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LAP-BAND Patients
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Everything posted by parisshel

  1. Thanks. I meant to say abdominal binder and not compression garment. How quickly I've forgotten all the aftermath of this surgery! Thanks for explaining how the fluid gets released. Good information on the lymphatic massages. I do these from time to time, especially for my legs because the TT disrupted my lymph system (but things are reknitting themselves even now) and I get a lot more fluid build up in my legs.
  2. Yes, I had also read that there is a correlation between higher-weight TT patients and fluid-related complications. (I had forgotten about that until I read your post.) I think, given my weight, my surgeon should have inserted drains as a precaution. I also had lipo; I forgot to mention that.
  3. My surgery was done in Paris, France, where I live. I chose the top plastic surgeon in the city, vetted him carefully. He had done hundreds of TTs, and said that mine was the first time he'd ever had a complication. (Of course I can't check if that is true.) The initial surgery went well and I only stayed one night in the clinic. I started developing a fever a couple of days after the initial surgery. I called the surgeon's office and the medical secretary didn't seem alarmed about this. (I should have immediately requested to be seen...but I wasn't mobile enough at that point to get to his office. + I trusted the secretary. Big mistake on my part.) Luckily I had visiting nurses coming to my home post op to change my dressings. It was a nurse who saw my abdominal skin turning yellowish (indicating infection) and she felt my lower abdomen which was hot. My lymph glands in my upper thighs were also enlarged and very painful; I could not sit or walk. On day six she said she suspected I had an infection. By that time I had an extremely high fever, I alternated being freezing cold and trembling to sweating so much I slipped off the hospital gurney by the time I got to the ER. They scanned me and saw all the fluids collecting in my lower abdomen...fluids that, had I had drains, would have drained out of my body and I would not have developed an infection. They got me back on the operating table immediately (I was very close to dying, with my system shutting down due to the scepsis), reopened the abdomen along the same line as the initial surgeon (so I don't have a double scar) and cleaned everything out. After that they put in three drains, I had heavy antibiotics (they had to put in a PICC line for these). My red blood cell count was so low they had to give me 2 units of blood. Nurses cleaned my drains and changed the dressings 3 x day for a week until they deemed me healthy enough to go home. The drainless TT relies on the surgeon's ability to do a "quilting" stitch when reattaching the inner muscles. The quilting stitch, as I understand it, makes so that fluid can't collect. I'm not exactly sure where the fluid goes, however, as it has to go somewhere! In my case, the quilting stitch did not do the job of keeping the fluid from collecting and it just sat there inside of me with nowhere to exit. Eventually it would have probably seeped out of the wound area, bursting through my stitches. Additionally, my surgeon did not think a compression garment was necessary. The second surgeon was astounded at both the idea of a drainless TT and lack of a compression garment. I'm now 15 months out, and all of these complications are behind me. I love my tummy....truly a work of art. It's a firm slate, and I never get tired of looking at it. However, the aftermath was indeed traumatic and something I will never forget. My takeaway is this: fever is NEVER normal post op. It is the first sign of infection. I should have gotten myself to either the hospital or my surgeon's office at that point.
  4. Hi! I had a drainless TT that went very wrong. The fluids collected in the site, I got an infection that turned sceptic and I almost died. Emergency surgery to reopen the site one week after the initial TT, necrotic skin removed, drains put it, blood transfusion and one week in the hospital. And I had one of the "best" plastic surgeons in the city. I would not recommend it, for obvious reasons, but "your mileage will vary."
  5. Thanks for your vote of confidence. I have the raised toilet seat (from years ago when I had a cast on my leg) so glad to see I can get some more of money's worth out of it! Yeah, no recliner but I bought two foam wedges; those things you use behind your back to read in bed. One behind me and one under my knees should keep me in a ideal post-op position until I straighten out. Thanks again for bringing down my fear level!
  6. I'm having a drainless TT next Tuesday. Just wondering if you think the post op pain will be less because of the no-drain technique? Any tips for the immediate days following the TT? TIA.
  7. Do what makes you feel fierce, strong and happy. I had my lapband placed when I was 54. Next Tuesday I'm getting a tummy tuck. I just turned 60. Is that too late? Who cares? I want to live the rest of my life in a body that makes me feel good and healthy. I cannot wait to have a flat, toned tummy.
  8. Hi everyone! I have an AP small lapband, surgery done 2013. Lost around 70 pounds and am scheduled for an abdominoplasty in early May. My surgeon is of course aware that I have a lapband in place, but he hasn't addressed how this affects the surgery he is going to do on me. Are there any Bandsters in this group that have had this done? I read a scientific article (old, dated 2012) about possible complications due to the port and tubing and the muscle stretching involved with the abdominoplasty. Of course I'll bring this up with the surgeon but wanted your input as well. TIA!
  9. parisshel

    abdominoplasty after lapband

    Thanks so much for this comforting information, Tashaplus3. I appreciate it. You look great!
  10. parisshel

