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Bandster Brad

LAP-BAND Patients
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Everything posted by Bandster Brad

  1. Bandster Brad

    Will it last a Lifetime?

    As far as I am concerned, if I can die with this band in me (a very long time from now) I will be very happy, indeed. If it works and makes life better, why would we want to do anything else? If they come up with gene therapy or some lesser surgery, or a pill, why change, as "new" technologies and approaches always have only a certain percentage of efficacy. If we have succeeded with this particular approach, why not leave it in and be happy, and turn our minds to something OTHER than food? As to the idea of removing the band and hoping to maintain weight loss, I think I read a story on another board where a man lost his band, and had agreed (with himself) that should he hit X added weight, he would take some other action. As I recall, he regained 60% of his former weight in about a year. This may be on smartbandsters, a yahoo site. In any event, my vote is to stay banded, and healthy, and I hope to be lucky enough to do that. Cheers, Brad
  2. Bandster Brad

    Suicidal thoughts with obesity?

    As your poll indicates, the fact that almost 40% of the obese (or perhaps formerly obese) participants in this forum indicate thoughts of suicide have occured to them in connection with their obesity-related experience shows just what a serious problem morbid obesity is. This band is a wonderful gift that is changing so many lives. I wonder if the medical community or government were to study the increased likelihood of suicide and the resulting human and economic cost to our society, if more support would be made available to those struggling with this horrific condition. I also wonder if those who have never struggled with this issue would perhaps have their hearts softened somewhat if they realized that the pain of this situation is so great, that people really do consider suicide as an alternative to staying in their present condition. Perhaps they would be less likely to call it a disease that can be cured by simply "keeping one's mouth shut and taking long walks", which is a quote I saw a few months ago and found patently offensive and juvenile. Thanks for thinking to ask the question. I think it is more serious than anyone realizes.
  3. Bandster Brad

    We Need To Shout With Joy!

    OK, here are a few of mine - 1) I watch what my svelt 9 year old daughter eats, and I wonder how anyone could eat that much! 2) I sat in a Canada Aire Regional Jet on Monday. Had 6 inches of seat belt left, and I was able to sit comfortably in my own seat, in a non-exit row, non-bulkhead, non-first class seat. Amazing! 3) I went from a size 46 to a comfy size 38. Now I can stop in at costco and buy model-type jeans (Ralph Laurens) and Lucky brand jeans OFF THE SHELF, and at a discount, instead of paying robbery rates at the fat-boy store. 4) My BP is normal. 5) I can run a mile in an airport when late, and not cough and choke the rest of the flight, once I get to my airplane. 6) I AM COLD EVERY SINGLE DAY IN THIS COLD WEATHER. I HAD NO IDEA WHAT THAT FELT LIKE!!! Guess I will just get another jacket! 7) I gave away all my fat clothes. 8) People in my office just stare at me trying to figure out what's different, but they don't know, so they just assume it's them. 9) I lost the equivalent of my 5 year old son in weight. - in 6 months! No wonder I feel better! And its a lot easier carrying him up to bed, when its just his 50 pounds, and not my extra 50! 10) I can walk around naked in the bathroom, and not be worried about my wife seeing me! Life's good! Thank you, Bandland!!!!
  4. Bandster Brad

    Eating out?

    Hi, it's OK that it's now harder for us to eat. taking a little of the pleasure out of a thing that basically I was addicted to, that wasn't good for me, is not a bad thing. It helped me gain some control. Heck, if food is that important; more important than losing the weight and gaining a healthy life, then that is always a choice. The times that the band said "no" when my mind said "yes" I am always thankful for later. This is a God-send. We should be interested in more important things than eating. Eating should not be a form of entertainment, as it is in restaurants. Its for our health. The band helps us eat wisely. Cheer, Brad
  5. Bandster Brad

    My doctor is a crackhead? Please confirm...

