The Bandster Bash

September 21, 2006

OBGYN.net CoverageFrom the Bandster's Bash 2001 in Tijuana, Mexico

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Roberta Speyer: "Hi, this is Roberta Speyer reporting for OBGYN.net Broadcasting. I'm here in Tijuana, Mexico with Wayne Smith at the Bandster's Bash. Wayne, tell us what's going on tonight, who's here, and what's the Bandster's about?"

Wayne Smith: "The Bandster Bash is a group of banded patients that have the adjustable gastric band process, and we get together once a year for a major party - that's what it's all about."

Roberta Speyer: "This group meets most of the time via your website on the Internet through a e-mail list, correct?"

Wayne Smith: "That's right, it mostly meets by way of an e-mail list server on the Internet. We talk to each other quite regularly - daily and hourly about all kinds of topics, particularly about this particular surgery."

Roberta Speyer: "This is the surgery that you can view that I also had in December of 1999. I've lost 90 pounds and it's a very nice thing for me tonight to be here with this group of people. It's the first time I've ever met a group of people that have shared the same experience that I had and you've had also."

Wayne Smith: "Yes, I had my operation in October of 1999. It took me nine months, I lost 130 pounds, and I have been at my goal weight for fourteen months now without dieting whatsoever."

Roberta Speyer: "Fantastic, we're looking forward to having a great time tonight. Thank you. Lisa, tell us about when you had your surgery, why you had it, and how you feel about having done it."

Lisa Thompson: "I had my surgery May 29th and I had it because I've been dieting off and on for thirty years and I'm tired of not succeeding. I did it basically for some level of certainty. A lot of diets promise but then they don't deliver, and I've been able to lose up to fifty or sixty pounds before but I never kept it off."

Roberta Speyer: "It always comes back?"

Lisa Thompson: "Yes."

Roberta Speyer: "How have your results been since the surgery, and what would you say to someone who was contemplating doing this themselves?"

Lisa Thompson: "I've lost twenty pounds, it's been slower than I thought it would be but I'm pretty happy with the rate as long as I continue to lose. I would say go for it. If you're only fifty pounds overweight, I wouldn't do it but if you're one-hundred pounds overweight, I would say, yes, do it."

Roberta Speyer: "Thank you. We're now talking to Jessie Ahroni and today you were over at the fill station. When we get a filler-up here with the Bandsters, and I was one of those that participated, it literally means you're getting your band tightened for a little more restriction that's provided."

Jesse Ahroni: "Tightened or loosed - it's adjusted."

Roberta Speyer: "Why don't you tell us a little bit about what was going on over there today and what your background and involvement is in having this surgery, knowing about it, and participating in it."

Jesse Ahroni: "I've had the band since October 3, 1998 - almost three years. Today we had twenty-one Bandsters come through and they had fluoroscopy, which is an x-ray that shows barium or an x-ray contrast material moving down through the esophagus and into the stomach. You can see the band and you can see the degree of tightness. Today, we either let a little fluid out of the band for people who were too tight or put a little fluid in and tightened them up a little bit so they could continue to lose."

Roberta Speyer: "That's what I had; I want to lose another twenty-five or thirty pounds."

Jesse Ahroni: "So you had a little fluid added; your band is tighter and then you'll get full faster and you'll eat less."

Roberta Speyer: "Will the food also not pass through the stomach as quickly?"

Jesse Ahroni: "Right, it will slow it down. You'll have delayed gastric emptying."

Roberta Speyer: "That's really part of what makes the band work - the sensation in your mind."

Jesse Ahroni: "It fills up, the pouch stretches, and there's a barrel receptor or pressure receptor in the stomach and that receptor sends a chemical signal to your brain that tells you that you're full. Then you quit eating naturally; that's how it works."

Roberta Speyer: "That I think is one of the interesting keys because people have often asked me - don't you feel hungry or don't you feel deprived. I was a gourmet cook and I wondered if I would still enjoy that after banding and I do enjoy the cooking and I do enjoy the dining experience, I just don't need to eat as much quantity of food anymore."

Jesse Ahroni: "I don't feel deprived at all. I eat anything I want, except for maybe bread, I just eat less of it."

