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clear liquids

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Fill My Little World

Phew! What an eventful day! Had my 2nd fill with Dr Bishop this morning. Total band contents is now a whopping 5ccs and I can definitely feel it now.

Seriously, I love that guy. He’s super knowledgeable and actually speaks to me like I’m a person. All too often in my past doctors have dismissed my comments and concerns out of hand and oversimplified my situation. But Dr Bishop actually seems to want to help me to achieve my goals. It’s monstrously motivating!

Especially when he gets as enlivened by my losses as I do. Since the last time I saw him (May 26th) I’ve lost nearly 5lbs. This brings my total losses to 18.2lbs in a little over 11 weeks. I’m pretty pleased with my progress since it’s right at the expected rate of 1-2lbs per week.

To top it all off, things are feeling pretty tight in the tummy. I can most certainly feel the restriction in my stomach. I’m on clear liquids/full liquids for the next 24-48hrs (thank goodness Canada Day is 3 day away!). Last time, I could chow down on the day of my fill but this time, I’m terrified to try! It’s tight and I know it.

It makes me a little nervous cause I really don’t want to get too restricted. I’d like to get to the point where it’s tight enough that I’ll get a subtle hint to stop stuffing my face but not enough to make me barf. I mentioned as much to Dr Bishop and he shared my sentiments. He told me about some fantastic research from the very same conference he attended at Harvard Medical School in May.

He said that by keeping my lap-band ever so slightly under restricted and concentrating on stopping when I’m supposed to, I’m actually working at training my brain to react the way it should without actually needing the physical response triggered by the band. This is where I want to be when all of this is said and done – Dr Bishop agrees.

I do so wish I could read these reports but I’m also happy to take his word for it. I quite like that he actually has these tales to tell me. I really hope the Slimband nurse is as informed as Dr B!! We’ll have to see next time…if there is one!

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Fill ‘er Up!

Needle TipWell, today’s the day. I get to have my very first fill! After bombarding Dr Bishop’s office with phone calls I finally got through to a person and scheduled my appointment for today at 2pm.

I’m super excited but I’m totally nervous. I’ve gotten pretty used to how to eat with this thing and I really don’t want to learn how to eat all over again. But I’ve gotta do it. It’s all part of the process. I’ll be one clear liquids for the first 24 hours and full liquids/mushies for the next 24 hrs.

This is certainly going to make the DMB gig a bit of a challenge. I’m off to TO tomorrow morning until Wednesday. Can’t wait!! I’m a little sad I won’t be drinking a beer in one of those shiny red plastic cups but I’m sure they’ll have SOMETHING I can eat at the Amphitheatre. I hope…

Coffee Girl

If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that I LOVE coffee. My life-long romance with black gold started back in high school when my dear friend T-Bone’s dad bought me a medium double-double from Tim Horton’s. Up to that point I’d never been a big fan of the stuff. But when I tasted that sweet, creamy goodness I knew I’d never look back.I love coffee

During the Slimband pre-op diet (7 days) and the clear liquid stage (6 days) I couldn’t enjoy my favourite tasty beverage. I was allowed coffee during pre-op but it had to be blech, I mean black. My preferences changed as my love for the daily grind grew. I changed my order from the ditty little medium (295 ml) double-double to that of a large (415 ml) or XL (590 ml) triple-triple.

When I returned from England my preferences had changed again to milk rather than cream and Tim’s had added a fantastic treat to their very small menu: Iced Coffee.

I didn’t think I could love Tim’s more than I already did. It quickly became my daily dose. Surely, one could understand why my missing the good stuff for just 13 days was absolute torture.

So, on this sunny Sunday, I grabbed myself a large iced coffee made with milk and lots of ice. I wasn’t sure if my stomach was ready for it but I managed to finish the whole thing in no less than 3 hours. Yep, that’s right. I said 3 hours. What used to take me a quick 30 minutes now takes some time to get down. But GD it’s worth it!!

