My sister in law informed me yesterday that she's going to have Lap-Band surgery. I am not surprised, as she has been considering weight loss surgery for years, but she has been scared of the process. She's watched four of us go through the process in succession – with varying reactions and results. I was first with a roux-en-y gastric bypass, Mr. MM was next with the same five weeks later, Mr's Mom a couple years after with another RNY, and finally Mr MM's oldest sister with ANOTHER RNY.
(Looking back, it would have been cool to do it all in one shot, and get discount or something.)
Four gastric bypasses. How are we doing? Mr. lost a shit ton of weight initially, and has gained back a few a couple times, I would venture to guess he is about 185-190 pounds right now. He doesn't weigh often or in front of me, he swears by the "but the pants still button" feature. I lost 170 lbs originally, and I have gained back 55 lbs, lost most of it, gained 20, lost, gained 30, and here I am at 170something and stucked like superglue. I am right where the surgeon said I would land. Bah. Grand-Mr. MM is the smallest of all of us so far. She went from pushing 400 to 140 lbs. I am still wearing her hand me downs, because she's a size SMALL. Mr. MM's sis has struggled since early post op, and wants a revision, I think the surgeon is talking her into some sort of band-over-bypass, a revision to get her intake down.
I guess if the final SIL isn't scared to DEATH from the various side effects from the four of us, she's doing well. The best thing about having surgery after four others — you damn well know what to expect.
She's seen all of the various side effects, and some serious complications. Between us we've had severe anemia, reactive hypoglycemia, protein malnutrition, dehydration, kidney stones, gallstones, strictures, vomiting, dumping, diarrhea, severe constipation, stoma dilations, fainting, dizziness, seizures, regain, miscarriages, vertigo… and then all the plastic surgery escapades and problems to this very day, etc, so forth, and on and on.
But, this would be the first band. She will have issues that we have not experienced, although I am totally aware of most, and could probably help her find the info that she needs to navigate those issues. But, frankly I am concerned that she will not see the success she expects.
Out of four bypasses, we had nearly full excess weight loss in three of us, at least in the first year and a half. Had we been banded, I guarantee you there would be no goals reached between the four of us.
Mr. would be back to banging Little Debbie, and I would be screwing Ben + Jerry.
And… I doubt she will ever see that with a band, honestly. It's not the band — it's her intake. She's a sweets girl. I've known her for what, 16 years? And I have lived with her. She loves candy, soda and other simple carbs, much of which will sliiiiide riiiiiight down through a band with time.
She looked a bit shocked when I told her she could still eat those things with a gastric band. "What?"
There's no negative consequence for eating a Reese's Cup. I told her that "Yeah, I can eat sugar too, I can have a 'Reese's' but — if I push my luck — I get sick, and that keeps me from overdoing."
I know a lot of people frown on the fact that RNY'ers have this immediate slap on the hand when we screw up, BUT? It works. At the beginning, it scares us enough and into ultimate discipline. For some, dumping just never happens, but for most of us that do have it, it's AWFUL enough to keep us from diving into a stack of Double-Stufs.
If I had a gastric band? I might drink three Frappuccinos today — because I could. I might eat ice cream. I might eat a Reese's Cup or four. I might have that Baklava… fudge…. or… spray frosting in a CAN.
"But, Beth, YOU DO EAT THOSE THINGS."
Yeah, some of them, but there's a drastic difference in my intake because I HAVE A RNY. I can have a taste, a few bites, but I can't have a whole pint of Haagen Daz over the course of the day because I want to. Blergh.
The RNY took away ALL of the foods that Made Me Fat in the first year.
I have called gastric bypass forced anorexia. Because IT IS. You cannot eat for weeks at a time. You lose weight, massive amounts of weight in a short amount of time with many side effects that resemble malnutrition.
I have called gastric banding forced bulimia. I do not have first hand experience with this — but it's described to me as such. Eat, vomit. Repeat.
Both have this window of opportunity where they work for you if you work them. But it seems that after a certain period of time — you cannot rely on the bypass or band to do anything for you. (OKAY HI!! I AM WAVING TO YOU FROM THAT CAMP!! Who wants a cookie for breakfast?)
Most of the time, you lose the weight and that's that with a RNY gastric bypass. Sometimes it doesn't work. But, more often, the band "doesn't work" and then you forget you ever had weight loss surgery and just carry on, or you are looking for a revision to lose more weight. I am totally aware that many, many people rock the band, have full 100% excess weight loss and become superheroes, however, it doesn't seem easy, maintainable or likely.
I guess what I am saying, to her, is —
Have a DS.
*snarf* Okay. I know. But, seriously, I feel that she, (and myself and you and you…) would/will not utilize a gastric band in the way it is intended and will not have the complete weight loss we would expect and or imagine. What then?