Lap Band Surgery Aftercare – 3 Tips For Those Relocating or Traveling to Be Banded
Are you considering traveling for lap band surgery? Are you relocating and already have a lap band?
I am a long-term, successful lap band patient. I was banded in 2006 and am maintaining a normal, healthy weight. In August of 2008, two years after my lap-band surgery, I moved across country, 3500 miles away from the comfort of my surgeon and my lap band support network. For me this was really scary and could have been the ultimate excuse to fall off the .
I hate moving; it’s never fun. As I was dealing the logistics of moving to a new city, selling a house, finding a house, changing work locations, researching schools, my children’s fears of making new worried me was: who was going to take care of me and my lap band?
There were times when I felt as if my success, two years into my journey, hung in a delicate balance; it was as if I was tethered to my surgeon and his staff on one side, and my lap band mentor on the other. I was terrified of severing that “umbilical cord.” I told my surgeon about my plans to move. Since I was moving to a major city, he assured me that he would be able to recommend a practice that would take good care of me. He also made sure that I understood that each practice is different; that thought sent shivers down my spine.
After moving, I continued traveling back to my home office and the comfort of my aftercare and support network frequently. I had a year before I would need to find another doctor.
When I finally did see a local surgeon, the new practice took great care of me and consulted with my original surgeon. I realized that this practice was going to be very different but I was in good hands. I also decided to attend my new local support group to see what it was like – again very different, with different philosophies. I was pleasantly surprised to learn some new tips to help me on my banded living journey – like how a crock-pot can be a great tool to cook hot, hearty, healthy meals that are low in fat and calories. I especially appreciated this tip now that I was living in New England and re-adjusting to long, cold winters.
I also realized that my lap band mentor and friend, would always be there. We live in a virtual world! Below are three things to consider, based on my experience, if you are relocating or traveling for surgery and need to plan for aftercare:.
Work with your surgeon to plan for follow-on after-care if you are moving or travelling for surgery. Your surgeon will probably be more than willing to help you.
There are “open” and “closed” support groups. Open support groups are open to patients who are not cared for by that particular practice.
Do your homework ahead of time. Research all your options including surgical practices, fill centers, and support networks. Understand that not all practices will take care of patients if they did not perform the initial surgery.
Even if you are several years post-op find a practice to care for you close to home.
If you are traveling to be banded, make sure you have a complete plan for aftercare including: 1) where you will go for fills and monitoring, 2) where you will go in case of an emergency or if you suspect something may be wrong, and 3) where you will go for support. Make sure to factor in these costs, if they are not covered by your insurance, when budgeting for surgery.
So the moral of the story, for me seems to be all about having a plan. I’m reminded over and over again that the most successful lap band patients always have a plan, or at least a plan B. That applies to aftercare just as it applies to planning meals.