“My weight was always an issue, I was always the fat kid. From the time I was in kindergarten, I was the tallest and I was the fattest. I never dated and I even went to my prom by myself. All of the things you should be doing and should be learning as you grow up, I never learned and I never did.”
When my doctor said to me, “Tammy, you are 34 and if you don’t lose 100 pounds you’ll never live to see 64. I’m treating you what I treat 64 year olds for.” She scared me enough that I went from just looking at surgery to really investigating. A lot of doctors still have the belief that it’s a character flaw, that being overweight is the patient’s problem and that it’s not a medical issue, when a lot of it is a medical issue.
I had my Lap-Band® Surgery and it took about 22 months to lose about 110 lbs. I previously had diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. I was on medications for everything, and almost all of these things will kill you. Now I don’t take medication for anything that will kill me. You’re not just looking for an easy way out, because anyone who tells you that about surgery does not know what they are talking about–come spend a day with me.
“The benefit of a Lap-Band over any of these other bariatric surgeries is that you have control over it and you can go as fast or as slow as you are able to keep up with. I would encourage people to have the courage to consider surgery because no matter what anyone else says, this is your life and no one else is going to live it for you. Life may be passing you by because you’re so overweight, and you have diseases or conditions that limit you. But having surgery will help stabilize all of that. You will be putting the control back in your hands to go build a life again and participate instead of letting it pass you by. Be ready for change. Be willing to change.”
The Lap-Band System is indicated for weight reduction for patients with obesity, with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of at least 40 kg/m2 or a BMI of at least 30 kg/m2 with one or more obesity-related comorbid conditions. It is indicated for use only in adult patients who have failed more conservative weight reduction alternatives, such as supervised diet, exercise and behavior modification programs. Patients who elect to have this surgery must make the commitment to accept significant changes in their eating habits for the rest of their lives.
The Lap-Band System is not recommended for non-adult patients (patients under 18 years of age), patients with conditions that may make them poor surgical candidates or increase the risk of poor results, who are unwilling or unable to comply with the required dietary restrictions, or who currently are or may be pregnant.
The Lap-Band System is a long-term implant. Explant and replacement surgery may be required. Patients who become pregnant or severely ill, or who require more extensive nutrition may require deflation of their bands. Anti-inflammatory agents, such as aspirin, should be used with caution and may contribute to an increased risk of band erosion.
Placement of the Lap-Band System is major surgery and, as with any surgery, death can occur. Possible complications include the risks associated with the medications and methods used during surgery, the risks associated with any surgical procedure, and the patient’s ability to tolerate a foreign object implanted in the body. Most common related adverse events include: Band slippage, pouch dilation, stoma obstruction, gastroesophageal reflux, esophageal dilation, cholelithiasis, incisional infection, abdominal pain, gastroenteritis, or nausea and vomiting may occur. Reoperation may be required. Rapid weight loss may result in complications that may require additional surgery. Deflation of the band may alleviate excessively rapid weight loss or esophageal dilation.
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