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Gone so long or How Boredom Makes Me Barf

Well, it’s been a very long time since the last time I posted an update on my Slimband journey. I’m afraid this one’s not a good one.

I’ve almost reached the 2 year mark since I had my surgery and I honestly couldn’t regret it more. I’d like to think it does work for some people but what it doesn’t do is anything other than cost me money and sometimes make me barf. I shell out a whopping $389 per month to Slimband and all I’ve lost since the day I started solids is 10lbs. That’s right, 15 lbs in 2 years. How’s that for a disappointment?  But I made a choice. It just happens to have been a bad one. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Some people may be wondering how I went from being a total band evangelist to a cautiously optimistic Slimband story-teller. It’s simple, really. I truly believe (today) that the only reason I lost any weight at all was because I’ve chosen to eat less and I’ve consciously made better food choices. The Slimband nurses would say that’s a good thing. But if I could always make the best food choices I probably wouldn’t need a Slimband in the first place, would I?

I tried though. I tried really hard for a while. Recently, I even went to the trouble of trying to photograph every meal I ate so I could see where I was eating poorly.

But, like I always do, I got bored of the whole thing. I got bored of researching band-friendly recipes, tips on how to get all the nutrients I need and looking forward to next year when I’ll fit into THAT dress again. It’s infuriating, devastating and humiliating. I literally have to consider the impacts of every morsel I put into my mouth. And every time I eat something unhealthy, I’ve made a choice to do so. Sadly, giving a tasty temptation some seriously thought does nothing to stop me from scarfing it down because disappointing myself has never been something I’ve shied away from.

SadI’ve barfed because I didn’t chew properly and I’ve barfed because I ate something I shouldn’t have but  even when I eat a lot of the good stuff like most fruit and vegetables, I barf that up too.  Aside from mixed salad, I can really only eat over-cooked vegetables which can be pretty dismal after a while. On top of that, I’m having some teeth trouble which is make it quite difficult to chew to my food. Thus, further limiting the items on the list of foods that will stop me from getting fatter.

The truth is, it’s never really been entirely about food for me when it comes to losing weight. It’s most certainly the source of consolation, celebration and joy for me but it’s not the only reason I am where I am. I’ve certainly gone through periods of time where I’ve eaten poorly but the fact of the matter is, the key to my weight loss success is physical activity AND diet. My Slimband handles the food consumption but I don’t actually move around a heck of a lot. I’ve always known this. Whenever I decide to be more physically active, I always slim down in a jiffy. Then I get bored of that too and every single sweaty pound I’ve lost goes right back on.

Sadly, I know this post might deter some people from getting a Slimband. I honestly hope it does because a Slimband is not the easy way out that people think it is. Whether it’s working or not, it’s very difficult to live with and you only get out of it what you put into it:

  1. You have to watch what you eat. No matter what. If you think you can’t do it without a Slimband, it’ll be even harder with one because the bad stuff is the easiest to eat.
  2. You have to exercise. If you think you go to food for endorphins now, just wait til you feel the disappointment and frustration that comes when you barf halfway through the nutrient-rich chicken stir-fry you made for dinner.
  3. You have to take multi-vitamins. If you think you don’t get enough nutrients now, wait til you barf up the aforementioned stir-fry (or any other healthy meal with a thicker consistency than the mushies we’re prescribed for 24-48 hrs after a fill) and it happens consistently for days/weeks and you notice your hair is starting to fall out, you’re tired, and your skin is flaking off all around you.

It all happens, it’s all real. I don’t owe a lot of success to my Slimband alone. It’s all down to me and my mental efforts. The Slimband doesn’t solve your weight problems. You have to do it for yourself. And I failed. For nearly two years, I failed.

So, now it’s time for me to create my own fat-loss Kickstart despite the limitations that come with having a Slimband. On Saturday, March 3rd, 2012 I went to Crossfit O-Town for my first WOD.

Watch this space for the rest of the story.

Pop Goes The World

Saw SATC2 this weekend with my Auntie. Loved it but the clothes were simply stupid most of the time. There were a few really great giggles but the accessories certainly stole the show thanks to what I’m guessing is a pretty big chunk of the $10M wardrobe budget. Yes, the clothes were gorgeous but the bags were better and I’m not even gonna get into the shoes. But I’m fairly certain there won’t be a repeat performance from the oh-so-fabulous foursome.

sex and the city 2What really got me was this fashion fiasco (pictured).  Parts of these outfits are whimsically wearable but I just couldn’t do it. Even if I was skinny enough to squeeze into them!

