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Hi Laura,

No need to apologise at all and it wasn't a rant. I do not know your mother. You do. I would not presume to comment about her specifically. I am the one that should apologise if I upset you in any way.

If this surgery was opened up to be taxpayer funded it would be very difficult to sort out criteria. In fact whether you had worked in your life or not would not matter. Interestingly in the society we live in today it would be more likely you would get the operation if you had never worked than if there was even a slight chance you could pay for it yourself. Ironic? But that is a whole different subject.

I still stick by what I said earlier. Generally speaking - if taxpayer funded surgery patients were not prepared to make the lifestyle changes required, Then this would be a complete waste of money.

In the meatime it is my only hope that medical advances can make medications with less side effects. Imagine the day that you could take a pill and it have the same effect as surgery! Maybe one day this will be possible.

AJ

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Hi guys,

Can I just say IT bands (SUCK. And I need more discipline to fix mine in my left leg. That aside...)

I can't resist adding my two cents here... (And for the record it isn't my intention to cause offense to anyone, just thinking aloud a bit...)

I can definitely see both sides of the story - with the disclaimer that none of us know Laura's mum of course. As mentioned earlier, my dad is also considering this at the moment (he's working overseas right now, making up his mind when the contract overseas is up). For him it would be to cure the problems that have come about from being overweight - he's pre-diabetes, strain on joints, etc, etc. (For me it was preventative.) It would be great if he could go public with it, but I have a feeling it would go the same way as for Laura's mum... More difficult money wise, but he'll probably end up going through Dr Fris as well.

On the other hand I have heard a few stories of people who refuse to make the lifestyle changes (neighbour's friend who drank melted chocolate when she was on the post-op liquid diet and managed to put on even more weight, for example). So I can see why funding is restricted for public ops... I don't know if any of you remember a doco of a boy (think he was like... 15 or something) who went to Dr Fris - heard he put all the weight back on after a while as well. Not sure if it was publicly funded because of the doco or what.

Anyway, what if they did something like the scholarships for teaching and radiography students in NZ? They pay the students' way, then the student is bonded to NZ for a certain amount of time - if they leave NZ before their bond is up they have to pay all the scholarship back (it turns into a student loan, essentially). What if there was a way where a fund paid for public surgeries then tracked the people afterwards - I remember Dr Fris drawing a graph of my predicted weight loss rate - if they didn't stick to the surgeon's weight loss rate (within a reasonable margin) and show commitment to the lifestyle changes required, then they have to pay it all back as if they'd gone privately?

Just an idea, probably wouldn't end up being implemented, but I reckon that might solve the worry people would have about taxpayers' money being squandered. And then it would be a bit less of a free ride, as well - they still have the incentive to work at it because the surgery won't be free if they slack off. Of course, something would have to be sorted out for people who have legitimate problems/complications, but the surgeons would know the difference between those and someone slacking and could make a case for the patient.

I do sometimes wonder..... For those of us who had the surgery as a preventative measure, how much do we save the taxpayer for NOT getting the various problems that being overweight can produce down the line? Just a thought.

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Yeah, i didnt mean to sound like such a cow in my post. (my bad)

but yeah i remember that boy, when i went to get my band the first time when i was 17 he mention that guy and said that because he had his band so young by the time he got to 18 and was able to drink he just started doing his own thing and wasnt following the rules but idk if they got him back on track.

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As AAAJJJ said, no worries about it - it's easy to mis-read some well-intentioned text sometimes. Or to write something and have it not come across the way you intend... Text can be tricky that way. Especially if you get in rant mode and people don't realise (I definitely support ranting, but I have had a friend once claim I was angry at THEM when I was just wanting to talk about how annoying something else was for a while. Go figure.)

I thought that might have been why they made you wait. They had him on tv and everything - I know it's case by case basis (I didn't go nuts with alcohol when I was 18 and I remember you telling me you wouldn't when they had us emailing each other back then) but I suppose there's no way to prove you WON'T do something like that until after the fact, if that makes sense? I got the feeling that they were being a bit wary with me being on the young side and I'd just turned 20.

That's what made me think of the teaching and some med scholarships (radiography at least) though. It's like you get the help because it's something that's needed (or will be a benefit to more people down the line, or whatever), but if you skip out on your bond early (ie don't follow the rules) then you need to pay it all back. Of course I think I'd still keep the requirements for getting it done publicly super strict anyway, but either way. I think too many people still consider it an easy way out and if people who think that way get it done publicly it'll take it away from people who would do better with it, so you'd still have to be careful.

And because this is super exciting for me, I just got back from my Saturday running training group and I just had my first pain free run since October last year! Yay! Left knee is finally quitting complaining and letting me run (carefully/slower than normal) again without limping!

