Fear of the future (lapband)

by Christine on November 27th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Gastric Banding Surgery

I have a cousin, Shodi, that was one of the first people to have the lapband surgery, wayyyyy back when. She lives in Texas, and apparently her surgeon was the guy that “invented” the surgery.  She had the lapband and lost a bajillion pounds of weight, looks fantastic!  I didn’t know Shodi when she was overweight; the only time I really remember meeting her was a few years ago, and she looks healthy, normal, fit, and gorgeous!

But according to my mom, after she lost the weight, Shodi started having major issues with acid reflux. I don’t know all the details, but apparently Shodi’s surgeon decided to take all the saline out of the band. (He kept all the “hardware” inside her, just took all the fluid out.)  This was a while ago, and while the acid reflux issues were aleviated, Shodi started to gain weight again. According to my mom, Shodi has gained all the weight back and then some.

Apparently Shodi has returned to her surgeon to ask to start the fill process once again, but her surgeon said no. He told her that the only option left for her is to have gastric bypass surgery.

I don’t know the surgeon’s reasoning for this, whether the stomach acid is close to eroding the band through the stomach or what other medical complications may be. However, my cousin got the feeling that the surgeon was just trying to scam her for more money, more work. She doesn’t understand why she can’t just get a fill, especially since all the hardware is still in place. I don’t understand either.  (I recommended that she talk to another weight loss surgeon to ask those very questions. Get another opinion!)

All this leads me to be really apprehensive about my own band and my ability to keep the weight off. I know that in the next year I’m going to have to get my port taken out entirely because it sticks out in the most bizzarre way, and it will eventually push itself through my skin. (read more here)  That means I won’t even have the hardware in place in case I ever start gaining my weight back.I’ve always doubly-appreciated the band because of the peace of mind I feel that if I ever started to gain weight again, I would have the means to go to the doctor, get another fill, and keep my weight from ever being a problem again. But this is not necessarily the case, especially since I need to get my port removed.

Statistically, most gastric banding patients don’t lose very much weight. (Most patients lose approximately 30% of the weight they needed to lose. So, for me, I wanted to lose 100 pounds, but stasticically I should have only lost 30 pounds! The fact that I’ve lost all 100 pounds of the weight I needed to lose defies the odds.) Furthermore, most gastric banding patients gain all the weight back. I do not want to be a statistic. I know that I can fight these statistics by learning healthy eating behaviors and exercising regularly. In other words, don’t allow the band to be a crutch, but use the band as a means to live healthfully.  Although I feel like I’ve done that, I have this uneasy feeling that I might have the same problems as my cousin Shodi and gain weight down the road. I don’t want this to happen to me. I’m fearing the unknown future.

This is the only picture of Shodi that I could find of her “overweight.”

Here’s a picture of me with beautiful Shodi from a few years ago….2003 maybe? Can’t you tell we’re related?!? We have the same eyes!

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