Love My Lap Band!

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Finally! Banded In Mexico!

Posted by Lori on September 13, 2009

This past Wednesday I went to Mexico and had my gastric band procedure performed by the masterful, mystical, magical, hyper-competent and good-humored Dr. Ariel Ortiz. Let me tell you – his patients love him for a reason. My surgery was on Thursday afternoon and I’m on my post-surgical all liquid diet. The good news is that it’s Sunday and I am not yet hungry despite having consumed fewer than 1000 calories total in the past few days.

So, what’s it like? I’ll tell you the whole story. We drove to border crossing where Fernando picked us up and took us across the border. Because I was coming in fairly late in the day, he took us straight to the Marriott. We checked in and went downstairs for my last meal before surgery. I had  chicken in chile sauce served over mashed sweet potatoes. It was divine. Looking around the dining room, I noticed a casually -attired, similarly-sized lady eating alone and went over to introduce myself. Sure enough, she was here from Canada to have surgery with Dr. Ortiz as well. We chatted for a while before each of us headed off to our room.

The next morning at 7 am sharp, the van arrived for us. We went straight to the clinic – which is a five minute drive or so. We pulled into the basement parking and took an elevator to the second floor. We entered the waiting room lobby – a pretty, sunny space with stone tiles – and were greeted by name by the receptionist. First, I was taken off to the dentist to make sure my teeth were in good order for the amount of chewing they are about to embark upon and then off to the cardiologist. Dr. Heurta tested my lungs for capacity and discovered that they only functioned at about 78% – this explains why I can’t walk as far as I used to. They have a little box that you blow into as long and as hard as you can for six seconds – it’s very simple. Then, I was on the table for a quick EKG which required slipping into an open front patient gown over my jeans. Then it was off to meet with the marvelous Dr. Miranda – OCC’s beautiful, brilliant nutritionist. She laid down the law about what I could eat and not eat. For the first week, clear liquids only – preferably diluted fruit juice for seven days. Broth can be added after the third day if essential. Also, Pedialyte, Gatorade, Kellogg’s Protein Water and coffee or herbal tea with non-dairy creamers. At the second week, a half cup serving of liquid yogurt can be added. For the third week, protein drinks and creamy soups. Okay.

Finally, I was taken off to my room –  a charming little space, with a hospital bed, soothing dark colors and a small water fountain by the side. Dr. Ortiz designed the space himself and it is comfortable, cozy and modern. I changed into my hospital gown and a nurse came in to insert my IV and draw blood for a few more tests. It was painless and very quick.  From that point on, it’s kind of a blur. I vaguely remember being helped out of my bed and into a wheelchair. I remember chatting with the anesthesiologist about how everyone loves their anesthesiologist and he said that I was wrong about that. LOL. Next thing I know, I’m being waken up and walked down the hall.

I’ve had major surgery twice in my life and this walk down the hall was easy. After a c-section with a full transverse cut getting out of bed and walking is incredibly painful. This isn’t like that at all. The biggest problem was that I was still woozy and wanted to walk into the wall, but the nurse kept a strong arm on me and I was fine. Then I went back to the room and sat down on the love seat where I promptly fell asleep. After snoozying there for a few hours, I climbed back into bed and slept for some more. My dinner companion from the night before was alert and wandering up and down the hall way but that wasn’t for me. I did get up a couple more times just to walk around and it was easy. They have a station with computer where patients can check their email. I logged in to find out what Obama had proposed in his health care reform speech, thinking all the time how ironic it was that I was checking from Mexico while on a health care vacation.

The next morning, Dr. Ortiz checked in on me but I was so sleepy that I barely remember that.  My husband showed up later on, and Fernando loaded us into the van for the trip across the border.

Since that time, I have not experienced any real pain. I’ve only taken one of the pain pills that they sent me home with. I can sleep in whatever position that I want without problems. The IV was removed easily and did not leave any bruising. I didn’t get taht nurse’s name, but she’s really good at IVs.

