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What would Fran do?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

What would Fran do?

For those of you who do not know, Fran is my dear older sister and best friend who died three years ago from a 15 year battle with breast cancer. She was five years older than me and during our “growing up” years that five years was, at times, a big distance. As we grew older, we had our ups and down and then eventually became each other’s confidant, mentor, coach, counselor, cheerleader and most of all, best friend. And now, when I need to speak with her and hear her answers to my questions, she’s not here.

So I employ all of you, my internet friends, my diabetic friends, my weight loss buddies, my “sisters” and “brothers” to help me figure out “What would Fran do?”

I went to my endocrinologist yesterday and was surprised, well shocked, well no, not surprised, not shocked but smacked in the face with reality that I have been lying to myself and making excuses for my eating/exercising/weight loss plan (or lack thereof) for entirely too long. Yes, I’ve made some progress in getting “healthy”…I “fixed” my foot so I could exercise without pain; I stopped smoking!!! But then I used those to things to justify a weight gain of six pounds since December and my hgA1C climbing to an outrageous 7.3 from a 6.8. Who’s kidding who??

The most astounding words came out of my endo’s mouth: Lapband Surgery!! Ok, I have a BMI of 36 and I’m a diabetic, have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, have about 70 pounds to lose and am a perfect candidate for this surgery. But WAIT!! I’m the one that has been so vocally, verbally, adamantly dead set against any kind of weight loss surgery for years now. I’ve felt it’s just a last resort because you don’t have any will power to know when to stop eating and need surgery to make sure the brain understands when you’re full. If I truly put your mind to it (like I did with stopping smoking) I can lose this weight. Or can I? And HOW could I face all of those people whom I told, “NO, NEVER, NOT ME!!”? And do I want to mess with Mother Nature?

My endo is giving me three months to lose weight and get my hgA1C back down. He wants me to join Weight Watchers or follow South Beach and lose about 10 pounds before I see him again.

So here’s where you guys come in. I need all of the input, good or bad, that you can possibly muster up. I’m not starting any “plan” until I figure out which would be the best for me. I plan on really structuring a “plan” that includes a specific “weight loss plan” to follow, exercise, vitamins, water, fruits, veggies, carbs/no carbs, etc. (Yes, I know all of this information is right here on SparkPeople BUT I want to hear what works for you, my friends.) AND I want your input on lapband surgery, for or against. Be honest, be brutally honest!!

Help me figure out “What would Fran do?”
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Nettie, A friend of mine here in our little town, has been going for almost a year, having the testing etc done for the lapband surgery. She is diabetic also, on an insulin pump, and her Dr. advised this surgery too. We went into breakfast one morning, and she was our waitress, and before she even said "Hello", her comment was "I'm not having that da**ed surgery done." She had found out, by researching, the failure rate, was told at one of the sessions that a Tablespoon of food is all she will be able to eat for the rest of her life, etc etc etc. She also found out what the death rate is. So, it looks like you have lots and lots of support in your quest to drop 10 lbs by May 1, so let's get with it! If Fran can fight hard for 15 years, you can do this... Hugs....
    4055 days ago
  • 11-RENEWAL-20
    Annette...Don't wait for the perfect time or perfect plan to get started on your challenge to lose. There is no better time than right now...our programs can be refined and changed as we go along. Your blog has given several of us the motivation to get started today ...Thanks...we will help each other. Sharon
    4059 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/1/2010 7:36:07 AM
  • DEBANNE1124
    How can your A1c be a 7.3 when yoru fbs ahs been lower than mine? and my A1C couple weeks ago was 6.9. I'm being warned, too by my Dr. But she claims mine si still considered "good". I'm praying for you. You've been through a lot lately. I know you can beat this thing.
    4060 days ago
  • LAUREN1213

    You said to be brutally honest. I believe what Fran would do is to ask you why you're now using food as a means of helping you to cope with the grief that her loss has caused you. If you were already battling a weight problem before Fran died, I think whatever the reason was then may now have changed. It may be that food is the only thing left that you have at your disposal that gives you any momentary comfort and relief from the pain, grief, loneliness, and maybe even anger that you're still feeling.

    Food has that power over us when we allow it to. It is an unsurpassed mood enhancer. It works better than any drug out there. It works almost instantly, is legal, relatively easy to afford, and readily accessable. We usually associate good things and happy memories with food. So it has a physical and mental choke-hold on our body that is very hard to break.

    I did some research on the procedure in question, and what I found I thought you may be interested in.

    *Complications occur after all types of surgical procedures. Some are due to the nature of the patient's condition or illness, some due to an error of judgement or technique, and some are linked to randomness or chance. Each patient is built differently and each reacts differently to a given set of circumstances. When a medical device such as a lap-band is introduced, there is an additional set of factors. How does the patient's body react to the device, and how well does the patient work with the device to use it properly to prevent problems?