    Um, I think you mean CRACK-POT! I read that if you eat less than 1,200 calories a day, consuming your own muscle tissue is unavoidable. This was in a book called "The Idiots guide to body sculpting." Conversely, I read, I think on the Australian banding study site, that successful long term weight loss on the band appears to require an average of 1,200 calories a day. Conversely, again, I added up the fat, carb and protein requirements suggested by the "Idiots guide to body sculpting" for my weight and physical activity level, and I could not get below 1,500 calories a day, just by adding up the caloric requirements. It appears that the most evil thing which always creeps up, by the way, is fat consumption, moreso that caloric consumption. So my gut says "1,500 calories a day, low fat, exercise 30 minutes a day" and to hell with the other guidelines, and it'll probably work. Now, don't ask me on a week that weight didn't go down. Those days, I can only shrug my shoulders and say "I haven't a clue." One last thing - I think the nurses that adjust the bands day in and day out, and hear and discuss bandster experiences may be more adept, tuned in, understanding, sensitive, and their advice is likely more actionable than that of the Doctors. After all, the Doctors do the cutting, and the fill nurses do the filling and track progress and give long term care. Who really has the most ongoing long-term experience with the Bandsters actually losing weight? Many of the fill nurses are also band patients, who succeeded. FWIW, and good luck, Brad
  6. Bandster Brad

    Eating out?

    Hi, I noticed ribs are touchy. Here's why - part of what is so delicious about ribs are the little bits of tender fat. We tend (well, at least I do) to chew quickly, and enjoy the sensation of those little bits of fat going down, just like the old days. Problem is, a little tiny bit of fat is enough to get us stuck if we are tight. Over the weekend, I enjoyed meeting with almost a half a dozen different friends in different restaurants as my wife and I travelled to another city to spread some Christmas cheer. What I decided to do was to not focus on enjoying the food, but rather, focus on not getting sick in front of my friends. I succeeded in not getting sick in public. How? I always ate something warm first. Tea with Breakfast, soup with dinner. You get the idea. I also mostly moved my food around, and ate perhaps only 1/3 of each serving. Focusing mostly on fish, and other things that are known to go down easily. I also drank little sips of warm liquid or Water, swished around in my mouth to get it warm before going down. Was it good bandster behavior? Not, not necessarily. Did I get through it? Yes. The goal was to enjoy time with our friends and to not make a scene. I would have enjoyed a little more food and a lot more satiety, but it was OK. Instead, we had fun with our friends. I can't claim to be succcessful always. I still PB about 20-30% of the time at a restaurant when its just me and my family. The kids, the pace, the noise, the rush, all add up. Still working on getting it right, and I am sure that it will all work itself out. What I noticed is this: our peers, and in particular, the servers at the restaurants just expect people to eat at a "normal" pace. They will often come up and with a furrowed brow, they will say "is everything all right with your food?" as we take our time eating. I just say "yes, its lovely. I am just enjoying my food" - (as compared to being a little piggy and sucking it down quickly at a pace to please them.) We are there for ourselves, and not to satisfy the timing requirements of the servers. It's hard. But what we are getting out of it is so worth it. Good luck! Best, Brad
  7. Bandster Brad

    Eating around the band

    Karen, please forgive me if this is a stupid question, but I am curious about what you mean by the term "nutcracker esophagus" <spelling?> Here's why: Often I find that I am so tight that virtually anything I eat is NOT going to go down. Then, if I PB, ten minutes later, anything is fine. The rest of the time, everything goes down fine. Problem is, I have no way of telling if it's going to be a "good" eating experience, or a "bad" eating experience. Due to a more than ample experience set of what happens when I don't chew, I chew everything really well. I also try to drink something warm (like soup) ahead of time. Sometimes its three bites then PB, and other's, its "Smooth sailing." Does this have anything to do with a "Nutcracker esophagus"? Inquiring minds.... Brad
  8. Bandster Brad

    Who are the MALES in here

    The name and icon should tell all. Large trucks and Harleys over here. Rock on.
  9. Bandster Brad

    New information on self pay financing options

    Hi, Can anyone give me an idea of what interest rate they charged, whether or not, and how they secured the loan, and how easy or difficult they were to deal with? I am thinking about starting a company expressly for the purpose of funding lap band operations. Also, how long would they fund it, etc. (Ie, what were the repayment terms?) Any insight you can give me could well result in creating a new, bandster-friendly funding source. Thanks, Brad
  10. Bandster Brad

    bandster rules?

