Lap Band Success Stories: Betsy's Story
My battle with weight began in my mother's head. Painfully appearance-conscious, she placed a great deal of emphasis on how her children reflected upon her.
And there was nothing worse than being fat.
Looking back, I was a perfectly-formed little girl. But I've been fat in the head my entire life. And because of a series of metabolism-killing diets inflicted on me beginning in elementary school, I developed a walking case of Obesity-Waiting-to-Happen.
Betsy with a BMI of 40
It took a while for me to fulfill that prophecy. Though briefly chubby around puberty, I maintained a normal weight until I had kids. But I had to starve to stay there.
My weight skyrocketed during my first pregnancy. I managed to reach a normal weight after my second child--but not for long. Commercial diets failed me; despite meticulous attention to their rules, I gained. Group leaders looked at me askance, implied I was cheating. I felt like I was again under the scrutiny of a disapproving mother--but I stuck with it--and added 50 pounds to my already-bloated body..
In the early 90s, I worked in a Houston hospital where an earlier incarnation of gastric banding was performed. At the time, I swore I'd never have bariatric surgery--ever. But a chance encounter with a recent bandster made me rethink. One afternoon, the parents of one of my son's friends came to pick their son up. The woman mentioned her husband's weight loss over the preceding year. Curiosity piqued, I asked, "How did you do it?"
"I don't usually tell, " he confessed, "but I have a gastric band."
Hm. Gastric band. The notion rattled around my brainpan for a good year as I continued to beat my head against the wall with ineffective dieting. Then one morning, I simply woke up knowing that gastric banding was my solution.
By noon that day, I'd registered for a seminar with BMI Surgery in Joliet, Illinois. My husband wasn't enthusiastic, so I invited him to join me. Dr. Brian Lahmann presented the basics of various bariatric surgeries: gastric banding, vertical sleeve gastrectomy, and Roux-en-Y gastric bypass. By the time he was done speaking, we were both very comfortable with what laid ahead.
My pre-op and operative course were textbook-smooth. I believe choosing the right surgeon made all the difference. Dr. Lahmann and his staff provide excellent patient education and aftercare--both of which are crucial to success. Also crucial for me have been (a) following a low-carb regimen, and (b) no-excuses exercise--every single day.
The latter has been critical not only for promoting weight loss but getting me in touch with my body.
In just over 8 months, I've gone from a BMI of 40 to 27.1. I'm about 11 pounds away from a normal BMI, and 39 from my personal goal. I am thrilled with the loss I've experienced. But the internal changes catalyzed by my band have been far more remarkable. I no longer suffer from a killer case of fat-in-the-head.
Betsy with a BMI of 27.1
This morning I got on the scale. It read 148.4. Nice! Good number---I was pleased.
Then, a while later, when I sat down to write, it hit me: I've lost over 100 pounds from my highest weight!
Why is this significant? For my entire life, I have focused on reaching an elusive number on the scale. But this morning, I didn't immediately equate my weight with anything more than a nice loss for the work I've done over the past week. The number just doesn't matter all that much any more!
Yes, it's certainly a milestone. I'm thrilled to be 100.2 pounds down from my highest weight, 85 from my highest banded weight.
But I'm far happier that the gray machine that sits on the floor of my bathroom no longer dictates my mood as it has, every day, since I was a very small child.
If you had told me, 18 months ago, that the most valuable ring I would ever receive would be made of flexible silicone, I would have thought you were crazy. But my gastric band was the best gift I've ever been given. It has transformed my body and my mind, shown me possibility, and allowed me to become who I was meant to be.