I did enjoy a tasty treat during my entertaining evening: a Diet Coke. I haven’t had a sip of the sweet stuff since before my surgery. I didn’t drink much but I also didn’t suffer from my sips and combined it with a little popcorn.

Much to my delight there were no gas pains or any tummy trouble. I don’t think I’ll be sipping some again anytime soon just in case. But it was a nice surprise to not get sick.

That being said, like the SATC girls, I guess I’ll continue to test the boundaries of my lifestyle until someone pans my performance!

Push the Button

Woke up with a bit of port-site pain today. Made me flinch a bit so I had to hunch over and roll a little to get out of bed. It flared up again a few times throughout the day. It was a pretty active day though and I also drank a lot of liquids. Perhaps it’s my puffed out tummy causing the irritation…Push Button

It just feels so funny. It’s really hard to describe…it’s like there’s a cat between my skin and my stomach muscles that happens to be using said stomach muscles as a scratching post. But very inconsistently. There’s no movement that prompts the sensation more frequently than any other movement. The pain just…is. And it’s not there the whole time. It’s totally intermittent. I imagine it’s still healing as there are still hints of the bruise on my hand from my surgery IV.

I keep poking my protrusion a little hoping I’ll get used to how it feels but I’m not sure I ever really will. It sorta feels like a button on my belly without a hole leading to it. At the very least I hope to build up some scar tissue in the process of my prodding. We’ll see though. Perhaps I’ll check with Slimband about it…

Oh! Oh! It’s Magic!

Hooray for mushies!! Seriously, what a pleasure eating has been today. Started the day with a tasty treat: some instant oatmeal made with skimmed milk.  For lunch/late supper I puréed some of Mom’s chicken stew and although it was pretty good, I’m fairly certain she used chicken stock as the base and right now I’m over chicken stock in a way only my fellow bandsters could understand! It was pretty good though.mushrooms

So, I took it slow while eating both and kept them down with ease. I’m hoping it stays that way. According to my reading materials, physically I should be feeling pretty close to normal by now and that’s a pretty fair assumption.

Food-wise, I’m feeling almost normal. It’s easy to swallow things, the tiny bubble burps have dramatically decreased and the pulling on my esophagus/diaphragm when I yawn (most likely a side effect of the hernia repair) is minimal. I’ve still got the occasional pain in my port site but other than that I’m feeling good.

I also cooked up one of the mushie recipes provided by Slimband’s own creative Chef John. The vegetable soup is a treat. It’s like minted pea soup only A LOT better. Judging by the meal plan I don’t think I’ll get to eat much of it despite the army-sized pot I’ve produced. If I’d known I definitely would have halved the recipe so I stuck some in the freezer.

Went for a wander to Winner’s with my auntie again today and found myself trolling through the handbags, shoes, sunglasses and hats AGAIN. I didn’t even go near the clothing department. Now, this probably makes sense to most people because I’m supposed to be losing weight and any clothes I do buy probably won’t fit me for long, right? Well, that would be true, if I did’t ALWAYS spend my time looking at handbags, shoes, sunglasses and hats.

Anyone who knows me, knows I love me a gorgeous handbag, some fabulous shoes and sexy pair of shades. But I’m fairly certain nobody’s ever wondered why. Well, it might have crossed their minds…but contrary to popular belief, it’s not because I’m secretly a shopaholic bag lady as well as a foodaholic.

I mean, yes, I do spend a lot of money on them. But it’s a whole lot easier to explain than an addiction. It’s simply because shoes and bags will ALWAYS fit. I’ll never try them on, look in the mirror and frown when the fabric hugs my chub a tad too tightly. They’re never smaller than they were the last time I tried them on. And they don’t fall apart the second time I wear them. In fact, when I pick up a classic bag or a timeless pair of shoes, they pretty much go with everything and can last for years.

I don’t mind spending a pretty penny on something I know is going to bring me joy every time I wear it. But that so rarely happens with clothes when one is a larger lady. I seriously can’t wait until the day I have a beautiful bag in one hand and a huge pile of clothes in the other and I can choose the clothes knowing that each and every item in the pile is on-trend, may or may not have been worn by one of my style icons and will only ever fit me perfectly. Oh, what a day it will be!

