This was the best
decision of my life


{slider I wanted to get a feel for how you were feeling and what life was like before the procedure, can you tell me a little bit about before you had the gastric band.}
Before I had the gastric banding I was very unhappy.  I was putting on weight and just putting on weight and weight and weight all the time.  I couldn't, this is not happening.
I was very unhappy because I was constantly putting on weight, I couldn't stop it and it doesn't matter, I tried things, I tried lots of different ways of taking off the weight, all the different procedures and nothing worked, absolutely nothing.

{slider That's a good point, maybe elaborate on.  What things did you consider before you had gastric banding?  What procedures did you look into it and how did you do your research? So in terms of other procedures what did you consider or think about before you (1.51)?}
I looked at all the …
I looked at all the different, what were they called, the …
{slider Alternative procedures?}
I looked at the alternative procedures …
I did the diets, I looked at all the stapling and that's it …

{slider Did you think about the gastric sleeve, was that one of the options?}
No, I don't remember hearing about that.
{slider I looked at alternative procedures ...}
I looked at all the alternative procedures of stapling and gastric bypass and I did a lot of diets, all the different diets and everything and ultimately I decided that, actually I saw in a newspaper about the gastric banding and I phoned up to find out about that and I thought that that was the more less invasive procedure and so I followed it up.

{slider And what about, was there a particular moment, you said you were unhappy, what was the day that you said "I'm going to look into doing something now", how did you experience that?}
Well over the years because I had put on so much (weight)I had a stroke and after that I thought that if I was going to keep healthy that I would have to lose the weight because already having a stroke wouldn't have helped me in any way to live longer and I wanted to live longer.

{slider So it was a natural kind of …}
It was just a natural kind of, it was just a natural kind of progression yes, after I had the stroke.  I had five years of therapy again to walk and talk and all the rest of it and then after that I decided if I've got to (keep healthy – from previous paragraph) do it I'm going to do it now.

{slider And in terms of the weight loss, tell us how much weight you've lost.}
I've lost around the 30 kilos and it was, I can't say that it was easy but it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be.

{slider It's not the easiest journey but it's not one they would regret.  So you've lost a lot weight, what do you feel like you can do differently now, how has your life changed overall?}
It's changed a lot.  My life has changed …
My life has changed a lot.  I've done lots of things that I couldn't do before.  I've done a half marathon, I'm just more energetic, yeah, lots of things I can do.

{slider And how did your weight before affect your friends and family versus now, how is your life …}
Before my family, they were worried already because I had had a stroke and the amount of weight that I had on they were worried that it was quite possible that I could very easily have another one.

{slider And now since the weight loss … How about specific things about your weight loss that you couldn't do before and you can do now?}
Some of the things that I couldn't do before were, a lot of times I was out of breath all the time.  I found it hard to do things and I had, at that stage I had one grandchild and I desperately want to run and do things with him and all sorts of things and I couldn't, I simply couldn't because I was just too tired, I always tired but now I can.

{slider And one of the things that we're trying to I guess communicate to people that might be seeing your feel on this, the perception out there is that once you have a gastric band you can't eat anymore, you can't enjoy food anymore and your eating life is over.  What would you say, do you still enjoy food and what foods do you still enjoy?}
I enjoy all my food.  I love food and I can eat anything and I do eat anything but it controls the quantity that I can eat which is a good thing because before I would eat and eat and eat.

{slider So it gives you (8.46).  So I've got in my notes here that you said to (8.55) that feeling normal was really important to you, since the weight loss you've been a lot more normal and you feel like you're fitting in a bit more.  So can you maybe just tell us a little bit more about the difference that you're feeling, what we may call normal.}
Before I had the gastric banding I felt that I was, because I was so overweight I felt out of place, I didn't feel like I fitted in.  I was very self conscious of everything I did and everywhere I went and I just, yeah, I felt out of place but now I feel good, I feel like anybody else.

{slider So feeling the normal thing, how did you feel when you got to realise "okay, I'm totally feeling like (10.33) now", can you tell us more about how you felt or how you feel now in yourself, confident or sociable. Do you feel more confident, do you feel healthier?}
Now I feel a lot healthier, I feel I'm not afraid to go out.  Before I would avoid places, I would avoid going out but now I don’t mind at all and I'm eager to participate in a lot of things that I previously didn't want to do.

{slider Can you tell us what kind of things?}
Some of the things would just be, well just general going out, going out in public, going out socialising.

{slider Being out there.}
Just being out there.

{slider So one of the other things that we're trying to cover with this is a lot of people that are thinking about gastric banding they're afraid that it's a big operation and the recovery time is hideous, you have weeks off work and so on and we feel like that's not necessarily the case.  What was your recovery like, can you just elaborate?}
My recovery from the gastric banding I think was quite good.
{slider You tripped on your words which I've done as well.}
My recovery for the gastric banding was quite good.  I didn't have, I don't feel that I had any problems with the length of time that I had recover, it wasn't, I was surprised that it wasn't a big operation and that it was quite simple, everything was good yeah.