    Hi, I understand that the ONLY hard and fast bandster rule is this: Never drink carbonation again. No, not no, never, ever. no! I used to live for Icee's. Umm. even they have carbonation. But no more. No more beer, no more diet coke (not even diet coke with lime - omygosh!! I understand that it will wreck your pouch, expand it, and maybe even make it slip. Its not even the money. Its the pain I would like to avoid! I think "smartbandsters.com" talks about it a lot in absolute terms. Ah well, there's always port! Cheers!
  11. Bandster Brad

    Pole dancing (Is this an NSV?)

    Hi, there are excellent karate lessons available everywhere. I suggest you look up any local affiliates of the JKA (Japanese Karate Association) or ITKF (International Traditional Karate Federation) or the AAU (forgot what it stands for. I have been studying and teaching karate for over 30 years and it provides excellent exercise and strength training and remains intellectually stimulating, even after all these years, so its easy to stick with. (as long as you don't mind pain). If you DO decide to take up karate, I recommend that you take precautions to protect your port from getting hit or kicked. I fashioned a disk about the size of a small chicken pot pie pan made out of acrylic, then heated it up and shaped it to fit my belly over the port. I slip it in my karate gi, so that if kicked in the port, it will hurt the other person worse than it hurts me. Don't have any suggestions regarding the pole. Cheers!
  12. Bandster Brad

    Ahhhhh Mushies Ideas please

    chicken Fettucinni ground up in a baby-food grinder - tastes the same, but you can get it down. Also, "Congress" (or is it "Senators") brand Lima Bean, or Green Pea soup is really rich and yummy, and soothing. cheese melts into almost all Soups to give them more body, and it makes them more soothing. Of course, evil ice-cream goes down really well, and this is a period, I believe, where you are actually allowed to eat it. Enjoy these early days of bandsterhood, where weight falls off, and you still don't expect to eat normally and you get the first few magical experiences of satiety. A favorite saying - "do you remember a day where the world wasn't new?" Best, Brad
  13. Bandster Brad

    anyone here start with a bmi under 40?

    Hi, I was at 40.2 So just above the line. However, co-morbidities would have been close enough even if the weight wasn't there. Since the time of my surgery a little over 6 months ago, I had a chronic cough that went away, my BP is now normal (was very high) and I can breathe and sleep. I have been thinking the last several days - if I had to give something up in order to keep my band, I would literally give up everything I own, except my relationship with my family and with God, in order to get the band. It has been that valuable. I look at my old photos and note how tired I was, and I note how fantastic I feel now, and it is just the most amazing thing. Good luck, and best, Brad
  14. Bandster Brad

    How Many Ice Cream Scoops have you lost?

    Whoops! OK, So I am mathematically challenged! You are right! To get your weight in SICEE's, You multiply your loss by 12.7, instead of dividing it. What I can't figure out, is what is the difference between bags of concrete and bags of Portland cement? Even on those members in the slow losers club, once you measure weight loss in terms of lost ice cream, YOU ALL ARE POSTING SOME BIG NUMBERS!!!! We should feel Great about it! (What a great day - the icky scale told me I was good this morning. Down another pound. er, 12.7 Ice cream scoops!)
  15. Bandster Brad

    OT: Anyone do the Disney Cruise?

