Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Lapband Seminar: Input Valued

I want to ask you a question and if you have the time, I would actually like you to type your answer (not just formulate it in your head like I do and then never actually respond).

Okay I lied.  I might have several questions:

What got you to go the weight loss surgery seminar you attended?  You know...the very first one that so many of us went to?  Not the support group, but the seminar where you might meet your doc or hear the "pitch" for surgery.  What motivated you to go?

and the second question is:

Were you scared or nervous to go?

We were talking in San Fransisco that if people just get to the seminar, they are much more likely to actually book the surgery.  Several people also mentioned that they were nervous, scared, trepidatious (is that a word). 

Some people worry about being the fattest person in the room.  Or walking into a room of fat people and "not being fat enough".  Will the chairs be big enough?  Will people judge me.

It never occurred to me that people would be scared to go to a seminar.  And opened my mind a little.

For me, although sometimes my family says I make up details, stories, and events...from what I recall it was my sister who said "let's go".  So I owe her too, for changing my life...and for possibly saving it.  But once I saw Dr. Friedman (swoon) and heard him explain the surgeries...I couldn't get to the information table in the back quick enough.  I wanted to know HOW SOON until I could have that damn band inside of me.

So let me know.  Did you like your seminar?  Was it your deciding factor?




  1. I know that in my small town, there are people who wont go to the seminar becuase they'll be seen by someone they know and they want to keep their band a super secret from anyone/everyone. I wonder if surgeons can do "private" seminars, like one on one...just an idea

  2. I was insecure and had no interest in going to a group seminar. So, I scheduled a one-on-one meeting with a patient advocate at True Results. I went because I felt like crap and I needed to do something, but I knew meeting with one person was right for me.

    I was sold on it before we were halfway through the meeting, but my insurance didn't cover it. So, it took me about 10 minutes to decide to get health care credit to cover it. I think I waited a week to book the actual date so I could get a few friends and family on board, but once I was in that meeting, the nerves were gone.

  3. One of my very good friends had a band, and when I saw how well she did with it, I thought maybe I should check it out. My friend came with me to the seminar, but it wasn't because I was nervous. I would've gone by myself -- I'm generally fearless about things like that.

    I wouldn't say the seminar was a deciding factor. I had already decided I wanted to do it based on my friend's experience and based on what I read online via LBT. The seminar did however cement my choice in surgeon.

  4. My deciding factors (1) when my precious little baby boy only weighed 4lbs, 13 oz at birth, and my doctors made me feel like it was my fault because I was fat! He was small, but healthy! (2) After my pregnancy experience I wanted people to stop judging me because of my weight! (3) At one OBGN visit, the doctor told my husband how much I weighed and I almost curled up into a ball in the middle of the room and cried. I got the lapband 6 months after having my baby! So I will say my pregnancy experience had a profound effect on my decision to get the lapband.

    I was too scared to attend a seminar with a bunch of people so I found a few places that did one-on-one consultations. I signed up after the second consultation!

  5. Mine was very spur of the moment. I was looking online at the hospital's class schedule for something totally different, and I saw that there was a weight loss seminar that night. I didn't have the kids that night and didn't have plans, so I made myself go. I had mulled over weight loss surgery for a couple years but never acted on it.

    I went to the seminar and booked an appt with the surgeon the next day. I saw him within two or three days of the initial seminar and had surgery as soon as I did my three month waiting period!

    (Laugh, that's kind of how I operate. I mulled over divorce for awhile, too, but the day I decided to end it, I filed immediately and scheduled my court hearing for the 91st day after filing (you had to wait at least 90 days). When I'm done screwing around...I'm DONE.

  6. Oh, and yes, the seminar was the deciding factor. I loved my surgeon right from the get-go. He sat there and answered all my questions and was super knowledgable and helpful. I left there knowing I would have it done as soon as possible. Funny, since it hadn't even really been on my radar.

  7. Once I started to ponder WLS, I spent lots of time reading articles and blogs and trying to learn anything I could about it. But somehow, the existence of the seminars totally escaped me for a long time. And when I discovered that I could go MEET possible surgeons and ask questions about crazy crap like insurance and it was FREE and didn't commit me to anything? Yes, please. I didn't have any anxiety about it. I was like a sponge, happy to soak up any info I could get.

