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Going from a lap band to a sleeve

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Hi everyone!  My name is Leigh, I'm 33, live in Sydney (originally from good ol' Brissy!) and I have been searching around for a lap band/sleeve forum so I'm glad I found one. :)

I got my lap band back in December 2006 when I weighed 150kgs and was only 24yrs old.  I worked in health insurance at the time and had done my homework extensively however there was a lack of support, no FB groups or forums to talk with other patients.  I knew I wanted something that was reversible though.  I lost about 17kgs initially and was pleased with how I was managing things.  I flatlined with my weight loss (lack of exercise, no band tightening, lack of motivation) at about the 130-135kg mark and that is where I stayed for several years.  Then about 4 years ago, I started a new job where they had just started a weight loss challenge.  I'm competitive with a lot of things, but weight loss has never been one of them. I got on board though, and with several band tightenings, I smashed through 20kgs in 3 months (won the challenge!!), and then continued to lose after that.  I got down to 104kgs and was feeling fabulous!  Not long after I was made redundant and changed jobs which was extremely stressful as my partner had just quit his job to study while I supported the both of us.

During the previous 2 or so years I had extremely bad reflux and was coughing excessively at night that I could never sleep and would throw up saliva constantly.  During the day I was fine and wouldn't throw up food as I have always known my limit and have lived with my lap band for years.  Underlining all of that I was severely anaemic, unaware to me.  So out of sheer frustration with my surgeon not helping me, I got a referral to another surgeon.  He told me my band should have never been as tight as it was, which was causing the reflux and the coughing and he released it.  Overnight, I slept!  It was a miracle.  The motivation was still there to lose weight however with a stressful job change, I put on a few kgs, and my mindset went from being motivated to feeling defeated.  In the last 2 years I have put on all of the weight I had lost and I got up to 152.5kgs. :( When I was 104kgs, I had thrown out all of my fat clothes because I was never going back to that, but as I put weight on, I had to buy clothes again.  I have about 6 massive bags of 'skinny' clothes just waiting to be worn again.

So, a bit over 12 months ago I increased my health insurance and booked in to get the gastric sleeve done.  With preparation for my surgery I have lost 3.9kgs in the last week (I can feel that old motivation coming back again!).  I'm scheduled to have my lap band removed on the 24th September (next week!) and get the gastric sleeve on the 23rd November.  I've had several acquaintances, an old neighbour and old colleagues also get the sleeve and while watching them as my guinea pigs, my test subjects, lol, that this is the right decision for me.  I'm not nervous, or anxious, since I've gone through the surgery before, I just want it to hurry up!  :)

I look forward to sharing my journey with you all and learning some things from you too!  Below are some photos from my journey over these years.  I will start my photo tracking again just before I go into surgery next week.

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This was the tracking I did during my weight loss challenge at my old job.  I could tell my moles on my stomach were getting closer, you could see my ears better and my stomach was rising very quickly!

 

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These shorts are a size 26.  Sadly, I am sitting in them right now as I type this, and they are fitting me very well.  I loved using these shorts as an indicator of my weight loss.  And you can see the fat clothes I was putting in bags to give to charity!

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I miss doing fun runs (walks!), million paws walk etc because of my weight gain.  So as a motivator I have pulled out the calendar for the next 12 months and marked all the events I would like to attend.

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Here I am at my lightest at 104kgs, with a bulky jacket on lol...AND I was fitting into skinny jeans.  This is my motivation photo!

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Hi and welcome. 

I'm pre band and February is looking like it will be my time. I understand the feelings of losing weight only to regain it. After my daughter was born I lost 18kgs and still had a lot more I wanted to lose. I slowly but surely regained it and am now only 2kgs lighter than the day I have birth. 

You have achieved so much and while this is a bit of a setback you can do this. I too want to do physical things too like Tough Mudder and even classes at the gym. 

I don't have a heap of helpful advice for you because I'm pre op but I wanted to say hello and encourage you on your journey. 

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Good luck with your sleeve and weight loss! I too have boxes of 'skinny clothes' waiting to be worn again, but I think I'll go through them and narrow them down to only a few, then I'll have the excitement of picking out new ones! 

Running has been something I had been thinking of getting into too, but had always been too embarrassed. I have been recommended both the band and the sleeve but I'm leaning towards the sleeve. :)

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Hi there!

I'm a band to sleever and I must admit that the absolute relief and joy the day I had my lap band removed was immense. I was given a sandwich to eat afterwards and I braced myself to throw it up - and I didn't. I was so, so happy and then shocked at how ingrained my anxiety with eating had become.

I was sleeved 4 months later and have achieved my lightest adult weight of 86.4. I've had my own challenges (psychological mainly) and my weightloss has stalled for the last 12 months but I've been working hard with my new PT and psychologist and dietitian to overcome my issues and get to my goal weight of 80kgs. My goals also include fitting into size 14 clothes comfortably, getting a better job, learning to alter my own clothes, completing my Masters of Business Management and having a successful business.

The sleeve is everything I was promised with the band and more. Not only did they remove my stomach, they also removed my dessert stomach - I no longer crave sweets! I also have minimal hunger, I love that my stomach works perfectly normally just on a much smaller scale.

You may find that the lap band may have caused serious and significant damage to your stomach. You just need to brace yourself for the possibility that you may not be a candidate for a sleeve and a bypass is the only/best option available to you. he advantage of the bypass is that weightloss success is far better for ex-bandits because of the malabsorption effect of bypass. Our bodies are already used to restricted calories so sleeving can be slower and slightly less effective for us.

GOOD LUCK NEXT WEEK!

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Thanks everyone!  :D

Kazbo - I find your last paragraph very interesting about possibly not being eligible to get the sleeve due to damage.  Almost all people who I've come across that has had a lap band, throws up after most meals regardless how long they have had their band in for.  I throw up maybe 2-3 times a year at most and that would because I've rushed my food or I've had too much red meat or bread on that occasion.  I live very comfortably with my band in the sense that I am rarely sick so I'm hoping that because I haven't been throwing up that there would be no damage, or minimal, with some scar tissue building around the band like normal.  Thank you for enlightening me though as I will definitely ask my doctor about this when I see him this week!

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just the fact that it sits there and 'rubs' or presses up against the stomach as food moves through it can cause scarring, not just blockages and regurgitation.

It's worthwhile knowing about and talking to the surgeon about so better to have the knowledge that be faced with the possibility of a different surgery your weren't expecting to have. Good luck!

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