Tuesday, April 19, 2011

For what it's worth - my take on the 'Battle of the Bulge' story on 60 minutes 17.4.2011

Here are my thoughts (for what they’re worth) on the segment that was shown on ’60 minutes’ on Sunday the 17th April 2011. For those of you who missed it and are interested in watching it, follow this link… http://sixtyminutes.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=8237466

Like a lot of fellow bandits, I was really excited to watch this segment as I was hoping that it would have a positive spin on lap banding and how it benefits those who have the procedure done. I thought it would give an insight into the life of a bandit. The ins and outs of what you have to go through before Surgery, the aftercare, the dedication, commitment, hard work and sheer discipline that goes into making what to according to dietician, Louise Adams thinks is ‘just a piece of plastic’ work.

The segment started with Chantel’s ‘last supper’. Yes, most Bandits that I know have had a last supper but this has been before enduring 2 (or in most cases more) of Optifast. This is why we enjoy our last meal – because we know that we are going to have to stay dedicated and strong to get through the weeks to come. My last meal was a Steak. From memory, I couldn’t even eat the whole lot. I felt as though the segment neglected to advise of her pre surgery requirements. The appointment with a dietician, the psychologist (which most people tend to see), the dietician, the sleep specialist (if required), the chest X Ray, the blood tests – it makes it out to be that she had her Pizza and spaghetti feast and woke up the next day to go in and have Surgery.

I am not sure why lap banding is so controversial. It has been a procedure that has been developed from non adjustable bands from the late 1970s and in the early 1980s, research began on the first adjustable band. Doctor O’Brien (who I admire very much) agreed with Ray’s statement that it is a controversial procedure and says “I think obesity surgery, has always been controversial. There is something about operating to help people lose weight which somehow feels wrong I think to people. It's not perfect. But it's better than any option we have!”. I don’t see it as being any more controversial than someone who has big ears getting them pinned back for the fact that they aren’t comfortable with how they look or someone getting their nose straightened so that they can breathe better. This procedure is used to increase the individuals health and quality of life as are many other surgeries that aren’t, for whatever reason, viewed as being as controversial.

In the transcript, they use the words controversial and common in the same paragraph pretty much. I agree that it may be seen as some to be ‘extreme’ however, when this was said to me by a total stranger, I advised them that I considered dying at the age of 30 with 4 young Children was extreme. I (as do many) think that having fluctuating weights and putting unnecessary pressure on our hearts and other organs as extreme.

I was concerned at the fact that so many young people consider this as an option. My eldest Son is 12 and he does need to walk a bit more and watch what he eats but that’s my responsibility. I can’t help the fact that sometimes he sneaks food into his room or buys things from the Canteen at lunch time without me knowing but, in the end, it’s up to me to educate him on what’s right and what’s wrong and encourage him to exercise and eat right. And I encourage him by doing it with him and setting an example. I might be slammed for what I’ve said here but, it’s just my opinion. I don’t think someone is at the right age emotionally to make such a huge decision when they’re 13. And I don’t even think they’ve grown into their skin at that age! I do agree that there are exceptions to this.

I do often say to my kids they need to watch what they eat as I don’t want them to go through what I’ve had to go through. Not the surgery – that was simple compared to the 30 years that lead me to have the Surgery. Being bullied EVERY DAY at School, feeling different everywhere I went, not being able to do things that other people can do, being held back because of my weight… it’s been hell. And it’s been hard. And I am happy that I am finally on the way to being healthy.

I was shocked that she left an hour after her Surgery. I was still in outer space an hour after my surgery! It took me ages before I even got up after my Surgery and I only did it because I had to go to the toilet! I had a chest X Ray in the morning, Dr Winnett came around to see how I was going, I didn’t need to have a barium swallow but a lot of people do. My wounds were checked to make sure they weren’t red around the outsides of the dressings or anything like that and I was given anti biotics and pain medication to take home. I wouldn’t recommend lap band as day surgery unless you’re first cab off the rank at 6.30am and you go home late in the evening. You never know how you’re going to feel once the pain killers wear off.

I was also worried about her comment at the end about the pizza. You go girl, eat the pizza if you’d like but, the crust will get stuck and you’ll vomit and that’s why your surgeon recommended that you don’t eat it. It wouldn’t be due to the nutritional value (or lack of) in the pizza that Dr O’Brian is concerned about, it’s the fact that he knows the crust will get stuck. Another thing that you need to do when you have lap band – you need to LISTEN TO YOUR SURGEON. They’re only interested in what’s best for you. And if crust doesn’t get stuck in the band, I am sure that they’d be all for it.

