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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Please read and help if you can!

Sometimes after the little dude goes to sleep I just sit here and mindlessly scroll through social media. The other night I was doing just that when I stopped....scrolled back up and saw something that an old high school classmate posted. It was concerning his wife. So even though I hadn't really spoken to this friend in quite some time I thought I'd check it out because it said something about her needing help.

I opened the link and quickly got the gist of what was going on. I read all I could there and then got back on Facebook and sent her a friend request. If there is any way at all I can help get her succeed then I'm sure going to try!

Let me give you a little background about this amazing lady: She has endured SO much in her life. She battled depression from an early age and after her parents divorced she found comfort in food. She was widowed at the age of 25 and because of that tragedy she developed a severe drug addiction in her attempt to cope. However, this isn't a story about someone failing or someone blaming the hand they were dealt. This is a story about a true survivor who refused to let life keep her down. She kicked that drug habit, she went to college and will soon be graduating with a degree in accounting WITH HONORS! She has a great family (including four children) who support her endeavors unconditionally. However, there is one aspect of her life that is still haunting her. I know so many of us (myself included) have struggled with weight and that is why I'm bringing this story to you today. Sara researched and found the option that was best for her about 5 years ago. She opted to get lap band surgery (as many people have). This was going to be the answer to the one struggle she couldn't get through on her own. Now, almost 5 years later, she is having nothing but trouble. At this point all she wants is to have the band removed but is hitting nothing but brick walls.

 (this is an excerpt from her gofundme page)

Created by Sara on April 1, 2014
I am asking for help because I don’t know where else to turn.  I have survived so much in my life and tackled so many battles that I just cannot let this weight beat me any longer. In February of 2010 I went under the knife and I got the LapBand surgery.  In the first year I did really good.  I was unable to eat most foods, but I was so determined to lose the weight that I just dealt with it.  I lost almost 60 lbs the first year and then slowly it just stopped coming of, and then the pounds came creeping back on. I have tried fills and unfills and no matter which way I go I either can’t eat at all, can’t get full, or have reflux so severe that I am unable to even drink water.  After spending the last 4.5 years of my life living with a failed LapBand I am trying to raise money for a revision to a gastric sleeve. I just want to live a healthy life and be able to eat healthy foods again. The research I have done shows that 5 years out many LapBand patients are having removals due to the persistent vomiting and erosion or a slipped band. I did so much research before I ever got banded that I believed it was safe. The long term research just was not available. The band prevents me from eating almost all meats, vegetables, even most fruits which are full of sugar so that's ok. But I can eat potatoes, processed foods, pretty much ANYTHING unhealthy which after 4 years I've sort of given up and resorted to eating whatever will go down. I have tried to go through my insurance but being a student my coverage isn't great. They refuse to even remove my band but I feel like it's the only way I'll ever be able to continue with a healthy way of eating. I cook healthy meals for my family but unfortunately I am unable to eat them. Thank you for even considering helping my cause. I too will be saving money to put towards this change I so desire. So with all these issues I have been having with my LapBand I called the clinic that I used to see for aftercare to inquire what my prices and options were for removal and they told me that they no longer have surgeons who see patients anymore! So I contacted my original surgeon directly to ask him about my options and very promptly they told me he doesn't see LapBand patients anymore and he can't help me. Ugh!!! They want to refer me to Blackfoot who won't take me because I'm out of state. I cannot find any surgeon to see me because I am a Medicaid patient (because I am a student), and in the state of Washington Medicaid will not pay for anything weight loss related unless I am at risk for losing a limb due to lymph edema caused from obesity.  I feel so helpless!  Some wonderful friends of mine have encouraged me to start a go fund me account which I have done.  But I understand there are so many other people out there with much bigger problems I feel selfish asking for people to donate to me.  Although, a few wonderful friends have.   Thank you so much for taking the time to read this and I hope and pray that you might help me find a way to make this possible!
This percentage was from 3 years ago and the % has only increased.
I, being someone who has to research everything before I say a peep, immediately took to the interwebs to see what I could find. I found pages and pages of information about complications surrounding the lap band, just like what Sara indicated above. I also found stories of many people having issues that are very similar to her own.
The studies I looked at all indicated that the longer a person has the band in place the more likely it is for them to have complications. More than half of all people who have this procedure end up having to get some sort of surgical revision or a complete removal. Was this information available when Sara had her surgery? No. The long term information wasn't there and she was assured all would go well.
All she wants to do is live a healthy life. She wants to be comfortable. She wants to be a healthy example for her kids. She wants to be able to cook healthy meals AND enjoy them with her family. Right now she can't comfortably eat much of anything and is trying to find some surgeon who will remove the band. Because of her insurance situation she will most likely have to pay the majority (if not all) of the cost associated with the band removal when she finally finds a willing doctor.
If you can even spare $5 to help get Sara to her goal so that she can have this LapBand removal please consider helping her. More of her story is available on her gofundme page. There is no reason she should suffer with this. Since talking to her about this I'm just amazed at how she's basically been abandoned by the medical system. The doctors that did this procedure will no longer help her so she is being forced to take matters into her own hands. 

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