Thursday, September 16, 2010

I got a Lap Band 6 weeks ago-ish - A quick history to bring us current

I decided to have lap band surgery. It had been in the back of my mind for a while and I mentioned it to my husband in maybe October or November of last year - almost in passing. But then in January I decided to do it. I found a doctor who I don't particularly like - I believe he's good medically, but he's very stiff - hard to get information out of. Husband and I both agreed we were looking for a doctor that he could connect with and I could deal with. I don't do people well and am more likely than not to not be able to communicate well with someone - I apparently speak my own very special language. The doctor we picked fit the bill and I jumped through all the hoops necessary and got the procedure done on July 2nd.

The recovery from the surgery was not that big of a deal (which is a darn good thing as husband threw his back out and I had to take him to the emergency room about 36 hours after I got home from the hospital - and then you know how men are when they aren't 100%) with the exception of the left shoulder pain I had. Apparently there can be diaphragm inflammation during this type of surgery and in some patients that results in pain in the top of the left shoulder. In my case the pain was severe and lasted more than three weeks. I’m sure part of my problem with it was that it hadn’t been expected. My doctor later said it was rare and usually very minor, which may well be true, but it was a little frightening when it was happening. I absolutely considered having it removed (the band not the shoulder), but ultimately it was the lovely people on the internet that came to my rescue. I finally wizened up and googled it and found all kinds of people talking about the same pain and how it lasted for weeks with some but it did eventually go away. And it did for me too – phew!

The first month
I weighed 230.2 on the morning of my surgery. With my doctor I was on liquids for a week then mushies for a week. I lost 5.6 lbs the first week and 3 lbs the second week and 2.6 lbs in the next 4 weeks. And those 2.6 lbs were due to a constant struggle. I had no restriction whatsoever. I began to think that they didn’t really put a band in there. It was all a ruse. They had just made some cute little lines on my stomach, but that was it. In that time I experimented with different things I could eat and didn’t find a single thing I couldn’t eat. (well, I’m not allowed to eat bread, pasta or rice for 6 months so I didn’t eat any of that). I was sort of hoping there would be some ‘help’ coming from the band, but so far I wasn’t convinced it was really there.

Fill number 1
I got my first fill at the 6 week mark. He added 2cc to bring the total up to 3cc. I did liquids for 48 hours and mushies for 48 hours (though still not completely believing it really existed, I'm not sure how perfect I was during this time) and then waited to feel something…. uh… not so much. Not a darn thing. I will say, I’m generally a rule follower and my doctor’s practice doesn’t have many rules which I’ll admit puts me a bit outside of my comfort zone. They do have some rules... They want me to avoid the things I mentioned, eat protein at every meal and eat it first getting 40-60 grams of it, take a vitamin and calcium every day, drink at least 8 glasses of water and exercise. Beyond that they want me to make good choices. When pressed they might say the same kinds of things a Weight Watchers leader might say… eat plenty of veggies, avoid sweets, but they really want to stick with the “make good choices” line. So the lack of any kind of restriction was difficult for me as I now know it has been for many, many others. On several blogs I’ve read it’s described as band hell. Which is apt as I spent much of my time during the first 10 weeks thinking I was insane. Or that truly they hadn’t actually installed a band in me, or that it slipped out of position, or something else along those lines. I am very lucky to have a good friend who has had a band for several years and who’s mom is the patient advisor (I’m sure I don’t have that quite right) for a leading band surgeon. And occasionally we’d discuss it and she was clear with me that I needed more fill as there should be some restriction.

2nd Fill

A month later I had lost 1 additional pound and I got my second fill of another cc bringing the total to 4cc. (this was one week ago today on 9/9/10) My doctor reported that it felt very tight, though as I’m writing this I have no idea what the capacity of it is, It’s on my list to find that out.

Well, now I know what restriction is. Phew. It’s really there. I’m not sure if it’s the right level or not yet, but we’ll see. I’m so very thankful to have this whole network of bloggers out there. It took me far too long to go looking for it (hitting self on side of head). I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me before now, I love blogs. Of course there would be wonderful related blogs out there.

Anyway – that’s my band history up until today.

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