    Medicine is as much art as science. The surgeon must use his or her judgment to try to do the best procedure or treatment for a given patient, never knowing all the facts. Likewise the patient must do his or her own best to work with the treatment. In the case of the lap-band, the patient must allow the band implantation to heal completely, and then she or he must eat properly. The vast majority of patients do very well.

    However, even when both doctor and patient do their best and use generally accepted protocol, complications (acute surgical complications, slippage, erosion, esophageal dilation, access port problems or death) may occur.

    **LGB (Laparoscopic Gastric Banding) appeared promising during the first few years after its introduction, but results worsen over time, despite improvements in the operative technique and material. Only about 60% of the patients without major complication maintain an acceptable EWL (Excess Weight Loss) in the long term. Each year adds 3-4% to the major complication rate, which contributes to the total failure rate. With a nearly 40% 5-year failure rate, and a 43% 7-year success rate...LGB should no longer be considered as the procedure of choice for obesity. Until reliable selection criteria for patients at low risk for long-term complications are developed, other longer lasting procedures should be used.

    *(Lap-Band Complications, Written by Charles D. Callery, M.D.)
    **(Research Study- Department of Surgery, Hospital du Chablais, Aigle-Monthey, Switzerland.)

    Annette, those facts above are shocking. To think that once the surgery is over, and supposedly healed, complications and failure rates increase instead of decrease, is horrifying. But even without those deadly considerations, surgery isn't the answer. Because when you wake up from the procedure, your body may react differently, but your mind won't.

    Some comments that you've posted are very "telling" and they follow the same thread. Something is blocking you from facing what you know you need to do to in order to regain good health. Before you even consider doing something so drastic to your body, see if there are other issues that may need to be resolved. In the meantime, please call on me as much as you need to. I will be happy to be here for you. All of us can do this with the help of each other.

    I feel like this is what Fran would want you to do.
    4060 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/28/2010 7:17:42 PM
  • HOUK46
    Annette , I will join you and give you support. I also agree with the surgery. Please count me in. emoticon Flora
    4060 days ago
    Annette, I too would be against surgery on the grounds that if you can manage without anaesthetic that is good. We can do this together I will join with you and Sharon in losing 10 lbs..we can do this. I believe the best way is to count calories, but to make sure we have certain things daily, like our water, and freggies and move at least 15 mins per day. We Can do this, let us help each other

    4060 days ago
    Nettie, I'm against the surgery too! I think you can do this -- and get your A1C back down where your doctor wants to see it. Even if you don't get back to 6.8, I betcha any drop in the right direction would mollify him. Along with some weight loss of course.

    And the thing is, you can say that you are making the decision to try diet & exercise for these three months. At the end of that time, you & Fran & your doctor can re-evaluate. And since you have been so adamantly against surgery, I think Fran would tell you to not go under the knife, but to get your butt in gear and start reversing this trend!

    My 2 cents worth ... LOL

    4060 days ago
    Annette -

    I don't know if you've read The Spark, but one of the key subjects Chris talks about is goal setting and that your ultimate goal should never conflict with your values or beliefs. Since you have such a strong feeling against surgery, I strongly suggestion you avoid this path to reach your goal. To many people have these types of surgeries done, lapband, bypass etc, but continue to struggle with their weight. These so-called "fixes" address the problem but aren't the answer. A strict diet must be followed afterward and the number of vitamins you need to take just to keep your body well is outrageous. My girlfriend had a bypass years ago and she was thrilled in the beginning because the old pounds just started rolling off. However, she now wishes she never had it done. Her diet is very bland and if she tries to eat anything with a little spice added she gets bad pains in her stomach. Lapband is not as dramatic, but the bottom line is that you're values and beliefs are being altered.

    You can check out Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, TOPS, Nutri-systems or any of these programs. I've been a member of all of them at one time or other in my life. I also tried the South Beach diet. In fact, I have a life time membership at Jenny Craig's which is a total ripoff. Just for the food alone it ran me $75/week plus I still needed to buy veggies and fruit. This was back in 1990 so I'm sure the cost is way up. I can honestly say that I have learned more here at Sparks and I'm having success following the program here.
    I watch my calories, I use the nutrition tracker and pay close attention to my portion control. I'm currently increasing my exercise, which is one thing I really don't like to do, but I know I must to reach my goal.

    Annette, you can do this! Girlfriend, if you can stop smoking this journey should be a walk in the park for you. I know, because I'm still trying to stop. I don't know how much you smoked, but whatever it was, at some point there was that "ah-ha" moment that gave you the strength to quit. Find that same inner self and apply it to losing weight. You have it! You can do it!

