Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Death of My Band: 3.22.13

I am stoked, y'all.  I received a call this morning from my awesome nurse while on my way to work telling me that (a) my insurance has approved the LapBand removal surgery and (b) that it's scheduled for next Friday!  My restrictions over the next week aren't too bad (no aspirin, Advil, etc. and no more than 50 carbs/day), especially when I know that my 2+ years of suffering with a chronically slipped LapBand will END in just over a week!

My LapBand in Review:
  • January 2010 - Installed LapBand
  • 2010 - Never quite found the "green zone," but played the fill and unfill battle with doctors who never (not even ONCE!) did an Upper GI to look at my band
  • January 2011 - Started having issues of forced regurgitation due to the LapBand being too tight and starting to slip (in our best estimation)
  • July 2011- Moved from California to Virginia to start new job
  • August 2011 - Saw new, awesome LapBand doc who immediately did an Upper GI (and does all of his fills the same way!) to diagnose a slip; continued to extract fluid from band over the next two months
  • October 2011 - Couldn't.  Swallow.  Water.  I'm serious.  I made the drive to the doctor's office two days in a row to have, eventually, all fluid removed from the band.  We filed immediately for a surgery request with my insurance.
  • November 2011 - Surgery denied.  The response?  "We don't cover this typ'a shit."  (I'm pretty sure my recollection is accurate there.)
  • December 2011 - Doctor appealed/testified.  Denied.  I appealed.  Denied.
  • 2012 - Life sucked.  My stomach made my life miserable all year.  1-2x/week I'd have to regurgitate food because of massive pain in my chest.  Of course, the amount/consistency/quality of food could never be nailed down (obviously, I would have just avoided it) - it fluctuated daily and left me guessing.
  • January 2013 - Regurgitation is up to 1-2x/DAY.  No joke.  I was also unemployed.  Stress induced?  Or just time taking it's toll?
  • March 2013 - Reemployed, new insurance activated, immediately scheduled appointment with awesome doc.  Consultation last Tuesday to reacquaint ourselves, Upper GI on Friday, visit two days ago (Tuesday) to see how awful it's gotten (my LapBand is in the opposite direction it should be, and my "pouch" could be mistaken for an entirely new stomach).

That takes us to today's call and my surgery for removal next Friday!  YAY!  In three months (June 2013), we'll convert me to a Gastric Sleeve!  I'm looking forward to a new adventure with a quality physician by my side.

For those who may stumble on this blog/timeline as a means of LapBand research, let me say this...I believe the LapBand can and does work for many people (heck, many of my followers and friends on Facebook ARE bandsters!).  However, it is absolutely imperative that you insist on good follow-up care and an open line of dialogue/communication with your physician.  I didn't know how wonderful doctors and their staff could be until I met the ones I have now in Virginia.  I absolutely trust these folks and have been made to feel like a human being rather than a number for insurance payments.

Removing the LapBand, for me, is a necessity.  My LapBand is irreparable at this point and only serves to cause harm to my digestive system.  It's a clear reality that one bite of food may land me in the ER with an obstructed esophagus - my doctor made that clear back on October 2011 (hence the forced regurgitation when I feel pain).

Converting to the Gastric Sleeve, for me, is my choice.  I'm eager to see how the three months go between LapBand removal and conversion to the Gastric Sleeve, as I plan to track my calories (I can eat salads and broccoli and pita bread and healthy shit again!!) and work out.  I also plan to start going to my doctor's monthly support group for bariatric patients (my doctor in California didn't even offer counseling to my knowledge).  I want to get healthy and fit to avoid obesity related illnesses in my future - if my family history is an indicator, I'll likely suffer from such illnesses if I don't get my weight to a normal range.  I've been blessed thus far to have no "co-morbidities" (i.e. high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.), but I know that it's only a matter of time for me.

Who knows?  Maybe the new lease on life given to me next Friday will be the final kick in the ass I need to do this without another surgery in June?  Of course, I want to devour a really large plate of nachos with all the trimmings...but we'll see :).  I'm just stoked, y'all, to get back to a sense of normalcy!


  1. That's awesome Joia! Glad you're with an insurance company that doesn't have its head up its ass. ;)

  2. So sorry you have had to go thru all this. Wishing you all the best!


  3. Once you get the band out you will be a new person within days. Just be careful between surgeries...becaue my doc warned me that I would be a bottomless pit while my tummy stretched back out to 'normal'...I gained 12 kilos (about 26 pounds) in 2 months...on saying that I also took full advantage of eating every carb laden food and crap I could get in just because I could....since having the sleeve though my health has improved immensely. I can eat normally (just much smaller portions which means my body is getting the nutirents it needs (which I didn't get when I had the band). Good luck next Friday!

  4. Hi! My band too had completely flipped up and around. It was horrible. But you will love the sleeve!

  5. I am so happy for you... I am so glad my unbanded pre-sleeve days are almost over... The inbetween time will be filled with ups and downs. Enjoy! but keep it short and sweet!

  6. Joia, I had no idea you were suffering so much. I'm behind you all the way. I know why it's like to be ill with no's hell! I went through 7 specialists last summer before I finally got the right answer. And it was almost too late. So glad fir you! Hugs, big time!