January 28, 2009

First Fill and Lapband vs. Gastric Bypass

I had my first fill on Monday. I am so excited to be on the next phase of the band. Since this was my first fill the doctor requested that I have my fill done under fluro. I wasn't exactly sure what to expect and I was a little nervous going into the appointment but more excited than anything else. I laid on the hospital table and the doctor clean the area with some antiseptic cleaner. He then had his assistant turn on the fluro to locate exactly where to insert the needle to find my port. It took him a few attempts until he found just the right spot. All I felt was a tiny prick and a few seconds later I was done. I sipped a little water to make sure I had no problems swallowing, which I didn't. That was it. I'm now on day 3 after my fill and I'm not really feeling anything different. I need to follow a full liquid diet for the rest of today and then soft foods tomorrow. I'm hoping that when I get back to normal foods I will notice a difference.

I also wanted to talk about the difference between the Lap Band and the Gastric Bypass today. I've had quite a few people ask me the difference or automatically assume that the lap band is the Gastric Bypass. The Lap Band is still pretty new to most people that they aren't really sure what it is and what it isn't.

The Gastric Bypass:

The Gastric Bypass can be done either through full incision surgery or through laparoscopic surgery. The surgeon makes a small pouch from your stomach and cuts away the rest of the stomach. They then cut away about 6 feet of your intestines and then attach your stomach to the now shorter intestines. The remaining stomach and intestines stay in your body.
Here is a bulleted list of the Gastric Bypass:
  • Time Tested
  • Complex Operation, multiple areas of abdomen involved
  • Cutting and stapling of stomach and bowel are required
  • Rapid weight loss over 3-6 months, settling at final weight 10-16 months after surgery
  • Portion of digestive tract is bypassed, reducing absorption of essential nutrients, requiring long term supplements
  • Dumping syndrome (intolerance to sugars and some carbs)
  • Not reversible
  • No significant hardware in body
  • Mortality rate: 0.5%3
  • Total complications: 23%
  • Major complications: 2%
  • Most common include:
    Standard risks associated with major surgery
    Nausea and vomiting
    Separation of stapled areas (major revisional surgery)
    Leaks from staple lines (major revisional surgery)
    Nutritional deficiencies
  • Higher perioperative mortality rate than LAP-BAND® Adjustable Gastric Banding System

The Lap-Band:

The Lap band is performed by laparoscopic surgery. My surgeon made 5 small incisions. They create a small pouch at the top of your stomach with the band. Attached to the band is a tube that leads to a port. The port is adhered close the outside so the doctor can access it later on. You'll need to have fills or adjustments to make the band tight enough to give you restrictions. It's the fills/adjustments that make the band work correctly. Without the follow up care, your band will not work as designed.

  • New Technology
  • Simpler operation, gives lower risk around surgery (less chance of death or prolonged hospitalization)
  • Lower short-term mortality rate than gastric bypass2
  • Slow and steady weight loss (1-2 pounds per week), settling at final weight around 2 years after surgery
  • No stomach stapling or cutting, or intestinal rerouting
  • Possible deficiencies due to decreased intake, long-term supplements also recommended
  • No dumping syndrome
  • Reversible
  • Long Term plastic material in body
  • The Band must be adjusted for best success
  • Mortality rate: 0.05%3
  • Total complications: 9%5
  • Major complications: 0.2%5
  • Most common include:
    Standard risks associated with major surgery
    Nausea and vomiting
    LAP-BAND® System slippage
    Stoma obstruction

When you decide to go the route of gastric surgery, you need to decide which operation is better for you. I have thought long and hard about this before deciding to go with the Lap Band. I know a few people who had the Gastric Bypass. Some personally and some celebrities. I have watched them lose their weight and most have kept it off. Although there are a few who didn't keep it off and started gaining their weight back. I have also read the stats on deaths and complications. For the past 6 years or so I have asked myself if my weight problem was worth the chance of complications, mainly death. Each time i asked myself that question, I always answered myself with a "Hell No". When the lap band came along, I started doing some reading online about this new procedure. After reading that the risk levels were far less than the Gastric Bypass, I knew that this might be my answer. I thought long and hard about the commitment this new procedure requires; Long term eating healthy, continued care after placement of the band, eating smaller portions and having weight loss fall off slower than the bypass. After al ot of thought, I made the decision to go with the lap band. I am very happy with my decision and know that I made the right one for me.

I have heard stories about people who didn't succeed with the lap band. After listening to their stories, I soon came to realize that it wasn't the lap band that failed them, but themselves. They didn't listen to what their doctor told them. You have to follow up with your doctor, you have to continue getting fills until you reach the point where the band is working correctly. You have to eat correctly. You can always find things to eat that won't bother your band but aren't good for you - like chocolate, ice cream, high calorie drinks. If you don't listen to your body, eat healthy, exercise and follow your doctor's directions - you may not succeed. I know that there are times when you can follow your doctor's orders and do everything you're suppose to and things can still go wrong. Most of the time though, you'll find that it was bad choices made by the individual, rather than the surgery itself.

The Lap Band and Gastric Bypass are not for everyone. Each person needs to weigh their options and then make the best decision for them. What might work for me, might not work for you. Plus, what worked for you, might not work for me. We must all respect each person's decision.

January 26, 2009

Enter some Giveaways

I stumbled upon this website called Bloggy Giveaways. I entered a few of the giveaways and some of them gave away extra entries if you blogged about their giveaway. So here is a link to some of those extra entry giveaways! Be sure to stop by and enter for a chance to win yourself.

