Erika: LAP-BAND Surgery

Bariatric Surgery Results Erika
Growing up I never had issues with self-esteem. Never, because I was always thin. In fact, I remember, as a child being teased for being too skinny and constantly being told that I didn’t eat enough.

Well, add years of thinking to yourself “no way will I ever be overweight” to 2 kids via caesarean to not taking the time to exercise to saying to yourself “I’ll start watching my weight tomorrow.” Somehow the weight just seems to keep coming and coming AND IT ALWAYS FINDS YOU.

I went from a lean military body (U.S. Army) at a fit 130 pounds to a staggering 240 pounds. I was so depressed. I didn’t live in my hometown so it was easy to “hide out.”

I’d come home to visit my family and that’s as far as I would go. I would never go out to visit old friends. Definitely not make the mistake of going to the mall because the risk of seeing anyone I knew was too great.

My entire attitude about life had changed. I went from the friendly, outspoken, life of the party, social person that everyone knew me as to this quiet, shell of the person I was.

I’d heard about the lap band and had begun doing research prior to starting to work with Dr. Bagnato. I thought no way could this be something that would work for me. I just knew I should be strong enough to do this on my own. However, after taking a long look at myself and my two beautiful children – I knew the lap band was the perfect decision for me.

I got my band in June 2008 and have lost 75 pounds. The revelation that I was getting back to me came one afternoon when I was in the back yard with my kids. We were running around with the dog and I was chasing all of them when my son suddenly stopped and looked at me and said, “Mommy, you’re running!” It was such an awesome moment I’ll never forget it!

I wouldn’t give anything for this journey. Since having the surgery and being an employee here with Dr. Bagnato at Palmyra Surgical I feel I have a greater appreciation for what each patient walking through the door feels.

With each pound, whether up or down, I can identify with what they are going through. I want to hear their story because in some way I can relate.

Now when I walk past a mirror, I back up for 2 reasons. #1 I can’t believe it’s really me and #2 I’m so glad it’s me and so is my husband!!!

*Surgical weight loss results vary between individuals depending on initial weight, existing medical conditions and adherence to prescribed treatments. Speak to Dr. Bagnato about the results you can expect.


34 Responses to “Erika: LAP-BAND Surgery”
  • Gwen says:

    you look great/hopefully my insurance company willapprove my surgery and I can start my journey as well. I walk pass a mirror every single day @ home and work and going oh my god ..that is me. I ran vasity track in high school and we had our 20th class reunion this year and I did not attend. when you run vasity track in my area people look at you and when you say there name that act as though they don’t know who I am. 🙁 because they remember me as a slender thin girl. (Im already a patient of dr. bagnato and came to a couple of simnars so i’m ready..hope to see you guys soon, kind of nervous but excited @ the same time.

  • Pam says:

    Congratulatins on your weight loss. I had my surgery in February 2009 and have lost 44# & I feel great!

    Keep up the good work.

  • doug says:

    Look at you all up on top. And might I say looking gorgeous too!!

  • Laura says:

    You look sooo good and I am so proud of you. I had my lap-band in sept. 2008 and have only lost 18 pounds. I have had a few problems but I went back this Tuesday and had another fill. Just wanted to know if you could give me some eating tips or any help that I could use so hopfuly I can look and feel proud as you do. Im very discurraged and I just done fill as if the lap-band has been good for me but Im not giving up so if you have any thing you could help me with I will be sooo glad to listen.
    Thanks so much, and again, Im so proud of you and you should be to you are beautiful.

  • Erika says:

    Hi Gwen,
    It’s definately a mental decision as I’m sure all “banders” will tell you the same thing. It sounds like you are ready. Once you get that first 10 pounds off – the self esteem starts coming back. It’s amazing how soon you start to feel better. Stay in touch with other patients for advice. Go to the support meetings because they do help you stay on track. I still have questions and I’m a year post surgery. I couldn’t be happier with my decision. Looking forward to seeing you before and after surgery. I’m here for ya.

  • Erika says:

    Thanks Doug….