{slider And in terms of the clinic support that you've experienced, another myth we're trying to dispel that a lot of people thinking about it think they're going to have the band and then what, there's nobody to help and I'm not going to feel supported and I'm not going to know what to do.  How did you experience visits, following up and so on, can you tell us a bit more about that?}
With some of the follow up visits it was quite good, I didn't have any problems, they were very good, they were always there.  Any time I had any questions they were always there to answer anything I needed and yeah, I just didn't, they were all yeah.
{slider Do you feel there's a link between the follow up and your weight loss, do you feel that the success of your weight loss is anything to do with the continued follow up?}
The weight loss for the follow up was, it was very good in the sense that initially, in the first I would say maybe in the first month or so it was good, it was good that when I went there they were always there to support me and when it was a little bit hard and I sort of thought "no, I can't do this", in the end I could.

{slider Could I get you to retake a little bit about the stroke, because it is so important I think.  There tends to be a light bulb moment for everybody that goes for the lap band "okay, this is the point I've got to really do something about my weight".  Are you able to tell us in short way "once I had the stroke I knew that that was a massive risk to my health, I had to sort out my weight".}
Once I had my stroke I thought, well at that stage while I was in hospital even then I was thinking "oh this is great, I can lose some weight while I'm in here, in the hospital" but it didn't happen and then I got home and then I had the long recovery and after that I thought "I've just to go do this, one way or the other I've got to do this otherwise I'm just not going to see my grandkids, I'm not going to do lots of things that I wanted to do and I have to do, I have to get it off, some way I have to get it off".
{slider And you're obviously enjoying life now.}
I am enjoying life very much, yes, I am.  I can do a lot of things.  My eating, the eating is not a big deal anymore, I love, I eat what I want.  I don't, I eat in smaller portions which is, and I don't miss it anymore.

{slider Can I ask you a little bit about the weight loss?  Did you have goals and did you reach them and thought "yeah, yeah, I'm really on my journey now" or did you some dawning moments "excellent, I can get into these trousers now or I can do something I didn't do before".  How was that?}
With my weight loss I …

{slider We were talking just now about goals and so on and you said you didn't really have a particular goal.}
I didn't have any goals, all I wanted to do was get my weight off.  I then reached a certain point where I felt I was comfortable and then it seemed hard, not harder to get it off but it wasn't going down as fast anymore as it was before initially but although I suppose my goal weight I haven't reached, I'm happy.  I'm happy where I am and yeah, if a little bit more comes off that's good.

{slider Going back to the (18.15) about the running, so can you tell us more about your running.}
My running was, I think I was turning 50 and I thought "if I'm ever going to do", I loved running, I always loved running and I thought "if I was ever going to do a marathon or half marathon I would do it when I turned 50".  So I worked towards that goal and I did the half marathon and during that time too to prepare myself, you can't sort of just go in and run it straight away, I did little ones, I did, what do they call them, the three, the triathlons, I did some triathlons and just ran some 10ks and some 5ks together with hubby and that's it.
{slider So would you say you've been able to enjoy something else with your husband that you could never do before?}
Yes.  We do a lot of things now together where I couldn't do before, I found it hard to do before and now it's no, yeah, no big deal.

{slider The other thing that I'm interested in which I haven't asked anyone else yet is adjustments.  Also one of the perceptions is that going in for adjustments of the gastric band is a bit of pain and it's a horrible experience.  How do you go with adjustments?}
The adjustments are a piece of cake.  There's no pain, it's in, out, a couple of minutes and that's it.

{slider So they're not a problem?}
They're not a problem at all, no.

{slider Thank you for doing this first of all, I know it wasn't planned.}
It's a pleasure.

{slider Just wanted to find out your thoughts and what you've noticed in your wife since the gastric band and the differences in her.}
The changes were slow at first but ultimately became quite incredible.  She changed from an overweight, I guess even obese person to someone who suddenly has reacquired a new grasp for life.  She started to shed weight dramatically, she started to interact with the family particularly our grandkids which she found difficult to do before she had the gastric implant put in.  We went out with grandkids but she would sit there quietly, I'd play with them.  You could see the frustration in her because she couldn't run with them, couldn't play with them as such, not actively anyway.
After the procedure and not too long after at all the change was amazing, you could see the joy she was getting out of it because she could now interact with the grandkids much more actively and she was just a totally changed person.
{slider And in terms of confidence I guess what have you noticed?}
The confidence that exudes from her now, she's always been a very determined lady but her determination was really hampered by the weight.  Once the weight got off the confidence came back, the determination kicked in again and the things she did from thereon in was just absolutely amazing.

{slider And what about things you enjoy that you can do more of together now, she's mentioned the running already.}
Yes, she managed to drag me in as well into long distance running.  As she's already indicated she achieve a lifelong goal pretty much in running a half marathon.  We've run a number of 10 kilometre runs.  She's been involved in triathlons, we go bike riding now which she couldn't do before.  The list goes on and on but it's totally changed our lives.

{slider If you could say something "for anyone who's thinking about having the procedure it's completely changed our lives again for the better and I'd recommend it for anyone else".}
Yes, I'd certainly recommend this procedure.  It took us quite a while to make the decision for Baiba to do it and ultimately it was her decision but for anyone out there I think apart from the fact that having looked at the range of different options they had to this surgical lap band was by far the least invasive, it required the least amount of time in hospital and the ability to be able to get in and start the weight loss that people so desperately need was far, far quicker I believe than any of the other procedures and look I'd highly recommend it, highly, couldn't speak well enough about it.

{slider Baiba, can we have something of you saying a similar thing but with your husband with you in this shot, could you perhaps tell us "I'd recommend it to anybody, it's changed our lives".}
Yes, it's changed my life definitely.  For me it was the best thing I ever did and yeah.


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