Gimme More

I’m mad. I mean, grinding my teeth, scream at the top of my lungs, throwing myself down and pounding my fists on the floor mad. I’m mad because I let myself get to the point where the only way I can drop the extra person I’ve been carrying around my whole life is to get a band wrapped around my stomach. I mean, seriously! WTF! Who effing does that, right?!

I’m sure it seems drastic to some…like the kind of thing an addict would do. Well, I’ve never felt more like an addict than I do today. Nothing could have prepared me for the impact of realizing the extent of my disordered eating. I literally can’t stop thinking about food. I’m fidgety, I’m clenching my teeth, I’m cold, I’m irritable and I want to scream and cry about everything. I feel pathetic.

Everywhere I look there’s a food ad, or a drive-thru or a major supermarket, or a cupboard full of goodies. It’s unbearable. And I literally CAN’T eat any of it. I’m on a clear liquid diet and I can BARELY get that down. I’m eating what I’m supposed to and I’m full and I’m nourished. So I really shouldn’t want to eat. But I do. More than I’ve ever wanted to eat in my life.

I guess most of all I feel defeated. Like the war that’s been waging in my body has finally ended and I’ve lost. Miserably. And the casualty has been any joy I ever found in food because I’ll probably never feel that same joy again.

Yes, I’ll be able to eat real food again (in about a month apparently) but it’s always going to be a struggle. I’m always going to have to kinda force it down and hope I’ve chewed it properly because if I haven’t, I’ll barf. Oh, and I must never eat more than a cup at a time because if I do, I’ll barf. And I’d better stay away from white bread, pasta and rice because if I don’t, I’ll barf. To top if off I’ve got to make sure it’s correctly proportioned or I won’t get all the nutrients I need. Because if I don’t, then my hair might fall out!!!

But the real kicker in all this is that the Slimband food plan is nothing more than a smaller-portioned version of The Bodydoctor food plan or The Low GI diet. I could and have done both without spending $16,000 on a cable tie!

Hmph. Well, I’m frustrated and I’m exhausted. I guess that’s the mental side of the journey taken care of then.

Sticky Situation or How Mary Kay Night Cream Saved My Tummy

Monday’s surgery recovery went quite well. Only woke up once through Sunday night from the dreaded gas pain but decided against the midnight demerol and awoke in the morning feeling quite good. I only had a few pains to the left of my rectus abdominus so it wasn’t much of strain getting out of bed. In fact, I could actually do my morning squirm before I rolled myself out of the sack (you know the one I mean, where you twist and stretch your ENTIRE body in a most inhumane way and make involuntary moaning noises in the process?). It felt awesome!

Stomach muscles

That being said, I gotta say, it’s difficult to fully appreciate the impact of wounded abdominal muscles until it happens to you. Now that I’ve spent the last 3 days wandering around my house like a hunchback with my torpedoes at the ready, I now know the full extent of the power of core stability. I shall be investing a great deal of time on this area as soon as humanly possible to ensure I never feel this way again.

I’ve been suffering some major irritation from my bandages over the past couple of days.

Feels like those mother-effers are stuck on with Super Glue®! Since yesterday was Day 3, I was looking forward to taking them off. I had no idea what a chore it would be!

I started to peel the tape away from my very thin flesh and realized that if I’d kept going I was going to need skin grafts which would neither speed up nor aid in my recovery. I did a Google search to seek out some assistance in removing the surgical tape only to stumble across this article from eHow.com. Talk about advice from the Department of the Bleeding Obvious!!!

But I’d once tried a similar method in the waxing incident of 2002 and decided to be a bit more inventive. I raided my mother’s medicine cabinet and settled on two tried and tested beauty products that really are second-to-none: Mary Kay Extra Emollient Night Cream and Q-Tips®. It took me 30 painstaking minutes of delicate prepping to get the bandages off with no additional removal bruising at all. I highly recommend these products for any bandage removal project.

One note, I was pretty weak for most of the day and getting pretty tired of the clear liquids. Bordering on gagging just from the pure monotony of it all. And the smell of the stocks is really starting to get to me. Had a few mentally hungry moments but no real physical ones. Looking forward to full liquids on Thursday!

