My Lap Band Journey

October, 2009  (150kg)

I have created this page as an online diary, so that others going through this same experience may be able to relate to my story.

My name is Leanne and I am 149.9 kilos. My BMI is over 60 and I have finally taken the step to change my life with Lap Band Surgery.

This month has been really busy with all my appointments in preperation for the big day!

Over the last few months I have seen my specialist who will be doing my operation, been for tests, seen the Dr for test results, seen the psycholigist, the dietician and the nurse. I have 2 appointments left next week with my surgeon and the pre admition check, then we are all systems go for the 9th of November.

This week I have had to start on the "optifast" meal replacement shakes and bars, and I need to continue these for the entire 2 weeks pre surgery. This is really important as it helps to shrink the size of your liver and makes keyhole surgery much easier and reduces the risk of open surgery......which I would like to avoid at all costs mainly for the pain factor but also for the recovery time and scarring.

The meal replacements are what I have been dreading since i decided that I would definately go ahead with the banding.

It is really hard when you are a family of 5 and have to prepare childrens lunches etc, knowing that you cant eat any of the normal food that your family eats.

Luckily for me, I have a wonderful husband who loves to cook, so for these pre surgery weeks I am staying out of the kitchen as much as I possibly can.

I have now been on the diet 2 days and have quite bad headaches and feel dizzy, but this is all to be expected considering that it is clensing the body of all of the toxins, and I am sure that I had a lot :o))

I think that after making it through these 2 weeks I will be able to do anything!!!!!

Pre-op diet started 26th October, 2009.

5 Days to go till surgery.....

Well, I did the shakes and drinks till I could stand it no more.

It had only been 4 days, but it felt like a lifetime.

I rang my dietitian who gave me a food diet equivalent of the shakes and drinks....WOW was I over the moon.

Its a very low calorie low carb diet with not much to eat, but I don't care.....I am loving it.

I can now cook a meal and eat it.

Even though my dietitian said that this food equivalent would do the same thing as the shakes, I haven't been losing as much as I did when I did them, but I am still losing and the most important thing, I am still doing the right diet to help shrink my liver.

I am finding that I am still longing for a slice of toast in the mornings but I can go back to that in about 6 weeks time so I can handle that :o)

I am finding myself on an emotional roller coaster at the moment.

I think that I am just really nervous about the actual operation.

I have had 3 amazing children in my life by c-section, so I shouldn't be scared but just the thought of going under anesthetic scares me.

I am finding that I am crying at the drop of a hat about anything and everything so I can only imagine what my family is thinking about me right now. Even writing this is making me teary LOL.

Well, only 5 days to go and I will be getting banded....YAY


B Day

Well it's B DAY......The day of my Banding.....The day I have been waiting for for the longest time!!!!

I have done really well on my pre diet, sticking to it like glue to shrink my liver as much as possible to make it as easy as possible for the surgeons.

This Morning I had a banana milk shake and finished it by around 7am, and made sure that I was well hydrated as I didn't know how long I would have to wait till my op was done. They had told me it would be around 2.30 but I guessed that they would be running late as that usually happens in hospitals when they get other emergencies etc.

I go in to admissions, sign some paperwork and I was off to be processed.

The nurse took my blood pressure, blood sugar levels etc and then I was taken in to be put in a gown and have the sexy stockings put on my legs. I was also lucky enough to get some air compression cushions that pumped air around my calves to help with circulation and help to prevent clotting after the it was like getting a relaxing massage LOL.

I waited in the bed until around 4pm when they came and whisked me off to pre op and from there I was taken into theatre Now my heart was racing......its so scary seeing all the lights and tools and people in there buzzing around getting organised, while I lay there thinking hurry up I just want to get this over with :o)

They found the vein easily but my blood pressure was high for some reason they couldn't work out.....I told them I was sooooo nervous so I guess that was why.

Then came the oxygen mask but its not that thin one, its that thick black one they keep pressed really hard on your face and the oxygen is so concentrated its hard to breath. I felt like I was suffocating and kept trying to pull my head away....I hate this bit the most.

Then were the words I was waiting to hear......might feel a bit of a sting when i put this in your drip and then my head was floating and the oxygen tasted funny, then I went all light and felt like I was floating and I was asleep.

Waking up in recovery I remember moaning in pain.....I mustn't have a very high pain threshold I don't think. So the nurse gave me some morphine, then a few mins later some more......then some more and I was feeling GREAT!

My husband was there waiting just outside intensive care in which I had to go that night to be monitored. I was soooooo happy to see him.

