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10 year roller coaster. Finally scheduled for revision!



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My story has been a long 10 year roller coaster ride both in weight and emotion!

I was banded at 18 in California. I was just under 250 at 5'1". I had an easy surgery and started losing pretty quickly. After a couple years, I was down almost 100lbs and feeling great until suddenly, in August 2005, I couldn't swallow Water. My band had slipped and badly. I went into surgery the next day to have my band fixed, but due to erosion, it was removed and as the surgeon put it to my parents, he "MAY have punctured my stomach trying to navigate scar tissue, but it was difficult to tell what was a puncture and what was an erosion." I was devastated to put it lightly and spent 9 days in the hospital recovering.

Insurance refused to replace the band (despite multiple appeals) because my BMI was too low. My surgeon and I worked through the year on appeals and by June, I had climbed back to my starting weight of 250. We found out in March that when my insurance changed at the beginning of the year, they had made WLS a contract exclusion and we had exhausted our appeals.

I decided that if I wanted my band back, I would have to pay for it and began looking into options out of the country. For a bunch of different reasons, I ended up choosing a hospital and surgeon in Mumbai, India. The surgeon in Mumbai told me that my first band was placed so high, that my scar tissue wasn't in his way at all. I now wonder if that is the only reason it worked so well. I had a new lap band placed in August 2006 at 269lbs (my highest weight) and went home filled with hope.

My hope faded as over the next year I only lost around 40-50lbs or so. Not a small amount of weight, but only half of what I lost the first time and only about a third of what I was hoping for. This band never worked like the first one. By 2012 I was back up to 250.

My current insurance has a contract exclusion as well, and instead of going through lengthy appeals (since that worked so horribly before), I decided to self pay again. This time I am going with Dr. Fernando Garcia in Tijuana with Ready 4 a Change. I have my surgery scheduled for April 25th and I'm fearful that I am starting to get my hopes up that this will be the right path for me. I am hoping that this roller coaster will take one final dip (hopefully at least a 100lb dip lol). My kids need a mom that can keep up with them and I know I can't do that on my own.

Anyone else struggle with the fear of getting your hopes up before a revision surgery?? How did it go for you?

And more importantly, after going from band to sleeve, what would you say were the biggest changes for you?

I'm so thankful for any input anyone has to share :)

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Well thank you for sharing your story and I have great news! I too had a revision on September 10, 2012, with Dr Fernando Garcia and am now .6 pounds away from my goal weight. I lost 60 pounds in the first 4 months and now have lost 77.2 pounds. You will not reget having this surgery and Dr Garcia is an amazingly skilled surgeon. I had my band for 5 years and from what I understand he had no issues with my surgery. I now have a $16,000.00 souvenier lapband.

You are making the best decision. All the best.

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Sorry to hear that you have had such a hard time, but I do have to say that hearing stories like yours has made me feel better about not going with the lap band. It seems like I see more and more people that have had problems with the lap band and have had to move to the sleeve surgery. Good luck with your surgery and just stay possitive. I have seem many, many success stories on this site from not only people that have had the sleeve, but people that have gone through similar situations as you have.

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Thank you both!! And Amazon, that is great to hear!! I have heard all great things about Dr. Garcia and am feeling even more confident about my choice in surgeon now! :)

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Kristina, I am in the same boat as you but you had a few more bumps than me. I was banded in June 2003 and I still have the same band. I am starting to have complications and I am petrified. I have a 3 and 1/2 year old boy and I am afraid to get this revision or even just a removal. I am 45 now and I don't want more surgeries to follow this one. I am pretty scared of the scar tissue that they might find and I have been feeling pinching sensations inside along with port pain and pain where the band is located. I am looking forward to putting this behind me soon. Best of luck tou you, keep me posted.

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I just had revision surgery two weeks ago, also in Mexico but different surgeon. So far it's been a night/day difference from the band. Band never really worked for me. Lost 50 lbs over 3 years with only 20 of it really being from band and the rest just from me cutting portions (band provided little to no restriction) and dieting. The tool wasn't doing what it should have been doing. And, then I steadily began to regain 30 lbs - just like any other time I'd been on a diet.

For me at least, the recovery has been about the same. But, the biggest difference I'm seeing so far is that with the band, I was H U N G R Y during the recovery phase. It was so hard to drink just the Protein shake and then progress to more solid food. So far, with this I'm not hungry at all. I don't even have head hunger (I think I'm lucky in this regard compared to others).

I also can really tell that I have a much smaller stomach. Definitely need to take small frequent sips of Water and even drinking a Protein Shake takes me at least 30 minutes.

Finally, I feel hopeful that this WLS will actually help me reach my goal.

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Thank you DixieGal. Sounds like things are starting off really well!! Hopefully that ease and success will only continue and get even better for you! :) Congratulations!!

Melissa, I too am really anxious about having this surgery, but I decided to do it BECAUSE of my 3 year old. There are certainly risks that are very serious, but there are also a lot of risks living at the weight I'm living at as well with a BMI close to 50, and even more than that, I am constantly held back by my weight. My 2 daughters (3 and 1) deserve a mother who is healthy and can keep up with them! I want to live long enough to play with grandchildren and that's not going to happen with my health suffering the consequences of my weight battles.

My biggest fear right now is that I will not be able to convert in one surgery. I am self pay and if I travel to Mexico and find that I have erosion again, I will be devastated. I will have my band removed, but will have to regroup and then finance yet another surgery! But, I will do whatever it takes to do this revision. And I WILL do it with my safety as first priority, so if it takes two, it takes two and we will just have to make it work!