I’m not hungry yet.  I’ve been drinking out of a small, antique crystal wine glass. I’ve had maybe four cups total of orange juice since Friday morning. I need to get some protein water in there but we haven’t been to the store yet. Like I said, I’m not hungry yet. The juice is keeping me full. That’s a big relief.

So, that’s what my experience was like. It was as simple, easy and sensible as anything I have ever done. Dr. Ortiz’ facilities are state of the art – elegant but not ostentatious, well designed and sparkling. He has lots of health care professionals from America as patients and one very quickly sees why they come here.

If you have any other questions about what it is like, I’m happy to answer them.


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I Should Never Skip A Blogging Day

Posted by Lori on August 31, 2009

One day off, and BOOM!, it’s a month later. What a derelict. 🙂

I missed all the bloggers that I normally read. I’ve really gotten involved in watching people lose weight. There’s a real community developing online and more information about having Lap Band surgery than you can imagine. Nothing has to be a mystery anymore. You can get this surgery having read about the experiences of dozens of people.

I also realized when I finally came back in that I hadn’t added one of my favorite new bloggers to the blog roll. Chronicles From Lap Band Land is wonderfully well-written and informative. If you haven’t checked it out, by all means, do.

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Do I Have To Exercise To Lose Weight With A Lap Band?

Posted by Lori on July 27, 2009

No one admits that they wonder about this, but I know from the searches that bring readers to this site, that it is a popular question.

The answer to that is, in short, you probably don’t have to exercise to lose weight with a Lap Band. I talk to lots of people who lose weight with a Lap Band who don’t exercise. Lorraine Kay, whose Lap Band videos are linked on this site, was in her late fifties and weighed over 300 pounds when she had her Lap Band procedure done at Cedars Sinai. She now weighs 125 and she’s not exercised a day. And there are lots and lots of people out there who have that same experience.

However, Dr. William Lee of Blue Earth, Minnesota, has this to say about exercise and his patients:

Lee said his patients can be divided into two groups, those who shed 6 to 8 pounds a month and patients who lose 10 to 15 pounds a month. “The difference between these two groups,” he said, “is exercise.:

So, he is saying that his patients lose weight without exercise. Good to know. Still, that’s a pretty big gap and I’m sure a lot of us would rather be in the 10 to 15 pound weight loss per month group than the 6 to 8 pound weight loss per month.

Speaking as someone who has both been very successful with exercise programs and an utter failure, I have a few tips for being successful. One of the things that people who aren’t used to exercising do  is that they assume that they should exercise in a certain fashion at a certain time of day. So they sign up at local gym and either plan on working out before they go to work, or after they go to work. And then they get there, discover they hate the gym and after a few weeks, never go back. In point of fact, with the exception of the YMCA, most modern gyms are designed to make you hate them because the corporations who own them make their money because most people who have membership don’t use their facilities. And that is why they don’t offer 3 month memberships. So, unless you know that you love working out at gyms, don’t do that.

If you’re not naturally inclined towards exercise, start off by looking at where you have time open in your schedule and how much time you have. You’re going to fit working exercise into your life rather than re-arranging your life around exercise – at least for now – because if you don’t have to worry about hiring sitters or getting dad to stay home with the kids, or carving out huge chunks of time in your schedule, you’re just more likely to stick with it.  A 20 minute burst of exercise two or three times a day burns more calories than one 40 or 60 minute burst of exercise once a day. Even if you’re at home with tiny kids, you can carve out several minutes here and several minutes there. Can you take 15 minutes while they’re watching Sesame Street, 15 minutes while they nap and 15 minutes after they go to bed? Probably. Boost that up to twenty minutes, and you’re exercising an hour a day. If you work, same thing – do 15 minutes before you leave, 15 minutes on your lunch break, and 15 minutes when you get home. And if you hate exercising in the morning, as I do, skip the morning work out and add one on before you go to bed.

So, what can you do in 10 – 20 minutes that helps burn calories? Lots of things.

