I was debating as to whether or not I wanted to write this post only because I’m afraid of jinxing myself, but I knocked on a lot of wood and kept my fingers crossed so hard they started to turn white, so I figured it would be okay for me to go forward to this post. This is basically an update of my LapBand journey since it’s been quite some time since I’ve mentioned it before. I’ve been told that my post talking about my journey it actually helped someone, so that was my inspiration for doing a follow-up to it all. For those of you who may not of read my original blog post on my journey, you can find it under the title ‘Having a Support System,’ but here are the basics of what has happened:
On December 20th, 2012 I went under the knife to have bariatric surgery. I had decided many months ago that I wanted to have the LapBand. You may be wondering why I didn’t simply join a gym or eat less, but for those who have on the heavier side for at least some time probably know that exercising and joining a gym don’t always work. I tried dieting to the point where I was barely eating and even that didn’t help, so this was my final option. I didn’t make this decision quickly, there was a lot of thought put into it, but in the end I decided this is what I needed to do to become a healthier me.
I’ve been banded for almost three months now and like I said in my original post, it’s not easy. People think getting the band or even having the bypass or sleeve done are easy, but that’s so far from the truth. It’s not easy at all and whoever told you that it was easy was wrong, just to put it simply. A lot of time and energy goes into the entire process and like I had mentioned in my original post, it’s best if you have a support system in place to help you get through it all. So, let me back track a bit and tell you about some of the struggles that I have gone through since having the surgery and how I was able to get through it all.
Having any kind of surgery in the first place is not fun at all—especially if you have an extreme dislike for needles like me. There was so much work involved to even get approved for having the surgery, but that’s all just the beginning. After actually having the surgery, your body goes through a lot of changes and I would not recommend going it alone on any of this. I have to admit that the worst part of the first couple weeks was the fact that I couldn’t really eat because of the meal plan you have to follow. You would have thought it was the pain from surgery, right? It’s really not easy watching your friends and family eat whatever it is that they’d like while you have to sit there and eat what looks like dog-food. For example, my mom’s birthday wasn’t long after I had the surgery and she had decided she wanted Texas Roadhouse. By then, I could eat “mooshy” food, so we got the meal to go and we blenderized (no, that’s not a word, but I’m still using it) my food so that I could eat it. It looked like dog-food and that is not a lie. I was so sad about it, but I did eat it and it was tasty, it just looked horrible.
This wasn’t the hardest part of my journey thus far to get through, but I did have a ton of support from my family and friends who knew what I was going through. I was on the “mooshy” stage during Christmas and my aunt made sure I got what I needed and no one made a comment about what I was eating, which took a huge weight off my shoulders. My mom and husband made a habit of not eating around me because they felt so bad! I tried to reassure them that it wasn’t a problem when they ate around me, but you could see it in their faces that it was killing them to see me unhappy. In the end going through the meal plan was worth it and I’m happy to have had everyone around me help me through it.
You would think once you got past all the stages of your meal plan and were able to eat “normal” food again, things would be fine, but that was not the case at all. Once I was able to eat normally again, I noticed that I started having really horrible mood swings. I simply could not control my mood for the life of me and it was so difficult. I’ve heard that for some people the mood swings come on sooner than I had experienced them, but no matter when they hit you, it can be brutal. I cried over the smallest things, got mad for no reason and then out of nowhere I’d be happy again. My guess is that this is why it’s required you go for a psych-evaluation, to ensure that you can handle your moods changing almost constantly. Even for someone like me who has never had any sort of psychological disorder in their life, this was so tough to deal with and get through.
During this time I, again, was so grateful for my support system that was there for me every step of the way. No matter how mad I got at anyone, they were still there for me and through it all. I think what helped me the most during this stage of my journey was the understanding. They understood I could not control my emotions no matter how hard I tried to and they let me yell and scream at them for no reason, cry on their shoulders and were just there for me. I think at this point during my journey if I hadn’t had them, I would have crumbled from everything I was going through, but with my support system, I was able to get through this rough time.
