Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Before and After

I have a hard time posting these pictures. I have a really hard time excepting that I was THAT big. When I was THAT big, I never felt that I was obese, much less morbidly obese or even super morbidly obese. I was 275 in the first picture and 178 in the second picture. What a difference a 100 pounds make.

I have only a few pictures of me before surgery. I hated taking pictures and seeing myself. I still do. I received an email last night from my surgery center with my before and after picture. At first when I saw the front pictures, I couldn't really see much of a difference. Around my face and stomach looked smaller, but I didn't see a crazy difference.

When I saw my side picture, I was in shock. That is really when reality set in. I never realized I was so ROUND! I still can't believe that was me. It makes me want to cry.

I am so grateful for my band and my lifestyle changes! I can't wait to see what I will look like in another year. I know that sounds vain...but I can't wait.

Seeing these pictures keeps me motivated to do more. This was an awakening moment for me... just thought I would share.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Realize Band FAQ

ByLisa Gergen, CNP, CBN

  1. Is the Realize Band better than the Lap Band? From a scientific point of view they are equal when comparing restriction devices. Both bands function in the same manner with a 360 degree realm of restriction.
  2. What is the Realize Band inflated with and how much? Sterile saline solution is used to fill your Realize Band by inflating or deflating the Realize Band through the access port located just below the skin. It holds a total of 9cc.
  3. Does the Realize Band have only one size? Yes
  4. When do you get your first fill with the Realize Band? Depends on the surgeon’s preference. It is usually between 4 or 6 weeks post Realize Band placement.
  5. What is the difference between Lap Band and Realize Band? Both bands come open and are buckled together during installation. Both bands have a good record of weight loss. The newest Lap Bands are called the AP System and come in two sizes, APS- which holds 10cc’s of saline and the APW which holds 14cc’s. The improvements include making the reservoir (where the saline goes) go 360 degrees around, making it wider (supposed to help with slippage), and having it semi-divided into sections. It has two port sizes, regular and low profile. Both are placed by sutures. The Realize Band which is owned by Ethicon, a Johnson & Johnson company, bought their band from a company in Sweden and renamed it from the Swedish Band to the Realize Band. It already had a reservoir that goes around 360 and is in the new wide style that most modern bands use. The plastic is softer (supposed to help with erosion) and the reservoir doesn't come pre-divided. It has a low profile port and the port is applied with a device that triggers claw like hooks to attach to the muscle or it can be sutured in place. It's up to the surgeon whether or not they use the claws or sew the port in place the way the Lap Band port is installed. The claws are supposed to be better for preventing port flipping.
  6. Is the Realize Band reversible? Yes, the Realize Band is reversible, but it should NOT be thought of as a temporary fix! We want patients to make a commitment to work with their Realize Band forever.
  7. Is the Realize Band safe during pregnancy? Yes, the Realize Band is perfectly safe. It can be "temporarily" reversed by simply emptying the saline out. We can usually control how much weight you gain during a pregnancy by gradually unfilling it.
  8. How much weight should I expect to lose with the Realize Band? We set a target for band patients to lose 75% of their excess body weight and we have had many patients achieve this goal. Most studies show about 60% excess body weight in the long-run.
  9. How fast does the weight come off? Weight loss is much slower with the band than with gastric bypass. Patients who are following the program usually lose 1-2 lbs per week.
  10. How many band adjustments will I need? Most patients need 3-5 adjustments in the first year after surgery.
  11. Will I continue to get adjustments forever? The Realize Band is permeable like a helium balloon, so it will harmlessly leak a very small amount of saline at a very low rate. Most patients will need a yearly adjustment for the rest of their life.
  12. Why can't I have my Realize Band taken out when I lose all my weight? Theoretically you could, however patients who have their Realize Bands taken out invariably gain weight, as they lose the appetite and portion control that comes with being banded.
  13. What kind of diet will I have to follow after my band? You will follow the basic high-protein, low-carb diet (which is also very heart healthy!)
  14. Does the Realize Band limit any physical activity? The Realize Band should not hamper physical activity, including aerobics, stretching, and strenuous exercise.
  15. Is the Realize Band port considered a low profile port? Yes. The Realize Band port comes in only one size and can be placed using either sutures or the metal claws.
  16. People have experienced stretching of the pouch, is this common with the Realize Band? With both the Realize Band and Lap Band, follow-up care is extremely important to monitor the band's placement and position. Adjustments may be required along the way to insure proper band functionality.
  17. What are the criteria for a Realize Band? You are over the age of 18, are morbidly obese with a body mass index (BMI) in excess of 40 (or in excess of 35 with one or more co-morbid conditions) and that you have already tried traditional weight loss methods (including possible drug treatment) without success.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