PS Weighed myself today and I’ve gained 1 lb back on the ‘full liquids’ stage. Total weight lost to date is 11 lbs. I’m told it’s highly likely I will gain most of my losses back before I get my first fill but things seem to be going well so far so we’ll just have to see about that!

Bad Romance

Love FoodWent without pain meds again last night only this time without the hot water bottle. Not a great idea. Not only is it still chilly in O-Town, I had some mildly annoying gas pain in the neck when I laid down. To top it off, I thought it might be a good time to stop staring at the ceiling and try sleeping on my side again. Yet another BAD IDEA!

I was comfortable and relatively pain free so I thought I’d give a rotation a try. I slowly rolled over to my left side and initially felt fine. Then, seconds later, out of nowhere I felt the familiar tearing sensation of Days 1-5 on the muscle near my port site. It’s painful in such an annoying way that when it happens I just freeze up for fear of making it worse. The only way to stop it is to place my hand flat over my port site and press against my stomach. It’s like when you bump your knee and instead of just walking it off you bend down and rub the pain away. Only NO rubbing.

So, I could just barely roll onto my back without screaming my head off.

But I was being stubborn so I still went without the pain meds. This meant I had to lay there wishing the burning sensation away for some time before I fell asleep. The pain didn’t subside until well into this morning either. I shan’t be rolling over again anytime soon!

On the plus side, today is the last day of the ‘full liquids’ stage of Slimband’s post-op plan so I spent it finishing up some of the great soups I’ve been eating for the last 5 days and ensuring I’ve got all the ingredients I’m going to need for Stage 3: Mushies ie puréed soups and stews, oatmeal, scrambled eggs, applesauce etc.

The full liquids stage hasn’t really been all that much of a challenge since the Slimband recipes have been pretty tasty and easy to swallow. I’ve been sticking to their meal plan quite strictly and I’m really pleased with my progress. I’ve only had a few instances where it was difficult to get things down the hatch and they were way back around Day 6. It’s only been easier since then.  I even managed to eat out with my family once this week which really helped with my morale. It gets pretty lonely having to eat only the foods that I’ve prepared every 2-3 hours for days!

That being said, I’m told moving on to mushies can be a bit of a challenge  what with the immanency of yacking around every corner. Apparently, it’s quite difficult to get these foodstuffs down to the old tum via the little one. It’s okay for me to eat just about anything again but it’s got to be puréed. I’m not entirely sure how many blended meals I could tolerate but if I don’t blend them well enough, I could quite literally blow chunks!

I’m thinking it won’t be so bad. I’m hoping it will be a little like Days 1-5. There were times where I couldn’t swallow water without first tipping my head back as far as it would go to ease the liquids down my esophagus. But I got through that just fine.

I picked up some of Mom’s homemade chicken stew to purée for tomorrow’s lunch and I honestly can’t wait. Another nutritious and delicious dish to get down my gob. I feel like instead of hating food like I thought I would, I’ve simply solidified my undying love for new kinds of nourishment. Then again, I suppose I’ll see how I feel if I have to bolt to the bathroom every time I try a new kind of sludge. Which, I gotta say, is another thing -albeit unhealthy- I could have done to lose weight WITHOUT spending $16K!

Gimme More

I’m mad. I mean, grinding my teeth, scream at the top of my lungs, throwing myself down and pounding my fists on the floor mad. I’m mad because I let myself get to the point where the only way I can drop the extra person I’ve been carrying around my whole life is to get a band wrapped around my stomach. I mean, seriously! WTF! Who effing does that, right?!

I’m sure it seems drastic to some…like the kind of thing an addict would do. Well, I’ve never felt more like an addict than I do today. Nothing could have prepared me for the impact of realizing the extent of my disordered eating. I literally can’t stop thinking about food. I’m fidgety, I’m clenching my teeth, I’m cold, I’m irritable and I want to scream and cry about everything. I feel pathetic.

Everywhere I look there’s a food ad, or a drive-thru or a major supermarket, or a cupboard full of goodies. It’s unbearable. And I literally CAN’T eat any of it. I’m on a clear liquid diet and I can BARELY get that down. I’m eating what I’m supposed to and I’m full and I’m nourished. So I really shouldn’t want to eat. But I do. More than I’ve ever wanted to eat in my life.

I guess most of all I feel defeated. Like the war that’s been waging in my body has finally ended and I’ve lost. Miserably. And the casualty has been any joy I ever found in food because I’ll probably never feel that same joy again.

