Lap Band Patient Story: Segment 7
Guest: Beth Treado – Lap Band Patient
Host: Dr. Linda Austin – Psychiatry
Dr. Linda Austin: Welcome to an MUSC Health Podcast. In this series, we’re 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.
This is Dr. Linda Austin. I’m interviewing, again, Beth Treado. Beth, how long has it been now since you had your Lap Band procedure?
Beth Treado: I had it June 25th and we’re, what, into February right now?
Dr. Linda Austin: So, that’s June, July, August, September, October, November, December, January, six and a half months.
Beth Treado: Wow! Time flies, huh?
Dr. Linda Austin: It does fly.
Beth Treado: I couldn’t even count all that up. It’s gone so fast.
Dr. Linda Austin: What has been your total weight loss?
Beth Treado: Right now, since I was here last time, in November, I’ve probably lost another five pounds, so, averaging between 35 and 40. I keep fluctuating back and forth. I can’t seem to get out of the 230s, and it’s driving me nuts.
Dr. Linda Austin: Now, is that typical, that the rate of weight loss kind of levels off and goes more slowly after you’ve gotten into it?
Beth Treado: Yeah. The month of December was challenging for me because I was living my old lifestyle. I was going out every night for a social event, here and there, drinking lots of wine, you know, party foods and all that. So, the month of December was a challenging one for me in that I gained one pound, which definitely freaks me out. But, I figured, if I went through the holidays and only gained a pound, I was doing pretty good.
January, I was back on track, watching what I was eating, calorie intake, limiting alcohol and all that. So, it’s starting to slowly come back off now. The Dietician has told me that’s what they’ve seen happen normally. People plateau and they have to get off that plateau to keep going.
Dr. Linda Austin: So, catch us up, then, and share with us some of your observations. I know you just had another fill of the Lap Band, right? They added some more saline to tighten it up a little bit, right?
Beth Treado: They did.
Dr. Linda Austin: Now, why did Dr. Morgan make that decision?
Beth Treado: We based that on the fact that I was receiving little restriction from the last fill I had. I had that fill right around the holidays. It was a great fill and, then, it seemed to taper off and it wasn’t giving me the restriction that I wanted.
Dr. Linda Austin: When you say it was a “great” fill, what do you mean by that?
Beth Treado: Well, I was actually feeling full longer and I wasn’t eating as large a quantity of food when I would have a meal. Then, I noticed that was kind of going away, and I noticed that my acid reflux started flaring up. I don’t know if my acid reflux really has anything to do with the band. But, to me, it seems to. I haven’t had any reflux this entire month, and it seems to be because the band’s right where it needs to be.
Dr. Linda Austin: I remember, early on, the acid reflux was one of the hardest things.
Beth Treado: Yeah, very challenging.
Dr. Linda Austin: Remember, you said it was so painful for a period of time?
Beth Treado: Yes, difficult.
Dr. Linda Austin: How long was that, that it was difficult?
Beth Treado: About three months.
Dr. Linda Austin: Well, that was a pretty long time.
Beth Treado: Yeah, very long.
Dr. Linda Austin: But now that’s…
Beth Treado: It’s been amazing this past month not to have to deal with that. And my shoulder doesn’t hurt anymore. I haven’t had any arm pain or any heaviness in my chest. So, that’s what makes me feel like the band has, certainly, something to do with the acid reflux.
Dr. Linda Austin: So, you had this last fill, when?
Beth Treado: I had the last fill in January. It was about January 8th, so about a month ago.
Dr. Linda Austin: And how has it gone since then?
Beth Treado: Really good. I went on vacation and I was at a different altitude. I don’t know if that had anything to do with it, but I experienced a hard time getting things down then. It’s been a tight fill for me, meaning, I’m having a hard time getting certain foods down, to stay down.
Dr. Linda Austin: Now, go into more detail. When you say that, what do you mean? Do you throw up, or does it just get stuck and you just have to pause? What actually happens when you have a hard time getting foods down?
Beth Treado: Well, it feels like, if you ate a chip and it went down the wrong way, and it scrapes your esophagus the whole way down, and then it has that really thick feeling at the end, that’s what it feels like. It passes. It takes awhile to go down. But, throwing up food? No. I throw up saliva. It’s basically just mucous. I know it’s there. It kind of catches at the back of my throat and I just have to spit until it passes.
Dr. Linda Austin: How often does that happen?