    Banders #7

    Hi all you veterans! I haven't posted for ages but just wanted to let everyone know that I've still got my band (unfilled but not removed) and still maintaining a good 67 pound weight loss. I hope all of you are well!
  11. parisshel

    AFIB after Lapband surgery

    Removing the lapband will not bring your heart back to where it was prior to the AFib setting in. AFib is a chaotic rewiring of your heart's electrical pathways. The AFib permanently alters how electricity moves through your heart, electricity meant to keep your heart it in sinus (normal) rhythm. So even with my band loosened or removed, the electrical currents have been disrupted and that is for life. I "should" have my band removed at this point, since it serves no purpose and can in fact cause other issues (as you have probably read about now that there is a vast body of post-WLS literature on this particular WLS), but I just cannot bring myself yet to go under the knife. Because now with Afib, that's another risk factor anytime you have anesthesia...you can be on the table and go into an episode. Terrific! One of the self-defensive comments my surgeon said when I asked about the link between the band and Afib was him saying that all "those patients" would've ended up with AFib anyway. In other words, there is no proof between the band and Afib. That's a really convenient excuse for him, as you can't disprove what he is saying. I know there is a link because my first episode of Afib was undeniable linked to my swallowing food. For three days, each time I swallowed a small bite of food, my heart would go into arrhythmia as the food passed through the band. As long as I didn't eat anything, my heart stayed in sinus rhythm. But one bite of food would set off the Afib. It would calm down after an hour. But another bite, even of yogurt by the third day, and I'd go into arrhythmia. This is clearly an irritation of the vagus nerve, which is involved in digestion. The band, sitting on the nerve, would compress against it as the food passed through. I'm lucky I went to the ER when I did. When I walked in, they admitted me immediately, once they saw my heart rate and crazy arrhythmia. I saw the chart, upon which was written "ABSOLUTE EMERGENCY". I was very close to having a stroke from throwing a blood clot. The meds are a drag but like you, I'm holding off on the ablation. You always want to have a "next step" with Afib because it will increase as one ages. So meds first, then ablation, then pacemaker.
  12. parisshel

    AFIB after Lapband surgery

    Hello! Yes, I developed AFib after my lapband surgery. If you Google Gastric Band + AFib, you will see there are many of us. I've consulted with several doctors to see if they have an opinion on what I believe is a link between the band and the arrhythmia, due to the proximity of the vagus nerve. My banding surgeon denies any such link (no surprise there), even when I came in with printed accounts of patients who had experienced the same thing. So I changed surgeons, (not only for this reason; my surgeon was just unpleasant to consult with). My new surgeon says there is a link. She does not do lapbands anymore, for this and for the low success rate of the band. I had my band emptied completely, just to take the pressure off of the vagus nerve. Unfortunately, once you develop Afib, you have it for life, as the electricity in your heart has been forever altered. I've been on meds since I was hospitalized with the Afib November 2014. I hate them, hate the way they make me feel (tired, fuzzy-minded and depressed) but I'm not yet moving forward with ablation, which would be the next step. I have small episodes of Afib now but nothing like the 3-day episode that landed me in the ER. I'm sorry you, too, developed this consequence. It's unnerving. Had I know this was a potential risk, I would not have chosen a lapband as my WLS.
  13. Following this topic. I have kept an empty band for a couple of years now and now have to either get it out or revised. (My band was emptied due to its interference with the vagus nerve which was provoking atrial fibrillation.) I just saw my surgeon yesterday who has given me three choices: accept my weight where it is, diet the rest of the weigh off, or mini gastric bypass. She is not pro-sleeve for my situation, as she views the sleeve as the next "lapband" in that she has more and more sleeve patients gaining back their weight and doesn't think the longterm weight maintenance is proving to be the case with restrictive methods such as lapbands and sleeves. She has floated the idea of a mini-gastric bypass as her best recommendation for my situation. I'm researching this but I doubt I will do it. The potential complications from the malabsorptive WLS are rather scary to me. Enough that I will probably just go back to Weight Watchers and grit my teeth to get the rest of my weight off.
  14. http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/09/26/bariatric-surgery-the-solution-to-obesity?mbid=social_facebook Anyone else read this article? I thought it presented a balanced and readable overview on the history of surgical procedures to combat obesity, as well current research findings. It's also cool that a magazine as respected as the New Yorker is writing about this.
  15. parisshel

