Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Weight Loss Surgery Discussion

Well I mean, sometimes this blog is about weight loss surgery isnt it?  So I have been wondering a few things and have often thought "Damn...if only I had access to a community of weight loss surgery readers"...

and then I realized....

I DO.

However, this will require some of you to actually comment.  And truuuuust me, TRUST ME, I do a lot more blog reading than I do actual commenting, but I need actual comments this time.

COMMIT.

I want to throw a term out there for you to "react" to.  I want to know what you think about when you here the term "AFTERCARE" in reference to your surgery (you don't have to be a bandster to respond, any kind of WLS). 

First, is the term aftercare one that you have ever heard or used? If so, in what context.

Second, if we think of aftercare as the follow-up care required by your surgery, do you think that the "Aftercare" of lapband patients, the fills, follow-up visits, etc...has a negative connotation?  Do people considering WLS balk at the thought of having to get fills and adjustments? Or do you think that the idea of fills is a selling point for the band?

I will share with you my answers. 

#1.  I have never heard of our follow up care as aftercare.  This is not a term used at my doctors office, on my blog, or seemingly anywhere that I have been paying attention to.  I use the term post-op to refer to everything that is included in the care required for my band.

#2.  People who have chosen gastric bypass over lapband have said to me "I didn't want to have to get fills for the rest of my life"...and in that sense, it was a con on their list.  For me, it was a PRO.  I loved the idea of being able to work with my doctor, for the life of my band, to determine what was the right restriction level.  It can be frustrating when you are searching for restriction, or when you get too tight...but still....you can determine what your "normal" is.  And I like that.  I like that a lot.

So there you go.  Not a difficult assignment for a Thursday morning.  I just wanted to get a pulse check and to see if I was really out of the loop with such a term.

Thanks star students! 

29 comments:

  1. When I had my band fitted it came with one years "aftercare" package included in the price - so I made sure I fitted in as many fills/unfills/little visits to the cute surgeon for pep talks,in that first year as possible. And they definitely calld it "aftercare" (I just looked on their website to doubelcheck.)

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  2. I definitely thought the choice for aftercare was a plus... I know some people don't want a high maintenance surgery, but I prefer it. If you lose your sweet spot, you can search for it again... if you stretch your pouch, there are pouch tests and unfills... completely customizable. Yay!

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  3. I really don't think my doctor's office uses the term "aftercare" but it fits.
    I prefer the hands on, I choose what level I need to be at approach. It is part of the reason I choose the band over other options.

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  4. I have heard of he term "aftercare" but don't think it is used in my surgeon's office (if so, not that I have noticed or picked up on). Hmmm...the post-op adjustments (or "aftercare") were neither a deterrent nor a selling point for me. Mostly, I chose the band because it was the most minimally invasive route to take, and I did not want to have a permanent chopping & rerouting of my innards.

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  5. I have not heard nor used the term 'after care' in relation to WLS. For me, the fills of lapband were a definite negative, but I was more squeeked out by the thought of something foreign in me. But honestly, I didn't really give the band too much consideration at all. When I heard about the sleeve, it just popped into my head as the right thing for me. I'm a go with my instincts girl, haha.

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  6. I've heard the term, but I don't think my office used it. I don't think it's a bad thing at all. I can't imagine having WLS and then being set free in the world, totally on my own. I fully think that my routine check-ins help keep me motivated because i know someone is keeping an eye on me.

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  7. For lapband, I think the term "aftercare" is more fitting than "post-op" because people typically think "post-op" is literally just that (like it will eventually go away or is temporary). I had the sleeve and I only considered "post-op" in my vocabulary until I recovered from surgery and my incisions were healed because I didn't need any further procedures. Even though I received some nutrition counseling, it was all on me to decide what I put in my mouth and I don't consider that "aftercare".

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  8. I have heard of aftercare before. I've had several surgeries and aftercare was always used..