  • Erika says:

    Hi Laura,
    I had my share of problems before reaching my “spot.” It really is so important to get in your protein. I had to learn to get friends out of my head and learn to eat for me and my band.
    It can be so easy to get in a rut and tell yourself that you really didn’t mind how you looked before, which can cause you major setbacks with the band.
    Let me give you a few eating tips: Unlike most banders, I have to have a little something for breakfast, it helps get my day going. A protein drink or sometimes even a piece of cheese helps me get the day started.
    As for lunch, we could talk forever about that one. That can get tricky for us. You might find that sometimes you can eat lunch with no problems. Other days might give you a little more restriction. If you can eat salad with no problem try soup and salad. Check where you’re getting the soup from as they can contain lots of sodium. We’re women and we hate bloating. LOL!
    Dinner is my favorite. Since my band I actually crave vegetables. Shrimp and brown rice with asparagus -awesome. Try grilling some pork chops (be sure to marinate – as this well help tenderize thus easy on the band), along with green beans. Love this meal.
    This weekend, while my husband made pancakes for him and the kids – I had an omelet with salsa.
    Let me know what you’re eating and we can brainstorm. Sometimes it can be as simple as substituting one for lunch and the other for dinner. Also, make sure you don’t drink with your meals. I know this can be difficult, but once you master it , you won’t miss it.
    I’m happy to help you through this process. Email me anytime and we can help each other stay on track.

  • Kathy says:

    Great Job…I’ve tried everything…I’m on such a rollcoaster of ups n dwns with weight loss I could scream…I am diabetic, high-blpressure, etc!!! I’m tired of crying, tired of worrying, My depression and anxiety keeps me on that rollercoaster! I love rollercoasters…but this one…isn’t fun at all!!!
    My question for you is…Have u had any interruptions of normalcy in ur body? Functions, noticable differences in a negative manner having had this surgery?
    Thank you for reading this! U look great!!!
    I just want to live as long as I can and really live, I’ve been given a special gift from God…My Son…I wanna be there for it all!!! There is so much I’ve gone through and I am tired!!!

  • SHARON says:

    Hi Laura i see you are doing well. Im thinking about getting the lap band im very over weight im 265 pounds 5’1 height and im a 34yr old with 3 beautiful children im alittle afaid 2 have surgery.But i kmow i need 2 do something about my weight. I have try everything and fail.I know the lap band works because u look great.

  • Margaret says:

    OOOO Erika…what a great job….and you just keep it up!!!! Wow!

  • Cindy says:

    Erica, you look great! Thanks for sharing your story! I am waiting on my insurance company to give Dr. Bagnato the certification needed in order to perform my procedure. I have good days and bad, some days I feel confident and most others I just want to be invisible! I am just waiting on the final okay from my insurance company to have my surgery. I want to be healthy and enjoy my life and look good while doing so. Thanks again for the inspiration.

  • Margaret says:

    Erika, I have had my lap band for two years and seem to have developed a particular craving for “crunchy” things. Do you have any suggestions for a good snack food that is crunchy? One that is good for us Bagnato Bandits!

  • Brenda says:

    hi erika i am sitting here 2:00 in the morning reading the stories that people are sharing with you about the band and their decision to get the lap band i have been talking about it for two years. why so long because my insurance would not cover the surgery for one and i could not afford it on my own but now they are offering to pay 70% of the cost thats some help.also my daughter had the surgery and has done well she lives in Maryland so i do not see her but may be twice a year but,she looks great with no problems. i jotted down the next seminar date and i will be their hopefully to get info on how the get the process started. someone mention mirror my worst nightmare

  • Erika says:

    Hi Melissa.
    Too funny that you mentioned “crunchy things.” I am totally addicted to the Quaker Mini Delights. They are in the 90 calorie packs. The flavors are awesome. I started with the cinnamon streusel – but now I’m loving the caramel drizzle & the white chocolate drizzle. They are in the grocery store on the cereal aisle; with the oatmeal. Another good one is: Nature’s Valley Granola Clusters. It’s a new product. Love, love, love the almond clusters. Keep me posted if you come across any other good items.

