Weight Loss Surgery - What made you decide on WLS? (Plus some personal history!)

06-02-2013, 09:44 PM
Hello all! :wave:

I have been overweight since puberty, and I am now almost 42 years old. I have tried many diets: The Zone, Weight Watchers, vegetarianism, Atkins, Medifast, Paleo... The most success I found was with Weight Watchers; I lost 52 pounds over 2 years but regained it all back, plus 60 more pounds.

My mom talked to me last night about a male neighbor who got the Lap-Band and has lost over 100 pounds. Another neighbor, who is dangerously obese and was just in the ER for a racing heart, is now also considering it too.

My mom and I have a complicated mother-daughter relationship, especially when it comes to her watching and trying to be helpful about my weight.

But that aside, last night I read more about it on the official Lap-Band site. It sounds pretty safe, safer than gastric bypass or the "sleeve" option. The thought of having my stomach permanently cut away or stapled does not sit well with me... but perhaps a doctor could talk me into it.

At my current weight, I may qualify. I'm not sure if I am really 5'8", I may only be 5'7", and at 252 pounds, that's only 4 pounds away from the 40 BMI that seems to be the norm for You Qualify Completely. I am also on a high blood pressure medicine though just a diuretic (HCTZ 25 mg/day). I have high cholesterol, very high triglycerides, knee pain, and occasional asthma (have a prescribed inhaler).

I am just honestly sick and tired of the trying different diets, with the failure that follows, and feeling like a slave to my stomach. No matter what diet I go on, I relapse because I'm SO HUNGRY. I was raised on massive portions of food and maybe that skewed my mindset.

The Lap-Band appeals to me because it sounds like it dramatically restricts appetite and even the ability to eat large portions.

I am starting to feel cursed that I will always be obese! I used to think of WLS as the ultimate last resort, only for the desperate, but then last night, I started to really honestly evaluate my personal history, and I realize, diets have never worked for me long-term, not even combined with frequent exercise.

Maybe I do need to change my body from the inside too, to rewrite my genetics with surgical intervention. Almost all the women in my family yo-yo diet, and their weight has varied by over 100 pounds. I don't want to do that anymore. I want to be thin and I want to stay that way and not struggle so much with fighting this monster appetite.

So... what pushed you to WLS? :)

06-03-2013, 12:28 AM
i had no other choice. i was pickwickian and dying. i'd gained and lost probably close to 1000 pounds over my lifetime, and NOTHING worked, and i was getting sicker and sicker.

but even so, the main reason i had surgery was not to lose weight, but to give myself the best chance of keeping it off. It leveled the playing field.

i hear your pain ...

06-03-2013, 01:15 AM
This is going to be kind of long, but I want to tell you everything I wish I had been told three years ago when I first started considering surgery. I have not yet had surgery (waiting on insurance approval) so definitely take my advice with a grain of salt, but like you, I was die hard set on getting the band because the thought of the sleeve or bypass was just too much. I started looking into weight loss surgery when I was seventeen, but I thought no way, that's way too drastic, I'm not that desperate, I can do it on my own, etc. So I spent the next three years giving it 'one last shot' on my own. Not only did I not lose the weight, I had actually dieted myself just over 300lbs by losing ten, feeling like I was starving and giving up, gaining fifteen, starting over losing ten, throw in the towel and gain fifteen, stuck on repeat until I saw a number I NEVER thought I would see. So last November, I decided there was no shame in getting a tool to help me along the way, and I attended a bariatric seminar.

I had to be on a six month supervised diet (amongst other things) for insurance, which I've only completed just a few weeks ago, but up until maybe a month ago, I still wanted the band one hundred percent, because the sleeve and bypass seemed way too outrageous for me. I'm fairly young and I thought for sure that that kind of surgical intervention was absolutely insane. Like you I thought of it as an absolute last resort; if I tried the band and it didn't work out, I could always get it removed and carry on with life, right?

Wrong. I've read hundreds of articles, reviews, comments, and discussions written by people who have had the band in and had to have it removed, and a lot of them ended up getting a conversion to the sleeve. You will not go back to normal. The average person won't get the band taken out until there's a problem, so I've seen a lot of cases with scarring in the stomach that causes continued issues even after the device is removed, which also makes a band to sleeve revision a little more complicated/less effective than just getting the sleeve in the first place.