    I was told by my dr. that I would come and see him 3 to 4 a yr for the rest of my life.. I liked that I was being held accountable for my action and I was being cared for and monitored.. The band is just a tool for me to use, but I have to do the work to make the band work. I have a range of ppl ( thru his office ) to work with. I have a dietician, an excercise specialist, group meetings, nurses, Pa, and a many others.. I was banded on Feb 8th so I haven't had a fill yet. My first appt with the dr for that is 28th of March

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  9. 1. I've heard of aftercare in those terms, specifically in some materials on my doctor's website. They talked in terms of "five years of aftercare" related to fills and such. When I think about it, I think more about the time immediately following surgery - when I'm going to need someone to help me get out of the really high bed, for instance.

    2. I think that the aftercare related to fills and follow-ups is awesome and a positive aspect of the band.

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  10. Like Justine, my band came with an 'aftercare' package for 2 years. It includes surgical follow ups, monthly fills (including xray fills if necessary), dietician visits and advice lines.

    I think it's just a case of different words from different places.

    I think the having to find the right level is a pain in the bum. I wish I could just know the right level and have it set there. On the other hand, I love that it can be adjusted to find the right level when you aren't quite right and if life circumstances change.

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  11. I agree with you on #2. I just got a fill yesterday and it was because I realized I was struggling and not doing it on my own. And then I thought, well, duh, I have a Lap-band and I can get an adjustment. I knew pre-op that my enthusiasm would wax and wane and I wanted an option that could be "re-charged".

    I know several long-term (5+ years)RnY patients who have gained much of the weight back and there's not a damn thing they can do except another revision which would alter the way they eat forever.

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  12. My doc doesn't call it aftercare, we call it follow up. I have had very few adjustments, but that was a big selling point for me. I didn't want to be five years in and gain everything back and be left with no options. I have felt frustrated at times by the fact that I haven't reached my goal yet, but I have lost over 50% if my excess weight which evidently is right in line with expectations for lap band patients.

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  13. I've heard the term but my surgeon doesn't use it. I also saw the fills as a benefit to this surgery not as a detriment!

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  14. I've never heard the term aftercare, but once you said it, I knew what it would mean.

    Friends of my who had bypass surgery said the very opposite -- that they wished they'd gotten the band because they could adjust it as needed!

    The adjustability of the band was a MAJOR pro for me, because I knew I wanted to have children, and I wanted a tool that I could be sure wouldn't get in the way of nourishing my babies. I don't feel like going in for an adjustment is burdensome at all -- it's a life-saver!

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  15. 1) I have heard the term after care for other surgeries, but it has not been used for Lap-Band for me at all. Like you, it's never come up. I consider adjustments to be apart of the lifestyle chanage that I made, not some after care of a surgery I had.
    2) Adjustments were a HUGE selling point for me. My best friend had RNY when we were in college and she was very successful at it, at first. But since healing is all over, there's no medical staff support and she struggles with her weight and decisions to this day. I know we all do, but I like that I have the option to have an adjustment when needed and have lifetime support from my surgeon and his staff.

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  16. 1)I haven't heard of the term aftercare before.
    2)When I first looked into WLS, the adjustment ability of the band was a plus for me. I thought it would be wonderful to continually adjust my weight loss ability as my body needs it. In reality, I live almost an hour and a half from my surgeon, and I can't see having to go there frequently for fills and unfills. I do enough driving as it is.

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  17. Great post! :) Great responses! You know my thoughts on this already. LOL

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  18. 1) Yeah, the term is familiar but in my little work it referred to caring for the incisions, limiting lifting, use of pain relievers and dealing with gas pain. It ended before the first fill. Adjustments are something else entirely.
    2) I like the idea of adjustments. For me, it was a selling point. If I ate too much, I could get a fill. If I barfed too much, I could get an unfill. If I got pregnant (God FORBID!) I could get an unfill. To me, it was part of the reversibility of the band, and I wanted it. And this is coming from someone who was self pay and will be responsible for shelling out for the cost of any fills after my 90-day post-op period. But it gives us so much control over our own journey that I can't imagine going without it.