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Hi all, I'm new to this forum and had a LB fitted on 14th May paid for by the DHB. I'm a type II diabetic who was diagnosed 5 years ago and became insulin dependent 3 years ago. I started on a weightloss journey last October before being accepted for funded surgery and had agreed with my husband that if I couldn't lose the weight by myself and wasn't accepted for surgery, we would pay for me to go privately.

I lost 19 kgs pre surgery and have lost 22 total so far. I've got another 40odd to go to get to my own personally set goal and I believe I will get there. The public funded scheme was not a lottery and I was told that the selection criteria were strict and they put forward 100 candidates who then go through a selection committee. I was considered the right age, attitude, BMI range, and co-morbidity and was therefore selected. I will NOT take this opportunity for granted. I realise I'm lucky to be selected but I also believe that had I not been successful, the cost of treating my condition would have totally exceeded the cost of surgery several times over.

And I stopped all diabetes meds 3 weeks ago when I started the 2 week pre-op Optifast diet.
:)

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Hey kiwijo!

I think (not entirely sure) you might be the first person posting here who's had it funded? (If I've missed someone else, my bad!).

That's one thing I never understood when I got mine (self-funded) is that insurance was against paying for it because I wasn't dying or something, but then the costs of care later on would be ridiculous compared to the cost of surgery now... As you say above.

Just out of curiousity, what is the selection criteria? All I know is that they denied me back when I got my surgery, they just said my case was preventative, not dealing with problems of weight after the fact, so they wouldn't pay for it (insurance, that is... Nevermind public funding).

Congrats on the losses so far and hope the surgery recovery goes smoothly.

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Hey kiwijo!

I think (not entirely sure) you might be the first person posting here who's had it funded? (If I've missed someone else, my bad!).

That's one thing I never understood when I got mine (self-funded) is that insurance was against paying for it because I wasn't dying or something, but then the costs of care later on would be ridiculous compared to the cost of surgery now... As you say above.

Just out of curiousity, what is the selection criteria? All I know is that they denied me back when I got my surgery, they just said my case was preventative, not dealing with problems of weight after the fact, so they wouldn't pay for it (insurance, that is... Nevermind public funding).

Congrats on the losses so far and hope the surgery recovery goes smoothly.

I don't know the exact ins and outs of it but SOS (Southern Obesity Surgery) in Chch got the contract to do 20 weightloss surgeries for the DHB this year on a trial and I got the call on 23rd December to let me know I was successful. I guess having Diabetes was a big factor but also taking into consideration my age, length of time with it and the lack of too many other complications means that losing weight for me will cure me of this disease. CURE.

I too have private health insurance and there was cover for WLS but only after so many year's standdown period and there were all sorts of conditions and parameters and even if they were all met, their contribution was only about $7,000. Paltry.

This country needs to wake up to this issue and I just hope that my success and the success of others on the trial makes a difference to the attitude of the govt.

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Oh, is that that doctor who was in the news a while back? I saw an article on Stuff about a doctor in Christchurch who had a 'new cure for diabetes' in the form of bariatric surgery (not sure how new it is as I'm sure I was told that it would reverse any side effects of obesity when I got my surgery - and I was in the 'don't have diabetes YET' stage)... But it's good he was in the news and managed to help make a bit of a start/give a heads up about things.

It seems to be a lot easier to get the surgery over here where I'm working now (the Netherlands). I get the feeling insurance here makes things a fair bit easier (it should, you pay for the roof for it (at least I do anyway, heh) and it's obligatory), and the idea of bariatric surgery is a lot more open here than at home, but then if it becomes too easy to get then that creates it's own problems. I work with a girl who claims her sister a gastric bypass on a whim just because she was lazy and doesn't eat properly now either so is always deficient in Vitamins and such, but on the other hand, this is a girl who's got her own weight problems and is taking it out on her sister, so I take what she says about her sister with a whole load of salt.

Anyway, you're right about attitudes needing to change, but definitely public as well as government. I've told more people over here than I have at home (though I've had to to stop the indigestion caused by stress of no one knowing - of all things!), and more people know about it so it has a bit less of a stigma. Though so saying, even here there was a news thing about bariatric surgery which led to a hilarious conversation between three guys I work with where they misunderstood everything - I was about to start correcting them, but they left while I was trying to keep myself from cracking up... (Only two people I work with know, but several people in a European project I'm in know - meetings for that tend to get stressful and when I'm stressed my ability to eat much goes out the door).

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Hi guys,

Just thought I'd pass on a bit of info I'd learnt... I can't remember how many of you go to Dr Fris (other than Laura...), but turns out he's retiring from bariatric surgery because there are so many people doing it in Auckland now... My mum had been in contact with his office because my dad is considering it and that's what they told her, anyway. I emailed Dr Fris about it (well, more to get contact details for people he recommends over here in case I have problems) and he said Heather will continue to look after patients. I'm guessing that's existing ones.