The thing you have to remember about the band is that it is a foreign object inside of your body. You will have to worry about the band slipping or eroding, or your body flat out rejecting it (that's very rare I hear, though.) You will have to go in for multiple appointments for fills/unfills until you find your 'sweet spot' where you start losing, but be advised that there are many people who never find their sweet spot, and even more who think of the band as surgically enforced bulimia - they DO lose the weight, but only because they're throwing up everything that they eat and things get stuck so they can't eat period. One comment in particular I remember quite well said, "When I had the lap band, I could eat cheetos but not raw veggies." Lastly, the band will not reduce your hunger, though obviously it will reduce your capacity to eat. So in other words, you may end up being one of the unlucky ones who feels hungry all of the time but can't get anything down.

If you want to rewrite your genetics, the band isn't going to cut it for you. My surgeon explained to me, when I was set on the band, that the best procedure for my issue would be the VSG (the sleeve). Over the course of six months with a dietitian and thorough required visits to their psychiatrist, I have essentially tackled head/emotional hunger - I'm not perfect, obviously, but no one is. Still, I over eat, not because I'm grazing all day, but because at meal time I am hungry, and even healthier foods become less healthy when you eat too much at one time. He told me that this is because my stomach produces an excess of the 'hunger' hormone called Ghrelin (purely genetic - like you, the majority of my family has weight problems), so even when my body does not need any more food, it's sending signals to my brain that I'm hungry. With the vertical sleeve gastrectomy, they actually remove the part of your stomach that is the primary source of that hormone. Unlike the band, your portions will be reduced, but you will be 100% satisfied with that. During the first year, many people report having to remind themselves to eat because they're just not hungry. Now eventually your body will catch up and start producing more Ghrelin, but it will never be as much as it was.

Now like I said, I'm only speaking from second hand experiences here, as I have not had any kind of weight loss surgery yet. I've spent years doing my research, but I found it fairly easy to avoid or write off the negative reviews of the band out there when I was set on having it. I told myself constantly that it wouldn't happen to me because sure there's plenty of people who have been very successful with the band, but it seems like more people have problems than those who don't. It's a statistical fact that the band is not showing to hold up over time well - they haven't had much time to conduct this research, but so far it's showing that getting to/past the five year mark without experiencing a serious complication is optimistic.

All of that being said, for all I know you could very well be one of the people who is successful with the band! Ultimately the decision is yours. I suggest you read around as much as you can, but keep more of an open mind than I did. Good luck and I hope you find something that will work for you, no matter which you choose! :hug:

06-03-2013, 03:18 AM
I've always thought of WLS as something I would only consider if I had serious health problems due to weight gain. If WLS is what you want then why not. I know two people that had had lap band. One person regained the weight they lost and as far as I know the other was a success. They look like they are almost at a healthy weight.

06-03-2013, 05:53 AM
Bershire, even if your BMI doesnt meet the requirement, you would probably still be approved due to your co-morbidites.

I never thought WLS would be an option for me. Over the yrs, I have gained and lost on numerous diets, but I also ended up gaining that weight back, plus more.

Then one day, one of my overweight friends was supposed to have a medical procedure done. She went in, and was refused at the hospital because the anesthesiologist thought she was too heavy.

That was my turning point. I knew something like that could easily happen to me as well.

Originally I was thinking about lap-band because it seemed the least scary. However, I read LOTS of reviews, and decided on the Sleeve. I had my surgery last month on May 3rd. So far so good!

Good luck with your decision!

06-03-2013, 04:07 PM
I never considered a band..just a thought of something getting stuck is scary to me. I had bypass eight months ago and during this time I got to know a lot of people who had mayor problem with lap band..having it removed then gaining back and again having another kind of wls. There is really a number of people who have problems with it..i have never heard of anyone having such problems with different kind of wls. You should really think through if lap band is the best choice and be open minded and take a good look at other procedures. Read as much as you can about everything..so you won't regret the decision later.

06-04-2013, 01:12 PM
jiffypop, thinkfit, VioletDolphin83, 2Chi, and Sleepy, thank you all for your advice! :)

thinkfit, your response was not too long at all! I really appreciate all the information, thank you! I have now been reading more about the sleeve option, and you've given me a lot to think about. I'm not thrilled with the idea of an additional foreign object in my body (I already have an IUD, ha!)... but the safety numbers of the Lap-Band appealed to me. But if it doesn't actually reduce hunger than that is a big problem.

I have a naturally skinny friend who eats small portions and then is perfectly satisfied. She'll push her plate away after eating a little more than half, and have it boxed up. Meanwhile, I'm cleaning my plate like I'm being timed...

I am going to give low carb 1 more try because I felt the least hunger on it, and it's worked for my mom as well. But that's it. If I cannot stay on it, I'm getting off the diet roller coaster.

In the meantime, I will be researching away!

