Lap Band Patient Story: Segment 6
Guest: Beth Treado – Lap-Band Surgery Patient
Host: Dr. Linda Austin – Psychiatry
Dr. Linda Austin: Welcome to an MUSC Health Podcast. In this series, we are following the experience of a very special young woman, Beth Treado, as she undergoes Lap-Band surgery as the cornerstone of a weight loss program.
I am Dr. Linda Austin: I am talking with Beth Treado who we have been following now after her gastric Lap-Band procedure that happened on June 25th.
Beth, you are looking better and better now. It has been four months. How much weight have you lost?
Beth Treado: About 32 pounds.
Dr. Linda Austin: Wow! How does that feel?
Beth Treado: Great! I feel wonderful.
Dr. Linda Austin: I bet. Are you getting into all sorts of clothes that you have not worn for awhile, or are you buying new clothes?
Beth Treado: I am actually hanging on to the ones I have. I have not bought any new pants yet. It is killing me. They are falling off but, at this point, I do not want to spend the money.
Dr. Linda Austin: Yeah, you want to pass through this stage and save your money for a more permanent wardrobe.
Beth Treado: Exactly.
Dr. Linda Austin: I can understand that. So, you have lost 32 pounds. That is about two pounds a week. Do you feel like you have had to put effort into losing that weight, or has it been kind of natural, just sort of fallen off of you?
Beth Treado: So far, I feel like it has been very natural. I have not really changed my eating habits and having said that, I really have not changed what I am eating, it is just the amount I am eating.
Dr. Linda Austin: And how much less is the amount, like, is it half?
Beth Treado: A lot of times it is half. There is always a to-go box in the picture. So, I am eating a lot of leftovers. I have to learn how to eat leftovers.
Dr. Linda Austin: Do you get hungry?
Beth Treado: At times, yes.
Dr. Linda Austin: You do?
Beth Treado: Yes.
Dr. Linda Austin: Are you allowed to snack.
Beth Treado: I will grab some almonds or an apple, or something like that.
Dr. Linda Austin: Something that is not too bulky.
Beth Treado: Right.
Dr. Linda Austin: So, is it the total bulk of the food, then, that you have to decrease? If you eat something really bulky, do you have to be especially careful?
Beth Treado: Right. I have cut out a lot of bread from my diet. When I get a sandwich, I eat it without the bread because the bread tends to fill me up and then I am not getting the protein from the meat.
Dr. Linda Austin: How about pasta.
Beth Treado: Yeah, pasta is definitely like that. I usually do not eat pasta. I prefer bread over pasta.
Dr. Linda Austin: Yeah. So, overall, are you pleased? Is this what you had hoped for?
Beth Treado: Yeah, definitely. It has been amazing and I feel so blessed that I have been able to go through all of it.
Dr. Linda Austin: That is fantastic. How about any downsides? Have you had discomfort?
Beth Treado: I have actually had a lot of acid reflux problems from before and after surgery. I am on a lot of medication for that right now.
Dr. Linda Austin: Were you prepared for that?
Beth Treado: Not to this extent, no. Dr. Morgan has me on a lot of medication. She did forewarn me that if I had it before, it could flare up. But I understand that as I continue to lose weight this will subside.
Dr. Linda Austin: Did she tell you that acid reflux is a pretty common side effect of this procedure?
Beth Treado: If you have acid reflux prior to surgery then, yes, it is a very common side effect.
Linda Austin: Now, does it feel like the reflux you had before or is it more severe?
Beth Treado: It is definitely more severe. If I do not eat, I know when I need to eat, I have a pain that shoots into my shoulder and that is my signal that I need to grab something to eat.
Dr. Linda Austin: So, it is pretty significant pain?
Beth Treado: Yeah, and I am trying to eat every three hours so I stay full.
Dr. Linda Austin: Any other side effects or problems or discomfort that you have had as a result?
Beth Treado: No, not really. Everything has been basically the same in life except just the amount of food I am eating and the fact that I am exercising more which has been a great change for me.
Dr. Linda Austin: I know you have had three fills. Could you explain, what is a fill and what is the process of getting a fill?
Beth Treado: She goes in with a needle and numbs the area, I have a port under my right breast, then she sticks another needle in after I am numb and accesses the port. We are having to do that under fluoro because my port is turned on its side making it very hard to access. So, she sticks the needle inside the port and fills it with saline.
