This was the best
decision of my life


{slider What was your particular influence that made you go "okay, today I'm going to take some action"?}
I didn't even know about …

{slider So going from what was the day you kind of decided.}
Yeah, so I didn’t even about the banding process as an option and my older brother had actually said "oh if I had the money I would" and I sort of went "really, what does that mean" and he told me about it and went "well don't be lazy, you can run, so go run" but in the back of my mind I thought "I can't".  And I made a phone call and I was done, the minute he had said it and I was able to Google it I was done, yeah, the decision made.

{slider What other procedures did you consider before?}
Not at all.  I became the home medic as most people do and the Google boys who know everything.  I did that, I watched the procedure via YouTube, nothing bad there, saw all the gooey bits, that was pretty cool and I made the phone call.  And I wasn't going to get trapped in it because I'd already sat on couch for two years, I was done.  What I needed was the salvation and if it was going to be as easy as this, I was in, there was no going back.  In fact John was away at the time, I made the phone call and said "hon, I'm just going to spend this amount of money" and he went "sure you are, how come" and then he was like "are you sure you want to spend that amount of money on this", "yes" and "what about this" and I went "I don't know".  He said "well what are the risks", "I don't know", "well what if something goes wrong", "well then I'll be fat still, so I'm good".  And he's like "but that's okay then, can it come out", "yeah, if I want to", "what if you want to have another baby", "I don't want another baby", "what if you want to", and I went "well then they'll put it on again or they'll put it in again, I've had other cosmetic surgeries, I've had surgery, we're good, yeah, I'm going to spend the money" and he went "yeah, spend the money, it's not the money I'm worried about".  So we did.  After I made the phone call and made the appointment with the doctor's surgery they said "okay, so when would you like it done" and I said "Thursday" and they sort of looked at me and went "pardon", I went "Thursday, if you can get me in to do it on Thursday because I'm busy, my mum can come up for Friday, Saturday, Sunday and nurse me through the post operation" and then I'll be right because it says through all the information a couple of days bed rest and only if you're a big sook you probably get up.  But if your mum is going to come up and be nurse maid to you, you may as well be a big sook and have a couple of days.  So it was good and she sort of looked at me and went "you might need another week", "then next Thursday but it's got to be a Thursday".  And so we went from there.  The surgeon sort of asked me questions and I want "I don't have any questions for you" and he said "well you must have one" and I said "okay, well is your knife sharp because I've seen you on YouTube, I don't have any questions, you're the expert, put it in".

{slider So your research was online then, could we have you say "I did a lot of research online".}
I did a lot of research online, I watched and read about the doctor's work and other doctor's work and other procedures done both in Australia and overseas, why, what the results were, what the risks were and the stories.  Like a lot of people who had had it done had blogs and so you could follow their personal stories or you could follow the doctors and what I was really impressed with was that the marketing staff that you could tell was professionally done, lined up with the staff that was personal and there wasn't a lot of difference.  And that's not going to happen in a lot of marketing sales pitches.  That's what I was looking for, I was looking for the gap and there wasn't a lot.

{slider In terms of other procedures, so you did your research … Was there any consideration of the sleeve (4.55), have you have heard of that or did you choose the gastric band over that for a reason?}
I only knew about bypass and the band, I didn't know about the sleeve until actually recently and I just, I liked the versatility, I liked the flexibility because I thought I was younger, we all think we're young, I thought "well what other options" and I like that about the band.  Whereas if you bypass and I understand that bypassing is the choice for many people, for me it just seemed too final.  Whereas the band gave me the option that if I ever got better with my disorder and I could eat a whole meal without passing out at the dinner table and people thinking I'd had too much drink, then possibly I could do that or if we were going to luxuriate on a cruise ship somewhere I could pop into the doc and say "I'm about to have long term food holiday, let me eat and then I'll be back".  Like I wanted that flexibility in my life because I didn't want it to be a restriction on our lifestyle, didn't want it to be a restriction on John and Mary.  It just had to be, it had to fit with our life choices and what we do.