Good luck and best wishes to you all :hug:

06-04-2013, 08:55 PM
Have you heard of LGCP? Lower Greater Curvature Plication. The least expensive and hassle free option I found.
I had mine done 3-6-13. No Parts in you or adjustments, no cutting and re-stapling of your parts, which can lead to leaks, not as costly as the other mentioned procedures.
You can also do LGCP & a Lap Band together if you want to get hard core.
Quick review:
they cut the ligament that attaches the stomach on the left side
fold your stomach inside aka plication, stitch it up (most surgeons do a running seam mine hand sews each stitch for better security) than they fold it one more time and stitch. You can find 3-d demo's on YOUTUBE
I was ill for 3 days post op due to the knock out drugs but I didn't need one pain pill by day 4 I was ready to roll physically however the mental is a little slow to catch up. Technically "experimental" but so was lap band and bypass at one time. I was a cash pay because I didn't meet my insurance criteria-Basically a healthy fat person.
here are my stats so far
206lbs before surgery, lost 6 pre surgery per Surgeons instructions, 200 day of surgery, first post op 185, second post-op 178, today 171.
Yes its slow but there is a guaranteed 2 month plateau and a 4 month plateau
So far so good for me please feel free to ask any questions-I did my research yes and I have both sisters and mother that had by-pass I wanted something different as I have gained and lost a small person or large dog in the last 5 yrs.

06-04-2013, 10:58 PM
Hi sunrise - thanks for posting additional information. i hope it works for you. does your surgeon run support groups for his patients? and who was your surgeon? This sounds like an experimental procedure that's being explored. Doesn't mean it's a BAD thing, just that there's not a whole lot of data on it yet. And there is indeed a lot of data - including long term outcome data - on lapband, bypass, sleeve, and DS.

soooo anything you can tell us about this new procedure would be great.

06-05-2013, 12:19 AM
:carrot:Well first off thank you for not giving me crap about doing something experimental in the USA. It takes a long time to get things considered not experimental in the USA. It has been being done in India and Brazil for about 10 years now. Until recently you could only get it done in Mexico. Those countries have long term data up to 60% of your excess weight. True it is meant for people on smaller scale of the BMI 35% to 40%(ish). Dr. Donald Waldrep has 2 locations N. CA & S. CA. I went to him because he repaired my sister's hernia post by-pass. I was more comfortable with Dr. that someone I knew has see. It doesn't hurt that he is easy on the eyes LOL. Also I do want to stress procedure of individual hand sewn stitches is unique to him. As others use a running stitch which in the unlikely occurrence the stitch breaks the whole procedure must be re done. He does have support groups for his patients but I attend personal counseling to deal with my issues that cause me to Emotionally stuff.
Also if you have had a by-pass this procedure could still be potentially done if by pass is not effective. I found most of my research on line YouTube videos of girls whole had it done who chronicled their journey. I found anything I could online read stats over and over again. Since this is new to the USA their isnt a whole lot a potential LGCP Patient can find on it however I did find the more I dug the more I knew this was for me. I started in August of 2012 researching and decided Jan 2013 to move forward. The rest is a leap of faith! I don't mind being a Trail Blazer for this procedure conceptually it is right and true. Filling the stomach with itself in essence giving you a False Sleeve effect without altering your stomach pouch or your intestines. This is not a malasorbtion procedure. There are still post protocol liquid diet ect but once you clear those hurdles you just want to eat less, have a better eye for portion control, very little food rejection Ive only had 3 occurrences my own doing to much to fast & soon. I was back at the gym in 2 weeks with no discomfort. I only have 5 laparoscopic holes one you can't even see in my belly button. I just can't say enough about this procedure for ladies like me 5'2", family history of obesity, diabetes and who have lost and 30 lbs by ourselves multiple times only to end in frustration and gaining more.
oh I forgot the Cost in an out patient surgery center Approx $8300.00 vs a lapband at $12,000 to $15,000 if you are cash pay. please feel free to comment.

06-05-2013, 10:25 AM
I wish you the best of luck with this - you'll have to keep us all posted on how you're doing.

What's the post-op regimen like? lower carb? normal diet [whatever that means], higher protein? and what about vitamins? did the surgeon give you any info about how to make the best out of this surgery?

i gotta put in a caution here - about people who need to go through their insurance plans: they'll probably have a very difficult time finding a surgeon who can do this procedure properly, and then getting insurance approval for it. Because it's so new, most insurance companies WILL NOT approve this surgery.

Now, of course, we can debate whether this is right or wrong to do, and it's always possible to file an appeal [although it's a royal PIA and there's no guarantee that it'll work], but we also have to deal with reality.