  • Dance. Get an MP3 player with several of your favorite dance songs and just dance. If you’re feeling shy, do it behind carefully closed doors.
  • Nordic Walking. I have to do a whole ‘nother post on this because Nordic walking is great for people who are wrestling with their weight. You know those ski poles that cross country skiers use to propel themselves? People use slightly modified versions for walking and it burns 40% more calories, protects joints from wear and tear, improves stability (four legs good), and helps build upper body strength. It’s a real exercise bargain. Here’s YouTube video if you have no idea what I’m talking about.
  • Plain old walking. However much time you have, walk half of it in one direction, and then turn around and come back. When you start picking up speed (and you will pick up speed faster than you can imagine), just do the same thing. It will be fun to see that you consistently travel farther in the same amount of time as your cardiovascular health improves.
  • Calisthenics – remember those? They require nothing except that you have a body. There are lots of routines online and lots of books available.
  • Work Out DVDS – there are tons of these available. This one, from  Gaiam, offers ten minute work outs that you do in front of your tv. And as you get more fit, you can do more than one. This is perfect for people who just don’t have much time to exercise, and the work outs look pretty simple.
  • Resistance Bands – I’ve never worked out with them and I don’t know the first thing about them other than what I have read. Still, it seems like it should work out pretty well. It’s resistance that builds muscles and so I’ll be giving this a shot.
  • Free Weights. You don’t need a lot of equipment to have a good strength programming at home. You need a bench,  a few dumbells to start and a little bit of space. As you gain strength, you’ll want to expand what you own, but that’ll come naturally to you. In the meantime, Strength For Dummies pretty much gives you the basics. And no matter your age or health, there is a strength training program that will make your life better. If you’re shy about going into a store to purchase equipment, order it online.
  • Exercise machines. Well, there are lot of bad ones out there and a lot of expensive ones out there. You some how or the other have to walk the fine line. My suggestion, if you’re interested in buying an exercise machine, is that you go try it out first and make sure you like it. Lots of machines are sized for people over 5’10” and will be tough to use if you’re much under that height. I love working out on the Concept II rower and can get a real zone thing going on where I row and think about what I’m working on and the time just flies.

My suggestion would be that if you are just starting to work out, keep it simple. That’s part of the reason that so many gym memberships fail. There’s nothing simple about driving to the gym, finding a parking place, changing clothes, waiting for a machine, waiting for the next machine, taking a shower and then finding your car and going home. Start by walking, or dancing, or using work out dvds. Then look at incorporating some resistance bands, or nordic walking poles into your routine. At that point, you’ll have aerobic activity and some muscle development going on – and that’s a good thing. Once you’ve adjusted to those changes, then think about adding a weight bench and dumb bells, or an exercise machine to the mix. Keep it simple.

Oh, and if you can, show yourself some love and buy some comfy, high quality work out clothes. They’ll fit better, be more comfortable and last longer. 🙂

Posted in Lap Band Basics, Lap Bands And Exercise, Uncategorized, Weight Loss Surgery | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Five Reasons To Have Weight Loss Surgery

Posted by Lori on July 9, 2009

I’m on a new computer and don’t have a lot of my links. I went looking for studies about how weight loss surgery extended the life of patients and found this little blog post from a former weight loss surgery skeptic who was now convinced that it was a worthwhile procedure.

She lists her five reasons to have surgery:

  1. Reversal of Type 2 Diabetes: Losing enough weight can actually result in reversal of diabetes for 82% of patients in less than 2 years and 62% of patients more than 2 years after surgery (March 2009 study in American Journal of Medicine).
  2. Improved or Eliminated Hypertension: Studies vary but one study in Journal of American Medical Association in 2004 showed hypertension eliminated in 61% and significantly improved in 78% of weight loss surgery patients.
  3. Improved Fertility: Obesity affects fertility, especially in women. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine says that ovulatory function and pregnancy rates improve significantly after weight loss in women.
  4. Easing of joint pain: The extra weight causes a lot of extra stress and pain, so weight loss can help immensely. Some studies show pain cut in half 6 months to a year after surgery. It can also help the inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis.
  5. Live longer: Different studies show different numbers, but some studies show that the lifespan can be cut by up to 20 years with morbid obesity.

