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Thursday, August 7, 2014

7 years later......what are the odds?

I am not a betting girl.
Sure, I'll go to the casino with my crumpled $50 bill and do a few slots but when I am not getting anything for my money, I realize I am just throwing my money into a machine!
How crazy is that?
I'm not good at waiting to hit....I'm way too impatient for that. 
So, I usually just head to the bar to get something for my money!
I order up a drink and settle in for some people watching.
Now, that's what I consider getting something for my money...... 
A Judi-style winning night at the casino!

As you know--this past Monday I had my 7 year Lap band appointment.  From day one of my Lap band journey, I have been involved in a clinical study of Lap Band patients.  Part of each appointment with my surgical team has also involved a bit of time with the researchers.   It's been a wonderful experience to be part of this project and it has afforded me quite a bit of information and assistance over the years. Plus....being the information junkie that I am--getting the inside scoop feeds my need to be in-the-know.
(to see more on the overall study....go here)
 Unfortunately, the National Institute for Health funding for the project was not renewed beyond this year.  Although they are hopeful to find other funding...they can't say what will happen going forward.  Naturally, they want to know the long term effects and successes of Lap Band patients. And, the only way to do that is through more research.   So, continuing to follow us would definitely be a wonderful way to be able to produce good documentation on the very long-term (lifetime!) effects of being banded.  Right now, their studies cannot produce solid statistics beyond the 8 year mark.  Now that I am at this point of my own journey---I would love to know that too!  When I got my Lap band, I was so focused on losing the weight and feeling better and improving my health and fitting into the fashions that I loved that I was  not exactly thinking too much beyond losing the weight and getting on with life being a thinner, healthier, happier person.
Did I wonder what Lap banded life would be like 10 years later?
Did I ever wonder if I would be able to keep this weight off forever and ever?
And, NO.
Seven and half years ago, when I made the decision to have WLS, I was frustrated and miserable and desperate enough to place my faith in this new and exciting tool that promised to help me!
Did I think about it scientifically?
Did I weigh the pros and cons with good solid information?
And, NO. 
 I just crossed my fingers and my toes and I told myself that I would make it work.
I had complete and utter confidence in the team at Magee Hospital.
My surgical team was highly regarded.  I felt safe in their hands.
And, I trusted that this was not some fly-by-night band aid to make money off of obese people.
And, most importantly, I didn't want to live the life of an obese person anymore!
I willed myself to believe that everything was going to be okay.
Even better than okay. 
I went into it hopeful. 
Thankfully, I was right.
My luck has held out for 7 years now....I've had major results with only minor issues. 
But, you know all of that....

As you also know--at my 7 year appointment--I was a little discouraged with my weight gain.  
The funny thing one else in the room was!
As a matter of fact, I was praised for not gaining that much weight.
Now, as much as I love to hear praise for my weight--I'm not used to hearing it for weight gain.  
The researchers knew I was stumped.
That's when they told me that I WAS A SUCCESS STORY.
That's what they consider me. with my 12 pound weight gain was a SUCCESS STORY. 
It seemed quite backwards to me. 
Why weren't they counseling me and telling me I had to do better?

Sure they handed me information on this website and  we talked a little about incorporating weight lifting into my current exercise routine.  
But, beyond that, they were more interested in knowing how I was so successful....
They wanted ME to tell THEM about my lifestyle changes and habits that helped me to keep my weight off.  Even though I gained 12 pounds....
Before I left my appointment, a scholarly looking gentleman in a white lab coat came in to ask me a few more questions and to thank me for my participation over the past 7 years.  He shared his frustration and disappointment over the fact that the funding for the research was ending and he let me know that they are committed to identifying the long-term success rates of Lap band patients.....saying that they just don't know much beyond 5-7 years because they don't have the solid data to formulate dependable findings.
And, he also wanted to congratulate me on my SUCCESS.

My head was still spinning a bit when I left my appointment.
I wasn't too happy about the 12 pound weight gain.   But, I already told you that.
Initially, I didn't think much about all of the kudos I got to for only gaining 12 pounds.
Vain girl that I am--I was too busy looking at my bulging belly and worrying about what my bathing suit might look like on the beach.

After hours of rehashing the appointment in my head, I found myself at a very interesting place....I was fearful.  
Fearful that maybe my Lap band might not be the lifelong tool that I needed to help me maintain my weight loss forever.  
And, fearful that maybe this 12 pound weight gain was just the beginning of my decent back into obesity....
Was this the beginning of the end?

I thought about a few friends who also got their Lap bands and didn't have the success they hoped for....some of them gave up, others never gave up and decided on another WLS to help them.
I thought about all those "failure posts" on those Lapband forums that I used to read religiously.
I thought about all the Lap band bloggers that have come and gone.   
I thought about my cousin who wanted the same success as me and who I coached into going to my surgeon and getting the Lap band and who lost 75 pounds....only to regain them all...and then some.   And, now, each time we see each other--I can sense his shame and embarrassment...which makes me so, so sad. 
And, I thought about all those people who were naysayers in the beginning of my journey who questioned me and judged my choice and told me horror stories about other people who had WLS.
Then, I did the unthinkable....I GOOGLED Lap band statistics...

The odds are not in my favor....

Then, I remembered......I am not a betting girl.  




Darlin1 said...

Good for you Judi.....Today you are my hero!


Jody V said...

I've been following you. Love all your posts!

FitBy40 said...

I actually thought of you when I had to have my band removed! I wanted to be a life long bandster, or at least a long time bandster like you. Sadly, it had to go, and I have gained 20 pounds, but I still read all your posts and will continue to cheer you on!