And personally, I'm not sure this is a great idea for someone who's had a gastric bypass - it sounds like it would involve undoing the stomach separation, and then re-doing it to make it larger. And I'm also figuring that this plication procedure keeps the pyloric valve. Those of us who've had gastric bypass no longer have a pyloric valve.

06-05-2013, 12:38 PM
Actually as long as you meet the insurance requirements it can be covered. I did not have any comorbidities nor was I fat enough long enough. Everytime you drop weight below the 35% BMI your 2 yr clock starts ticking again. So for someone like me who was constantly going up and down I would have never met those criteria. Lots of surgeons around the country are doing it, its a matter of googling and finding one in your area.
As far as supplements I found all mine in a liquid form on AMAZON Calcium, Iron, B Complex and multivitamin. I also make sure I have at least one protein shake a day. High lean protein is the preferred diet however there is a little wiggle room for the occasional treat. I basically eat what you may consider a "Normal Diet" If you already had bypass I stress that I stated it could be potentially done not for sure.

06-05-2013, 01:16 PM
different insurance companies have different rules. A few years ago, some covered only the bypass. They then added the lapband and excluded DS. and on and on and on and on.

so, for anyone who's reading this - if you're interested in the plication surgery, be sure to discuss it with your surgeon AND to check with your insurance to see if they'll cover it. Choosing a surgery that works best for YOU requires quite a bit of work and a lot of questions ...

06-05-2013, 01:51 PM
WOW I was just trying to share something new & exciting not be discredited at every post no wonder why nobody has been on this thread in years. this will be my last response. Clearly you still have a lot of work to do.

06-05-2013, 02:02 PM
WOW I was just trying to share something new & exciting not be discredited at every post no wonder why nobody has been on this thread in years. this will be my last response. Clearly you still have a lot of work to do.

I'm guessing that the posts you're referring to were removed by 3FC, right?. If so, I wish 3FC would indicate this somehow, perhaps by placing a "Post Deleted" where the post used to be. Otherwise, it would seem like you were referring to Jiffypop's posts -- which does not seem to be the case.

I have to say, 3FC is very active in protecting threads against content that is at odds with its TOS. Actually, sometimes I think they are a bit over-zealous in their deletion of posts. But they can't always be there to police the posts immediately. Inappropriate content has to be brought to their attention, and then sufficient time has to be allotted for them to take action. You have to remember that this is a free forum. Its not like they are making money on this from advertising or membership fees. I would imagine that the moderators are volunteering their time. I know its frustrating to give your feedback in a thread only to get negative comments from people. I get that. People are entitled to their opinions and sometimes they can be express them in appropriately. But I think you need to cut 3FC a little slack in keeping up with the moderating.

06-06-2013, 06:31 AM
WOW I was just trying to share something new & exciting not be discredited at every post no wonder why nobody has been on this thread in years. this will be my last response. Clearly you still have a lot of work to do.

Based on the timing of the posts between Jiffy's response and your own, I doubt that this thread is missing deleted posts and your response was aimed at Jiffy's insurance statement, which you misinterpreted.

Jiffy is not saying anything negative about your procedure. She is correcting your misinformation that every insurance company will cover it. Insurance coverage is based on what the employer selects for their employees. We could both have Cigna, for example, but my employer could have selected the rider that covers WLS and your employer may not have. All Jiffy was saying was that people who are interested in this procedure should check their insurance coverage to see if it is covered. Especially with newer procedures, insurance companies are often cautious with what they will cover.

I'm happy that you are so excited to share your procedure, but in your over-zealousness, I think you responded inappropriately to Jiffy's comment.

To the OP, I'm sorry your thread got hijacked. I didn't respond personally, as thinkfit said what I was thinking very eloquently. Definitely check out the problems associated with the band and how many revisions are performed. A surgeon who is "selling" you the band, nor the company promoting it, will often not share that information with you.

06-06-2013, 10:09 AM
Thank you, Jen - i wasn't on last night because I was working.

for the record - not a single post has been deleted. Sunrise - Jen is right. you have completely misinterpreted my point. This surgery forum is supposed to be a safe place to exchange information about different surgeries, and offer support. The procedure you had is new - and our members benefit by getting real, honest information. Hence, the questions.

As Jen pointed out, insurance policies vary widely. People who are self-pay - like you - don't jump through the hoops that people who go through their insurance have to. Hence, my comments.

Joe - your comments have left me speechless.

06-06-2013, 10:11 AM
BERKSHIREGRL: apologies for the ruckus. I'm closing this thread. Please feel free to start a new one...