Ring Around the Rosy

So, my gastric band surgery went well. All things considered the whole process was pretty fantastic. I arrived at Slimband promptly at 2pm and was outta there by 6:30pm that evening. It was pretty amazing and an incredibly smooth process.

Shortly after I arrived at the incredibly posh Yorkville Prince Arthur Clinic that houses Slimband, I met my consultant Niki very briefly. She helped me through this process from the beginning so it was great to meet her in the flesh. She’s had this surgery before and it was pretty amazing to see how great she looked.

Then a lovely woman named Michelle took some pictures to go in my Slimband folder and mark this very special occasion. I opted for the clothes-on option instead of the top-off Biggest-Loser-style pics. I thought it was best for all of us.

When it was time to prep for surgery a nurse (the lovely Stephanie) came and took me inside to check my stats and to brief me about the process of the day. I met my anesthesiologist (Dr ….) and Dr Yau came to say hello and impart some of his wisdom upon me. After having completed 3500+ gastric band surgeries he’s certainly got information I want to hear!

He told me about the surgery and mentioned the possibility of having to repair a hiatus hernia.  Apparently this is quite common for patients that suffer from GERD. It is often what makes GERD symptoms so severe in some patients. Having suffered from some pretty painful heartburn for most of my adult life, I had to wonder why previous doctors had never considered this before.

Hiatal Hernia

After our chat I was lead into the operating theatre where I hopped up on a pretty squishy table, got comfortable (they put massagers on my legs to help with circulation), Dr…got my IV in one try and he knocked me out. I’ve never been unconscious before so it was a pretty cool experience to be awake one minute then asleep the next.

I woke up in the recovery room and felt pretty good. Coming out of the anesthetic was such a nice feeling! It was kind of euphoric.  I didn’t really feel much pain, just a bit of stiffness all over. Dr Yau was there and explained that I did indeed have a “medium sized hiatus hernia” and he’d repaired it.  I was barely conscious but I was definitely grateful!

My recovery nurse was one of the sweetest nurses ever. I don’t remember her name but she was from Argentina and was just lovely. She stayed with me from the time I came out until the time I was allowed to leave about 1.5 hours after the surgery was over. She helped me right out to the car.

The whole process took about 4.5 hours but the surgery itself only took about 20-30 mins. Amazing what can be accomplished in that short timespan!

I felt okay for most of the evening. I still wasn’t allowed to eat but I could drink lots of water so I did. I’d been warned of ‘gas pain’ in my chest, neck and shoulders from the gas they used to fill up my abdominal cavity. I’d started to feel it a bit so had a demerol and enjoyed that for a couple hours before hitting the hay.

Had a rough first night. Woke up half way through in quite a bit of pain in my neck and abdomen and needed help to get up to take more drugs. Had a few tears from pain and frustration. Wasn’t pretty but I survived through the rest of the night.

I’m only allowed clear liquids like herbal tea, apple, grape or cranberry juice and any clear broths for the next 5 days. I’m still pretty weak from the pre-op diet and the surgery so I’m also drinking Pediatric Electrolyte to get my electrolytes up.  I was ready to eat just about anything that would fit in my stomach when we travelled back to Ottawa Mom got me some Tim Horton’s chicken soup broth and it never tasted so good!

I took some more drugs and slept a little on the drive back to O-Town. Been resting in bed with a movie for the evening with the occasional Slow Melt Mighty Mini Popsicle. And here I am. Only had medium level gas pain so far.

When I met Dr Yau he spoke about the importance of having a strong support system of family, friends and fellow bandsters. Well, I certainly have that taken care of! I’ve had so many well wishes I’ve lost count (thanks guys!), I’ve got a fellow bandster in the family and I’m already a member of some super helpful forums, so I think I’m on the right track!

He also mentioned one thing that really struck a nerve with me. He said its important to realise that there are two organs involved with this procedure: the brain and the stomach. I think it’s crucial to one’s success to be aware of this when considering gastric band surgery because, as I said, it’s not a cure-all. It’s just another tool to help me along the way. I’ve still got a lot of work to do to get me where I want to be but I’ve got a pretty amazing support system so I’m sure it’ll be great!

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