Posts tagged surgery

Journey

Three years, four months, and four days ago I weighed 250 pounds and was going in to have a lap band placed. I looked like this a few weeks after it was done:

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Today I am 150 pounds! That’s right! I HAVE MET MY GOAL!!! I have lost 100 pounds. At 5′ 6″ that took me from a morbidly obese BMI of 40.3 to a normal weight BMI of 24.2.
Today I look like this and couldn’t be happier that I made the decision to have weight loss surgery:

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It hasn’t been an easy journey but it has been my own. I’ve learned a lot about my messed up head and body image. I will always feel like I’ve stolen some 6 year old kid’s jeans when I take mine out of the dryer but I’m ok with that. I will never again have to feel like I’m pushing the limits on water slides (physics 101) or about my legs going numb from the circulation being cut off by a lunchroom chair.

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Three Years Post-op!!!

Three Year Band-iversary!!!

Today is the three year anniversary of my lap band surgery (Band-iversary if you will).  I have kept a log of my journey in numbers.  Numbers don’t lie.

Three years ago I was 250 pounds, I wore a size 24 pant with XXL shirts, and had a BMI of 41.6 classifying me as a morbidly obese adult woman.  I couldn’t walk up a hill let alone stairs without feeling sweaty and like my heart was in overdrive.  I made sure that all of my tops were larger than necessary to help camouflage my body.  Where I used to have a nice hour-glass shape I was more of an apple with a small indention where a waist might have been.  It was not uncommon for me to secretly eat an entire fast food meal on the way home from work just in time to make dinner at home and eat again.  I am not proud of these things but I know that I am not the only person to have found myself in this situation.

Fast-forward to today.  I weigh 162 pounds and have a BMI of 26 (25 is considered “healthy”).  I can fit into a size 10 but am more comfortable in a 12.  I wear medium sized shirts.  I can not only walk up stairs and feel fine I have been caught running up stairs at work.  I am proud of how I look.  I am conscious of how I carry myself now and wouldn’t even think of trying to blend into the background.  I no longer sneak food.

Do not be fooled into thinking that a Lap Band is an easy answer.  It is far from it.  The dark side of these surgeries isn’t told unless you know where to look.  I’ll let you in on some secrets.

I have a hard time eating certain textures.  If meat is too firm my stomach cannot tolerate it and it is coughed up.  Any food that “puffs” up in my stomach is also coughed up.  So there’s bread and most rice.  I am not using the term “coughed up” as a delicate way of saying that I throw up or puke.  It is a similar action but not exactly correct.  The offending food does not make it into the part of my stomach that houses stomach acid.  So it comes up in about the same form as it went down.  Think of it as a lap-bander hair ball of sorts.  It has taken me a long time to not force the issue.  If a food is a no-no it’s a no-no and there’s no forcing it to work.

One of the lap band rules is no drinking while eating or for an hour after finishing a meal.  If this rule is ignored it also leads to a fun trip to the bathroom.  Except this is not to cough something up it’s to slime for a while.  Yah, sexy I know.  Picture this; you have food in the top stomach pouch (the one that is made by cinching the band around the stomach) waiting it’s turn to drop into the main part of the stomach and all of a sudden you flood this area with water.  It has no where to go but up.  You have essentially backed up the sink.

There are more things but these are the main issues I had the hardest time learning.

How do I live like this? Easily.  Like anything it just takes getting used to.  I love how I feel and would never change my decision to have Lap Band surgery.

I’ve lost the equivalent of a baby calf’s weight!

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88% There

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I just checked my BMI and I have just 12 pounds until I am officially a “normal weight”! I have come so far it doesn’t seem real. My brain hasn’t caught up still.

I take my jeans out of the dryer and still think I’ve stolen some four year old’s pants. When I look at the numbers on the scale my eyes skip over the first digit and go straight to the last two. Telling someone that I weigh One Hundred and blah pounds sounds so foreign. Have you ever been asked your age and had to take a moment to think about it? Yah, same thing.