Beth Treado: Lately, it’s been happening everyday. And the reason why is because I’m eating too fast.
Dr. Linda Austin: I see. So, it’s a signal that you have to slow down?
Beth Treado: Yes.
Dr. Linda Austin: Could you describe, in some way, how slowly you need to eat now? You’d said earlier that it was one of the hardest things to really get used to, how slowly you have to eat. Would you say it takes you twice as long, or three times as long?
Beth Treado: Technically, it should take me three times as long. But with my fast- paced life, I tend to speed things up, and that’s when I experience pain. This past weekend, I went to a restaurant with my brother and had a bagel. He ate his entire bagel, plus half of mine, before I even got my half down. So, that tells you how long it’s taking me.
Dr. Linda Austin: And, you have to take very small bites, right? And chew…
Beth Treado: Yes, and chew, chew, chew, chew, chew.
Dr. Linda Austin: And chew them like crazy?
Beth Treado: Uh-huh.
Dr. Linda Austin: Are you getting use to it?
Beth Treado: It’s definitely been the most challenging thing for me lately.
Dr. Linda Austin: It’s hard?
Beth Treado: Yeah.
Dr. Linda Austin: Does it diminish the pleasure of eating?
Beth Treado: No, yeah, some things, yes, definitely. You don’t realize how things taste until you chew it to the point that it’s moosh. Donuts are disgusting. You don’t realize that until you actually take the time to chew it.
Dr. Linda Austin: Does it ever have the opposite effect, though, that you, when I think of how often most of us just bolt down our food without really pausing to see what it tastes like, do you ever find that you actually appreciate the eating of food more?
Beth Treado: I’ve always loved food. I love the flavors of food. I love to cook food, you know? Same thing, you know, when it comes to wine, you mix the two together? It’s been difficult for me because I enjoy food so much that, sometimes, I realize I cannot eat everything that I’ve been used to eating, and I want to keep eating it. So, I have to learn how to stop. That’s been difficult. In the past, I would just stuff myself to the point where I was just miserable. I don’t do that anymore. I can’t.
Dr. Linda Austin: So, it’s really changed your relationship to food?
Beth Treado: Yeah.
Dr. Linda Austin: How about your social life? How does it work when you go out with your friends?
Beth Treado: Nothing’s changed. There are times when things get stuck and I have to get up from the table and walk around and try to get rid of it. But, other than that, I mean, nothing’s really changed. I’ve just kind of had to change what I’m eating when I go out.
Dr. Linda Austin: Are you enjoying your new silhouette? You look wonderful.
Beth Treado: Thank you. Yes. I had a great weekend, this weekend. I actually went shopping in regular stores.
Dr. Linda Austin: Congratulations!
Beth Treado: Thank you. It’s the first time, so, very exciting. I was calling everybody I know, on my cell phone, to let ‘em know that I bought my first Gap outfit.
Dr. Linda Austin: That’s wonderful because, I remember, before you went in for your surgery, that was one of the things, you said, that you were really looking forward to.
Beth Treado: You know, I’ve really noticed that, whether it’s been weight, or not, this past month, at least, my body’s really changed in that I’ve lost a lot of inches. So, I’m really seeing the inches come off right now, instead of the weight, the number.
Dr. Linda Austin: It is interesting, sometimes, how the two don’t necessarily, exactly, go hand in hand at the same time. You can lose one first and then the other.
Beth Treado: Right. It’s been frustrating to look at the scale constantly. So, I’m trying to stay off of it because I’m realizing that I can tell through clothes.
Dr. Linda Austin: How about your energy level? How is that?
Beth Treado: Fantastic. I’m addicted to the gym right now. I go to Spin class three days a week with two of my girlfriends and we do a weight class two days a week. So, I’m in there all the time. It’s been a lot of fun.
Dr. Linda Austin: Wonderful. Do you still think it was worth it?
Beth Treado: Hundred percent. I’ve been talking to people, MUSC has a list of people who can call you for help, if they’re thinking about having the surgery,
so I’ve talked to several people through that and I encourage people everyday about it. So, it’s been fantastic for me.
Dr. Linda Austin: Well, I appreciate that you’re very honest about the fact hat it hasn’t been a cakewalk.
Beth Treado. No. It’s not gonna be a cakewalk.
Dr. Linda Austin: Yeah, but, nonetheless, worth it?
Beth Treado: Yeah, definitely.
Dr. Linda Austin: Beth, thanks so much.
Beth Treado: Thank you.
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.