  8. I being the stubborn mule I am had already planned on getting WLS. But originally planned on getting the band. The WLS helped me to decide that the band would not be the best tool for me. I was more nervous of walking in and seeing all these skinny biznitches, only to find out that they were all post op! Yup I was signed sealed and delivered after that

  9. I'm self pay...and I don't think insurance covers lapband in Canada (Ontario anyways). So I didn't have to go to a seminar. I just met with someone from the clinic who'd had the band (and lost over 200lbs 5 years ago!). I think if I'd had to go to a seminar with a lot of people, I might not have done it. I was nervous enough as it was.

  10. I'd been waffling about the idea of WLS until I was diagnosed with osteoperosis and my doctor said "when you go for knee replacements, no surgeons will touch you because of your weight. They won't put in the replacements if they know they'll fail." Scared me! She recommended my surgeon, and when I went to the info session I was nervous and very self-conscious, but I was impressed that most of the office's employees along with 2 of the 3 surgeons were there, answering questions. I scheduled my first appointment the very next day.

  11. I went to a seminar for gastric bypass nearly a decade ago, and it scared the crap out of me. Years later, my mom mentioned the band and she asked me to check it out because she was worried about me (I went from 270 pounds to 232 to 292 to 240 and back to 281 within 10 years - I was right around 281 when I went to the band seminar). I looked up the band and went to 2 seminars to find a surgeon nearby. The first one was terrible - it was a support group/seminar and I was made to sit separate from the group and not allowed to speak because I hadn't had surgery. The surgeon wasn't even there. The second one, I met the doctor and the nurse in the practice, everyone loved the doctor, and it was just a happy, inclusive place to be. The doctor had a great reputation and my primary care doc had nothing but wonderful things to say about him, so I made my decision that night.

  12. I didn't go to a seminar - I was too embarrassed. I got a referral from my GP to have a consulatation with the surgeon.

    I have never looked back since!

  13. I couldn't bring myself to face the shame and embarrassment of attending a meeting where people would ::gasp!:: know that I was fat enough for this. I simply watched an "online seminar". It was basically a video of what the surgery is. I already knew in my mind that I wanted the band.

  14. I think that I saw a commercial for LapBand, and then decided to go on their website. After looking around for a bit, I found a doctor near me and went to his seminar. I wasn't actually nervous to go to the seminar, but I didn't tell anyone, even my fiance that I was going. I was too embarrassed to admit that I needed SURGERY to lose weight.

  15. My clinic was doing a give-away of 2 surgeries that was heavily promoted on a local news program. My husband encouraged me to apply. One of the stipulations for entry was to attend a seminar. (I ended up missing the cut-off date for the promotion b/c of family obligations. But went to the next available date.) If I remember correctly a big part of what motivated me was YOU Amy! In my research I found your pics on Lap-band Talk & subsequently found your blog. :) My clinic's before & after gallery was also a factor. As was the features and benefits of the band. (My husband had gastric bypass 2 months prior. I knew that wasn't for me.)

    I was terrified to go because I had to go alone. I have a bit of social phobia & anxiety going into unknown situations like that. The closest seminar was an hour drive one way, and an hour closer to Seattle *shudder* traffic. Someone had to be home with the kids so I went by myself. I walked in alone. (My biggest fear came true. Signage sucked and I almost walked into a frickin' Mary Kay sales person seminar by mistake.) I spoke for myself. Because that promo was over the rush was off; it was just me, one potential patient, the husband of a different potential patient, my surgeon, and the PR lady (also a bandster) from his office. Being able to talk one on one so intimately with my Dr sealed the deal.

  16. What got you to go the weight loss surgery seminar you attended? It was a requirement for the Bariatric program.

    Were you scared or nervous to go? Absolutely not! It was only a seminar after all. For the record, I went twice! After the first one, I never followed through, but I did try hard to give up soda. After the 2nd one, a year or so later, I was serious and had already booked the Primary Care Physician appointment for the day after the seminar!

  17. I went to a seminar for Gastric Bypass about a year and a half ago... I was sold on having WLS since it seemed like a last resort. The weight loss roller coaster was hard to jump off but It was not a long term fix.
    When I met with my surgeon for consultation, he recommended lapband since my problem has always been maintenance after and during loss. So after I researched the band, I liked the adjustibility and I was sold.
    As for fear, I was and still am somewhat afraid that it won't work for me and my last resort will blow up in my face. But so far so good...