Hope you guys are having a nice start to spring back home. :)

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WOW really, he just did my mums gastric band on august 1st.

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Hey guys,

Just thought i would do an update, so im a couple of months away from my 2 years post op and my weight has not really budged since i got to 95kg. I have been bouncing between 91kg and 97kg for about the last year and can't quiet seem to keep myself on track to get under that 90kg mark. My goals are big for 2013 and instead of focusing on losing weight which of course i do want to do, my main focus is going to be on living life... i just want to have fun this year and put myself out there and not hold back. Right now im looking and applying for jobs (as i finally graduated uni in december YAY!!!) not only here in NZ but also in Sydney as my dad is working in OZ and my brother is just about to move over next friday. I have applied for a job at a travel company which im really hopeful for cos i think it would be amazing.

Got to run, i have work, maybe i will post again but wish me luck

Fingers crossed that this year will be amazing.

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Hi Everyone,

Thought I would pop into here and say hi. I live in the Bay of Plenty and have been approved for my lap band surgery. Surgery date is 20th February. I have been booked since early December but now that we are in February I am starting to get super nervous.

One of my silly fears is that the hospital will not have a hospital gown that will fit :'( I know this is probably a silly fear as my mum said "there will be people bigger than you who have had operations" but I'm really scared that there isn't. I have done really well with my weight loss since December and am really excited to start this new chapter of my life.

Does anyone have any advice for me? Is the port really easy to feel?

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Laura - Maybe try and mix things up a bit with exercise and food? In the first couple of years I had my band I had an awesome personal trainer at the gym in Dunedin (she knew what I'd had done) and she was making sure I wasn't doing the same thing too often so my body got used to it... Good luck with the job hunting and the weight loss. :)

Speaking of your mum getting banded - how's she handling it? - my dad got the gastric sleeve, I think (not actually 100% sure what he got done, oops.) late last year... Interesting seeing another family member going through what you went through and knowing that despite all the advice you can give they still have to figure it out for themselves... Looking forward to being back home soon for a visit (less than 2 weeks now!!!) to have an indepth discussion with him about food.

That and I'm SO looking forward to being in NZ again. Even if it is only for a fortnight. Sigh.

ChangingMyLife - Hi! Welcome! :) As I've been explaining to my dad recently (and as Dr Fris, my surgeon, said to me ... 7 years ago...), listen to what your body is telling you with regards to how your stomach feels. It's a big mental mess because your mind will tell you one thing and your body will just be like "Nope, not gonna happen" with food.

Oh, and try every food carefully after the op when you first have it... I found out the hard way that dried fruit is very difficult for me... And 1 chocolate covered coffee bean apparently makes eating impossible for hours. (I haven't dared to retest that theory since....). And yeah, my port is really easy to feel, it's just under the skin. I think it may have been slightly less easy to feel when I'd just had the surgery, but I can't remember (I'm down at my goal weight).

For what it's worth, the band does restrict food intake, and things do get a bit sensitive once you're at your goal weight, but the fun thing I've found is, since getting to my goal weight, when I exercise more I'm able to eat a fair bit more than when I'm sitting around doing nothing (3x more, this evening) - the band is surprisingly adaptive, which is good.

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Hey PaleoKris, I think I will... I did a four day juice fast last week just to kind of refresh my body and i lost a couple of kg so current weight tody was 93.6kg. been walking a couple of days last week and hoping to do a bit more this week (hoping the weather will clear a bit more tomorrow). As for food, I think i will do a couple of weeks of Optifast to kind of kick start my weightloss again.

My mum is doing well, i think she is about 6-7 months out and she has lost about 10kg (she started at 96ish and is down to about 86ish), she is going to get a fill tomorrow as well cos she feels she needs some more restriction.

Today is a big day as well because my brother, Ashley, (25yr), has just had a gastric bypass with silastic band. he went in at about 8am this morning and like you 'changingmylife' he was very nervous but he came through great, it's the first day of the rest of his life and I believe it will be the best thing he has ever done. he started at 199kg and 6' 2", he did 8 weeks on Optifast but took a week off it over xmas but lost 10kg in this period.

The band is a huge adjustment but I don't regret having it done one bit, I'm not at my goal weight... I still have a good 30kg to go... as for the port as i still have a ways to go i cant feel my port unless I physically feel and press it... you should be able to find it though cos of course they need to give you fills. At first its an odd feeling but you get use to it. Good Luck... and i think we all get or got nervous before our surgeries but for me I knew it was my best chance to make any changes in my life.

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