The nurse I had with me helped me get comfortable as they had me laying flat on the bed, and he said no band patient should be laying flat as that is most uncomfortable and not good for the band so as soon as he raised the head of the bed up it was a lot better.

My husband and I rang my mum and she came straight in to be with me also.

They stayed until they got told they had to leave as I needed my rest.

That night I was in no pain but I couldn't breath. My oxygen was low and I had asthma. They said that it was probably a reaction to the anesthetic and they upped my oxygen and gave me Ventolin and it helped a lot. They also took bloods and I had high levels of some acid in my blood also caused from the anaesthetic and surgery, so I was told that I had to stay in an extra night but that I could go to a normal post op ward which was good although I missed my lovely nurses one on one attention.

In the post op ward they monitored me every hour so it was hard to get sleep, but it was hard to sleep in intensive care too because of all the noise and activity in there.

I had a lovely shower that day, hubby helped me as I was still attached to the drip and still very sore, but I was only on panadol, panadene or ibuprofen either of them every 4 hours


Comming Home

Well after comming home I had a lot of help from my husband and my mum :D

What would I do without them!!!!

I was in a lot of discomfort but pain relief helped, and also not having to do anything helped a lot too! The first few weeks I wasn't hungry at all.

I was content with fluids but was missing not being able to actually chew anything. Towards the end of the third week I was craving to just eat something, to chew something so you can imagine that when it came time to puree foods I felt like I was in Heaven!!!! It tasted so good and such a small amount filled me right up which I had never remembered experiencing that feeling before on such a small amount of food. They had told me that this period of time when we had a lot of swelling after the surgery, would give us an idication of what the restriction would feel like when our bands were adjusted properly, and I tell you I was very excited at the prospect of only taking such a small amount to feel content with what I had eaten and not crave anything else.

Puree foods went well and I started to really thicken them up by the end of the week as the hunger started to get to me, so making them thicker really helped.

Solid Food

I had my meeting tonight with the dietician and I was starting solid foods tomorrow........I was so excited I couldnt wait not to have to mash everything I had to prepare and eat.

The first thing that I ate that was solid was grilled fish.......I don't think that I have ever tasted anything better in my life (well thats what it felt like after weeks of fluid and mush) It was soooooo good and I was full after one portion of fish which was great! The next week went well and I progressed onto finally all foods that I was able to eat.

The only foods that I had trouble with were: white rice, jubes (which I shouldnt be eating anyway), white bread rolls and chicken breast.

I have my first fill just a few weeks before Christmas so we will see how I go after that.

Sticky Chicken

Tonight I had my first experience of getting food STUCK!

It was very unpleasant and very scary :(

I ate chicken breast for dinner and I had pains in my chest and felt like there was a ball gluged in my chest! I don't know if it was pannick but I felt quite faint (I am sure it was a pannick attack) I remembered reading in my book that if you get food stuck to drink something fizzy to help push it down, or, bring it up. Let me tell you, it works!

I drank a glass of it and I vommited several times. I felt much better afterwards.

I now will always keep a bottle of soda water on hand in my pantry incase that ever happens again....not the most pleasent experience let me tell you!

First Fill 10th December, 2009   (136kg)

 Well, I went into the hospital for my first fill today and guess what.....he couldnt feel my port properly so he wasn't able to give me my fill today. I have to make an appointment for tomorrow at the other hospital where they can ultrasound to see where the port is and hopefully it will help them find it.

11th December, 2009

Today I had my first fill. I found out that I have a large band (14ml capacity) and they only put in 3ml to start with because I got some chicken stuck a few nights ago, so they didn't want to make it too tight as they said I still had a lot of swelling from surgery so best to underfill than overfill.

It was very hard for them to do and took my sergeon some time to find the port even with the ultrasound. He was very gentle and kept asking me if I was ok, which I was.

It wasn't the most comfortable thing that I have ever had done and I felt very sore afterwards, but at least I had my fill after several attempts with about 4 needles (as they kept going blunt). I felt like a pin cushion but I had my fill and I was excited and relieved all in one! Now to get through Christmas without getting food stuck :S

My weight loss at the time of my first fill was 14 kg in total, starting from 2 weeks pre op.....

After my fill I was on liquids only for the day. Pretty easy as I didn't feel hungry at all. I was sore felt a little bruised but neurofen helped that. Ahhhhh good ole neurofen.....gotta love it :D

I was eating mash the next day and on the 3rd day back to normal foods. I just had to take it slowly and chew well wich wasnt a problem. My next fill wasnt going to be until 5 weeks time as they said they like to give you a month in between fills, so I had the holidays with only a small fill. They said they didn't expect me to lose weight over the break but hopefully I would maintain and not put on any....

