Hello everyone, my name is Mona and I was once a very popular, dance music recording artist with a promising career in the music industry and was even signed to a major record label in the mid 90's. Unfortunately, my weight destroyed my singing career and I left the industry, however, I have decided I will not let it destroy my life. I am getting my failed Lap-Band removed and having a RNY gastric bypass. Here is my story:
I had the Lap-Band (AP Large, 14 CC Band) installed in December of 2007. I was so insistent upon having the Lap-Band and did not even want to hear about or entertain the idea of any other form of surgery or option. I was convinced that it was the safest and only way to go for me. Hindsight is 20/20! It was the worst decision I have ever made and nearly cost me my life. I was a cash pay patient and found a doctor in Denver, CO that would do the band for just under $10k, so I drove from Phoenix, AZ to Denver, CO and had the band placed. I was only in the hospital for 5 hours and back in my hotel room that same night. Two days later we traveled back to Phoenix and I thought all was well. A few days later, I developed a fever and just was not feeling well. I went to the ER and they admitted me. They called several bariatric doctors but none of them wanted to get involved because they were not the doctor that did the surgery. Thankfully, Dr. Fang, who is now going to do my revision surgery, agreed to take care of me, admitted me, and did an endoscopy to see what was going on. He discovered that I had a micro-perforation in my stomach from the band surgery. One of the stitches was pulled too tight and had caused a micro-tear in my stomach tissue. He told me it was very serious and if they had to go in to repair it, I had a 50/50 chance of survival! I was petrified. He said he was going to put me on nothing by mouth plus a Protonix drip and other IV meds for 2 weeks and see if the tissue would heal on its own. Thank God it healed, so they did not have to go in to repair it. I should have been more cautious of my own health and red flags should have went up when I realized that the doctor that did my Lap-Band surgery did not even require me to have ANY pre-op testing or clearances AT ALL, before doing the surgery. Again, hindsight is 20/20 and I was determined and stubborn.
After I was released from the hospital, I gradually went back to regular foods and then started getting my fills. Since I did not have an aftercare program, I was basically on my own and had to find a place to do my fills. I started doing fills and initially, I lost a little over 100 pounds and went from 375 to 265 in a little less than 2 years, but I will admit that I did not do it the healthy way. I was overfilled most of the time, barely able to hold down water and I used this time to starve myself to lose the weight. I slimed and threw up all day long, it was a hot mess and I was miserable. As time went by, the weight loss slowed and I was able to eat more and more so I kept getting more and more fills done, thinking I was losing restriction but that was not the case. Unfortunately, the reason I could eat so much more was because my esophagus was stretching and turning into a stomach!!!!! When this was confirmed, the doctor took all the fluid out and told me to wait for 6 months to have it filled again, but I had to have an endoscopy to make sure the esophagus was back to normal first. I did not have insurance and had started to develop a major illness, so I could not afford to get the endoscopy, and was unable to fill the band again at that time. Within 2 years, I gained back every ounce I had lost, plus another 35 pounds and ballooned up to 410 pounds by the end of 2011. I hovered around the 400 pound mark from 2011 to 2013 and then decided to give the band one more try but â€œthis timeâ€ I would do it the right way. I had the endoscopy done, got the all-clear, and started to do fills again. I lost about 40 pounds over 6 months, but the the stretching started again and the GERD was so bad this time around that I just could not take it anymore and I had the fluid removed again. So long story short, here I sit, nearly 8 years after having the Lap-Band installed and I am currently 402 pounds, that is 27 pounds more than I was before I had the band placed, and I AM MISERABLE!!!!!!!
Since 2007 when I had the Lap-Band installed, I have developed multiple sclerosis, diabetes, severe chronic back pain from 5 herniated discs that wonâ€™t heal because of my weight, arthritis in my spine, and because I weigh so much, the MS complications have been exasperated exponentially and has caused me to be in a wheel chair because I can no longer walk due to my legs going numb from the constant pressure of my weight on my spinal cord and the loss of balance. I am in no way blaming these issues on the band, I do not believe the band had anything to do with my developing MS or any of the other issues I have developed subsequent to the band being placed. I am only 46 years old and I am too young to just give up! My PCP and neurologist have told me that if I can get under 200 pounds, I will very likely walk again, although it would be with a walker, it is still a far better scenario than where I am right now.
I decided to revise to the RNY gastric bypass. I wanted to get the band removed and have the gastric bypass done all in one surgery but my bariatric doctor, Dr. Daniel Fang in Phoenix, wanted to do an endoscopy first to make sure I did not have erosion before planning the 1-step procedure. Although I did not have any erosion, (Thank God!) unfortunately, he found that my band has somewhat slipped, so I have to get the revision done in 2 surgeries, the first of which will be done next Tuesday, the 11th of August. He will remove my band and my gallbladder, since I have developed gallstones since my band was placed, then we have to wait 3 months to do the gastric bypass portion of the surgery. I had no idea that my band had slipped, I havenâ€™t had any symptoms at all, so it was a very big surprise when he told me about the slip. I am excited and scared, all at the same time, as I hate the thought of surgery, especially at my weight and BMI, but I am determined to do it! I go for my band and gallbladder removal on Tuesday, August 11th and then will be on a very strict low-carb diet for the 3 months following the band removal so I can get my BMI as low as possible for the gastric bypass procedure 3 months after the band is removed.
Height: 5 feet 5 inches
Starting Weight: 410 lbs
Weight on Day of Surgery: 367 lbs
Current Weight: 352 lbs
Goal Weight: 149 lbs
Weight Lost: 58 lbs
Surgery: Gastric Bypass
Surgery Status: Post Surgery
First Dr. Visit:
Surgery Date: 11/19/2015
Hospital Stay: 3 Days
Surgery Funding: Insurance
Insurance Outcome: 1st Letter Approval