Yes, I’ll be able to eat real food again (in about a month apparently) but it’s always going to be a struggle. I’m always going to have to kinda force it down and hope I’ve chewed it properly because if I haven’t, I’ll barf. Oh, and I must never eat more than a cup at a time because if I do, I’ll barf. And I’d better stay away from white bread, pasta and rice because if I don’t, I’ll barf. To top if off I’ve got to make sure it’s correctly proportioned or I won’t get all the nutrients I need. Because if I don’t, then my hair might fall out!!!

But the real kicker in all this is that the Slimband food plan is nothing more than a smaller-portioned version of The Bodydoctor food plan or The Low GI diet. I could and have done both without spending $16,000 on a cable tie!

Hmph. Well, I’m frustrated and I’m exhausted. I guess that’s the mental side of the journey taken care of then.

Sticky Situation or How Mary Kay Night Cream Saved My Tummy

Monday’s surgery recovery went quite well. Only woke up once through Sunday night from the dreaded gas pain but decided against the midnight demerol and awoke in the morning feeling quite good. I only had a few pains to the left of my rectus abdominus so it wasn’t much of strain getting out of bed. In fact, I could actually do my morning squirm before I rolled myself out of the sack (you know the one I mean, where you twist and stretch your ENTIRE body in a most inhumane way and make involuntary moaning noises in the process?). It felt awesome!

Stomach muscles

That being said, I gotta say, it’s difficult to fully appreciate the impact of wounded abdominal muscles until it happens to you. Now that I’ve spent the last 3 days wandering around my house like a hunchback with my torpedoes at the ready, I now know the full extent of the power of core stability. I shall be investing a great deal of time on this area as soon as humanly possible to ensure I never feel this way again.

I’ve been suffering some major irritation from my bandages over the past couple of days.

Feels like those mother-effers are stuck on with Super Glue®! Since yesterday was Day 3, I was looking forward to taking them off. I had no idea what a chore it would be!

I started to peel the tape away from my very thin flesh and realized that if I’d kept going I was going to need skin grafts which would neither speed up nor aid in my recovery. I did a Google search to seek out some assistance in removing the surgical tape only to stumble across this article from eHow.com. Talk about advice from the Department of the Bleeding Obvious!!!

But I’d once tried a similar method in the waxing incident of 2002 and decided to be a bit more inventive. I raided my mother’s medicine cabinet and settled on two tried and tested beauty products that really are second-to-none: Mary Kay Extra Emollient Night Cream and Q-Tips®. It took me 30 painstaking minutes of delicate prepping to get the bandages off with no additional removal bruising at all. I highly recommend these products for any bandage removal project.

One note, I was pretty weak for most of the day and getting pretty tired of the clear liquids. Bordering on gagging just from the pure monotony of it all. And the smell of the stocks is really starting to get to me. Had a few mentally hungry moments but no real physical ones. Looking forward to full liquids on Thursday!

Bra-vo! or Why I’m Sporting Handbra After Surgery

Today I’m feeling pretty great. Slept through the night without waking up for more drugs and got out of bed with minimal effort. Stomach is still pretty tight and I can’t quite stand up straight just yet. Only had one demerol so far as still have some gas pain in my left shoulder and neck area but only low-mid level pain. Nothing like the first night thank goodness!Handbra

What feels very weird is that I can’t actually wear a bra. Now, for most women that wouldn’t really matter all that much but I’ve got some pretty huge hooters and they need their support. Especially since they’re putting a lot of pressure on my incisions. The main problem is that there’s an incision just below the spot right between my boobs in precisely the place my bra would sit against my chest.

The result is that I have to walk around the house (or anywhere else I’d like to go) holding onto my boobs so they don’t put pressure on my wounds. Needless to say, I’m not going anywhere until that changes! Unless of course, one of these Hand Bra’s (pictured) shows up in my mailbox in the next few hours…

Ring Around the Rosy

So, my gastric band surgery went well. All things considered the whole process was pretty fantastic. I arrived at Slimband promptly at 2pm and was outta there by 6:30pm that evening. It was pretty amazing and an incredibly smooth process.

Shortly after I arrived at the incredibly posh Yorkville Prince Arthur Clinic that houses Slimband, I met my consultant Niki very briefly. She helped me through this process from the beginning so it was great to meet her in the flesh. She’s had this surgery before and it was pretty amazing to see how great she looked.

