Prior to Lap Band
I’m a nurse in Recovery & I’ve cared for nearly all of Mr.Draper’s lap band patients.
I’ve watched how the surgery is performed on many occasions, so I decided to have the lap band, as I had ‘seen it all’.

I’ve been overweight for 30 years, mainly due to emotional eating & consuming very large meals. After dinner, sitting in front of the TV, I would ‘pig out’ most nights.

I’ve tried pills (with some very embarrassing moments), had food delivered to my door, bought gymnasiums subscriptions & never used them & I even got a Gold card to Jenny Craig, because I would lose the weight (6 - 10 kg or so) but then I would put it all back on & go back to join up.

As I got older, my obesity started to cause some major health problems. My GP would progressively prescribe lots of pills to try & keep everything under control, such as:
• High blood pressure
• High cholesterol
• Acid reflux
• Asthma medication
• Barrett’s oesophagus
• Hiatus hernia
I was sleeping on 3 pillows to try & stop the reflux. Then I got a lot of pain in the chest, eventually being diagnosed as Unstable Angina. More pills & now a pink spray!
Finally I ended up on a trolley in the Hospital Emergency having a heart attack! The cardiologist was able to re-open my artery & put a stent in, but some of my heart muscle had died.

Do you think that stopped me ‘digging my grave with my teeth’?? No Way!
I wanted to get the weight off, but I still ate large meals & eventually settled into my old ways again..

I’m only 4’ 11” (149 cm) and my weight ballooned to 83 kgm (nearly 14 stone).

Some time after the heart attack, I was told I had a Fatty Liver when being investigated for gall stones. I also had an Insulin test and the GP found that I was about to become a Type II Diabetic!
I couldn’t exercise very well as my hips & knees would ache all the time from carrying all that weight.

I decided to ‘bite the bullet’ & see Mr. Draper as a client, rather than as his Recovery Room nurse. My BMI was not too bad (37 = obese), but my health issues were bordering on dangerous and if I didn’t lose the weight, I was flirting with an early death. So I decided to have a Lap Band.

Tips when on Optifast
1. It’s only for a few weeks - try not to cheat - keep your operation date as your goal - Optifast is only temporary & I liked the taste. I would cook some cauliflower & broccoli, then blend it & add it to my evening vegetable soup. I vitamised strawberries into my breakfast shake.

2. Stay away from those people who are ‘feeders’ - they want to give you ‘just a little taste’. They mean well, but they will tempt you every time. It’s only for a couple of weeks.
3. Try and walk for 10 -30 minutes 4 times a week.

Lap Band
I had my operation on 28th May 2009 which included a hiatus hernia repair.

Tips Immediately after Surgery
Left Shoulder Tip discomfort - this is from the little bit of gas left up under your diaphragm.
It helps to lie on your left shoulder or get up & walk around. It goes within a couple of weeks.
Try the De-Gas tablets: you can buy them over the counter at the Chemist.
Drink LOTS - I got dehydrated because I don’t drink enough. Try drinking a glass or cup of fluid every two hours (no grog yet)!
I have a bottle of water by the TV, the computer, my bed & in the kitchen.

Tips before your 1st Adjustment
Try and follow the new way of life (eating & drinking) straight after leaving hospital.
1. Drink before eating. Wait 15 minutes after a big drink, before having a mouthful of food.
2. Don’t talk or do any work while eating - just concentrate on what you’re eating & do it slowly.
3. Don’t eat when you’re stressed - the atmosphere should be calm & you should NOT be worrying about anything.
If you eat under stress, your stomach might spasm & when food hits it, it HURTS.

Do not drink:-
1. during eating
2. for at least 1 hour after eating
You want the food to sit above your band to tell your brain “I’m Full”. Don’t wash your food down with a drink.
I found this to be the hardest thing to learn! I had always had a drink WITH my meal - not any more… this is my new way of life…a small price to pay to get my health back!

Eating Tips (after adjustment)
Eat your food with a teaspoon - this makes you eat very small amounts & stops you shoveling food.
Once the food is in your mouth, put your spoon/fork down & Do Not Reload! This also stops you shoveling!
Don’t swallow your mouthful straight away - savour the taste, chew a lot, then feel the food going down your gullet. Do this with each mouthful.
This is what I call “Listening to your band” After you’ve chewed & savoured your food over about 20 minutes, you’ll feel a tightness or fullness in your stomach. STOP EATING.
Explain to your family and friends what the new rules are & get them to help monitor your new lifestyle. They can remind you, if you start bolting your food (for example).

Maintenance Eating
Once you’ve learned to eat very small amounts with each mouthful & learned to savour the flavour of your favourite foods, start having solid food so that the bulk sits above your band & sends the brain messages “I’m Full”

If you eat too fast, if you eat one mouthful too much, your stomach will hurt! I only gave myself pain a couple of times and I didn’t do it again!

To help me eat small amounts, I cut up ½ apple (for example) into small wafer-thin slices, then I eat one small slice at a time.

Try walking/swimming/walking in the swimming pool 30-60 minutes 4 times a week.
Park 4-10 lanes away from the shops, then walk.
Try taking the stairs instead if the lift.
Walk up/down the escalator as its moving.

Eating Out
Now that I’ve got the hang of how much I can eat, I don’t pay for a meal any more if I’m out with friends. I show my Lap-Band card to the waitress & just ask for an empty plate.

When my friends get their meals, I just have a mouthful or two off each plate & put it on mine.
Eg. Fish & chips - I have 3 chips & 4cm of fish, a few leaves of mixed salad & 2 slices of cucumber.
While my friends are off ordering their meals, I’ve started my drinking - a glass of water or whatever takes your fancy.

As I lost weight, all my big girl clothes started to fall off or they looked sloppy. Rather than buy a new wardrobe, I went to clothing recycle stores & bought some very nice outfits for a few dollars.
I went from size 18 - 20 down to 16, then 14, then I’ve ended up a size 12 for slacks and skirts, size 10 for shorts & size 12-14 for shirts and dresses.

Remember: as the weight comes off (because you are eating less), it will NOT go back on!! So you can fit into that “little black dress” within 18 months! It’s worth it.

My MAJOR benefit is I’ve got my health & life back! I’m going to live!! I take fewer pills.
I’m saving money on grocery bills, eating out, buying clothes.
I can fit into the seat at the theatre, on a plane & I can sit in a chair with arms on it!!
I can walk without getting puffed out & I have a lot more energy.
I’m sleeping better because I’m not snoring & I’m not tired during the day any more!
I haven’t been 55 kgms (8 ½ stone) since I was 24 years old.