    What would Fran do? As close as you were, I have a feeling she'd be working right along beside you to make sure you reached your goal. I'm here to help any way I can. We can help each other. I'll join you on your journey. I'm going to add you as a friend also, if that's okay so we can keep in touch.


    Tanya emoticon
    4060 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/27/2010 8:38:10 PM
    I am not sure surgery is the right thing for you, from what you say about yourself. You did give up smoking. Hurray for that!!! You have lost weight. You can lose weight. But, there is some hiccup that is stopping you from having a smooth journey.

    I think one of the things that I have learned that I won't (and don't) lose weight until I come to some sort of peace about myself. And, even though I have lost that same 35 pounds or 45 pounds maybe 10 times or more in my adult life....I am trying it once again. And I have lost 10 pounds since the first of December. What changed? Something clicked for me when I lost 4 pounds after having the flu the week before Thanksgiving. I had been convinced I was too old to lose weight. I had been mired in feeling that the status quo or gaining was my fate. For about 2 years. But this one event triggered something in my brain: The belief that I could (and should) try to lose weight. And to stick with it. So...long story short, I have started again on this journey with a vigor. I am eating and tracking and being very honest. I am doing a lot (and I mean a LOT) of cardio---up to an hour a day. And I am losing weight. Slowly. Less than a pound a week. But each pound makes me even more committed. So, something will have to click for you. Then you can do it.

    It might be surgery. But you sound like you have enough doubts about that. Listen to what your heart and head are telling you. Then see if you can make the spark and get going. One way or the other---you are worth it! Good luck.
    4061 days ago
    Sharon, please do add me as a friend. I need all the friends I can get. I'm not sure what plan I am going to use. I'm leaning more towards South Beach. I may not start on March 1st because THIS TIME I want to make a PLAN, PREPARE and FOLLOW!! Thank you
    4061 days ago
  • 11-RENEWAL-20
    Let us help you as we help ourselves for the next 3 months, at least. I would love to lose 10 pounds and will do all I can to help you do the same...I have let myself gain back pounds after swearing I wouldn't...I have heard that happens no matter how you lose...diet, exercise or surgery...It's something we have to MAKE happen through our determination and dedication to better health. I'm going to use my food tracker
    EVERY day and STAY within my allowances...I want to lose in a safe, healthy way...we can do this....March 1st to May 1st, let's give it our very best effort. We'll show those Drs!!! May I add you as a friend? Sharon J emoticon emoticon
    4061 days ago

    Comment edited on: 2/27/2010 2:29:29 PM
    Just a clarification...I am speaking of Lapband surgery - the reversable one, NOT the Bypass which takes out a portion of your duodunom (sp) The lapband ties off a portion of your stomach and can be removed.It does not affect absorption of nutrients.
    4061 days ago
    People have died from that surgery. As many have mentioned most of the people gain the weight back anyway. Look at Al Roker the news guy, he is constantly going up and down with his weight and he had that surgery. There can be so many complications too. I say a definite NO!
    4061 days ago
    Thank you ladies. Keep the comments coming please!!
    4061 days ago
  • MARIPOSA8788
    If you only have 70 pounds to lose, don't do the surgery. I think it was Dr Oz who said that a high number of people do the surgery and then gain it all back and then some, I think he said 3 out of 7 put it all back on again. Carnie Wilson is one who comes to mind.

    Quick fixes do not work. I know because I have tried some of the quick fixes over the years such as taking diet pills, putting a staple in my ear, Jenny Craig, Nutisystem, etc. I never did the low carb diet but I just read an article yesterday that said the people who do that type of diet and keep it off for a few years are just 5% of the people.

    Unfortunately, the only thing that seems to work is a full lifestyle change. I have been a member of Sparkpeople.com since the New Year and I have lost 12 pounds, using the tools that they give us: I write down all I eat, and exercise 5-6 times a week for at least 40 min. I have been making healthier choices with my food.
    The weight has not been flying off but then again I did not gain it all in a couple of months. I lost 12 and I have another 38 to go.

    I know you can do it too!!! emoticon
    4061 days ago
    Nettie, I am very much against the surgery. I've seen too many people have it, and have nothing but trouble, and even gain all the weight back. It might be your only option if you weighed 700 lbs or more, but you don't, and I'm not saying anything against anyone who reads this, that might weigh that much. I think Fran would say "You can do this! Write down every bite that goes in your mouth. Stay away from stuff you know is bad. Exercise, exercise, exercise. You are the one that wasn't watching, and gained the weight, now you need to be the one to take it off, but I know you can do it." I too need to get my A1c back down, and lose some weight before I see my Dr. in a month! I'll be your buddy, if you'll be mine! Together, I know we can do it..... Good luck.
    4061 days ago
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