January 25, 2009

My First Fill is Tomorrow

My first fill is tomorrow. I'm so full of emotions, high expectations, low expectations, nervousness and excitment abound. I really hope that this first fill gives me some restriction but after talking and reading about so many other lap banders that take numerous fills, I feel like this won't work. Although deep in my gut I'm hoping that this gives me at least some restrictions compared to what I have now.
Thursday I went to the doctor's office for my pre-fill appointment. Since I had been on full food (no more soft foods, etc.) the doctor wanted to make sure that I wasn't having any problems with eating. I'm sure once he saw that I had gained 2 pounds he knew I wasn't having any problems. I feel like I could eat anything and everything in my path - and unfortunately - I did. I completely threw out all the great coaching I have received along the way about what I should eat and what I shouldn't. I learned that chocolate melts really well in your mouth and that you can eat it without any problems. I also learned that pizza and tortilla chips don't effect me at all. These past two weeks I feel like I did during the pre-band phase - last supper ailments. Wanting to eat everything that I love before I get my fill and find I can't eat it anymore. I had these same feeling before the band. The timeframe between when I was approved and when I started my pre-op diet was very hard for me. I had a list of 100 food items I needed to eat before the band (not literally but close). Now I find myself in that same situation.
Yesterday I started journaling again. I vowed to get back on track. Today, the day before my fill and a week of liquids and soft foods, I find myself thinking about what I should eat today that I might not be able to handle in a week or so. Why would I think like this when I knew exactly what I was getting myself into and I was okay with cutting those food items out of my life for the betterment of my health?

January 11, 2009

My First Post-Op Visit

I had my first post op visit on Thursday. Things seem to be progressing perfectly. Although I do wish I was losing more weight. Starting tomorrow I will be journaling all my meals again. I don't have any restrictions with my band like I did when my stomach was swollen from the surgery. Now that things are healing inside, I can get an adjustment/fill. I have one scheduled for January 27th. I will see the doctor again on the 22nd just to make sure that I am handling solids okay. I received the green light to start eating normally. Although I do need to remember to keep chewing and to eat slowly.

Last night I had a slice of pizza. I know it's not on my new eating plan but I just couldn't resist the temptation. I think that is the biggest thing I struggle with: resisting all the temptations around us. Throughout the day we are introduced to so many things that aren't good for us or our bodies. On your way to work or even the mall, how many fast food restaurants do you drive by? Why does the grocery store spotlight all those processed foods and seasonal candies (Valentine's Candy all over the Hannafords store). I love utilizing my DVR to watch a program because I can fast forward through the commercials. It seems like almost 1/2 of the commercials are based around food - whether it's for a product or restaurant.

I have found since being laid off in August that I spend alot more time watching tv. Now that the winter is here and it's so cold outside, I have found that I get lazy and want to just "veg" on the couch. I really need to find something to do during the day that gets me up and moving. I'd love to start walking at the University Mall in the morning. I'll be putting out an email today on my local lap band group for a walking buddy. I'm hoping that getting up early and getting in some regular exercise will help motivate me to keep moving the rest of the day. If anyone has any ideas on things to do besides watch tv during the day, please let me know. I do not love the cold so outdoor activities when it's 10 degrees out, is out. I also have no money to spend on anything, so it needs to be free. A group of lap banders when snowshoeing last night. I would have loved to have joined them but it was 2 degrees out and I don't have the proper winter clothes. I do have a nice winter coat but no snow pants or good boots for the winter. So - let me have it - send those suggestions to me. I'd love to hear them and hopefully I can find a couple that will help me. If I choose any of your ideas, I'll reward you with a repurposed notebook that I have made and sell in my Etsy store (http://sockmonkeygreetings.etsy.com). I have more on hand that I haven't listed yet - so I'll send you a photo of one to choose from.

If you live in the Burlington area and you'd like to meet me at the UMall at 7:45am each morning for a walk and coffee, let me know.

January 4, 2009

It's a New Year!

Happy New Year to all my readers!

I received an email from a friend today asking me for an update. I'm sorry that I haven't updated this past week. The kids are on vacation and there really isn't alot to report. My weight loss has slowed wayyyy down. Actually, I managed to gain 2 pounds during the Christmas weekend. Last week I lost that 2 pounds but didn't lose anything else.
My appetite is back full force. I'm not feeling much restriction right now. I'm looking forward to my first fill/adjustment. For those of you who don't know what that is - it's when the doctor injects saline into a port that's attached to the band around my stomach. It tightens the band and gives me more restriction. Something I really want! The first week after the surgery I had alot of restriction. I could only eat a small amount before I was really full. Although I'm not sure I want that kind of restriction all the time, it would be nice to have more than I currently have.

This past week I didn't do any "real" exercise but I we cleaned the basement and I did alot of moving, lifting (I know I wasn't suppose to do too much) and I think that helped with my two pound weight loss.

So what is my favorite soft meal right now? Refried beans with low fat cheddar cheese melted on top. I'm also enjoying potatoes and I tried lasagna on New Year's Day (blended in the blender) and it was really good. Tonight for supper I cooked chicken in the crock-pot and it made it really soft and easy to chew/swallow.

I need to search for my appointment card for the doctor's. I think I have an appointment this week or next week for my surgery follow up.