Thursday, January 15, 2009

The first fill...

I have been really good about weighing weekly. Giving it a week between weigh-ins is good for a # of reasons - mainly bc it is less than obsessive and it actually can give an accurate picture of significant loss/gain.

What however is more depressing than eating less than 1000 calories a day, every day, is when you don't lose weight from one week to the other... With such consistency and significant reduction in calories, you begin to expect to see losses weekly... not the case. This week I hit my 2nd week overall without a posted loss. I guess that's better than a gain... but it goes to show that for a portion of the population, losing weight *isn't* always a sure thing if you 'just eat less.'

Overall, I'm still down more than 27lbs since I began this journey less than 2mos ago. Which is phenomenal - and I'm thrilled about it. I think I'm slightly more disheartened bc the last time I lost a significant amount of weight (since my 100lb loss 6 years ago) was about 2 years ago - and that was 25lbs. I need to make it beyond this hump to not feel like this is yet another 'fad' diet.

But to the new part --

I got my first fill.

A quick refresher -- the band has a hollow/balloon like piece around the band itself - this is connected to a tube that ends in a 'port' - basically a large circular tough 'pad.' (same as when ppl get lines for chemo) -- this port is attached to my abdominal wall via stitches during surgery.

There's a pic about 2/3rds the way down the page --

Anyway, fills are meant to make the band tighter - and therefore keep you fuller longer with any food consumed - and this is about 1/2cup. It is filled w cc's of sterile saline - and can hold 8-10cc's.

SO the first fill -- headed to St Mary's, checked in - had to get the hospital bracelet and everything! They do these fills at something called the 'Pain Center' -- really?! who named that?!

So you get directed to this room - the pain center is also a pain to find - you actually walk out of the hospital and then back in - it's an externally accessible room. There's a bunch of people waiting - fellow banders - some fatties, some not as fatties and one slim woman who has lost all her hair to cancer - I'm not entirely sure that she's there for a fill - perhaps taking fluid out to ensure she can eat a lot to make up for the chemo effects.

What I've discovered that's outrageously refreshing is how OPEN people with the bands ARE to talk about their experience, weight loss, issues, etc. It's like this topic that's been totally taboo for all our lives -- even most relatives you don't discuss your weight issues openly with... Because we've all gotten to a place where we acknowledge our shortcomings and need for help - and it's totally liberating as we can finally talk about it bc there's hope that this doesn't define us and that it may change in the future. So picture campfire, guitars, com ba ya, etc. I will spare the details since most folks who don't have issues with this could care less... Let's just say I think I've been a SAINT on my first few months - bc about everyone in there had some comment about having issues w certain foods - all of which were ones they told us NOT to eat! haha! (subs? icecream? WTH?)

SO I get weighed and then sit for a while - then get called into a room where I immediately recognize 2 of the 3 people from my office appts - very comforting!

I then stand in front of what looks like an open MRI machine sans bed - turned on its side. It's a stand up x ray (but w less clunky camera and smaller plates. I stand in front of it, the dr finds my port and puts mark on my skin where it is. (recall - port is subdermal - not visible from the outside - when I get smaller I'll be able to feel it and possibly see it slightly) She then tells me NOT to look at the needle - apparently it's not small...

In goes needle (all this is being xrayed) - little prick - not bad - some rooting around to get it situated and then attached is the syringe - she pulls out the oxygen (they apparently prep the bands w oxygen for surgery) - then she puts in 3 cc's. She has me take a sip of barium -- while she watches it go down on the xray - pretty cool! She has ME holding the syringe at this point so she can move to see the xray pictures - apparently bc of the hard plastic the port is made of, it'll shoot out if not held in. She puts in another 1.5cc's - I drink more barium and she says I'm good to go and they record the amount.

I asked her how she knows what the right amount is - and she patiently explained the xray pics - which were totally rad (and I will see if I can take a pic w my cell of it next time) - much like the upper GI post surgery. She shows me where the band is and where the barium is passing through it -- then she shows me - using her THUMB where my 'pouch' is - ie the piece above the band that holds the food -- and I'm shocked that it's little wider than her thumb! Then I notice how small the opening is between this and the larger stomach below the band - like the width of an ink refill! Unreal - and super cool!

Then I'm done - that was IT! Nothing scary at all :) They have you then drink some liquid before you leave to be sure it's not too tight (too tight = liquid comes back up) - I'm then on liquids the next day and a half and then mushies and then solids again tomorrow -- Friday.

I actually think the liquid part (which was terrible this time - as before) has me probably ingesting more calories bc they are 8oz portions (rather than my 4oz 1/2 cup ones) - which I attribute to this week's plateau. But damn does tomato soup still make it all better...

Safe travels to Spevak!


Megan Van Fleet said...

Sounds cool! Glad it went well, and that it was a good experience. And yay for you for being foodie angel!!

aimee spevak said...

Hey, thanks Kate! I saw this earlier but didn't have a chance to respond.

I'll send you a postcard from Bursa! :)

Richard said...

Wow, this sounds kind of cool in a weird way. I don't know how you do it though. I do not like needles, much less long ones.

Kate McHugh said...

Yhip - you're such a DORK! It's all about the big picture here :) BTW she had me look away when she put the needle in so I actually never saw it - nor how long it was... :)

Piece of cake.