for posting! We love it when Dr's come to visit us. Megan
  25. MeganA

    Your favorite banded supper.....

    My favorite dinner is anything I don't make. I'm a horrible cook. M

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