Roberta Speyer: "Is that by choice or you don't have a good tolerance for it?"

Jesse Ahroni: "I can only eat a small amount so I'm not going to fill my pouch with bread or lettuce. I can eat it if I wanted to but I'd rather eat meat and protein and things that I enjoy more than starch and lettuce."

Roberta Speyer: "So what do you think of this group of people? This is the first time I've ever been with another human being that's had this surgery."

Jesse Ahroni: "Most of them are from our e-mail support group which is called Bandsters; it's at www.smartgroups.com. Most of the people here belong to that group and that's how they find out about it. We have people from all over the world and we e-mail our questions and concerns and try to support each other through making the decision to have surgery, choosing a surgeon, when you need a fill, and a lot of patient education."

Roberta Speyer: "That's what I did, I used the Bandsters when I first researched the opportunity of what I was going to do because there are other procedures out there that are far more invasive."

Jesse Ahroni: "There are two other primary surgeries - stomach stapling which is called vertical banded gastroplasty or VBG and the RNY which is the initials for the name of the procedure that's called a gastric bypass. There are some other surgeries like the duodenal switch, which is a variation of the gastric bypass but if you want to have surgery you need to research all your options."

Roberta Speyer: "For me, I really wanted something that was going to be a fast recovery time, was non-invasive, could be reversed if I didn't like it, and there were various things that made me look closely at banding." 

Jesse Ahroni: "There are a lot of advantages to banding."

Roberta Speyer: "At the time, it was not FDA approved. The FDA approval for BioEnterics who makes the device happened in June of 2001 so at the time I did it, I went to a doctor in Frankfurt, Germany - Dr. Weiner. Where did you go when you had yours done?"

Jesse Ahroni: "I went to Dr. Rumbaut in Monterrey, Mexico."

Roberta Speyer: "He is a very highly regarded physician."

Jesse Ahroni: "Oh, excellent, he's a superb surgeon. Most of the people here were probably banded by Dr. Rumbaut. The other surgeon who does a lot of bands is Dr. Kuri who's here in Tijuana and then there's also Dr. Sanchez in Monterrey; he can do the BioEnterics band but he usually uses the Swedish band that's very similar."

Roberta Speyer: "There's another device."

Jesse Ahroni: "There are three types of bands in common use now; the BioEnterics is the most common in U.S. patients."

Roberta Speyer: "That's the only one that has the FDA approval at this time."

Jesse Ahroni: "In the states, yes." 

Roberta Speyer: "I have now lassoed Sherry Scroggins. How long have you been a Bandster, Sherry?"

Sherri Scroggins: "Since October of last year in 2000."

Roberta Speyer: "Would you do it again?"

Sherri Scroggins: "I'd do it again in a heartbeat."

Roberta Speyer: "Why?"

Sherri Scroggins: "Because in the last ten months I've lost 122 pounds."

Roberta Speyer: "My goodness girl, where is she? I hope we didn't have to pay to get her in here tonight. One hundred and twenty pounds - what are you shooting for overall? How much further do you want to go?"

Sherri Scroggins: "I've never been thin so I don't know what my ultimate goal will be but where I look good and feel good is where I'll be." 

Roberta Speyer: "You know, saying that I've never been thin, I was born 10 pounds, and I think I weighed 35-40 pounds by the time I was a year old. I was always fat; I was the fat kid in school, and I was the fat teenager. I was always the side kick to the good looking girl and all that kind of stuff, and I was smarter than they were and funnier."

Sherri Scroggins: "And that was me."

Roberta Speyer: "But you always had to make up for the fact that you were the fat girl so you had to be extra nice."

Sherri Scroggins: "At this point in time I am starting a new life and I am going to be one of those thin people."

Roberta Speyer: "I want to talk about something if you'd be kind enough to shed some light on it. We were talking outside this meeting earlier and you were talking about how important it is for psychological counseling and support. When I started losing so much weight my experience was having always been the fat one, and having come to a point in my life where I actually accepted being fat as part of who I was and I didn't even struggle with it anymore for years and then suddenly losing weight - I felt like Cinderella. I don't know how to explain it, I just felt young and beautiful. Where before all my interests had centered around decorating the home and doing things for the children and my husband, I started finding that I was taking more of an interest in my own personal appearance, clothes, jewelry, nails, and make-up. It was a little bit of a struggle there for my family to accept, of course, I want to add I was totally obnoxious because that's my style, don't do anything by halves but did you find any of this or what advice or points would you like to make about this whole struggle with the changing of the body identity?"