  • Erika says:

    Hi Brenda.
    You know it’s really great that you’ve been thinking about it for so long. I’d be worried if you’d just made a rash decision. This is a mental process and should not be taken lightly. After all, it is a lifestyle change. I am more than willing to discuss insurance details with you. The band is a wonderful tool that leaves it totally up to the individual as to how much weight they lose. That’s the beauty. C’mon and join the rest of us “banders.” Once you get your band, you’ll wonder, “WHAT WAS I WAITING ON?” Mirrors will then become your BFF & not a nightmare. LOL!

  • Shirley says:

    hi erika and the other ladies in the office, I had my band 12/22/10 and i thank God for the way things turned out after my surgery, I only had one bad day,and only needed the pain meds only once. I lost 16 lbs and I have not had my first adjustment yet. people are saying you look so good already. I was very hard for me because my surgery was during the hoildays and if I made it through that I can do anything. I look forward to my first adjustment will keep you posted. thanks

  • Erika says:

    Hi Shirley,
    I knew that you would do well. Just keep setting goals for yourself and watch the weight come off. We are here to help you through this process.
    Welcome to “The Band.” 🙂

  • Larenda says:

    You,really look great but is it painful and have you been sick?

  • Erika says:

    Hi Larenda,

    I had the surgery done in June 2008 on a Friday. As far as pain, I was in the park on Sunday with my kids and back to work on Monday. I think what’s hardest for many patients is to remember to stay hydrated. That is, you have to remember that you aren’t getting the same amount of food/drinks/or nutrients you were before. Therefore, it is going to be so important that you remember to drink lots of G-2(Gatorade) following surgery. As a reminder to myself, I keep a water bottle on my desk. It can be difficult to remember to drink after a meal when you’re so used to drinking WITH a meal. Another thing to point out about the pain is that you have to remember that it is best to try and get up and get moving. When you’re taking the pain meds – it slows down your system and thus makes it take even longer for you to heal. I had no choice; I have 2 young children that were still expecting Mom to fix dinner and pay them lots of attention. 🙂 Dr. Bagnato and the staff at Palmyra Surgical as well as the Bariatric Institute are here to help you get through any problems you’re having. Whether it’s before or after surgery. Just don’t ever hesitate to contact us.
    Call me here at the office if you have any more questions. I’m happy to answer them.

  • Lillian "Merle" Pitts says:

    You look fabulous, I’m working on getting my weight off, was banded March 23, 2009. It’s slow for me, but gradually I’m getting there with God’s help.

  • Margaret says:

    Erika, I have been looking at all the testimonals of those who have had lap band surgery and am so encouraged about all the successes. I am 64 yrs. old. I have a heinal hernia which I know would have to be repaired in order to have the lap band done. I am now approx. 235lbs which is my highest weight. I have sleep apnea, arthritis in my feet and hands, asthma with shortness of breath a good deal of the time. I’m pretty much miserable and very discouraged. It has gotten to the point that I am afraid to try to loose weight again because I am afraid of failing again!!! I have been to Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville and have had a work up and some dieting but then I had surgery on one foot in July and haven’t been back because of the distance and have been afraid I wouldn’t be able to eat correctly with the lap band. I have a niece that has not lost much at all with the surgery but she doesn’t exercise either! I am now thinking about coming to one of the seminars in March. I have got to do something because I feel awful all the time and don’t want to go out much because of how I look.

  • Erika says:

    Hi Lillian.
    The fact that it is a “slow” process is actually the beauty of the band. You don’t want to lose the weight fast because that doesn’t give your body enough time to produce muscle. Thus, you end up with that flabby skin we as women already dread! 🙂 Just take your time. Plan your day – as far as your meals so and you’ll find yourself at your “sweet spot” in no time.

  • JoAnna says:

    Erika, can you feel the port under your skin or can your mate feel the port? Also, How large are the incisions or what’s the largest incision?

  • Margaret says:

    Erika, You are prettier in person that your picture and you look great in the picture!!!!! Thanks for your help tonight at the seminar. Everyone was so nice and very helpful. I’m praying really hard that the insurance will work out. I really want and NEED the surgery. I’ll be calling you.