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A New Lap Band Blog Added to the Blog Roll

Posted by Lori on July 9, 2009

Fifi LaRoach wrote and asked that I add her blog, Here Comes The Band, to my blogroll and she’s got a nice bit about taking care of yourself. Lot of make up talk. I think obese people all need encouragement to take care of themselves.

I know that when I was slender and had fun getting dressed up, getting up and showering, doing my hair and make up and putting on clothes, was a big deal. Now, it’s maintenance. If I skip my shower till noon or one, okay.  Clothes? How excited can I get about black Lands End t-shirts and black jeans?

But she’s right and I do need to get a decent make up mirror. Anyway, enjoy.

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What To Do If You Insurance Denies Your Lap Band Claim

Posted by Lori on July 9, 2009

The second most frequent search on this blog is what to do if an insurance company denies your claim for weight loss surgery. I know it must be a big problem out there. The studies are now piling up and what we know is that people who have Lap Band surgery live longer and happier lives than people who attempt to lose weight through diet and exercise. We lose around 80% of our excess weight. They gain or lose around 2% of their weight, even with the best medical advice on their side.

One of the things that I would suggest that you do is call Walter Lindstrom with the Obesity Law and Advocacy Center in California. He’s an attorney who has had a gastric bypass and a Lap Band.  He knows his stuff. They have over a 90% success rate in appealing denial of claims.

From his online bio:

Walter brings a unique perspective to his representation of morbidly obese persons. A bariatric surgery patient himself (both gastric bypass and Lap-Band®) and personally having experienced the discrimination, physical and emotional pain of being morbidly obese, and now considering himself an “obese person in remission,” and carries an empathy and passion to his representation that no advocate can share with regard to obese and morbidly obese clients. His personal battle to obtain insurance coverage for his treatment, combined with his extensive experience as an insurance law expert, make him the best qualified and most passionate advocate for those persons suffering from obesity and morbid obesity.

In a PDF on his site, advising doctors how to maximize their opportunities for getting insurance approved, he writes this:

Persons suffering from clinically severe obesity generally come to your offices
filled with a self-loathing or self-doubt inspired by prevalent societal attitudes that their size is ‘their fault’. In other words, your patients still generally believe that if they were ‘better people,’ they wouldn’t be having a surgical consultation to help them with their character flaw. These are people often desperately seeking, from you and the surgeon, success at what has become the single most important or dominant thing in their lives.

In short, no, obesity is not your fault. Yes, I know you eat bad food and you don’t exercise. You know what? The same is true of your neighbor next door who isn’t obese. This is genetics we’re talking about and that’s why, when you go on a diet and lose weight, you put the weight right back on. It’s why Oprah, with all of her resources, cannot keep the weight off. The one thing that changes the genetic equation is weight loss surgery and that’s why you have a right to it under your insurance.

I want to encourage you to fight as hard as you can to get surgery. You can always pay for it yourself if you cannot get your insurance to cover it,  but surgery is expensive enough that if you can get it covered, you should.

Mr. Lindstrom has a FAQ which provides a decent amount of information about what he does. Also, he has a few articles linked. I’d encourage you to look through those as well.

If you’re using insurance, this is a valuable site. Take some time and read what is there. It may make it easier to get your claim approved first time out. If you’re refused coverage, you’re welcome to call the firm and find out if they can help you. If they can’t, there is a tremendous amount of information on this site that will help you in your fight with the insurance company.

