Special Alert – Watch SBS this PM re Obesity and Lapband surgery. .

Is lapband surgery worse than obesity?

Kate Finlay is a guest on SBS's <i>Insight</i> program tonight (Tuesday, May 28), 8.30pm on SBS ONE.Kate Finlay is a guest on SBS’s Insight program tonight. Photo: SBS

After a life-long struggle with weight loss, I thought lapband surgery would be the solution. I was wrong.

I was only 12 years old when my parents decided I should join Weight Watchers because I was slightly chubby. The group at my local church actually applauded me the first week I lost weight. I now see the damage this did to my body image and consequent weight gain.

By the time I was 18, I was obese. I became the “funny fat girl”, the “lucky you have a good personality” girl. Perhaps people thought I had no feelings under the fat – that I “needed” to hear it. I tried starving myself and by 20 had tried to remove fat by cutting it off of my body with a sharp scalpel.

It wasn’t until I moved to London that I started to get fit and lose weight. I attended a wedding and was excited for my family to see the real me, happy, slimmer and mature. Instead I was taunted again – “you’ve managed to gain weight”.


When I returned to Australia, I decided I didn’t want negativity in my life any more, but slipped into old habits. Within six months I was back up to a size 16-18.

Eventually I met a man who loved me for me, via the internet, so I was judged not on looks but on personality. When our first baby was born, I had ballooned to over 100 kilos. I struggled to lose baby weight and just lived with it. After my second child was born I suffered post-natal depression and put weight on. I was told by a neighbour that I was too fat and my kids would be bullied if I didn’t lose weight. I exploded to a size 28-30. I hated myself, but had made up my mind that I was never going to lose weight, I would always be fat.

I begged my GP to get a lapband surgeon, or I would kill myself – I was better off dead. Within two weeks I was booked in and we had whacked $12,000 on the mortgage. I was given a list of complications during and after lapband surgery but I had no fear. This was going to save my life.

Kate: on drastic ways to lose weight:

In eight months, I lost 52 kilos but had to get my gall bladder removed. According to my surgeon, this was a side-effect of fast weight loss. I rolled with it. Two days after giving birth to our third child I had liver failure. This was another new side-effect of my lapband – I was not receiving all the nutrients I needed to sustain my body or my baby.

Over the next year I went days without food, weeks without using the toilet. But on the upside I was getting skinny and I had a dream – I wanted to buy clothes from a mainstream clothing store. However, the loose skin that hung on my stomach and arms were another side-effect.

Having 15 kilos of skin removed was the most intensely painful experience. The wound split open on my back and refused to heal. I was now eating less than three times a week. I was very sick, but skinny – a svelte size 12. In December I bought my first ever boutique dress. It wasn’t long before I was admitted to hospital for malnutrition. On my wedding anniversary, I was again in hospital with chronic abdominal pain. I had yet another new side-effect – an “erosion”. I was told this was very rare, but I was to find numerous online “Bandits” who had also had erosion.

The band was removed via open surgery – my lapband surgeon blamed my plastic surgeon, my plastic surgeon blamed my lapband surgeon. I spent months trying to get answers and was handballed from one to the other. Eventually my lapband surgeon handed me to the public system, where they wanted to re-band me. I refused, concerned about the pain. The surgeons were more worried about weight gain.

I still hate what I see when I look in the mirror – I hate my fat, I hate the scars. I have been operated on once or twice a year since I was banded. I live with pain, and still eat very rarely. I spend hours a day on the toilet. I vomit between five and 15 times a week. I know I am not living well.

I wish I had known erosion was a risk. I wish I had better after-care, I wish I had made smarter choices. I wish I could sit with patients and talk to them, make them rethink the hard sell. A gastric band is a product just like the many weight-loss gimmicks we fatties invest in. Not all of these will fail, but I urge all people considering banding to be informed. Ask all the questions, and talk to lapband patients – not just the successes, but the failures too.

Kate Finlay is a guest on SBS’s Insight program tonight, 8.30pm on SBS ONE, in a discussion about the obesity epidemic, which asks whether you can be fat and healthy, and if people resort to surgery too soon

About Dr Colin Holloway

Gp interested in natural hormone treatment for men and women of all ages

Posted on May 28, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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