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  19. My doctor called it aftercare. I didn't think of it (and don't think of it now) in a negative connotation. I also think that aftercare is a great thing! One of the things I tell anyone considering a band is to find a doctor that is into aftercare.

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  20. Ok, so first off, I think the term aftercare is more widely used for Mexico patients, like myself. I really don't hear American doctors use that term at all.

    Secondly, I think my opinion is from a unique situation, seeing how the reason I haven't been successful with my band for the past year+ post op was because of lacking aftercare, 100%. I've said it before and I will say it again, I firmly believe the whole reason I haven't been "successful" with my band is my issue with aftercare.

    More on that - now that I am about to be a revision patient to the VSG, I DEFINITELY view the fact that I will have basically no requirement for aftercare (besides the occasional blood panels to check for deficiencies) a HUGE PRO to me having this surgery.

    There's so many different ways you can look at this all, because each individual case is different.

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  21. I do not have a lap band nor have I had WLS. The aftercare (which I have heard of) was a turn-off for me because it required so many visits to the doctor thereafter and it just sounded too intense for my lifestyle.

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  22. It's referred to as aftercare with my medical provider. I've always referred to it that way, too... post-op seems like taking care of the incision, etc. Aftercare is the follow-up.
    For me, it is a big part of the accountability. In order to be approved for ANY WLS where I went, you have to agree to the follow-up. But, insurance covers it, too, so that is nice. Also have to meet with dietician (who I lie to about drinking soda!) and the fill nurse, check weight, etc. It's a bonus but I thought it was a drawback when I was doing the research. So much of this is the mental work and not just the surgery. I think having the aftercare helps promote the mental work.

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  23. Mu doc calls them follow ups, and to be honest I found the fills a plus for me. I like the idea that I can have the band be adjusted if it is not quite right.

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  24. I have a band (put in 9/1/11), and for me:

    1 - I have never heard that term, either at my doctor's office or on blogs. Like you, I use the term post-OP.

    2 - For me, that was one of the reasons I decided to go with the band. I liked the fact that the fills allowed it to be tailored specifically to my needs, and would also allow it to be adjusted as my needs change. I liked the idea of it being a tool, and just like any other tool, it could be adapted to work as I need it to work. For me, that made it fit better with what I wanted in terms of a lifestyle change. It is a regular reminder to me that I need to *work* to make this work, that I can't take anything for granted. A year ago, I was utterly inactive - no exercise, ate anything I wanted, was a horrible binge eater (I'd go all day without eating because I was busy at work, and then eat a massive, unhealthy meal when I got home in the very late evening). Now, I work out with a trainer 3x per week, plan my meals and plan for sensible snacks, shop happily on a regular basis, and make a point of doing SOMETHING every day, to be active. I see my doctor for follow-up/fills every 6 weeks, and that's just another "beam" in the structure I have added to my life, to get and stay healthy.

    And so far, it is really working out for me. I was officially 80 lbs down on Monday. :)

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  25. I've heard the term aftercare for WLS, however up to this point, my post-op appointments have been called "adjustments". I just passed my six month bandiversary. After my five month check-up and fill, I have found that I am in the green zone, and don't think I will need to have to many more fills or adjustments for a while. So, I think my appointments will be called "check-ups" from now on.

    The decision for WLS and for getting a lap-bad was a huge commitment for me, as the clinic/hospital that did my surgery and does my follow-ups is a 3 1/2 hour drive one way for me.

    My surgeon actually doesn't even live in the state, he has his main practice in Texas, and only travels to New Mexico for 10 days out of the month. So, I only saw the surgeon for the initial consultation, the day of surgery, the day after surgery, and five days after surgery. The rest of my appointments and care has been handled by clinic nurses and staff members.

    Having this surgery, though, has been THE best decision of my entire life. I like having the follow-up care, because it keeps me accountable, and I have a resource that I can get feedback from, and ask questions and get assistance.

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