Posted in Appealing Insurance Declines, Lap Band Basics, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Randy Alvarez’ Interview With Dr. Robert Powell

Posted by Lori on October 28, 2008

I posted this 26 minute interview back in February originally.  I’m not sure when it was done, but I like it quite a lot. Dr. Powell is a bariatric surgeon in the Coachella Valley of California, and he really covers the whole experience of having a Lap Band quite well. One of the things he emphasizes is that so many patients see  a massive reduction in the amount of medication that they take – some are totally free of it within a few months of surgery.  He expects to see weight loss of 8-10-12 pounds per month. Dr. Powell talks about on the really important aspects of having a Lap Band, and that is that many patients experience a tremendous decrease in hunger and lose a lot of their interest in eating. Wouldn’t that be nice? Also, he is confortable working with obese adolescents. I know I get a lot inquires about obese teenagers – this is one of the surgeons to talk to.

I had trouble pulling this interview up and getting it to play. So, I’ll provide  you with the direct link here. If that doesn’t work for  you, go to Randy Alvarez’ home page, click on #9 Weight Loss Surgery, and then click on Dr. Powell’s photo. Anyway, good interview and solid info. I hope you enjoy it.

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Obesity Help’s Los Angeles Event This Weekend

Posted by Lori on October 27, 2008

Obesity Help is having a big, weekend long event with lots of different surgeons, cosmetic surgery experts and other motivational coaches here in Los Angeles. There is even a raffle drawing for a Lap Band procedure donated by Dr. Alberto Aceves from Mexicali Bariatric Center.

Melting Mama will be there as well lots of motivational speakers. I’m still saving my pennies (which have recently gotten hijacked for another purpose – grrrrrrrrrr), but it looks it might pretty informative – particularly for those of us who are in town and don’t have to pay for hotels.

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Post-surgery Insurance For Self-Pays

Posted by Lori on October 27, 2008

People who are paying for their Lap Band procedure out of their own pocket are left worrying about how they would finance any repairs or complications. I think for most of us, freedom from obesity is just so important that the risk seems worthwhile. But I wanted to bring you attention to a product that provides some additional peace of mind – BLIS.

What BLIS (Bundled Loan Indemnity Solutions) does is provide insurance to physicians who perform weight loss surgery that covers the cost of any repairs that need to be done in the first 90 days after surgery. The insurance comes through the physician’s office and is part of the cost of the surgery. They have a website that spells out what they do, and offers links to the physicians that they cover. If you’re a self-pay having surgery here in the US, this is definitely something you should check out. I know a lot of people fret about what their options would be if something went wrong – this answers that question.

I’m going to add them to the side bar sometime today. I got a few more things coming up today so check back.

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The Last Best Plus Size Clothing Post!

Posted by Lori on October 24, 2008

Let me tell you, this has been a lot of work for something I don’t get paid to do. 🙂 I know that writing about great plus size clothing may seem like an odd little diversion for a blog that’s promised to tell you everything you need to know about life with a Lap Band, but all of us find it easier to make personal progress when we feel good about ourselves. And even if you are overweight, if you get your hair done and put on a snazzy outfit that you actually like, it makes it easier to make more affirmative steps. I’m thinking that if even a few of you take my suggestion and fill out the wish lists at these sites, and send them to your family and as a result get really nice clothes for Christmas that allow you to feel better about yourself than you have in a few years, then this has been a worthwhile task. And I know the odds are good that one or two of you will put your life in even better order – maybe you’ll start exercising or get a new job (because you have the clothes to do it now) or maybe, just maybe, you’ll go see a bariatric surgeon about weight loss surgery and consider making a major change in your life. And then, you can sell all your snazzy new clothes on Ebay and save your pennies to go shopping for size 6 frocks and jeans.