I’d love to give myself till the end of summer to get past “overweight” but I know better than that. So I’ll say by the end of the year.

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Reversing the Failure

A few weeks ago I posted about how I fell off the lap band wagon a bit.  I wasn’t following any of the rules that I was supposed to and had called to schedule a fill.  Three days before Christmas I got my fill.  It went well which has been rare for me in the past.  My surgeon’s office now does all fill procedures under fluoroscopy.  Think of it as a moving x-ray.  Here’s the simplified version of what happened.

  • Get poked by giant looking needle (took 3 times to find my port even with the floro assisting… silly crooked anatomy)
  • Stand up and move into position
  • Drink “orange” barium to see how my restriction is before getting any additional saline put into the band
  • Find out I had “almost zero restriction”.  Translation inside my head: Holy Cow! No wonder you’ve gained 10 pounds in just a few months!
  • Doctor K adds 1 cc of fluid (1 cc = 1/5 of a teaspoon)
  • Drink “orange” barium again
  • Doctor K announces “That’s a bit tighter than I’d like”
  • Doctor K removes 1/2 cc
  • Drink water
  • Witness that the previously swallowed barium now flows slowly but much better through stoma (opening from band made pouch to lower stomach)

The pictures below are not of me or my parts but they will give you a good idea of what happened the other day.

Innards

Drink up!

 

How has the fill been treating me?  Good.  I’ve added to the no-no list of foods.  Sadly, potatoes in all forms are on this list now sigh.  As are pork chops unless cooked to a medium well, chicken that isn’t roasted,  beef roast unless there’s a ton of sauce to help it down, thick-skinned veggies (bell peppers this means you), pizza, and bread.  I don’t even dare try something as crazy as a burger of any kind.  Pasta is still on the go list though thank the gods! I was always told that as the restriction on my band gets to where it should be my ability to eat much of these things would become very limited.  Which is fine.  I just need to remember not to push it.  Yacking isn’t fun.  Really I mean it. 

Hardest thing for me to remember?  Listen to my body.  If I’ve had a half a cup of yogurt and my body silently tells me that’s enough it means THAT’S ENOUGH AND PUT THE DAMN THING DOWN!

Best part about all of this?  I’ve already lost 8 of those pesky 10 pounds** I gained the last couple of months.  And to that I say I’M BACK!

**And to answer those fools that say I shouldn’t flip out about gaining back 10 pounds I want to remind you that where I’m at 10 pounds is a pant size.  Eating too much and the sensations it brings are just the beginning for me.  10 pounds turns into 20 pounds which turns to gaining back everything I’ve worked so hard to lose plus some.

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Oooo!

67 pounds down!

I just did the math on this.  Started out 100 pounds over where I wanted to be (ok maybe more than that but it’s an easy number to get me to a healthy place) subtract the 67 already lost= 33 left to lose.  WHAT?!?  Really?  Is that all?  Maybe I need to reevaluate that goal weight.  Nah, 150 is a completely acceptable number.  Now, if my body decides that 150 is still too much and it’s happy place is somewhere around 130 or so I don’t think I would be too disappointed.

The body is a strange thing that way.  There are several Bandies that I follow who have passed their goal weight.  Their body found where it was going to be and they’ve maintained whatever crazy place that happens to be rather nicely.  I can only hope that my body got the same memo.  On the other hand if I stayed right here I would still be happy.

While shopping with a friend last week I was walking by a rack of jeans.  There was a single pair hanging up… a size 24.  It looked huge.  Before I signed up for this crazy ride I wore that same size.  Funny how I don’t remember them looking that large.  Now when I go to put on jeans it looks like I stole some pants from a kid and I’m wearing a size 12!  My friend that I went shopping with has also had surgery for weight (gastric bypass) six years ago and she said that her mind is still messed up from it.  It really is the hardest thing to see how far gone you were.  Yes, I’m working on coming back to a healthy place but it’s still hard sometimes.  I would never change my decision to have this surgery.  And to anyone thinking about it; it’s a hard ride but worth every bump and sharp turn.

 

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