Remembering the start of Banded life

by Christine on June 15th, 2011

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Gastric Banding Surgery

The last few days I’ve been prowling Blogland finding a few newly-banded people out there. It is such a joy and pleasure to read about their experiences because, really, those first few months are the most exciting because you are so full of hope, full of energy and excitement to get that weight-loss ball moving, and the future is so full of good things for each and every one of these bloggers!

Today I met Jenny from Goodbye Muffintop. She has a little different experience with the gastric band–and it’s one I can totally relate to.  It’s been a few months since she had her surgery, and (1) her port is apparently flipped around, and (2) although she’s losing a smidgen of weight, she doesn’t feel any restriction. The band just isn’t working for her.

I can totally relate. When I started off on my journey, I was so frustrated. Here I went through this pretty major surgery full of hope and excitement that FINALLY I could get my life turned around and my weight under control. Immediately I knew something was wrong with my port, and apparently the first five-or-so fills I had were completely ineffective; the Nurse Practitioner was injecting saline into who-knows-where in my belly–NOT in my band!!–so i wasn’t getting any restriction. In the first six months I didn’t lose a single pound! Man, was I frustrated!

But in the end we got it sorted out. I finally demanded to see my surgeon who, after a quick check, saw that I didn’t have any saline in my band. So he filled me up properly (I always get my fill directly from my surgeon henceforth; no more jerking around with NPs for me!). Still, as I lost weight, it was obvious that my port was indeed flipped around, and the more weight I lost, the more noticible it was.  (I’m currently en route to get a port re-attachment surgery.)

The whole journey–even the frustrating bits at the beginning–were totally worth it. My only regret is that I didn’t have the surgery years earlier.  Every heart-ache was worth it in the end.

And speaking of heart-aches, I’m reminded by some of these new bloggers how scary the whole Gastric-Band-Puking-Thing can be. Some people call it PB-ing, some call it sliming, etc. Whatever you want to call it, it can be pretty disturbing when you’re starting off.

But really (and I’m speaking to all you new bandsters now)…the whole barfing thing is something that you’re going to have to live with, accept, and learn to deal with.  And it’s not really as scary as it might seem at first because on this journey you will learn what triggers a barf-a-thon and learn to avoid those foods. You learn to chew a lot more thoroughly. You learn to take smaller bites. You learn to take big breaks in between chewing.  And really, the barfing isn’t all that bad either–not like normal barfing–because you’re only puking up the food that is caught ABOVE the band. You’re not barfing up food that is in your stomach, which means no stomach acid is getting out. Oh, I’m not saying that the barfing episodes are PLEASANT, but it’s not as scary as it might seem at first.

The worst part about those episodes is when they occur when you are out in public. In fact, one of my most embarrassing and gross ones happened in April–two years after banding for me!  I was on the beach at a restaurant with friends. I was eating chips + salsa, which are totally safe foods for me, but I was talking and not chewing well, and sure enough I started to get bottled up. And sliming. Hubby asked the waitress for directions to the bathroom and she told me they didn’t have one. So with four tables all looking at me I had to grab a glass off the table and barf into it. Man, that was gross AND embarrassing!

All of us banders have those stories, though, and you are going to have your own stories to tell by the end of this journey of yours. It is just one more part of the whole banding experience though, so embrace it.  It all leads to Weight Loss in the end!!

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  • Amanda

    I have to agree that it is very exciting, as you know, I am newly banded. :) I can’t wait to REALLY get started. I get my first fill next week. I am hoping for *some restriction. We shall see.