Okay, so now, I’m going to tell you why you should go shopping at Lands End – because no matter what shape you are, they have nice, well made everyday clothes for you to wear. They even have some pretty nice business clothes. Regardless of where you carry your weight – even if it’s a lot of weight in one area – the Sport Knit pants will fit. If you carry weight in your hips, thighs or bum, they have plenty of very pretty sweaters that will work very nicely with the endless assortment of stretchy pants they have – cashmere, cotton, wool and silk. Lovely colors. Cables or not. If you carry your weight up front, they have a separate section for tunics, and you can always call and check the length of a piece. They have swing coats which are always nice for plus sizes, field jackets, parkas, rain coats and long down coats all in plus sizes. Hats, gloves, scarves and purses to match. They make it very, very easy to put together a basic wardrobe from which it easy to build. If you’ve let your wardrobe go for a years, this is the place to start. 1x – 3x

Eddie Bauer is excellent for pear shapes and people who carry their weight fairly proportionately. As an apple, I’m frequently out of luck here. They have pretty blouses, and wonderful silky t-shirts and sweaters in amazing colors. And really nice wide calf boots, in case that’s what you need. The only complaint I have with Eddie Bauer is that they always seem to run out of something I want before I have a chance to buy it. So, if you have your heart set on something here, buy it yourself. It won’t be there the week before Christmas when your family finally get around to ordering. 1x – 3x

Then there are the department stores. For Plus Sizes, I like Nordstrom best because they have beautiful clothes in a good range in prices. They carry the ever so adorable Sweet Pea by Stacy Frati – I love this line. They also have the fabulously comfortable, affordable and quite elegant Rachel Pally – seen most recently on Angelena Jolie, Reese Witherspoon and Madonna. For the more conservative dressers in our midst, they always carry the wrinkle-free Foxcroft shirts. They always have a good selection of Not Your Daughter’s Jeans. My only beef with Nordstrom is that they think we plus size women are dying to expose our inner hobbit in sleeveless dresses. I didn’t like sleeveless dresses that much when I was skinny. I really hate them now, and they don’t give us much that isn’t sleeveless. But they do have a lot of dresses, and a lot of them are really pretty.

The other department stores with good online presences, by and large, are pretty pricey so I won’t take the time with them. I will say that Bloomingdales has their Cashmere Shop which is lovely, but which I can’t afford. Their Sutton Studio Collection is frequently chic and quite affordable. Neiman Marcus is Neiman Marcus. It’s just fabulous. They have a great Eileen Fisher shop. And carry a few pieces of the romantic Johnny Was collection and the yummy Anna Scholz. I love this blouse from Gayla Bentley!

I will finish this post tomorrow afternoon. Right now, by eyes are blurring over. I still have Saks and Macy’s to get through and I’ve just realized I didn’t get any of my Lands End links in place. Grrrrrr…..

Sleep tight, everyone!

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More Best Plus Size Clothing Online

Posted by Lori on October 23, 2008

So, back to clothes – my favorite thing in the whole world. 🙂

Junonia – a lot of you already know this site. They advertise themselves as making clothes for active plus size women. I love their jeans – which they have a shortage of right now. I got this pair for Christmas last year, and I love them. The Recall denim does, indeed, bounce back. I’ve yet to have a pair of baggy knees from this line. I have a lot of t-shirts from the Seashell line, and they last forever – wonderful colors and very well made. The cotton in the Seashell line isn’t a light, silky jersey knit like one would wear under a sweater or blazer to a luncheon – it’s heavy duty cotton that you wouldn’t use in a casually dressy outfit. But it is obviously well made clothing. They have lots of active wear that I’m not even remotely qualified to talk about but I am assuming that my experience with their other clothes will hold, and it will wear like iron. And swimsuits – she allows us to cover up comfortably in really great looking suit. Be sure to check out Juno’s Closet for sales and she also sells stuff on Ebay.

Harper Greer is a line I know nothing about. I discovered a few weeks ago online, and bookmarked it. I wanted to include it though because it looks like really nice, well made clothing. If you order something from them, or have order something, be sure to let us know what you thought about them.