  • Erika says:

    Hi Joanna,

    I don’t notice the port at all – and my husband hasn’t said a thing. Now I don’t know if that’s because he doesn’t feel it or if he knows better…LOL! Actually, you really don’t notice the port. Of course if I press at my shoulder area I can feel it, but you don’t notice it looking in the mirror and others don’t notice it when looking at you. I still wear tank tops with no problem at all. The largest incision was actually from where Dr. Bagnato placed the port. Which is now completely healed and unnoticeable. I gotta tell you, I feel so awesome, large or small – the incisions were well worth it! Call me anytime or I’ll look for another blog entry from you. Take care & I hope to hear from you real soon.

  • Erika says:

    Hello Margaret.
    You are so sweet. Thanks for the compliment!
    I think it’s going to all work out. I’m sure that I’ll be hearing from you very soon. I look forward to it. I know that you’re anxious and it will be well worth the wait. I know how you feel with not wanting to go out much. I was the very same way. All of the diagnoses you mentioned earlier will definately aid you in getting insurance approval. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
    Keep in touch,

  • Margaret says:

    Hi Erika, I am waiting impatiently (trying to be patient) for the time to call you to see how the meeting went on 22nd. I am really anxious to get a new start on my life with the Lap Band. I feel like this is an answer to my prayers. I was wondering if I should get my records from Mayo?

  • betty p says:


  • shirley says:

    hello ladies,
    for the first time in my life my clothes are to big, I try not buy anything because I am still losing. April was a good month for me I loss 7lb in three weeks really. I have had only two adjustments. I still learning how to eat but its all good. See you when I am a size 12

  • Erika says:

    Hi Betty. Thank you so much. Remember to get a copy of everything to show that you’ve completed all of the criteria your insurance company requires. You don’t want to go through all of this only to find that one little item is missing. If you’re working with a Case Manager, be sure to keep her updated. Be sure that she receives a copy of every visit you’ve completed. I know it seems like a long time, but it is so worth the wait. Right before your last 6-month appt, give me a call so that I can get you on in here.
    Really looking forward to meeting you.
    Thanks again..and I’m really enjoying being able to run with my kids….AND THE DOGS!!! LOL

  • betty p says:


  • Theresa says:

    My surgery is scheduled on July 19th. I am starting my phase 1 south beach diet that was recommended for pre-surgery this week. I am scared! Don’t really know why, I think it is just having to change. I want to change but afraid I won’t be able to keep it up. Was it difficult to start the change in eating habits?
    You look so good! Did you start a work out program? before or after surgery? Do you have any loose or ugly skin that you are embarrassed about since the surgery? I have so many questions.

  • Erika says:

    Hi Theresa,
    It’s perfectly normal to have some fears about having bariatric surgery. I’d be worried if you didn’t have some fear. The fear means that you’ve put a lot of thought into this decision. This is a life-altering decision. It is a mental process. You have to remember that you’re in complete control of the amount of weight you lose. The adjustments are the key. THE WEIGHT IS NOT GOING TO COME BACK!
    It was not so difficult to begin the change in my eating habits. You’ll know that things that you can eat..AND YOU’LL LOVE ‘EM – and just as easy – you’ll know the foods that give you trouble. You’ll try the bad foods once and THEN NEVER AGAIN..LOL!
    As far as an exercise program – I have a husband, 2 kids, & 2 dogs..BOY DO I GET MY EXERCISE! LOL! I do the program “Walk Away the Pounds.” It’s something I can do at home with the kids. I’ve also just started walking with my mom for exercise.
    The Lap Band is a slow process, which means that you have time to turn the fat into muscle. Therefore, I didn’t have any loose skin – I’m a work in progress. 🙂
    I’m 2 years post-surgery and I still have questions.
    I’m here to answer any questions you have. Don’t hesitate to call me at 432-8484 – I’m happy to help.
    Good Luck and Happy Banding…

  • Lakeesha Taylor says:


    As you know I finally made it to having my Lapband surgery on Dec 2012. I think I worried you guys enough with the phone calls daily until my insurance company finally approved me. By calling so much I feel like I know everybody in the offices name and face-lol. First I want to say you look awesome and this short period of having the band I love it. In this short period of time I’ve lost 30lbs. My starting weight was 355 and I’m down to 325, and my first fill is on Feb 7th. I’m glad to have started this journey

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