Then a lovely woman named Michelle took some pictures to go in my Slimband folder and mark this very special occasion. I opted for the clothes-on option instead of the top-off Biggest-Loser-style pics. I thought it was best for all of us.

When it was time to prep for surgery a nurse (the lovely Stephanie) came and took me inside to check my stats and to brief me about the process of the day. I met my anesthesiologist (Dr ….) and Dr Yau came to say hello and impart some of his wisdom upon me. After having completed 3500+ gastric band surgeries he’s certainly got information I want to hear!

He told me about the surgery and mentioned the possibility of having to repair a hiatus hernia.  Apparently this is quite common for patients that suffer from GERD. It is often what makes GERD symptoms so severe in some patients. Having suffered from some pretty painful heartburn for most of my adult life, I had to wonder why previous doctors had never considered this before.

Hiatal Hernia

After our chat I was lead into the operating theatre where I hopped up on a pretty squishy table, got comfortable (they put massagers on my legs to help with circulation), Dr…got my IV in one try and he knocked me out. I’ve never been unconscious before so it was a pretty cool experience to be awake one minute then asleep the next.

I woke up in the recovery room and felt pretty good. Coming out of the anesthetic was such a nice feeling! It was kind of euphoric.  I didn’t really feel much pain, just a bit of stiffness all over. Dr Yau was there and explained that I did indeed have a “medium sized hiatus hernia” and he’d repaired it.  I was barely conscious but I was definitely grateful!

My recovery nurse was one of the sweetest nurses ever. I don’t remember her name but she was from Argentina and was just lovely. She stayed with me from the time I came out until the time I was allowed to leave about 1.5 hours after the surgery was over. She helped me right out to the car.

The whole process took about 4.5 hours but the surgery itself only took about 20-30 mins. Amazing what can be accomplished in that short timespan!

I felt okay for most of the evening. I still wasn’t allowed to eat but I could drink lots of water so I did. I’d been warned of ‘gas pain’ in my chest, neck and shoulders from the gas they used to fill up my abdominal cavity. I’d started to feel it a bit so had a demerol and enjoyed that for a couple hours before hitting the hay.

Had a rough first night. Woke up half way through in quite a bit of pain in my neck and abdomen and needed help to get up to take more drugs. Had a few tears from pain and frustration. Wasn’t pretty but I survived through the rest of the night.

I’m only allowed clear liquids like herbal tea, apple, grape or cranberry juice and any clear broths for the next 5 days. I’m still pretty weak from the pre-op diet and the surgery so I’m also drinking Pediatric Electrolyte to get my electrolytes up.  I was ready to eat just about anything that would fit in my stomach when we travelled back to Ottawa Mom got me some Tim Horton’s chicken soup broth and it never tasted so good!

I took some more drugs and slept a little on the drive back to O-Town. Been resting in bed with a movie for the evening with the occasional Slow Melt Mighty Mini Popsicle. And here I am. Only had medium level gas pain so far.

When I met Dr Yau he spoke about the importance of having a strong support system of family, friends and fellow bandsters. Well, I certainly have that taken care of! I’ve had so many well wishes I’ve lost count (thanks guys!), I’ve got a fellow bandster in the family and I’m already a member of some super helpful forums, so I think I’m on the right track!

He also mentioned one thing that really struck a nerve with me. He said its important to realise that there are two organs involved with this procedure: the brain and the stomach. I think it’s crucial to one’s success to be aware of this when considering gastric band surgery because, as I said, it’s not a cure-all. It’s just another tool to help me along the way. I’ve still got a lot of work to do to get me where I want to be but I’ve got a pretty amazing support system so I’m sure it’ll be great!

I’m Off To See The Wizard!

Well, today’s the day. I’m leaving in approximately 10 minutes for the 4.5 hour drive to TO. I’m really a bit overwhelmed with it all and am struggling to feel anything. I’ve got a twirling feeling in the pit of my stomach but I’m not entirely sure if that’s my concern of starvation due to my prohibition from food or drink (not even water) for the entire day. I’m certainly hungry but it’s the no drinking that really concerns me…well, not really. It’s not like I’ve got nothing for my body to live on! No food or drink allowed

The really shocking thing about this whole process so far is I’ve actually lost a whopping 7 lbs on the pre-op diet.