Now, I have something really fun, romantic, inexpensive and exotic for you – eShakti! eShakti is based in India and makes fun, romantic clothing. They will do custom sizes and make changes in length or the style of the neckline – things like that. I’m going to order a couple caftans from them with my next check and see what I think. I’m leaning towards this and this. They have wonderful peasant tops, traditional, more traditional and otherwise. And the embellished jackets are fabulous. I love the fact that they are almost 19th century looking in their execution. Fantastic line. Great prices. And it affords plus size women to have some non-corporate looking threads in their wardrobe at a bargain price.

Along this line, there is another shop that I’ve only recently discovered called Soft Surroundings. Now, they only go up to a 3x and my impression is that their 3x may be fairly small. But that being said, what they do have is incredibly nice. Exotic, pretty, and, they claim, comfy. When you pick a category to view, at the top of a page will be a drop down window that says Narrow By – pull down and pick Women’s. When that page comes up, you can also go the bottom and pick View All so that you don’t have to scroll through ten pages. It took me forever to figure that out. Anyway, I love their sweaters and they have the only cashmere tunic in plus sizes I can find this year – really cute too. If you like long, flowing skirts – this is the place to be. Their Baroque Skirt is fabulous. If you’ve never tried a pair of stretch denim leggings – oh, are they nice. Slender leg, which some of us really need, and the ability to move. And their shoes are adorable. Check out the Jezebel boot!

This brings us round to the wonderfully elegant J. Jill. If you’ve never been to their website, start by just checking out these tops – they got everything from nice slightly funky business stuff to really casual pretty stuff. Very good mix. I love the Soft Cord Hoodie in Ruby and the Luxe Velvet Shirt in Moonflower. And speaking of velvet, check out this Velvet Anorak. This is another line with great shoes and boots so be sure check that out as well.

I hope you’re enjoying this series of posts. It’s off topic I know but I’m waiting for one of my interviews to have time, and I just don’t have enough to talk about at the moment. The world of medicine has pretty much decided that Lap Bands are wonderful and that is that. I think I have ten more online clothing sites to cover, so we do have a couple most posts on the subject coming. when its all done, I’ll link all these on the side under plus size clothing, so you can always find them. There’s no excuse for you not to come out of Christmas this year looking more fashionable than when you went in!!! Fill those wish lists out, ladies, and send ’em to your hubbies and sons and I bet you won’t have to feign rapturous delight over another universal television remote this year.

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Karen Miller’s Lap Band Story

Posted by Lori on May 30, 2008

I can’t find the first installment of this series, but it’s about Karen Miller, a 26 year old woman, in Bridgeport, Connecticut who had a Lap Band procedure performed by Dr. Timothy Ehrlich. Like most future Bandees, she had lots of different health problems – frightening when you’re only 26. Those have gone away, and now she’s feeling (as a friend of mine put it) down right evangelical.

She said she’s actually had to stop herself from suggesting the procedure to others, for fear of seeming rude.`I don’t want to offend anybody,” said Miller, a law student at Western New England College in Springfield, Mass. “But I want to let them know that this is an option. Before I had the surgery, I didn’t even know it was out there. I wish I had known sooner.”

And her health problems are now better:

Her enthusiasm is understandable, given her response to the surgery. Before the procedure, she weighed 247 pounds. She also had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, which led to a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, irregular glucose levels and irregular periods.

The syndrome also made it difficult for her to lose weight, even though doctors urged her to do so.

On the advice of a friend, Miller, who works in the medical records department at St. Vincent’s, decided to explore bariatric surgery. However, she wasn’t interested in the more highly publicized gastric bypass surgery. That surgery, made famous by high-profile patients such as “Today” show weatherman Al Roker, involves rerouting part of the intestine.

Unlike gastric bypass surgery, lap-band is minimally invasive with few risks. Gastric bypass surgery, on the other hand, is a more complicated surgery that carries more risks, including possible death. Another benefit to lap-band surgery is that, unlike the bypass, it’s reversible.

Miller was deemed a good candidate for the lap-band, which is most effective for patients aged 18 to 65 and having a Body Mass Index of 40 or higher. Before surgery, Miller’s BMI – measurement based on weight related to height – was 42. Her health problems also made her a good candidate for the surgery, so she signed up.