  18. I only went because the surgeon required it. I had already decided to have the surgery.
    I was mortified to have to attend. I found it so embarrassing for many personal reasons. It was held at a hotel, if it were at a hospital or other medical facility it may not have been so bad. Personally I could not imagine what other people were thinking about a huge meeting of obese people. I think I was so self conscious that I couldn't even pay attention very well, and I would never have asked a question. But that is just me personally,there were plenty of people there who did not seemed bothered one bit.
    Everyone is different.

  19. I had already knew the information due to my own research. But, I took my husband to the seminar. The seminar made him go from saying no lap band to wanting to know how soon I could get the surgery scheduled!

  20. I went because you can't get an appt. with the surgeon without attending the seminar (mandatory) but now I've been on my surgeon's "sucessful patients" panel to speak at his seminars (even though I'm only halfway done with WL) and it was much different being IN the seminar as opposed to sitting and being a potential patient.

  21. I actually already decided I wanted the surgery before the seminar. I'm an analyst by trade so research is what I do. I had already researched it upside down by the time I went to the seminar that was required by my surgeon. I wasn't nervous at all because I kind of knew what to expect. Dragging my hubby along was more difficult. He was nervous...scared he'd be the biggest one there, etc. I think he only agreed to go to support me but it ended up talking him into the process too.

  22. Well, I was just kinda half-heartedly researching WLS when I came across Catherine's blog and then your's... I've got to say, y'all pretty much sold me on the idea of being banded. I called my insurance the next day and was told that it covered NO WLS. So... Because I'd already made up my mind, I started researching Mexican surgeons. :)

    I did go to a seminar, just because I wanted my husband to see exactly what I was planning, but I think the surgeons in my city might be stupid... In fact, I know they are. They really kinda trash talked the band and said RNY was the way to go. I'm glad I went with Dr. Zapata in Mexico! I know of 2 people here in my town who have had to have their bands re-placed because of stupid surgeons!

    I was nervous to attend the seminar, because I was scared my husband would be totally against the idea-- and since I had already made my mind up, that would DEFINITELY cause some marital strife. :) He still maintains I am perfect no matter what, but I'm down 50 pounds since my surgery last year (SLOOOOOOOOOOW fills--- being banded in Mexico did cause me problems as my band apparently only speaks Spanish and has to be treated differently *eyeroll*) and I'm happy as a clam. :) Especially now that I've hit a sweet spot and my band is much more effective now!

    I'm almost in onederland!!!

  23. What got you to go the weight loss surgery seminar you attended?

    A couple of things. Having two miscarriages prompted me to fix myself. Having been successful hitting a loss of 50lb once then gaining it all back in a year defeated me.

    My mother...I asked her not to nag me. My mother does that sometimes. But she really was behind me from the start.

    You and Cathrine55. I read both blogs from beginning to end last Sept. And I knew I could do this.

    Were you scared or nervous to go?

    I suppose I was nervous. I've never been scared at all. Not once. I think by the time I walked in to the seminar I already knew I would do it. It was more about meeting the staff!

  24. My angle that got me to the seminar was actually Stephanie of dreamingofskinnyhighheels fame. I met her at our daughters gymnastics practice and she told me about her experience. I had thoughts of going that route before, but never "serious" thoughts. After talking to her, she gave me her surgeon's information. I was booked at the very next seminar. I met her at the beginning of August and had my surgery at the end of October 2010. I was not the least bit nervous about attending the seminar, just about getting lost on the way, as I wasn't familiar with the area. I actually walked in about five minutes late, and that I did not like. I was won over immediately by the surgeon (who also attends my church!). And I never looked back!

  25. additionally: this is why I am so open about my surgery. If it weren't for this complete stranger telling me about her experience I never would have had this life saving procedure done. So I am very open about my surgery with people, and have referred several people to my surgeon.