I feel a bit like a contestant on The Biggest Loser. It’s funny because most of the images I found whilst Googling “no food or drink” had images of burgers and fries in them. Not only am I not allowed to have those TODAY, I won’t be able to even consider eating them for about 3 months. Shock, horror!!

I guess what surprises me most about the image is that burgers and fries are such a part of North American culture that a strike through them  both is the clearest way to tell our people not to eat something. It’s like they’re the most recognizable food in our culture. Things that make you go hmm, eh?

Pre-op Day 7

OMG!! Just got the call to confirm my check in time for surgery tomorrow – 2pm!! My surgery is scheduled for 3pm at the Slimband clinic in Toronto. The nurse gave me some very interesting instructions:
mulberry ruby bayswater

  1. No eating from midnight tonight – WTF!! If I could NOT eat, I wouldn’t be having the bloody surgery now would I!
  2. I can shower but I MUST use antibacterial soap – so stripping the skin bare then??
  3. No finger nail polish and if I’ve got acrylic nails I’ve got to be sure they’re removed on my index fingers – THAT’s probably something they should tell you sooner than 24 hours before surgery! Not that I have acrylic nails or anything but still…
  4. Bring my ‘binder’ with me so we can take pictures – Well, I suppose if they’re going to see me naked for surgery a little peep show before won’t matter!

Can’t believe this is really happening!! I’m super nervous and excited at the same time. I’m lucky to have the support of my friends and family and also a number of WLS forums. I’ve got a lot of advice and info from them and it’s been a big help.

I’m trying to focus on the outcome rather than the process cause it’s going to be a long one. Perhaps I’ll purchase myself a little treat when I’m all done like Mulberry’s new Ruby Bayswater. Since I won’t be eating much I should finally be able to afford the £750 price tag!

This Is The Thing…

This is the resolution from Real Slim Shady and Dazed and Confused. These two posts involved a discussion I had on LapBandTalk regarding the process of booking with Slimband.

*****BEGINS*****

Okay, so I spoke with Niki and all my questions have been put to rest.

I’ve been told that ‘Tara’ the girl I spoke to at the first stage of the process no longer works at Slimband. Thank goodness! It certainly doesn’t help their image any to have people like that on the other end! But it also confirms my suspicions that the Slimband team keeps their eyes on the prize and watch these forums for any problems with current and potential clients. So keep that in mind when you’re posting!

I’ve also been made aware of a few internal changes happing with Slimband in terms of their information packages and the schedule for receiving this information. Apparently, I will receive one binder by FedEx before surgery and one binder with post-op info after surgery. That’s great news!!

Finally, Niki also said she would do her best to make sure Dr Yau is there for me on Friday. That being said, I’m not sure how that can be guaranteed but I’m taking her word for it and I’m confident in her so I think it will be fine.

One thing I’d also like to add is that Niki is a fountain of information. And like most consultants she prefers to express herself over the phone. And she’s great at it! As soon as I spoke to her I had all the answers I needed and I felt pretty relieved. She comes across as a VERY warm person and even did so under the pressure of my big mouth so kudos to her for that.

I guess this is a lesson for me in patience. I’m super excited about my surgery on Friday and can’t wait to meet the team.

Wangpangtang, I would recommend you do go with Slimband but only if it works for you. Do your own research (as it appears you are right now) and I’m sure you’ll find the best solution for you. That being said, you’re almost always going to find someone who isn’t happy with the clinic you’re considering. Don’t let that stop you from considering them because perhaps that person just didn’t have a Niki. And perhaps that person doesn’t post the good stuff as well as the bad, like me. Most people don’t.

Good luck with your journey! And I hope things work out. Feel free to PM me if you’d like more updates on my progress.

*****ENDS*****

I never did receive the ‘pre-op binder’ they mentioned…

Dazed and Confused

This is a followup from my Real Slim Shady post I added here from LapBandTalk.com about my experience with Slimband.

*****BEGINS*****

Heard back from Niki at Slimband today (via email) with some answers to my questions. Very polite and cheerful as per most of her messages. I’ve been told that two surgeons work on the day that I’m having my surgery and that she’ll make a note that I prefer Dr Yau. This surprises me…shouldn’t I simply be given the surgeon I request if he is available and willing to do it??

Strange…I think I’ve got some more paperwork to hand in. I’ve just been asked by email to give Niki a call back. Will keep you posted!

Thanks to everyone for the support so far! 😮 And I hope this gives you some answers wangpangtang!