    Hi, Our first family cruise was Disney. Our kids enjoyed it very much, and we thought it was great, too. We especially liked their kids club, and our kids loved (of course) all of the Disney Characters they had wandering around. They even have their own island in the Caribbean! However, once we were more "mature cruisers" we found out something interesting - for the money, the Disney Cruise costs the same for a three day cruise as a 7 day cruise on a more premium line. Like Celebrity X. We just took a week cruise to the Caribbean last week, and it was divine. Its our 3rd time on Celebrity X Cruises. The food is better, the price is better, the kids club is MUCH BETTER (we thought Disney was good, but once we tried Celebrity X, there was no comparison). The service is exquisite. The only thing I missed from the Disney boat on our last Celebrity X cruise was this: Remember when we were little and Disney had that the "when you wish upon a star" music? That's the tune the ship's whistle/horn plays, and it's hauntingly beautiful. No one else can do that. Cheers!!!
  16. Bandster Brad

    6 month bandiversary!

    Hi All, Just a quick mile marker to let you know that my first 6 months since becoming a bandster are up. Apparently, a slow learner, it took me quite a while to quit rebelling against my band, and just get with the program. Today, I am down 41 pounds, which is half way to my goal of a 30 BMI. During this time, I have learned to listen to my body, to be aware of the food that I put in my mouth and when, and to replace "stuffing my problems" during times of stress with talking to my family or going for a walk with my dog. My Dr. (Alldredge) in SLC, and his trusty staff, headed by fellow Bandster and Fill-expert, Vivian, have created the most amazing team, and without their support, this would have definitely been a less favorable, and far more uncertain experience. While acknowledging the only modest success I have delivered to date, as compared to my bandster buddies on the board, this has been serious progress for me, nonetheless. Since losing just this first part of my weight, I have observed my blood pressure decline from an average of 145/95 to 119/79. I no longer huff and puff going up stairs, and more than once, have I had the mixed blessing of having to run over a mile in an airport, and have done so, without gasping at the end. This would have never been possible over the last 10 years. Thanks to my fellow bandsters for sharing their thoughts and baring their souls on this board. I have learned so much from you, and have felt that I am among fellow seekers. Still too shy to post an identifiable picture, nonetheless, here is a body shot of the changes wrought over my first six months, and here's to all of our mutual success over the many years to come! Best, Brad
  17. Bandster Brad

    6 month bandiversary!

    Hi, hows this for a mini-victory? I have been "at sea" since the 17th and have not lost any weight (but I haven't gained any weight, either)!! That's the point! Also, thanks to all of you for your warm wishes following my 6 month bandiversary. Looking forward, hopefully, to reporting continued loss (success) 6 months hence. Happy Thanksgiving from St. Kitts!
  18. Bandster Brad

    Tomorrow I will be banded

    Jinny, it will be SO worth it! Just get through the first week, put your fears aside, life is unfolding as it should, and a few months from now, you will forget how awful it was. Make sure to get some Isopure Protein drink from GNC. I didn't start feeling better until I got some! Also, you will likely lose more weight, in a shorter time, during the next few weeks than at any other time during your journey. So enjoy watching those pounds come off, even though they don't leave without a fight (at least the first week). God Bless, Brad
  19. Bandster Brad

    Pictures of my Daughter

    What an adorable little angel sent down from heaven!!!
  20. Bandster Brad


    Hi, I have two connections to what you are asking about: 1) My port is on the right side. (that makes at least two of us) :alien 2) 2 days after my surgery, my pain was getting unbearable, and the narcotics weren't doing anything. In searching these boards, one of the moderators (I think it was either "Xirth" or "Captain Midnight" made the comment: TAKE YOUR MEDS! TAKE YOUR MEDS! TAKE YOUR MEDS! And later in the thread, what he explained was that the narcotics work best (or only) when you stay AHEAD of the pain, not when you are trying to catch up to it. So what he meant was Don't try to be tough and deal with the pain. Just keep yourself medicated, and the pain will go away. So, with that advice, I went through almost 2 bottles of Vicodin, taking 1/2 of the max dose, twice as often (1 tbs every three hours instead of 2 Tbs every 6 hours). I even had my wife wake me up every 3 hours if I was asleep, just to make sure I took it. Otherwise, the pain would "get ahead of me" and it was terrible. That's all I've got for you. I hope you do well. The first 6 days, for me were hell. Just expect it and know that it does get better. (and a lot of us, no doubt, will keep you in our prayers) Best, Brad
  21. Bandster Brad

    Scar Stages Share yours!