Sherri Scroggins: "I'd like to say that at 379 there wasn't a whole lot I could do, basically, it was work, come home, sleep, and play on the computer - that was all I was able to do. There was no cleaning the house, there was no decorating - there was no interest in life at all. Now I have a life that I am learning to deal with. I've never really had a life so right now I'm trying to figure out how to get everything that I've never been able to do all in at one time."

Roberta Speyer: "So you're just like a kid in a candy store but you can't eat any."

Sherri Scroggins: "We have been busy, we go everywhere, and we do everything. My husband can no longer keep up with me and my kids are having a ball with it. They love their new thin momma."

Roberta Speyer: "That's great. Well, the bash is just about winding down, isn't it, Tammy?"

Tammy Markey: "Yes."

Roberta Speyer: "Tammy Markey is the big loser of the evening. That's what everyone says - you're the poster child for the LAP-BAND®. Tell us your story; how much weight have you lost?"

Tammy Markey: "One hundred and sixty pounds."

Roberta Speyer: "In what amount of time?"

Tammy Markey: "I was banded by Dr. Rumbaut on May 23 of 2000."

Roberta Speyer: "That's phenomenal. Has it changed your life?"

Tammy Markey: "Yes, it's definitely changed my life."

Roberta Speyer: "What would you say is the biggest change for you?"

Tammy Markey: "It's just easier to get around; it's easier to get out of bed and not feel like I'm old."

Roberta Speyer: "That was one of the things that I felt; I felt like it took years off my life, and I felt younger."

Tammy Markey: "Just getting out of bed and those first ten steps are easy now."

Roberta Speyer: "And no ankles hurting and no back pain?"

Tammy Markey: "No, I still have a little bit of back pain but not from weight."

Roberta Speyer: "That whole rapid change of body image, it's really something to try to assimilate. There is a psychological factor at work here too, isn't there?"

Tammy Markey: "Yes, I think so."

Roberta Speyer: "You just felt real comfortable with it?"

Tammy Markey: "I do, I feel real comfortable with it."

Roberta Speyer: "I feel like I went through a big metamorphosis psychologically but everyone else I've interviewed didn't so apparently I'm just a nut case, so just take it that I was just a lunatic but I just felt it was difficult for me to get used to not being a fat person anymore."

Tammy Markey: "No, I just like it."

Roberta Speyer: "She loved it, she took to it right away."

Tammy Markey: "I like shopping."

Roberta Speyer: "I liked it, what I mean is I almost liked it too much, it was like I kind of got stuck on myself. I have children and they'd say, "Mommy, you used to go to the store and buy stuff for us and now you just come home and you have clothes for you." But now I can finally get back at them because I can actually borrow things from them, which is kind of exciting."

Tammy Markey: "I have two boys, they wouldn't…"

Roberta Speyer: "It wouldn't do at all but it's really been a nice night. It's been a great experience for me to be able to be for the first time in my life with my sisters and maybe a few brothers - other people that have had the surgery. I've never met anyone who had the surgery before and to be with people that have shared this experience, it was very nice. Did you enjoy it also?"

Tammy Markey: "Oh, yes."

Roberta Speyer: "What would you tell anybody that was thinking about getting the LAP-BAND®? What would your advise to them be?"

Tammy Markey: "I think it's definitely one of the best things I've done. The one thing of being overweight was I was out of control, I mean I felt out of control and now with the band I feel like I have control."

Roberta Speyer: "So you'd say go for it or at least investigate it and see it it's right for you."

Tammy Markey: "Definitely."

Roberta Speyer: "That's the consensus here from Tijuana, Mexico. If you're watching this and you're wondering is this for me, find out because it certainly was for all of us. Thank you, Tammy." 

Tammy Markey: "You're welcome."

Roberta Speyer: "Good night for OBGYN.net from Tijuana, Mexico from the Bandster's Bash. I'm going to go dance now."