My lap band story...the good, bad, and very ugly.


13 posts in this topic

I want to start by saying that I didn't write this to discourage anyone from having the lap band, I wrote this because I reach out to anyone that's having the same issues as I am. The lap band is a wonderful tool if you use it correctly and don't abuse it the way I have. And so it goes...

March 3, 2006 I stepped on the scale and weighed a whopping 315 pounds. I’ll never forget the look on my face when I looked up at myself in the mirror I was horrified, shocked, and very sad. By March 27th I (by myself) was on a flight to San Diego, California. Once I landed I was taken by a van 2 hours away to Mexicali, Mexico to meet the Doctor and staff that would be doing my lap band surgery. After having an EKG, blood work, and a small group information session I was taken to my hotel to wait until the following morning to have my surgery. On March 28, 2006 I was banded and on my flight home by March 30th. I didn’t receive any counselling, any support, and was given just a hand full of post op procedures. Pretty much I was left to fend for myself and learn how this tool works on my own. For my first fill I went back to Mexico. My doctor stood me against the wall and gave me a 1/2 cc fill in my 3 cc band then sent me on my way again without any instructions. The first 6 months I lost 20 pounds and was very discouraged because I thought I should have lost more. I desperately began to look for a fill doctor in my area that would take Mexico patients and found a woman that did them out of her home (I was that desperate). On my first visit she asked me a few questions then pumped my band with another 1/4 cc and sent me on my way. Within the next 6 months I saw her another 2 times and lost a total of 100 pounds. I will never forget the feeling I had when I stepped on the scale and saw 214 pounds. I was so excited and so proud of myself! I quickly ran to my husband (now ex) and said very excitedly I’ve lost 100 pounds I’m so excited! His response to me was “well, your still fat”! Those words did something to me that I can’t fully explain. Those 4 words stuck in my head and stayed there and they’re still there. I left my husband and moved from Oregon (where I was living at the time of surgery) to Florida and again begun my desperate search for a fill doctor that took Mexico patients. Finally I found a doctor in Birmingham, AL which was a 6 hour drive each way for me but hey it was worth it to me. My first visit he asks me a few questions then gives me a small fill and sends me on my way. Again no counselling, no scan to see if my liquids are going down, just filled my band to the amount I asked for and took my $150. Now here’s the really ugly part. I knew my band was too tight but I didn’t care because losing weight was more important to me than anything else because being 5’9” tall and 170 pounds I was “still fat”. I’d eat throw up, go straight back to the table eat again, throw up, and continue to do this until my plate was empty. If no one was home I’d just pull the trash can next to the table so I wouldn’t have to go to the bathroom every time I needed to throw up. Every meal, every day I did this not realizing what damage I was doing. This went on for 8 long years and 167 pounds lost then continued so I could maintain my weight of 147 pounds.

In August 2014 I moved to Louisiana and went to see a doctor just up the street from me because I needed a slight fill. When I arrived I met with a nutritionist (I’d never seen one before) then taken into a room with a table and asked to lay down on it. I was given a sip of Water while they watched it go down then BAM like a slap in the face the doctor pulled all restriction out of my band and said he was not allowing me to have another fill or any fill at all because my esophagus was severely stretched out and if I didn’t take care of myself I’d have to have it replaced. You can only imagine the horror I felt because I knew I was going to gain weight! I was crying hysterically begging him to put it back but he refused! I ran out the door of that doctor’s office and never went back! Of course I began to gain weight at a rapid speed because I had starved myself for 8 long years. By the time I gained 60 pounds I decided I’d go see my fill doctor in Birmingham because I knew he’d give me a fill. Now this is where it gets really REALLY ugly. While there he gave me a 1.5 cc fill then taught me how to do my own fills and un fills then sent me home with a hand full of syringes. I began to un fill my band when I wanted to go have dinner with my fiancé then I’d fill it back up a few days later. I ordered a box of 100 needles and syringes and before I knew it that box was gone and I was ordering another box of 100! I wasn’t losing any weight because I’d put my fill in during the week and un fill it on Friday evening so I could eat all weekend. This went on for a year until I finally realized that this had to stop right here right now! I put 1.5 cc’s in my band broke the needles off all my syringes and threw them in the trash. I have come to the realization that I’m either going to make this tool work or I’m going to have it removed and just deal with the consequences of my own actions. I’ve spoken to a counselor about my issues and I’ve taken ownership to what I’ve done. I wanted to be skinny so badly that I was going to do anything I could to get that way.