The holidays I felt some restriction but not a lot. I ate less than what I had done before I got the band, but I certainly was able to eat more that I would have liked.

I tried to be really good but its hard when you have so many celebrations over the Christmas and New Year period, with loads of wine and nibblies, its a hard time to be good!

Second Fill 19th January, 2010   (135kg)

Today I had my second fill (1ml added, 6)....I still needed to be ultrasounded to find the port and it was still a little harder for them to find it than normal. Apparetly I still had a bit of swelling! So around 3 needles later I had another 2 mls in my band. He did take it out to make sure that I had 5ml in total then put it back in....checing that what he had written down was what was in there. I now had a total of 5ml in my 14ml band so I was excited that I would hopefully start to feel some restriction.

I had only lost 1kg over the holidays but they said that was good that I hadn't put on anything. I was happy to have lost but dissapointed that I had only lost 1kg. My weight loss was now around 15kg. I was told to come back in a fornight to get my next fill to help get things moving for me.....that made me happy :D

Third Fill 2nd Feb, 2010 (134kg)

Today my specialist was able to find the port without ultrasound!!!! Whoooo Hoooooo

He said that the swelling had really gone down and that as I had lost more weight he was able to find the port easier which was great news. Down another kilo so slow and steady wins the race, but i still was longing to feel more restriction. My nurse said to me, we want to get you to the stage where you eat because you have to, not because you are hungry and that is exactly how I felt just after my surgery so I knew what she was talking about. At lease she understood and put it into words for me. I was on my way!

Fourth Fill 16 Feb, 2010 (133kg)

Down another kilo and my specialist says I am getting the hang of this now and I can start going to monthly visits and see one of his Dr's to do my fills from now on. I felt like I was really getting somewhere. I was still hungry though and wasn't eating as small a meal as I was ment to get to, but I figured I still had a few more fills till I felt that restiction so I guessed that was normal to feel that way and to eat what I was eating. I was losing weight and even though half a kilo a week wasnt a huge amount, it was better than putting on weight so I was happy.

Fifth Fill  16th March, 2010 (132kg)

This past month I had been hungry all month........almost as soon as my fill was done on the 2nd feb I felt hungrier than I had in a long time.....even the fluids weren't filling me on that day when they normally do. Really, I should have rung the nurses to tell them how hungry I was.

I had lots on for the month, and I thought oh maybe I am just having a few hungry days??? Anyway, when I went in for my fill today I had only lost 1kg in an entire month :( I know I know its better than putting on a kilo, but still its not much for a month.

The Dr that did my fill said that doesn't sound right and he said that I should have lost more. He then went to add another 1 ml.......couldnt get to the port. OUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PAIN.........He tried 4 times with 4 needles before he left the needle in there to go out and get my specialist to come in and do it for him.

My specialist had to use yet another needle but got it fairly quickly, and checked to see how much was in there..........ONLY 5 mls in total including the 1 ml added today........... Not Good!

I was supposed to have a total of 8mls after this fill.

So the question is, do I have a leak, a slow leak OR did they let some out by mistake or miss all together with some fills???

If its a slow leak I think they just have to replace the port/tubing. Still surgery but apparently only day surgery...... If there is a leak in the band that would be all over again for the entire lot!!!!! I am scared, stressed worried and just want to know what it going on.

Anyway, after I have calmed down and thought I can't control the outcome, I just have to deal with it when it happens I have been able to sleep a little better at night, although I am still stressing and will be until I go for my next check wich after debating with my Dr, I got him to see me in just a weeks time as I said I couldn'd even wait that long to know whats happening.

I just hope that he can find the port easily and that the 5mls that he put in is still in there. :S

On the plus side to what I wrote the other day, its now Monday the 22nd and I go for my check and fill tomorrow on the 23rd, and I haven't been all that hungry this week so something is working I guess. Wonder if its stress thats making me feel not hungry or if the fluid has actually stayed in the band....lets hope and pray that it has stayed in the band and it was just operator error that caused the fluid to leak out in the first place :D

I just hope and pray that he finds the port easily tomorrow and that he doesn't or they haven't damaged it with all the poking and prodding.

23rd March, 2010 (132kg)

Back to the Dr today and yes I have lost another ml from my band :(

I am devastated now thinking that I will probly have to have a port replacement.

He has told me to come back in next week to check again to make sure that it is definately leaking and has filled it back up to what it was and added another 2ml so now I have a total of 6ml (for now that is)

30th March, 2010 (132kg)

Back to the Dr today and again I have lost half a ml from my band.

