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Hi everyone, 


My name is Joanne and I am considering getting the Gastric lap banding surgery. I'm just on here asking around to hear other peoples stories after they got their surgery and just wanting to know how to go about asking my GP for it. 


So before that just a little about myself: 


I'm 19 years old and I live in Australia. I am 125kg and 5"5' (170cm). I've been overweight all my life, pretty much can't remember ever being a healthy weight. I am newly diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and that pretty much set off my want to have this surgery. Having PCOS pretty much puts me at risk at developing diabetes (actually, I'm going to get it eventually) and heart attacks (7 time more likely). It also signs me up to a lifetime of chronic obesity and depression. 


A year ago, I was in a really bad place and I was constantly depressed and had terrible anxiety. I couldn't get out of bed and gained 10kg. I hated myself and hated my body and I self harmed to take my anger out against it. This all happened because my education, family and social life were all directly affected by my obesity. I have no relationship with my father because he's ashamed of my weight and has constantly criticised me since I was 12 about it, I was placed on Academic Warning at university because I didn't want to attend class as I thought I was getting judged. And my emotional and physical health was deteriorating. It was just hell. 


Long story short; my mom came back and started to live with my, and I guess it really helped a bit and I have got some confidence and routine back in my life. I'm much happier. 


So back on topic - I really would like to get the surgery and I would like to know if you guys think I'm eligible for it and tell me how yours are going. Also, how do I go about asking my GP for it? 


Sorry for the long post, hope someone can reply. 


Thanks & love, 


Jo x 


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Hi Jo,


I'm glad your mum is with you while you're working things out.  No one should ever make you feel ashamed of who you are.  We all deserve kindness and compassion.  It sounds like you are a caring person who needs some support at the moment...I haven't met anyone yet who doesn't at some point in their life.


I haven't had my band put in yet, but I can say that I'd been thinking about it for a long time, and like you, wasn't sure whether I was eligible or even what to do next.  


The first thing I did was to read as much as I could lay my hands on.  This included information about the procedure, what life would be like after having the band, what to expect, what the possible complications might be, etc.


The next thing I did was to join forums like this one (have dropped out of 2 others, as this one seems to suit me best!) and I read all the questions and comments to get a feel for what people were experiencing.  I asked some questions too.


Then I saw my GP and asked her whether I was suitable or not.  I'm 51 (quite a bit older than you!) and 100kg, so I wasn't sure if I was suitable or not for the procedure.  Turned out I was.  While I haven't had that many physical complications from my weight, I certainly have had emotional and mental health issues that have been related to it...and those are JUST as valid as physical reasons for getting the band.


I then looked at how I was going to pay for this!  While we do have private health insurance (abbreviated to PHI some places...I discovered!  never knew what PHI stood for...lots of acronyms and nicknames for things!), I realised that I would still need to pay for some part of the procedure.  I chose to do this rather as a private patient, rather than a public patient, as I figured I was able to do this and I didn't want to clog up the public system.


I talked about this with my husband and he was extremely supportive of my decision.  (Also helps that he recently bought a new motorbike and owes me big time lol ;-))


Next I made an appointment with one of the doctors who does banding in my area (I went to the websites of those that do the procedure and also talked to some of the people who were patients and selected the doctor I thought I might feel most comfortable with).


I met with him and he explained what was involved.  I came armed with questions and he spent time answering them.  This is a good time to find out if you are happy with the level of on-going support you think you might need after the procedure.  If you feel like you're just a number and the doctor doesn't really 'get' you, then I'd try another one.


I then decided to proceed and worked out a date for the procedure that fit with my schedule.


Since then I've been reading more and more (last night I watched the 8 Golden Rules videos that are linked in the Frequently Asked Question area...those give a really good idea of what to expect...both from the procedure and what your commitment should be like in order to make this work.)


And now I'm just waiting until 4 March until I get it done! :)


I have also seen a counsellor to talk about some of my emotional/mental health issues.  I'm on a very low dose of anti-depressants, not the first time in my life and may well not be the last, and that has helped me a lot.  Especially when thinking about the future.  Even being 51, I still feel like there's a whole lot of life out there that I am excited about experiencing!


Take care and I hope all goes well :) 

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Hi Jo, 


Congratulations on taking the first step to change your life!


Firstly I would research the procedure...ALOT. I did heaps of research before deciding banding was for me. I read articles, and watched videos of the procedure being performed. I researched the risks and the positive outcomes this could have.


I spoke to my Dr about it, she thought it was a great idea for me, and I gave her the name of the Dr I wanted to be reffered to.

I had my appointment with him and was booked in.

This is hands down the best decision I have ever made in my life. But that's not always the way. I remember one person in my October 2012 bandits forum that had their bowel perforated and almost died! Check out the thread to read their story.

I think it's important to read the good AND the bad, then make an informed decision whether this is for you.

If it is, I wish you all the luck in the world. I LOVE my band, and wouldn't have life any other way now.



***Proud bandit over here***

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