A Lap-Band Journey: From a Patient’s Perspective

SmartShape Weight Loss Centre

We don’t want you on our team.

Don’t sit by me, you take up too much room. 

You can’t be a cheerleader, we don’t have a uniform to fit you. 

Do you need an extension belt?

If you have ever heard these comments and they were not meant for you, you probably would have laughed either in private or out loud, but if you were the focus of these comments, you probably would have had a different response.  This is the story of Sandra and how she became the “brunt” of these jokes and finally at 50 years of age, she no longer has that worry. 

Sandra had two things in her favour, in that, she realised at a very young age that she had an intelligent mind and a great sense of humor. These were the things she focused on so that people could relate to her as the smart girl or funny girl, rather than the “fat girl”.

When Sandra was younger, she remembered how her mother had difficulty clothing her, with brand names like Chubbies and Huskies ingrained her mind.   In her adult years, this advanced to the “nice” fat names like Above Average, Encore, Ladies Plus and a host of other labels. One thing Sandra always wanted was a pair of boots since she was 8 years old.  Back then, they were needed to keep out the snow, but later in life, it was a style necessity and exuded confidence in the beholder.  But Sandra gave up trying to fit in them.

At the age of 47, Sandra began to look at her life more seriously.  Her daughter was engaged and soon to be married. Sandra was unhappy in her marriage and had a really stressful job which required her to be travelling, attending trade shows and standing on her feet for hours on end.  She worked long hours and had to do a lot of eating out while on the road.  She was seriously overweight and both knees needed replacement due to degenerative arthritis and general wear and tear. 

Sandra was diabetic, had high blood pressure, reflux disease, and a general state of poor health.  She was taking 14 pills a day, unable to walk without extreme pain and discomfort and was losing self-confidence. She had a bout of depression and extreme anxiety which she managed to battle and come out the victor.  She knew she wanted to be around to see her grandchildren and she certainly was not through living.  Sandra wanted to have more fun and travel and….still really wanted a pair of high boots.

In the next couple of months, Sandra began researching online and heard of a procedure called the Lap-Band. During one of her business travel to Toronto, she saw an advertisement for SWLC and made the call.  This was the first step she needed to take control of her life. 

In June 2008, Sandra had her consultation. From the first call, she was treated with respect.  The staff was wonderful right from the first contact.   The surgeon who called to speak with Sandra a couple of days later was gentle but blunt.  He very calmly told her that the path she was on would certainly lead to serious health problems and that she was currently in excess of 160 lbs. Sandra spoke with her family doctor in Nova Scotia and helped make the arrangements for the required tests for her procedure.   She was given a surgery date, further instructions regarding diet prior to surgery and financial planning options. 

Then came the big day! Her brother, the health nut, drove Sandra to the clinic and left her in the capable hands of the staff at SWLC.  She was consulted, weighed and then took the walk to surgery in flannelette booties.  After a very brief time in recovery she was given back to her brother and headed back home. 

Now three and a half years later, Sandra no longer has to use the handicapped washroom in public, require a belt extension on an airplane and the tray fits down as well.   She saved her knees and now takes only one and half pills a day.   Her blood sugar is under control.  Grocery bill is cut in half. She can cross her legs. And yes, she now owns seven pairs of high boots.

Sandra has gone from a size 26 to a 14 and has an abundant amount of energy. 

When asked how she would justify the cost? Her answer: her life, her happiness, her quality of living.