Dr. Linda Austin: So, that is not painful because it is numbed up?
Beth Treado: Exactly. But I can definitely feel it when she is inside of me with the needle. I can definitely feel it.
Dr. Linda Austin: So, explain for the listeners, then, why this process is important. What is going on when she is putting saline in the band?
Beth Treado: She is tightening the band to a point where it makes the food stay above the band longer so that I feel full more quickly. Currently, I am at about 2.5 cc with an 8 cc band.
Dr. Linda Austin: Is there an optimal amount of weight that your doctor wants you to lose? In other words, if you were losing weight too fast, would they make the band looser? How does that work?
Beth Treado: I have not heard actually. There has not been a time yet where that situation has come up so, to my knowledge, no. I think if I was to lose eight pounds this month, we look at that as a job well done.
Dr. Linda Austin: And how many more fills will you have of the band?
Beth Treado: Until it gets to what they call the sweet spot and I am almost there; I can feel it. What that means is that I have full restriction, like I had right after surgery, that I am staying fuller for longer periods of time and I am losing weight at a rapid pace, which is, on average, about two pounds per week.
Dr. Linda Austin: How has your energy level been during this time?
Beth Treado: Great, very good. I just wear myself out doing other things.
Dr. Linda Austin: So, other than the reflux, which sounds like it has been quite a significant discomfort to you, but, besides that, you have been quite satisfied?
Beth Treado: Oh yes. I am a walking advertisement for the surgery.
Dr. Linda Austin: What words of advice would you have for someone who is considering this?
Beth Treado: Research it and know that it is something that you really want to do. Seek support from your family and friends because you cannot do it without them and just be ready to make the change.
Dr. Linda Austin: I would you suggest researching it?
Beth Treado: Online was the biggest tool for me. I used a website called obesityhelp.com and I read a lot of testimonials by people in their blogs and, of course, researched the Lap Band at the MUSC website.
Dr. Linda Austin: So, you have lost 32 pounds. How many more pounds do you want to lose? Do you have a goal weight or are you just going to see what happens?
Beth Treado: I am to keep going until it stops, but I, initially, walked into this wanting to lose between 75 and 80 pounds.
Dr. Linda Austin: So, wow. So, you are almost half way there.
Beth Treado: Yeah.
Dr. Linda Austin: That is very exciting.
Beth Treado: Cannot wait until 50.
Dr. Linda Austin: Well, you look wonderful.
Beth Treado: Thank you.
Dr. Linda Austin: Beth, I understand that you meet with a dietician. Is that right?
Beth Treado: Yes.
Dr. Linda Austin: I often do you see the dietician?
Beth Treado: I see her every time I go into clinic, which is once month.
Dr. Linda Austin: And what do you talk to the dietician about?
Beth Treado: My eating patterns. We look at what I have eaten in the last week, ways I can improve, how to get more protein, my water intake, all those things.
Dr. Linda Austin: Beth, what does your doctor tell you about alcohol? Are you allowed to drink?
Beth Treado: I am. They recommend that we stay away from alcohol the first six weeks after surgery. I think they feel that alcohol triggers your appetite and, personally, I do start eating once I start drinking.
Dr. Linda Austin: So, in other words, it is not that the alcohol itself has a bad impact on your stomach but that it kind of encourages you to eat when you are trying to lose weight, so it is more from a calorie restriction standpoint?
Beth Treado: I feel that way. I do not know if that is the reason. But, from what I have heard, that is what I am picking up, yeah.
Dr. Linda Austin: But you are able to tolerate a reasonable amount, say, a glass of wine or something here and there?
Beth Treado: Exactly.
Dr. Linda Austin: So, it must be nice.
Beth Treado: I enjoy it.
Dr. Linda Austin: Yeah, sure. It is one of life’s pleasures. Well, congratulations on the great job you have done. It has been really fun to watch you go through this process.
Beth Treado: Thank you.
Dr. Linda Austin: We really appreciate your sharing your story.
Beth Treado: You are welcome.
Dr. Linda Austin: Thanks a lot, Beth.
Beth Treado: Thanks.
For more information about the MUSC Bariatric Surgery program, you can call our Medu-line at: 792-2200, or long distance: (800) 9922-5250. Please remember that these podcasts are just about the experience of one person and are not meant to replace a conversation you should have with your own physician.