My emotional mood swings slowly came to a halt and I was pretty much back to my normal self; though, I did notice that I seemed a lot more happy. I was also more affectionate toward my husband, which he didn’t mind one bit. It was really only a matter of time before I came across another bump in the road and this bump was known as “fills.” When you get the LapBand, you have to get what are known as fills, which is when a liquid is placed into your band to make it tighter. First I had to get over the fact that it’s a huge needle, at least mine was, but then I also had to deal with adjusting to having a smaller opening that lead to my stomach (this is to help restrict you so you don’t eat as much). With the first couple of fills adjusting to a smaller opening to my stomach was perfectly fine, but recently I’ve been getting “stuck.”
When you get stuck, your food doesn’t go down and just kind of sits there. It’s a painful process and a gross one to boot! What happens when you’re stuck is that the food can’t pass through and therefore, it has to go somewhere. For a while, it would eventually pass through after experiencing some pain, but as of late, it’s been coming back up. When it comes up, it’s not necessarily painful, but it’s pretty gross. Imagine being sick and you’re full of phlegm; it’s pretty similar to that except the piece of food that’s stuck comes back up with said phlegm and the phlegm is like clear foam. The good part of being stuck—yes there is a good side to it—is that you know your band is working and it’s doing what it’s supposed to be doing. You shouldn’t be rushing through your meals and taking huge bites at a time.
This is something more current and I have to admit when I get stuck and the food has to come back up, it’s so embarrassing because you just cannot help it. My mom and husband are my rocks when dealing with being stuck though. I just have to give them a simple look and they know something’s gotten stuck, but they won’t say anything, they just let me go, which is nice. They always ask me afterward how I’m doing, if I’m okay and my husband always rubs my back which sooths any leftover pain that may be experienced. It’s great to have people to go to and they never judge me about when I get stuck, which I’m grateful for because, like I said, it’s still really embarrassing to me that it happens. It’s just great to have that support system that I can turn to; however, I do have some tips on how to deal with being stuck:
Jumping Up and Down:
No, I’m not joking, this really helps. It helps to move things around a bit so the food either passes through or comes back up easier. I’ve tried this one and it usually helps with making it come back up.
When you first get the surgery done, and even before that, you’re told to start walking more. I tell you that walking around helps! It seems to make the food decide which way it wants to go and eases some of the pain you may be experiencing. I’ve also noticed walking up and down stairs helps—this was something I just recently discovered during my last stuck episode.
Carry a Bucket:
This doesn’t really help with being stuck, but if you’re traveling or you aren’t at home and can’t get to a bathroom, it’s good to have a bucket on standby. I’ve used cups and small containers before and now I actually carry one in my car due to an incident I had just last week. It’s really good to have and helps save you from having to clean up a big mess.
I haven’t actually tried this, but I do have them if I ever feel the need, but I’ve heard if you chew on papaya enzymes (which you can find most places with a pharmacy) it helps move the food that’s stuck down. I’ve also heard that pineapple juice helps with this as well, but again, I haven’t tried it.
The most important thing to have around when you get stuck is to have someone who knows what your situation is. It’s better because then you have someone that can talk you throw it and curve any questions that may be coming your way so you don’t have to answer them and explain the process that you may find to be embarrassing.
As I’ve said many of times before, having a support system is huge when going through any sort of bariatric surgery. You may be wondering if at this point with everything I’ve gone through if the surgery was worth it and to that I answer: Hell Yes! It was a great decision for me and though it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it was well worth it. I’ve lost approximately 40+ pounds and more comes off every week. It’s not an easy journey, but to me it was worth it and I hope that I’m able to continue to write posts like this in order to help those who are considering taking the steps to have this kind of surgery done.
If you’re someone who is thinking about having weight loss surgery and if you ever have any questions for me pertaining to my journey, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or utilize the contact form to get in touch with me. I know how important it is to have a support system and I’m more than willing to be a part of your support through this journey. Good luck!
Posted on March 13, 2012 by Felicia