  26. My story is a little backwards because I made at least three appointments and cancelled or didn't show up for the WL Seminars. For all of the reasons you stated... can't fit in a airline seat etc and my life was getting smaller and smaller as I grew of course... larger and larger. Finally when I knew I had the cash co-pay I went with the idea I would be openminded. I KNEW at the seminar that the lapband was for me. Then I stalled again and again and finally 4 months later I just woke up one morning and said ENOUGH. That's it I am starting the process I am having surgery. And I did! But I ended up having the RNY Gastric Bypass and 2 years and 3 months later I am down almost 200 pounds.
    Yes I was hesitant to go and yes, I felt I was the fattest in the room and I dragged my business partner along. But once I got there and saw the larger chairs and the business like but frankly speaking non judging Doctor. I was sold. I think I was also sold on the band and was shocked I eventually chose the more drastic RNY. I was sick of being afraid when a possible solution was just a few thousand dollars and a couple weeks out of work away from me.
    Yeah meeeeeeee!

  27. I thought the lap band would be the perfect, permanent quick fix solution to my head hunger (it's not). That was why I went to my first and last seminar. I was determined and had made up my mind right off the bat.

    My one and only concern was that they wouldn't think I was big enough or that everyone would look at me like "What is this chick doing here?" I hate to admit it now, but at my consultation appointment, I actually sat in the waiting room with my chin as far down as possible to make my double chin a triple chin!!!! UGH! Yeah sad but true.

  28. What made me go?
    Being so sick of the fight. Of being this large and wanting to be able to MOVE again. Wanting to feel good about myself. I am active already- but I feel the consequences in not such good ways. Also, knowing my son is getting old enough for him to realize I'm fat, and being crushed by the idea of that.
    Was I nervous?
    No. I had already made up my mind. For SO LONG, I thought that it was a "weak" choice or an "easy way out." I didn't get it. I needed to get to a place where I was ready to make such a drastic life change for the chance to change my life.
    If only this process wasn't so long!!!

  29. I went because another chubby friend came with me. I knew I definitely wanted to do it as soon as they started talking. My insurance required a 6 month supervised diet (yeah, I haven't done a thousand of them in my time....) which was ridiculous and a stupid program where you had to come once a month, complete a workbook (gee, eating salad and drinking water will make me lose weight? radical!) and get weighed in. I ended up getting the sleeve gastrectomy done overseas without all the crap requirements. I was worried about maintenance and complications with the lap band, plus I travel a lot and was worried about follow up and fills etc. I am totally happy with my decision. I am at 10 months postop and have lost 101 lbs so far. Plan to lose another 15 lbs.

  30. I started looking into the surgery online months before I attended a seminar. My ex-boyfriend had it done a year before me, and he was just doing phenomenally. I had actually bought a gym membership the month before the seminar - after a month of never using it, I came to the realization that this wasn't something I was going to do on my own. I'm a smart, focused career woman who had accomplished much in my short life, but could never quite get over what was going on with my weight.

    So, I called on a Wednesday, was in a seminar on Saturday morning, and doing pre-op tests the next week. I wasn't scared about going to the seminar, but excited that I may finally find something that would help me...when I obviously wasn't helping myself.

  31. After about six years of research on RNY, I went to my pcm and she wanted me to do six months of supervised diet and exercise, and after losing only 20lbs (the math said I should have lost 60lbs) she finally gave me a referral to see the surgeon. After I saw the surgeon, I started going to his support group meetings. So I skipped the seminar.

  32. For over a year I'd been thinking that Lap band surgery would be a great option for me, but I remember mentioning it to one of my doctors who kind of poo poo'd the whole thing so I never brought it up again. Then in late January I went to another of my doctors and while I sat there bitching and complaining about working out and not losing a pound for over four months she said to me "Sweetie, this will be a struggle for you for the rest of your life without some help. Have you ever thought about Lap band surgery?" She referred me that very day.

    I had a whole month to think about it before my seminar day arrived, and I can honestly say that I wasn't nervous or frightened even remotely in that whole time. I could not WAIT to get there! By the end of the seminar I would have followed Dr. Holloway right into the Operating Room if he'd have let me! :D That was March 9th of this year and my surgery was April 12! I've not had a moment's nervousness, fear or regret! I know without even pondering it that this is the very best thing I've ever done for myself!

  33. What made me go...

    2 things. First was the picture my sister posted of me from christmas morning...I was HORRIFIED! The second was talking to a good friend who had bypass surgery. She told me why she did it, what she went through, and it gave me the courage to sign up.

    My insurance will make me wait 6 months, which is fine because I wanted to wait until September and the kids were back in it looks like I will be starting my journey at the end of Nov./beginning of Dec.