I think that this segment would have been great and informative and even possibly helpful if they had have covered some of the things that I mentioned. I just worry that the audience who watched this may have gotten the wrong impression about lap band and they may not realise how committed you have to be. It is a life long commitment. Not just something you get ‘installed’ and it works itself. I am happy that they showed her exercising but they didn’t show her chewing each morsal of food hundreds of times before swallowing it or the fact that there are some things that simply won’t go through the band.

Either way, if this segment has inspired someone to look into getting lap band, I am pleased as if it’s something they’re eligible for and it’s the right option for them after everything else has failed, it’s good to know that they’re going to take that first step to find a healthier them.

Here are some other links from Doctor Paul O’Brien that I have found helpful in the past…

Part 1 of the ‘8 golden rules’ of lap band http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qa3Lwt6ElIs&playnext=1&list=PL81029F56DF22EA4A

Part 2 of the ‘8 golden rules’ of lap band http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4jYJipQ7vc&feature=related

He has also written a very simple and easy to use book on lap banding – it is the bible of lap banding! Careful where you purchase it from because I’ve found it ranging from $10 - $80. The title of the book is called ‘The Lap Band solution’. Here’s the link to the website about the book http://www.thelapbandbook.com/index.html but as I said, it varies in price – Amazon are selling used copies from $2 and I bought mine from my Surgeon for $15.

And here is some extensive information on lap band from Wikipedia which is what I used as a resource when writing this blog…



  1. I wasn't impressed with what I saw the other night either. It was not a true account of what happens. She looked great though.

  2. i think alot of the negative slate on lap banding comes from people who dont get a real insite as to how people got so big as to need it done in the first place. alot of people just think its a lazy solution for lazy people because they dont know what goes into the before duringa and afters of it. i unforunately had one of these views until i studied about it at university and when i discussed it with my friends i definitely found that i changed more than a few of their opinions as well.

  3. Well said Steph, I was also very disappointed with the 'editing' of that piece! I was excited to see 'the Prof' as I call him, he did my band all those years ago. More people need to see the full and true story to know what it's really about!!

  4. He's fantastic, isn't he! I really respect the work that he does. I hope to meet him one day. Pleased to have one of his 'bandits' reading my blog!

    There is a negative spin on lapbanding and I hope that in the future, this changes. Not just for those who have it but those who are worried about having it because of the negative perception. It is a tool that has helped me regain control of my life. As I've said before, it's not the right decision for everyone but, sometimes it's the only thing that ends up working.

    She did look great, Nic. I think she's done an amazing job. It was great to see that they showed her exercising. I would have loved them to show some sample amounts of food that a bandit can eat. I'll put one up on my blog tonight under photos as I took one a while ago after my last fill.

    Happy I wasn't the only one who wasn't terribly impressed by what they saw!

  5. I think people should just eat properly and exercise and they would not have to go the extreme of getting surgery. My opinion. I am entitled to it.

  6. Yes, you are entitled to your opinion however, I am not sure you know what goes on in the lives (or minds) of people who end up having lap band surgery. I suggest you have a read of my blog and others who have willingly shared their stories so that people realise that it's not always just about eating properly and exercising. There's sometimes lot more to it than what meets the eye...

  7. a question i have wanted to pose for a long time that i would like you to answer an maybe give me insight on what other people would say is . . well why wait so long? why not start losing weight at 100kg, or 150kg or well i dont know just earlier....before it got so far out of hand, and as a friend of a person on this track at what stage should you talk to them seriously about it? its like the big elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about. . but when should a friend and how - if you have any tips. . . its not like i want to stage an intervention i just want to let her know that i am worried and that i will do anything to help but i dont want her to push me away or get the wrong idea. . hope its not to personal but please offer an honest reply (or blog because its a broad topic)

  8. Hi Anon,

    Thank you for the question. I will blog about this. I'll write it from a personal perspective on both sides - why I waited so long and why someone else may. I am seeking permission from someone very close to me to use them as an example as I am in the same position as you.

    Stay tuned...

  9. I thought the story was great.... But im Properly bias :)