There are new advocates proclaiming that the Gastric Lap-Band surgery be made available to more people. I think that’s great. There is a caveat however. This really has to be made in conjunction with education. Education about the Lap-band and what its pitfalls are is just as important.

I’ve had tremendous success with the surgery. Speaking strictly from a results perspective, it’s been an A+. What’s important however is to take in the whole picture. It’s not been without drawbacks and challenges. Some of them even have hazardous consequences. So, the concern on my part is that people, who otherwise don’t have access to all the information wouldn’t know that it’s not a simple as it is sometimes presented.

It certainly was presented to me as simpler than it turned out to be.

For example. I was assured that it would only be essentially an outpatient procedure. I could check in the morning, and be out by the afternoon. To be sure, I was informed it was surgery but because of its “non-invasive” nature, requiring an incision to install it, but not any cutting inside – that I could be out the same day. In fact, the receptionist who greeted me at the clinic on a Thursday informed me she’d had the procedure on Monday and was already back at work.

All that bodes well. However, as with many things, not all people respond the same way. It’s sometimes harder for some to recover than others. My recovery for example, was more like two weeks. I was substantially bruised, bloated and sore. It hurt to move and I didn’t feel like moving even if I could with an overall “gassy” and full feeling. All a result of surgery.

There’s an emotional component that accompanies it. There was a slight depression from laying around the house for a couple of weeks. That was compounded by the realization that after all that I wasn’t losing weight right away. The band is installed without any saline in it. And, it’s not added for about a month after surgery recovery. So, the high expectations I had were dashed when a month after the surgery I’d barely lost much weight at all.

Once the saline was added however the results were dramatic – two pounds a week in some instances. But here too, I had a difficult time moderating my eating. This resulted in a lot of regurgitation. Not really throwing up so much as just unswallowing. This made it difficult to discern when I really got ill which occurred about a year after the surgery. I had over eaten perhaps, over a period. The result was an expanded esophagus. The symptoms were grave. I was turning white because my blood pressure dropped to dangerously low levels. I felt weak. I hadn’t had a bowel movement in forever. I was dehydrated as nothing was entering my stomach, even water. All this resulted in a complete removal of the saline a rebound of gaining 40 pounds of the 130 I had lost.

Incrementally, I reintroduced the saline. While never returning the fill level I had prior to the complications I still have returned to a state of an inflamed esophagus. The saline again has been greatly reduced and I’m currently on liquids until my next appointment. All this presents a dangerous condition because food that is allowed to remain in your esophagus, which is not a part of your body which is set up to break down food, like a stomach – will essentially rot, provide you with a lethal infection with bad consequences.

So, it would appear that my relationship with food itself has not been resolved. It will be an ongoing challenge that the Lap Band is a tool to assist with. But, it’s not a solution only part of one. I hope that those who offered this – really comprehend that part of the procedure.

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