{slider And what about the things that you can do now?  So we've talked about what you couldn't do and your restrictions when you were overweight, what about now, tell me about the improvements to your life.}
First six months were awesome.  The improvement to my disorder and to my lifestyle it was awesome, there was no restriction.  I drive again now whereas I'd spent two years without driving.  I can attend and volunteer, I can work again, I'm not babysat all the time.  I don't go to a rock concert and I don't go shopping on a Saturday morning because those sorts of crowds and things could trigger an episode.  But anything else is taken, thought about and done.  So there are no restrictions.  We know our triggers as a family, so now we look at it and say "yeah, we could do that" because now we can say "we could do that maybe for two hours but not be there the whole time".  I can walk, I can go for a walk, we got to the beach, I can play and go on roller coasters, I actually fit in the chair of the rollercoaster (7.26).  That's pretty awesome, I'm not overflowing on a seat anymore.  When we fly there's no restrictions there, there's no excess baggage to pay for, I don't need a twin seat.  There isn't anything I can't do.  I can dance again.  Life is back, the vivacious, bubbly part of me that got lost in this huge identity crisis, I've got me back because I put a band in.

{slider One of the things that we often hear from people considering gastric banding is "my life is going to be over with food, I can't eat food again, I'm going to miss this, I'm going to miss that".  I'm going to try and hopefully dispel the myth that … So we're trying to hopefully dispel the myth that you can't eat any foods that you enjoy.  What kind of foods do you enjoy since you've had a gastric band?}
I don't not eat anything.
Look I eat all sorts of foods all of the time and the restrictions I place on what goes into my mouth are my own choices, so I'm still careful about what I eat and when I eat and how I eat but when you've been a dieter for so long you're doing that anyway.  I also have a little girl and therefore it's important that I have a healthy relationship for food so that she sees a healthy relationship with food.  So yeah, we have shepherd's pie and we all shepherd's pie and we eat teddy bear biscuits but we don't eat a packet by myself and a packet for her to share.  Like I have two teddy bear biscuits with a cup of tea like a normal person or a chocolate biscuit or something like that or a bar or, I don't know, when you're having a special treat you're having a special treat, otherwise you're eating all the foods that you want to eat, you're just not binge eating anymore.  I don't eat for comfort anymore.  I have other values and avenues to seek out that personal feeling of satisfaction but I'm not starving and I taste everything and I like food, I'm still a foodie.  I'm still a fan of buffets, because everyone goes "get a lap bad in, you can't do all the you can eat", well it's all you can eat, all I can eat is a little bit and I feel like a food critic because I have a tablespoon of absolutely everything that they put out and then I want to taste everything because I'm not gorging anymore, I taste everything.

{slider What about the weight loss, so how much have you lost and what were your goals and how did you achieve that?}
Although we had a weight loss number at the end in the couple of years since, just the numbers are real important anymore, so yes, we had a number and I got to, I think within two kilos of that number.  So every now and again I think "oh two kilos" but no big deal, my clothes fit, I look really nice but my clothes fit, clothes that were fitting and don't.  Mary and I wore a pair of shorts from pre-surgery together, so she got into one leg and I got in.

{slider If you could say "my daughter and I" on that one.}
So my daughter Mary and I got into a pair of shorts together for Halloween.  Those things make me extremely happy.  Goal weight wasn't very far away.  It's winter now so I've got my winter coat on, that's because I want to eat baked potatoes and heavy soups and things like that but it will go away and it's not 20 kilos over the three months of winter.  So my clothes look good.  You don't worry about the number anymore, I don't get on the scales all the time, I'm not chasing down a number and you are so much more comfortable buying clothes because you know the textile markets are messed up, something is a 12 and something is an 11, the stuff from America is a 10, stuff from America is a 8, like if you want to get really pedantic.  But there's no way, I could be a 12 or a 14, I don't care, half the time I don't know and I don't want to know.  Put it on, looks good, it's all good.  Whereas when I was pre-banded I cut those bastards out.  I was cutting those tags out because there's no way …

{slider Before my gastric band I was cutting the tags out.}
So before my gastric band I was cutting the tags out of my clothes because I just didn't want to know what number I was wearing, whereas afterwards and now that I've lost 30 odd kilos, I'm good, I don't care what it says.

