When even the simple things in life became a struggle because of her weight, Debbie Roberts decided it was time she considered laparoscopic banding surgery.
It was hard for Debbie, 58, a registered nurse and case manager, to climb stairs; to play with her grandchildren; to throw her leg over the back of a motorcycle and ride with her husband, and to perform the daily requirements of her job.
"I didnít want to go out and socialize," the Crofton, Ky. resident says, "and when I did, Iíd always look to see if I was the biggest one in the room."
MANY ATTEMPTS, LITTLE SUCCESS
Debbie tried many different methods to lose weight, but none of them had a lasting effect. "Any weight I lost always came back," she says.
In addition, Debbie suffered from arthritis, had borderline hypertension, and was facing knee replacement surgery, conditions that were associated with her excessive weight.
THE ADVANTAGES OF LAP-BAND® SURGERY
Debbie began researching the LAP-BAND® Adjustable Gastric Banding System offered through the Bariatric Surgery Program at JSMC, headed by Gerame Wells, MD, FACS.
A minimally invasive procedure for people 100 pounds or more overweight, the LAP-BAND reduces stomach capacity, restricting the amount of food a person is able to eat at one time, which leaves the patient feeling full faster and staying full longer.
"I had confidence in Dr. Wells and his staff, and knew they would take good care of me," Debbie says. "What won me over is that the procedure is reversible, and relatively low-risk."
"The LAP-BAND is safer, itís not as long of a recovery time," Tracey Alcorn, RN, JSMC bariatric surgery coordinator, says. "Thereís no cutting or re-routing of the intestines like with gastric bypass or the other types of weight-loss surgeries."
A LIFE-CHANGING DECISION
Prior to her surgery in December, 2010, Debbie met with Dr. Wells, attended seminars, and was evaluated to see if she was a candidate for the procedure. She had a strong support system behind her—her husband, two daughters, and many friends. After the procedure, she felt virtually no pain and was able to return to work quickly.
With the help of the JSMC staff—who educated her on what food choices to make and how to chew her food—and through follow-up appointments with Dr. Wells and attendance at support groups, Debbie began losing weight.
ENJOYING LIFE AGAIN
In the first year, Debbie lost 80 pounds. At 18 months, she had lost more than 100 poundsÖand the simple things in life became more enjoyable. She can get down on the floor to play with her grandchildren, or shop for clothes without going to the plus-size department. She can easily climb aboard a motorcycle, and her knee and arthritis pain have diminished.
"I feel younger and more attractive," Debbie says. "I have more energy, and take pride in the way I look.
"I would encourage others to consider the LAP-BAND procedure," she says. "It is a tool, not a cure. Do some research, go visit Dr. Wells, and then make your decision. I donít have one minute of regret."