70% gone

So I haven't lost 70 TON, just 70% of my excess body fat. I had my one year check up today. It went good. I have lost 92lbs.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Celebrating 1 year

I tried to think of ways to celebrate my bandaversary. But only one came to mind... I wanted to eat at a buffet! I was so excited to go. I haven't been to a buffet in probably 2 years. My hubby and I drove about 30 miles to get to the Golden Corral, which use to be my absolute favorite place to go when I lived in the south. It's all you can eat and the dessert table is always endless.

Anyhow... It was a Thursday night and it was packed. The line was out the door. Juan didn't want to wait, but it was my day and well... I made him. So after 20 minutes in line, we got our plates and sat down.

As I went to get my food, I was overwhelmed with joy. I just knew dinner was going to be fabulous. I got a little bit of this and a little bit of that. And as I started to eat, I realized this food was disgusting. My meat tasted like rubber, the jalapeno fish tasted like sugar, the mashed potatoes were so salty, the green bean casserole was flavorless. The only thing I liked were the onion rings, the tarter sauce, and the banana pudding...

I was bummed. Thank goodness I didn't have to pay full price for that meal. As we got into the car, I told my husband I felt empty. He asked if I got enough to eat. I told him I was full, but I felt empty. We talked about it on the way home. I realize I don't see food the same as before. Before, I would eat to feel full and to get my money's worth. Now, it isn't about being full. I realize that food doesn't comfort me the way it used to. Today, food only satisfies my hunger not my soul.

So, as the next year of my journey continues, I will remember this experience and what it taught me... food only satisfies my hunger not my soul.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

One year down!

It's my one year Bandiversary! This last year has been amazing. I never thought my life would change this much. I am happier and so much healthier. I don't even want to imagine where my life would be without the band. I am so proud of myself and my determination to loose this weight. I feel so much more confident. I now can look in the mirror and smile. I am 91 lbs down and have 9lbs to go to meet my first goal.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Portion Distortion

Do you have Portion Distortion?
Take the quiz and find out!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Today, I noticed...

Today, I noticed...

I eat the same amount of food as my two year old daughters.

Crazy, huh?

I am proud to say...ever since they could eat real food, they have eaten like baby Bandsters! Except, for Goldfish, of coarse.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Can you smell them too?



Umm... They smell so good!!
Good thing it's not a reality.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Monday, July 6, 2009

My Journey

Ever since I could remember, I have been overweight. I tried not to let it bother me. I always remember being 30 pounds heavier than all of my friends, but I was happy. I got married at 19 to the most amazing man. We decided to wait a while to have kids so we could finish school. So, we did. When the time came to try, we were excited. Two years and 65 pounds later, still no kids. Infertility treatment was our only option. Soon after, I got pregnant with twins at 250 lbs. Due to my pregnancy being high-risk, I quit my job and stayed home. The last 2 months were on strict bed rest. The day I had my kids, I was 301 lbs. It was the happiest day of my life. With in a month, the baby weight was gone... all 51lbs! I was so proud. During the stress of things, my husband had gained a lot of weight too. Plus with the stress of have newborn twins, the weight started creeping back on me. It was depressing!



I never thought about surgery being the solution for me. Until one day, my husband went to the doctor. The doctor told him that he had some serious problems with his blood pressure, cholesterol, and type-2 diabetes, not to mention he had some heart problems in the past. The doctor continued by telling him the only way to fix things was to have a complete lifestyle change. We talked to him about options and he recommended looking into a gastric band. So, that is what we did.

We went to a seminar at Northwest Weight Loss Surgery in Everette, Wa. There we got so much information. We fell in love with the staff and the doctor. We continued the research at home too. While researching one evening, my husband asked if I would consider having the surgery with him. He felt that the only way this could be a complete lifestyle change was if I was willing to change too. It didn't take me long to realize that this was true. So, I agreed and we were banded 2 weeks apart. I did mine first and his second.

Here we are almost one year later!

This picture was taken back in May, but you get the point. Now at 11 months since surgery, I am down 85lbs only 15lbs away from my goal! The hubby is down 71lbs and is now maintaining at 140lbs.