{slider How you're seen now by your friends and family. So friends and family.}
So I have friends on the Gold Coast who knew me pre-band and now and they just think it's awesome.  I have one friend who sort of went through, not went through the process with me but stayed with me and she was so funny, she loves going out to eat with me because she just eats everything I don't eat but she's a (13.35) so she's just like that.  Whereas when I go down and visit family, they're all in Melbourne, it's almost like "really, that's all you're going to eat" because they haven't been part of the everyday journey, so they kind of want to feed you but that's okay too because that's cultural, in my family you're eating, you're talking, you're celebrating, that's how life is, it's all around the kitchen table.  They get used to it but at the end of the day they think "well don't waste the money, don't cook for her, she's good".  Got to make sure that the babies get fed and go "well you can have the leftovers".  They're coming to terms with it in each of their own ways and you just help them.  I'm still me so they're just looking at it going "well if you're happy we're happy, it's all good".  Like all families and friends they worry when you're going for surgery and then you come out and the surgery is over in what, a couple of hours, and you're just doing this and they think it's such a big drama.  Well it's not.

{slider Can I touch on that a little bit because a lot of people think that they're going to be laid up in bed for quite a long time, so in terms of your experience maybe you can sort of, in a short way tell us "after the procedure I was able to walk around within X amount of time, I left the hospital the next day".}
I wanted to leave the hospital after …

{slider After my procedure …}
After my procedure I really wanted to get up and go home but I had to say in the hospital for a little while longer and I had one day where I think really to appease my mum who'd come from Melbourne to see us on the Gold Coast, I stayed in my pyjamas and in bed and had that and then I was up and about.  There wasn't a lot of discomfort, I wasn't stressed out by anything, I didn't need a fulltime carer or anything, it was in, it was simple, virtually pain free, a little bit of scaring, not that anyone is going to see that and I was done and I was on this journey, this journey to where I am now which is wonderful.

{slider So in terms of the support network and the follow up and so on, how have the regular visits, the follow up, affected your weight loss, do you think that there's a good link there (16.09)?}
I don't doubt it …
The follow up process and everything that's available, the support services, the dietician, the information, all of those things I had.  So it's really hard to say without it I would have because I had it and I used it and I wasn't afraid to pick up the phone and say "I don't understand this or why did this happen or why is it yesterday I could do this and today I can't" and everybody so was helpful.  So I can't really say that it wasn't or it was because for me it was crucial, because there wasn't anybody else to call and ask so I would.  But you've got to use everything available to you to make this a success.  This isn't a short termer, this is the rest of my life.  So I used it all and it was fantastic and yeah.

{slider And in terms of your overall mood, you seem like a (17.15) person to me, how would you describe yourself since?}
I'm back.  That's I guess is what I say to people a lot is that I'm back.  See I was bubbly and happy and vivacious and loud, talk loud to a crowd, wanted to know everybody and I'd get around and I'd want to know and then I got sick and I got heavy and then heavier and then heavier and I didn't.  I don't know who that person was, she was despondent and sad and lonely and not out and about and nobody to visit and then that eats at other relationships and makes you less a person and then I discovered this.  I went in, made the demand "we're doing it on a Thursday, we'll be out by the Friday, I'm going to travel a week later, we're going to do this" and the girls in the office sort of went "sure we are, let's fit it all around you" and then I was back.  And the weight starting fall off and I could get out, I could check the mail by myself, I could walk the dog, I could cook dinner without injury and dinner, you're allowed to do food after a lap band, it's really amazing.  And welcome back, that's what I say to people is that I'm back and I'm happy.

{slider Maybe just describe how it's affected your family life.}
The cultural thing?

{slider Well your personal family life, so perhaps touch on how you can do more with your daughter, go for a walk with your husband, however it's affected your immediate family, maybe just give us a brief overview of that.}
Family life since lap band is so much better.  My husband is an outdoorsman and although I don't like being dirty very much, I couldn't be involved before and now I can and now we can, we dance and Mary, who's 7 has got to be in love with JB because all 7 year olds in love with him but we can dance, we can do things around the house together.  We can play in the garden, we can go for a walk together and play on the beach.  I've been on the swings.  I'm not the pusher anymore, I sit right beside her and go "come on, let's see who's going to go higher".  I fit down the (20.10), ever the whirly one.  These are awesome things that I can do as a mum but even just by myself, for me I can do it and that's awesome because you know the saying "if mum ain't happy nobody is" and in my house that, because I'm the big personality and that's true now, we are happy, we can do things together and we can get out and about and be together because I am not anchoring them down.

{slider Can I just get you to say the beginning bit "life after the gastric band", whatever you said at the beginning, I'd just like to use the same piece but with the gastric band.}
Life after gastric banding has been …

{slider Family life after gastric banding has been …}
So life after the gastric banding procedure has been awesome.  Everything that we want to do now is on the table, we can do everything and anything we want to do together as a family or just me by myself, me.


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