*****ENDS*****

Real Slim Shady or Why Slimband Should Change Their Customer Service

I’ve been using LapBandTalk.com as a resource for gathering information on LAP-BAND® surgery. A member of the forum asked for information on Slimband in Toronto. Since this is the clinic I’ve been dealing with, I wanted to add my post to this blog.

This is my reply to wanpangtang’s query:

****Begins****

I’m in the process of booking my surgery with Slimband right now.My surgery is scheduled for April 16th and I’m really looking forward to it. So far my experience has been a bit of a roller coaster. It went like this:

1. First point of contact was with someone called Tara (I think). I’m not entirely sure what her name was but I’ll tell you now she was super pushy and VERY rude to me. I was debating between having my surgery in the UK (where I’d been living for the last 7 years) and having it done in Canada. She was so rude to me about choosing some ‘foreign’ doctor to do my surgery and tried to scare me into believing that NO canadian doctor would take care of me after I’d had surgery abroad. I explained to her that I already had a doctor lined up as a family member had their LAP-BAND® done abroad in January. She still didn’t believe me. She told me she’d never heard of any doctor willing to clean up some other doctor’s mess. VERY rude, very pushy and a complete liar. I was not impressed. BUT I wanted to know the cost and she wouldn’t tell me so I asked to speak to a ‘consultant’.

2. I spoke with a consultant called Niki. She’s actually the woman from the TV ads and on the website. She was completely different to my first point of contact. She was pleasant and listened to all of my questions and answered them to my satisfaction. She explained that even though I’m based in Ottawa, they have ‘outreach programs’ and a doctor in Ottawa that does fills/defills for Slimband. Well, it seems it’s the same doctor I was going to go to when I was thinking of getting my surgery in the UK. Anyway, Niki gave me plenty of information and helped me through the application process. That being said, when there was a delay with a fax I should have sent the sales person pressure came out of Niki as well. She pulled out classic sales tactics 101 and tried threats, fear, implying she did me a favour, and strict deadlines. I ended up sending her the information she was after and literally haven’t heard from her since.

3. Now, the thing that’s weird for me is that throughout Niki’s sales pitch I was told that Dr Patrick Yau had completed over 3500 surgeries and that the rest of the staff had completed nearly another 1500. I made it clear from the start that if I was going to go with Slimband I wanted Dr Yau. I’ve tried on multiple occasions to get confirmation that Dr Yau will be performing my surgery and even suggested that if he’s not available I’m prepared to wait and all communication has gone cold. No response.

4. I received the ‘services agreement’ and in the agreement it says that any member of their surgical staff that they deem suitable may perform my surgery. I wasn’t told THAT during the whole sales pitch!

5. The services agreement also outlines an ‘explanatory binder’ and a ‘surgery DVD’ that I should receive but I haven’t yet and when I’ve asked about it twice none of the contacts have provided an explanation.

6. I tried to join Myslimband.com and post questions and comments but for some reason I can’t post anywhere. I sent a message to Amy the administrator a couple of days ago and haven’t heard anything back. It seems pretty silly to me to have a ‘forum’ when only SOME people are allowed to be involved in the discussion.

So, here I am living in Ottawa awaiting a surgery from a COMPANY I’m not entirely sure I want to work with. All of their staff have told me to email them with questions or concerns and their website promotes their ‘support’ for their clients but since I’ve signed the $16,000 away, I haven’t really had ANY real answers to my questions.

I’m trying to be balanced here so I will say that I’ve had my blood work done and it has Dr Yau’s name on it but I wonder if any other Slimband patients have had his name on their forms and had their surgery done by another doctor. I’ve also got the pre-op diet information sheet which is easy to understand and follow. I’ve started today but I’ve got some questions and since non of the Slimband staff are replying to my emails and I don’t have any permissions in the Slimband forum I came here.

Not only am I nervous about this life-changing surgery and the $16,000 debt I’ve just agreed to I’m totally confused because I’ve got plenty more questions AND I don’t even know who my surgeon is going to be.

I’ve found some answers here so this forum has been a pretty big help. Keep looking around and you’ll find more answers yourself.

I don’t mean for this to discourage you or anyone else considering Slimband because when the contact silence finally ends I’m sure I’ll end up happier but I guess I just feel a bit trapped now when I should be feeling anticipation and some relief for the life change ahead of me.

***ENDS***

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