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I have been feeling pinching sensations inside along with port pain and pain where the band is located. I am looking forward to putting this behind me soon. Best of luck tou you' date=' keep me posted.[/quote']

Also Melissa, I forgot to mention, I am a little bit concerned about your port pain and pinching sensation. If an erosion forms on the band, like I had with my first band, the bacteria can actually travel to the port and create port pain as well as some internal pain. Do you have access to a doctor that can do an endoscopy and/or upper GI to check for erosion? At the very least it could give you some insight into why your band isn't working for you, and while I really hope it's not the case, at worst, it could identify a serious problem! Those of us that were banded 10 years ago are more at risk for erosion based on the technique they used back then. Even if you self paid for your band, insurance might pay for the testing (mine did) to determine if it is eroding as it puts your immediate health at risk! I even know of some cases where an urgent removal was covered based on immediate health risk.

Keep me posted on how you're feeling!!!!

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The chronic "pain in the port" was really bad at Christmas and seems to have gotten better. I went to a surgeon here that I used for fills and he looked under fluoroscope and said, no issues, no complications. Do you want a fill? I was shocked to say the least. If you have something in your body for 10 years and it starts giving you trouble, then a Dr should listen to that. I called my insurance and wound up selecting another surgeon out of their center of excellence network. I was so frantic for a while and was travelling back to NY and was just going to show up at the hospital where i had originally gotten my surgery. I am definitely going to ask for an endoscopy because I still believe there might be an erosion. I think I am settled with this new place and want to do ALL testing possible before I let anyone touch me. The new Dr gave me the answer I was hoping for which was "game-day" decision for same day revision. Basically I don't want anyone taking chances on me. The center was recommended by my insurance and they say their revisions are over 200 but I did not ask details about that yet. I know the senior surgeon of the group has been operating over 27 years and bariatrics for I think over 10. The younger surgeon is very good too and has specialized in bariatrics from the start. I am an older Mom, and had my son at 41 years old so I really need to get myself healthy and I done feel that way. My BMI is 43 and I am hoping for health first and looking good last.

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Melissa, I'm glad to hear that you have a new doc and plans to demand an endoscopy. Your complaints sound a lot like mine when I had eroded, though I also lacked the ability to swallow Water which was the only thing that got me in urgently!

Certainly sounds like we have a lot in common and it'll be nice to follow each other's journeys! I'm just 29, but as my mother has always said, I'm a bit of an old soul ;) I can really relate to the fears and questions you're having as a mom. It determines every choice in life. Everything becomes second to our kids!! I think you making the decision to finally figure out what has happened with your band and even consider a revision is just a sign of what a good mom you are, and I wish you all the luck in the world!

One thing you touched on that I think is something that doesn't effect people as much now as it has effected those of us banded 10 years ago, is the total lack of understanding what the band is, does and means! I can't count the number of doctors that I have had to explain my WLS to. It's always a scary situation when your providers don't know anything about your special circumstances. And as far as that doctor suggesting a FILL?!? Lol wow! I am amazed. He should know more than anyone that a normal fluoroscopy, while helpful, can NOT exclude an erosion!!! Yes, sometimes they are visible via fluoroscopy, but not always, so that should only be the first step in clearing a banded patient of complications! So glad you're not seeing that doc anymore!!!!

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I think we all fear the same. To cut a long story short, what I now believe and tell anyone who is having doubts is:

It is going to work!

It's not a band!

It's totally different!

AND

If its working for me, it will work for everyone!

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That's so great mini.mee. If there is anything I have learned since joining VST, it's that I am not alone in my struggle with this band. I have felt like a failure for so long and have avoid doing something about it because I felt like it was my fault and my fault alone. I definitely think that I didn't stick to the program like I should and I wasn't a model patient, but my band failed me as much as I failed my band. This time around I am in a better place emotionally and I am ready to make the full commitment and be that model patient. I am excited to see where this thing goes!! :)

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Congratulations on your surgery date.

I am also looking into a revision.

I look forward to seeing how others do with their revisions.

Good luck!

Jenn

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Im in a similar boat minus five yrs. I was originally banded in 2008 and had it removed because it cracked and was causing interior abrasions. Because my BMI fell below the required my revision to the sleeve was denied twice under United Healthcare....(my insurance). I then went under my husbands and (BCBS Empire) and waiting. My BMI is only 35.4 and no co morbidities.....getting really depressed but my internist said he'd write the letter for me as medically necessary. I'm hopeful that and believe and know this is the best thing for my health. I totally understand all your fear and it is sad we were told that this device would work now that it turned out to be faulty through no fault of our own the insurance companies are giving us such a hard time. I've never felt this unhealthy in my life. I just hope my new insurance approves my sleeve bc I'm scheduled for surgery on march 27th. Good Luck to you

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Im in a similar boat minus five yrs. I was originally banded in 2008 and had it removed because it cracked and was causing interior abrasions. Because my BMI fell below the required my revision to the sleeve was denied twice under United Healthcare....(my insurance). I then went under my husbands and (BCBS Empire) and waiting. My BMI is only 35.4 and no co morbidities.....getting really depressed but my internist said he'd write the letter for me as medically necessary. I'm hopeful that and believe and know this is the best thing for my health. I totally understand all your fear and it is sad we were told that this device would work now that it turned out to be faulty through no fault of our own the insurance companies are giving us such a hard time. I've never felt this unhealthy in my life. I just hope my new insurance approves my sleeve bc I'm scheduled for surgery on march 27th. Good Luck to you

I really hope your insurance approves your sleeve! It's hard not to feel cheated after going through all we went through with the band. But I think we can use it as motivation to make the most of the sleeve and really work with it to make the most of it we can. I know because of the band, I am fully commuted to the sleeve. More so than I would have been had I not gone through everything I did to get here!

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