    A blessing in diguise

    Thanks for your response, and I hope your recovery is going smoothly. I think eating "as if you still have the band" is a good strategy. No, I won't proceed with another surgery. My new heart condition would be a risk factor for any surgery, and I'm all about mitigating all risks nowadays! I regret not going with the sleeve as my initial WLS choice, but I just couldn't get my mind around the amputation part of that surgery. Bypass was out too, as I'd read too many scary stories of complications with that type of WLS. I suppose if I were in my twenties, I'd rethink this. But I'm not, and I've just come around to accepting that life at this weight will be the life I have. I'm glad to have lost what I did with my lapband, and sad that I never got to see "thin", but at least I'm now so much more normal-looking on the outside, even if my heart- health is actually worse now that pre-lapband. My motto now is this: I don't regret getting banded, but I'd never recommend the band to anyone. There are so many more-perfected options now on the market. Wishing you the best as your recover and convert. I'm sure you'll do well.
  16. parisshel

    A blessing in diguise

    Hi. My story is similar to yours, and we have very close band dates. I'm sorry things did not work out in a positive fashion but glad your removal went well. I have a question for you. Do you sense a difference in appetite/satiety now, without the band? Or is it similar to when you had an empty band? I ask the question because I'm supposed to have my band removed. It's empty now, and has been for awhile, due to an Afib I developed because of the band's restriction, but I'm fearful to have it totally removed. I'm not sure just having the empty band gives me any restriction whatsoever (I maintain my loss by dieting, sadly, with the same crappy mindset that requires), but I figure it may be better than not having any band at all. Your thoughts about differences between empty band/no band and hunger levels are appreciated!
  17. parisshel

    Deciding the Band

    The decision, and the success with whatever WLS tool you choose, is entirely yours. It's great that you are doing research in this stage. I'd encourage reading about post-surgery and longterm complications from all the different types of WLS tools...you can search through these on this platform. While reading, ask yourself how you'd live with any of the complications should they happen to you. And ask yourself if you are truly ready, physically and mentally, to do what you can to avoid any user-based complications. (The WLS-based complications you really have no control over. But you must inform yourself of what these might be.) Inform yourself of what the post-op diet is for your choice of WLS. Short term AND long term. Can you live with what is required of you to not only lose the weight, but keep it off? Do not go into this thinking you'll follow the rules only temporarily....many WLS fail because patients slip back into old habits after the "sweet period" (usually about 18 months) has passed. Bands can be eaten around, sleeves can be stretched, bypasses can be overridden by patients who just cannot, for whatever reason, come around to the idea of a lifetime of WLS-compliant eating. Be ready to change everything about your current life. WLS will not work if you think it's all about the surgery. Success is met with a holistic approach...the surgery, if done correctly, will dim or eliminate your hunger, at least initially. But you also need to line up mechanisms for filling the space you are no longer eating to fill. Are you ready to take that on? Wishing you all the best, and a successful and happy outcome to whatever you decide to do.
  18. Totally get your regrets. Had I not had complications from my lapband, I would not regret choosing this WLS. But I did develop complications (lapband-sourced complications, not owner-sourced complications, which nobody likes to read or hear about) and it is natural that I now regret the decision. Please don't feel bad about yourself. The lapband has known and numerous complication rates, and more and more are revealing themselves as time moves forward. I suspect this will also happen with other WLS. Even in the best surgeon's hands, WLS affects people's bodies in different ways. Some people strike gold--lose weight, keep it off, no complications, and others do not. You fell into the "other" category. It's not your fault. It's normal you regret your choice, because of the pain you are feeling every day. If you had had a car accident (through no fault of your own) and now lived in constant pain because of that, you'd regret getting into the car that day, right? I know you aren't asking for what to do next, but if the band is making you miserable, you might consider having it removed. It should clear up the reflux and the getting stuck issues. And then you will feel better, and can think about your next step with a clear, pain-free mind.
  19. parisshel

    Just curious....