    21 days out, all healed up. No problems. Even the port no longer hurts!
  22. Bandster Brad

    Scar Stages Share yours!

    Got my scar photo completed. How do you attach an image, that's not already on a web page? Cheers!
  23. Bandster Brad

    Can the catheter getting tangled inside?

    Hi, and thank you very much for your kind responses. FIRST OF ALL - the reason I called it a "catheter" is because that's what my Dr. called it, so I presumed (perhaps incorrectly) that's what it IS called! Another reason I am somewhat concerned about the tubing is mine comes out the RIGHT side, so it has a little longer to travel than most. Can you imagine being out running in your neighborhood, you bend down to tie your shoes, and ALL OF A SUDDEN you turn purple with pink blotches or something, because your tubing kinked your (anything you worry about - fill in the blank) - then you have to try to explain it to the ER guys, while being under the influence of gosh only knows-what?! It would be totally cool if a nurse or some other expert could respond. Not that I don't sincerely appreciate all of yours! Thanks, Brad
  24. Hi All, I was bending down to reach something the other day, and I had this really uncomfortable pain across my chest getting up, and it made me wonder - Is it possible, since the catheter that connects the band to the port is of fixed length, that one could actually get the catheter caught around something by flexing the wrong way (like Yoga, or bending down to tie one's shoes), or, in the alternative, what's to keep it from pulling inside, when you do something like a back stretch? Is this just thinking too much? I mean, how do you know that one day you don't twist the wrong way, and it suddenly loops around an organ, tightens around it like a noose, and all of a sudden, your esophagus, or liver, or whatever, gets strangled, and you turn purple? Any insight here to avoid involuntary internal strangulation??!! Best, Bandster Brad
  25. Bandster Brad

    I am from Utah

    Hi Fellow Utah Bandsters! I met with both Dr.'s McKeen and Alldredge and attended both of their seminars. Although I felt that Dr. McKeen was really personable, in the end, I decided to use Dr. Alldredge. I haven't regretted it yet, however, I am still a newbie. (Banded May 12) Here's why I made my decision: The published studies indicate that some of the key criteria to keeping complications down and success up include: A local Dr. with a local practice who has made the commitment to being continuously available for long term follow up care. Dr. McKeen is not local whereas Dr. Alldredge has a very permanent staff and two local facilities, along with well developed programmatic systems to keep you looked after. He has planned periodic follow up groups, a training room, a dietician, and as far as I can tell, about 3-5 permanent, local staff. This makes it very easy to obtain follow up care. At least 100 lap-band surgeries to be considered an expert, and also to minimize the number of complications. Dr.'s McKeen and Dr. Alldredge both come in very close to 200, as I recall. The more bands a hospital does, the higher the likelihood of avoiding complications. The study suggested 100 as a minimum. Dr. McKeen recently changed from Cottonwood to Provo. As I recall, his office indicated he had done around 12 (my best recollection) when I met with him late April/early May 2005. Conversely, Dr. McKeen uses both a hospital for high risk cases and a surgery center for low risk cases. As I recall, he had done about 100 in each of those two locations himself, plus his partner, apparently had done about 135-150 overall, spread between those two locations. So for the above reasons - durability, availability and support of the practice; Experience of the medical center, and similar experience of the Dr., I decided on Alldredge. Price-wise, they are within $500 of each other in initial costs, but Alldredge's first year of follow up is included, whereas, as I recall, McKeen's is not. This means TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) in my estimation, is lower with Alldredge. That notwithstanding, safety and efficacy has got to overrule anything on cost, as we all have but one body. Take care, good luck!

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