    Was I nervous? Does a fat girl love chocolate cake in the dark? I cried through most of it...not sobbing, but the reality of my weight hit me like a ton. I realized that it was the first time in a LONG time that I was putting myself first, not my husband, not my kids, but me. And the nervousness went away after seeing that I was not the largest person in the room. I know that sounds bad, but for years and years I have judged myself by the "Am I the biggest person here" theory. I was less nervous to know that I was not the only one who needed help.

  34. What got you to go the weight loss surgery seminar you attended? One of the biggest, my husband is a photographer and I saw a picture and I thought... Who is that FAT GIRL..Being thin my whole young life, I never had a weight problem(100lbs when i got married 35,22,36 measurments). Then after my second child I decided to get a "real" job in an office and stop waiting tables (which i LOVED). As the year went on I got bigger and bigger. Never having to diet before I didn't know how... I would start a diet only to end in failure time after time. My friend (paula)had the LB surgery the year before and was doing so good I started talking to her about it. Went to the seminar in Aug. and had surg. 11/10/09.
    Was I nervous? Yes, that some one i knew would be in there. I told no one but Paula and her girlfriend (who had LB the same day as me) my husband and boys.

    Now when people ask, i say i exercise and watch what I eat.... i'm 5'2" Starting weight 223, today 151. Now if I could just lose some of the Boobs...

  35. I did not have a attend a seminar. I was able to watch it on-line at the hospital site. Thank goodness, because the year before, when I called and found out I had to attend a seminar, I didn't go. I didn't want to be involved in any big meeting with a bunch of people like myself. I don't know why. When I had to go to the big group weigh-ins during the six month "diet," I was so nervous the first time. Would the scale be right in front of everyone? What would we talk about? (We didn't. We sat to ourselves and read educational packets. The only interaction with others was if we chose to). I have no idea why I built it up to be this huge thing.

  36. My mom had her band surgery in 2007 and lost about 125 lbs. ( many of you met her at BOOBS 1.0!) I convinced her to go with the band rather than bypass, but I wasn't ready to go there myself. I still thought that losing the weight was something I could do on my own. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

    As my 40th b-day loomed, that little fantasy began to unravel and I had to face the fact that "diet and exercise" were not going to save me from myself. Going to the seminar was easy once I knew the surgery would be covered by my insurance. Yep, ever the PRACTICAL one, I started with my insurance company. Then, I went and found a new GP since my old one had moved away. I was very lucky to find one who was supportive of the idea and said she would help me in any way possible, even though I was a new patient.

    I had done so much research prior to calling the insurance company that the seminar was really just a recap for me. Honestly, most of the people there were much larger than me and many of them were in wheelchairs due to various medical complications. That only reinforced my decision- I was there to AVOID those health issues that were waiting for me down the road. I was surprised that the surgeon seemed to be encouraging bypass over the band, I didn't expect that at all. That said, if he had told me that I wasn't eligible for the band, I don't think I would have had surgery at all.

    I was not nervous because I had already decided that this was the path I was going to take and I had a good grip on what the timeframe was going to be. I saw the new GP on November 4, attended the seminar on November 24 and had my first meeting with the nurse practitioner on December 7. I had my surgery 6 months after that.

    FWIW, I live in a really big city and the thought/fear of running into someone I knew never entered my mind.

  37. While I know this is a good 8 months after you originally asked, I just found your blog this week and since I started at the beginning, am just now up to May of last year. I am going to my first seminar on Monday--- in 3 days! I'm going by myself and haven't told anybody but a super close friend at work who is very supportive. I'm nervous, but am very much an obsessive researcher (hence the months on LBT and the reading of your blog from the beginning!) So I am going to my seminar with a full page of questions already in place. I have a friend who did her surgery a year ago at the same place (We have a couple of options in our city) so I'm more so going to "interview the surgeon."

    On another note, I have no idea if you still go back and read comments, but I want to say thank you for all you've put out there. Your blog is real, funny (& sometimes real funny), it is a place where I have gotten a ton of knowledge and a more realistic view of what this tool will do to help me.

    I am mostly one of the loud girls, and teach in the health care arena--- I feel I have a lot in common with you and can only hope that my weight loss will just be another similarity in the future.

    Thank you again!