    If this is your plan, I would strongly suggest you consider another form of WLS. The lapband is a "crutch", or "tool" as many will say, without which one is merely dieting (and hungry, frustrated and sad). Many who have had bands removed will testify to regaining the weight lost with the band (plus additional pounds, which is similar to what happens when a non-surgical dieter stops dieting). Most former bandsters on this platform post that when they had their bands removed, they went on to do a revision surgery such as bypass, sleeve or RnY. So based on that, if would suggest that if you plan to get banded, and then have the band removed, you should also include in your plan a budget for revision surgery, or an acceptance for the rebound weight gain. I've never read about a bandster who kept their weight off after band removal.
  20. parisshel

    diagnosed with achalasia

    Is this a complication from your lapband, or independent of it?
  21. parisshel

    Low heart rate

    That is a lower-than-normal heart rate, although perhaps you have become quite fit and you now have an athlete's resting heart rate. Rather than trusting the Fitbit, I'd look at any other symptoms: are you tired all the time? Are you easily winded? Do you feel dizzy? Do you pass out when you stand up? And also, of course, consult a physician to get a "true" cardiac workup. Yes, the lapband can fiddle with the vagus nerve, although you'd be hard-pressed to find a practicing lapband surgeon who will admit to this. (You'll find loads of former lapband surgeons who will confirm this, however.) Anatomically it is possible, as the banded area encompasses where the nerve passes down the eosophagus and upper part of the stomach. My lapband is responsible for my now lifetime atrial fibrillation due to where it sits on my vagus nerve. Sadly, for me, as I loved my band before it gave me complications.
  22. parisshel

    Extra restriction caused by anxiety ?

    Yes, this is pretty common. Some recommend a glass of wine or two to help you unstress (and loosen the band) but that would kind of defeat the purpose of restriction. I say just go with it and take advantage of the poor man's fill!
  23. parisshel

    For those who have had unfills

    I had an identical experience to what you are describing after having an unfill, and then refills. When I asked my surgeon why we "refillers" seem to report a lack of being able to refind original sensations of fullness/lack of hunger between meals/restriction, he answered "We don't know." It's a drag, but it may be helpful to get in the mindset that your band ultimately doesn't do the bulk of the work after the initial, glorius first year (or so). Mine ran full power for the first year, making the weight drop off with little effort on my part, other than eating in a band-friendly way which was super easy due to my perfect restriction. Then I started having complications and a first unfill. I never found the original restriction once I was cleared to start refilling. As time went by, and my weight started slowly climbing, I told myself I had to throw out the fantasy that my band was going to do all the work for me. So I brought in my old tools (from my dieting years) and polished those off. The weight gain halted (I've been at the same weight for more than a year now--no losses, but no gains). I had to let go of feeling badly that I was "back to dieting" but you know what? At the end of the day, it still is easier, at least for me, to do this with a band (mine is now unfilled completely, due to other complications) than to do this as an unbanded person. In short, I understand and have lived exactly what you are experiencing. My only "tip" is to "live like you have an active band" even if you aren't feeling it. (I know, it's not as easy as when the band was indeed active.)
  24. parisshel

    What can I take for cough' cold, congestion?

    Drinkable Mucinex will be good as you don't want mucus build-up on your stoma. Headcolds are a real drag with a band because the trapped mucus will put pressure on the stoma and make for more stuck episodes. Having a head cold is like a "poor man's fill"--you get super restriction without a doctor's visit! So try and keep all the phlegm liquified. Otherwise you can use decongestants without a problem. Sudafed (if you can still purchase that---thanks, methheads!--) comes in tiny little pills that will pass your band fine.
  25. parisshel

    Appetite suppressants (prescribed) 2 years out...

    I seeing nothing wrong with adding additional tools to your weight loss toolbox as you continue your post-op life. I remember when there were more bandsters on this forum and I remember several of the veterans posting about using appetite suppressants when after a certain amount of time with the band. I remember reacting like you, thinking "Hey! I got the band so I'd never have to deal with my appetite again!". But many veterans of WLS find that appetite does rear its head after a certain amount of time, and it's not just head hunger. It is your body overriding those wonderful initial effects of the WLS. The good thing is that when you use the 1-2 punch of your WLS + medication, you'll have a super tool. You've already got the WLS in place, and the medication will be like "topping" off your surgery, hopefully. Kind of like re-igniting it. Don't feel bad. Use everything you can to keep your weight loss going (or get back on track).