One year later, she’s lost 72 pounds.

Since the procedure, Miller has gone from 247 pounds to 175 pounds. That’s obviously garnered a lot of reaction — most of it positive — from friends, family, strangers.

And she finds herself being cheered on.

Throughout the past year, Miller’s life has changed in many ways, but the thing that surprises her most is how supportive everyone has been.

“People are getting more and more cutthroat these days,” she said. “But when people see me doing this, they’re just so encouraging. I’m very happy.

It’s a good story – always gratifying to see someone decent have things go well. In the last installment, she’s about 20 pounds away from her goal weight – and wouldn’t we all like to be there.

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Interesting Post on Fills

Posted by Lori on May 27, 2008

Hmmmm, here’s something I’ve never read before. Dr. Rachael Keilin is talking about how fills impact a bandee’s hunger, and how the impact of the fill isn’t necessarily immediate.

There is also a phenomenon we see fairly often, but really can’t explain well. Some people will have a delay in the “tightness” of a fill by as much as two weeks. This is why we won’t fill one day and then fill again three days later. Because there is sometimes a lag in the perception of hunger after a fill (and remember: it’s hunger control we’re aiming for, not bulimia!), we don’t want to end up over-filling patients, especially if they live out of town. Spitting into a cup is just not fun. You’re meant to have gradual weight loss with the Lap Band from eating less. You’re not meant to be on a liquid diet or pureed food diet. We want to eat more or less a regular diet, just eat a smaller amount of food so that you can lose weight.

Interesting. Now, that I’ve checked out Dr. Keilin’s site, I have to go find out what “Smart Lipo” is. Inquiring minds want to know.

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Sorry I’ve been AWOL.

Posted by Lori on May 25, 2008

I’ve been working on a project with a friend’s daughter. She’s graduating from high school and chose to make a short film as her senior project. My husband edits motion pictures and we see a lot of student films – either he’s hired to put them back in order, or people ask me to take a look at them to tell me what I think. I have to say that most of them that I see are from college students who have some formal training as filmmaker and very few of them – even the ones from USC’s vaunted graduate filmmaking department – are as good as what my young friend has conjured up. Seriously. And that’s always a stunning thing to witness.

Julia is a seventeen year old girl who decided to make a movie. She’s an actress and was in our last film – she got about 4 days work out of it. And she’s been in a couple student films. In addition, we spent a day filming a one man stage show for a local actor and she was the boom operator for us. That is the sum total of her filmmaking experience. Anyway, I say all this, because this seventeen year old showed up with a script that was really, really good – by any objective standard. It concerns a teenage girl who involves herself in radical environmental activities and decides to desecrate a grave. I read the script and was pretty stunned at what she’d put together. A lot of it takes place at night time though and I told her she needed a real director of photograhy – this wasn’t something I had the equipment or the skills to light. She called up the DP we’d used on the film she’d been in, he read the script and told her he’d do it. Unbelievable. So this seventeen year old kid has a first rate script, a world class DP with a ten ton truck with all sorts of goodies, great locations and it’s turned into a wonderful project. My husband has been the camera operator and filled in a bit of the directing. But she did the writing, the casting and it is still her vision through and through. She’ll edit it for her final grade. Once that’s done though, I think she and my husband will sit down together for a polish.

It’s been an amazing thing to watch. She’s made interesting choices through and through. Anyway, tonight is the final night of shooting and I’ll have some posts for you tomorrow.

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Deciding Between Gastric Bypass and Lap Bands

Posted by Lori on May 9, 2008

I want to put this last video from Dr. Simpson in a different post entirely. He talks a great deal about why he doesn’t do gastric bypasses anymore but instead prefers Lap Bands. Interestingly, he also talks briefly about why Lap Band patients are less likely to need plastic surgery after losing an equivalent amount of weight. As before, there is a silent animation during the first 40 seconds of the clip – nothing is wrong with your computer.

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