He is now sure that it is leaking.

He has made it up to 7ml for me then wants me to wait 2 weeks and go to see the sergeon to see how much fluid has escaped in that time and see what he says.

I came out, paid and rebooked and then burst into tears.

I tried to stop but just couldn' was all too much the thought of having to go back into hospital and go through it all over again. They were so good to me there they took me out the back and sat me down and got one of the nurses to have a chat with me. It helped so much and even my dr came back in to try to reasure me. They all are really very lovely people wich makes a hard situation a little easier to deal with.

13th April, 2010

Well it has now been confirmed.....My specialist has tried to take fluid out and he cant even get 5mls so thats it, I am going to get a new port and tubing. He has told me it will only be day surgery so that is a huge relief, back home to my family that night :D

I knew it was going to happen and had been preparing myself, so I wasn't shocked but just felt at least that we were going to sort this out, that I wasn't imagining my hunger and that after the new port I would be back on my way to weight loss YAY.

I just want this over and done with...I hate operations and the pain that comes with them.(sooky baby)

19th April, 2010

Today is the day I have had my port replaced.

The pre anisthetic drug they gave me was amazing LOL

Waking up to the pain was not.

It wasnt completely unbarable but it was extremely uncomfortable.

I just wanted to get out of there and get home!

They let me leave early evening after being done mid afternoon so it was fairly quick and I have had the old port scar re-opened and the new port put back in the same spot.

He has left 5ml of fluid in my band as we knew I could tollerate that, it was a safe level.

Next review is in around 2 weeks to check the wound, but the next fill wont be for around a month or so till all the swelling goes down and they can easily access the port.

29th April, 2010

I am healing nicely and getting really itchy by now, need to get this bandage off.

I go in to see the nurse (she is soooo lovely). She says that all is looking really good and then my specialist comes in to have a look.

To my surprise he says, wow you are healing so well and the swelling has gone down so much lets give you a fill :O  YAY very very excited.

The nurse does the fill and finds it straight away and is ever so gentle.

I get 1 ml put in and then they say to come back in 2 weeks and see the dr to get my next fill then after that as needed.

Things are finally looking up!

12th May, 2010 (129kg)

Very Very Excited as I am in the 120's now.....Huge acheivment for me!

Go for my fill at the Dr's today and I have developed a seroma (fluid bruise) around my port.

He cant get to the port without draining the fluid from the seroma so he takes about 10 to 12 mls out of the seroma and then tries to get to the port again.

He eventually does it but it takes many many tries.

I think that inbetween taking fluid out of the seroma and trying to find the port I was stuck with needles around 30 times. He was about to give up then got it....I think the look on my face made him try one more time (the look of I dont care what it takes I want this fill TODAY!!!!)

He tells me to come back in a month.

12th June, 2010 (127.5kg)

I have now hit 127.5.....somethings working right this time!

I have been doing well but my meal portions are still too big.

So my Dr and I agree I need another fill.

He tries to get to the port, still have a seroma around it so he takes some fluid from that.

Still trying to access the port but he says he thinks its moved. It's hitting something hard.

He tries to get around it but its quite painfull so he gives me a local then starts really digging.

Still no luck he thinks that the port might have turned around, may have flipped.

When I ask how that can be fixed he said worse case is another surgery :(

Ok he wants me to see the surgeon again and books me in for a weeks time.

Mum is waiting for me in the waiting room and i just walk right past her, walk outside and cry.

This feels like a bad dream, please no not again.

13th June, 2010

I couldn't sleep last night at all stressing over what the outcome will be.

I wake up and call the nurse and they fit me in that afternoon with my surgeon as they said I will need to get an xray to check the position of the port so I would be getting that done today.

When I go in to get my form for the xray, my surgeon calls me into his rooms and wants to have a look before I go upstairs for my xray.

He says he can feel the port and the seroma and takes more fluid from the seroma.

He then tries to give me a fill and starts looking puzzled....checks all around with the needle and says "you will need to have a new port I am so sorry sweetheart"

I know that means more surgery and start to cry but then stop myself....I just need to suck it up and get over it.

I just can't believe my luck to have 3 surgeries in 6 months....who would have thought???

Luckily I don't have to wait long and will be going in next week on Tuesday.

They think that the port may have not adheared properly due to scar tissue etc so they are now going to move the port wich means another inscision. The original one is 3 inches long and he said that the other will be about the same but it will be on my bra line, and the port will be at the top of my stomach where my rib cage meets at the top just under my breast bone. (photo below blue is old port red will be new port)

Oh how I wish my stomach looked like this LOL :D


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