My advice is to seek help, don’t do this on your own, stay in a support group, ask questions, and never ever learn how to do your own fills!

It feels good to be free and to be on the right track with the support that I need. I’ve hid this from my parents, children, and my friends for 10 years because I was ashamed of what I was doing. To finally be able to tell my story is not only scary but it’s like a ton of bricks being lifted from my shoulders.

I look for support in Facebook groups and friends who’ve had weight loss surgery but it’s a daily struggle to stay on track because sadly I know what I’m capable of doing with my band.

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@@Happigoof Oh my good lord and jesus..... girl i was crying when i read this.... especially what your ex said....i felt your pain....

so what is your plan now.... do you still have the band?

Where in La did you move?

chris

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I'm happy for ur sake that ur ex is ur EX!! What a jerk!!! Wish u the best and can't believe they showed u how to fill and un fill ur band. A lot of places are No longer doing the band too much up keep and problems and not much long term success.

Sent from my iPhone using the BariatricPal App

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@@bayougirlmrsc @@genn Thanks ladies.

Yes I still have the band and I'm trying my hardest to no longer abuse it anymore. I feel like now I have to prove to my family, friends, and myself that I can do this the right way. I have a lot of eyes on me since I posted my story on my Facebook and sent it to my parents so I know I won't be able to get away with what I've gotten away with before and that's one of the reasons I shared it.

Edited by Happigoof

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We live moved to Houston in August and will only be here until the end of January. My husband took a new job as a Vice President so we're waiting for the office to be built so we can go home. We own our home in Tickfaw but plan on moving to Dutchtown or Baton Rouge.

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I'm new here, 3 weeks pre-band. Your story has truly inspired me to do all that you recommend. Thank you for thinking of us during your struggle. God bless you for that. Prayers for your success!

Sent from my iPhone using the BariatricPal App

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@@cz.99 you're very welcome. I didn't write this to discourage anyone from having the surgery or to scare anyone I simply wrote it to set myself free from all the hiding, lies, and damage I've been doing to myself.

The band is a wonderful tool if you use it correctly. My advice is to listen to your band, don't let the cravings get the best of you, and seek all the support you can get. If I would have had support and and doctors that actually cared then I'm sure I wouldn't have gone through half of this nightmare.

You can do this! You've come this far and you're almost to the top of the hill so keep on pushing and you'll get the results you want. Best of luck to you.

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We live moved to Houston in August and will only be here until the end of January. My husband took a new job as a Vice President so we're waiting for the office to be built so we can go home. We own our home in Tickfaw but plan on moving to Dutchtown or Baton Rouge.

I have a great friend that lives in Dutchtown... great place to live. Im only an hour and a half away from Dtown...

@@genn I have to disagree with part of this statement (A lot of places are No longer doing the band too much up keep and problems and not much long term success.).... I know there are places that are no longer doing the band.. this is true. But, the majority (not all) of the problems are "user error".... as as far as long term success... i know way more people that has had long term success with the band than some of the other WLS.... My self included... in one week i will hit 7 years.... i have maintained an 80-100lbs loss. Im comfortable at my current weight of 130

And you all have to remember in the beginning the majority of the bands were done in Mex and like @@Happigoof was not given proper follow up and instructions.... plus they were putting in a 3CC band.... that is tiny.... My sister in Law was one of these people also.... same issues as Happi.... had band removed and got GB.... and guess what... she is gaining her weight back... Again

there has been an influx of people doing .... Band over BP and Band over sleeve lately.

Anyway.... best of luck to everyone

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Wow, that's a crazy story! I'm so sorry you went through all that! My jaw literally dropped while reading what all you went through. I hope you make peace with your eating issues and get on the road to recovery soon.

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I have a question. I got the lap band in may 2013. I am so happy with my weight loss and would do it all over again. However since I have had it done I do not feel that I am healthy. I have no energy. My platelets went real low that I had to have my spleen removed and now I got pneumonia or bronchitis apx 5 days after I complete the antibiotic and steroid treatment. Has anyone else had these problems? I never put two and two together until friends and family keep saying it is because I have the lap band. That last thing I want to do is remove the band because I now feel good in my clothes and look better. Thanks to everyone

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