I had my first lap-band fill on Wednesday and it was a pretty good experience. Well, considering the length and girth of the needle they used! But I'm getting ahead of myself.
I have been in Bandster Hell for the last several weeks. This is the time when you feel like you're existing on Chinese food--you eat and you're hungry an hour later. I don't have restriction in my band, so stuff dribbles out my upper stomach and through my system pretty fast. Top exercise on that and I end up ravenous most of the day. I try to space my meals out evenly, and it's not that bad. I'm getting used to the super loud growling stomach hunger pangs. But in Bandster Hell you mostly have to rely on willpower because the band's restriction isn't functioning yet. About 6 weeks after surgery, once you're healed, fills can begin and the band starts doing its thing.
First off, I have to say that my energy levels are actually on the rise. This is boggling my mind. The fact that I have not sat in the purple chair since Saturday is crazy. It used to be the epicenter of my life. Me, my chair and my TV. I still watch TV, but it's more of a background thing while I'm writing or washing dishes or tending to the dogs. Wow.
I was quite energetic on the way to the clinic. It took awhile for them to call me back, so I used that time wisely, writing out belated birthday cards to my Taurus friends & family. The 100 Oaks facility is gorgeous and it has huge skylights in the waiting areas, so it's not a problem for me to have to wait. Relaxing in the sunshine. Ahhhh.
After the weigh in (226 on their scale), I went back to the procedure room. A nurse got everything set up and Dr. Williams came in. He was quite pleased with my medical progress (drop in blood pressure, HbA1c, etc) and weight loss. He was good about answering my questions and quite tolerant of my juvenile behavior! Okay, I'm not quite that bad, but my self confidence is doing wonders at eroding my mouth filters. I'm saying a lot of stuff that used to just stay in the confines of my head.
For those who are considering the Lap-Band or who haven't yet had a fill, here's how it works. First I laid on my back on the table. At this point, Dr. Williams said, "So tell me where your port is." I was like, huh? YOU'RE the one that shoved it in there! YOU tell ME! I do think I kept that smarty pants comment in my head, ha ha.
The skin above the port is swabbed with an ethanol wipe, then the needle is whipped out. It's probably 6" in length and I have no idea what gauge it is. It's big enough that I can still see the hole today! But not much bigger than the type of needle used for blood draws. It just looks a bit more intimidating. The needle also has a stopcock on it so they can remove the syringe and keep the juice from dripping out. I mean saline. Ahem.
After a bit of palpation, Dr. Williams took aim and went for it. I was not offered any numbing juice (yes, all liquids in my world are considered juice) and it really wasn't needed. The initial prick stings a tad more than a blood draw, but not much. Once he gets past the surface, I didn't feel it any longer. Certainly not worse than having an inept phlebotomist who insists on chasing rolling veins!
Once he got to the port, there was some resistance to the needle. I could feel it POP! when it went through the surface of the port. It was really funny feeling. No pain, just an odd pressure. The oddness of the sensation made me laugh, but I had to try and stifle it. Jiggling laughter belly does not help when some guy is ramming a 6 inch long needle into it!
He confirmed he was in the port (pulling and pushing fluid out . . . I guess by not seeing any blood in the syringe is one sign!), he started adding the saline. Dr. Williams added 1.5 ml to my 10 ml band. He told me there was probably about 2 ml in it initially, though at my clinic they do not count that. They only track what they add through the fills.
In order to determine if they've over-filled you, you are asked to sit up and drink some water. Note to self #1: bring your own liquid. I had to drink Nashville tap water. Eew. Note to self #2: they make you sit up with the needle still in you!!! Remember when I mentioned the stop cock in the end of the needle? Yeah, they take off the syringe but leave the needle in place. It makes sense because if you're too full of fluid, they can simply reattach the syringe and remove some without having to re-stab you. The whole concept is kinda creepy though.
My mouth filter failed to kick in at this point, as I grabbed my boobs and exclaimed, "As long as my boobs stay big enough so I can't see the needle, I'll be just fine!" while he raised the head of the table. My boobs did a good job of blocking it. I could see the outer end of it, but not where it went into my flesh. Eeeew!
I had a few ounces of tap water and it went down okay. I was a little burpy after, but I have been pretty burpy since surgery, even in the absence of carbonated beverages. I think I'm still eating too fast. Anyway, there was no creepy gurgling or feeling like I was going to have liquids come rushing out my mouth. So we deemed it good, he slid out the needle and gave me a bandaid to cover the puncture.
Immediately after, I felt like I had just eaten a meal--totally full! After the fill, we're supposed to go on liquids for 24 hours. I just had a cup of coffee and feel full, actually. I need to eat breakfast, though, because I need to take meds. And I have to have food-food in there for that. Maybe I'll have a protein shake for late b'fast at work and snarf my pills down then.
This is hysterical--a cup of coffee filled me up!
I can't wait for lunch. I'm going to have some of my yummy ricotta bake (or maybe some blended chili, can't decide). Now the true test of the fill will happen--does 1/2 cup of that make me full? Or will I be starving an hour later? Only time will tell.
Dr. Williams says it takes 3-4 fills for his typical patient to hit the sweet spot. That's the fill amount that will make you full after <>
I go on the 17th of June for that fill and I can't wait! But hopefully in the interim, I'll enjoy my first fill and learn how to deal with life with a bit of restriction. You'll be the first to know if I end up sliming or barfing at lunch today. I'm sure you're on pins and needles waiting for that, huh? hee hee!