Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Big Fill

Starting weight: 328 lbs.
Current weight: 288 lbs.
Amount lost: 40 lbs.

Ah, so much to talk about. But first, my sincerest and most gracious and humble apologies to the global throng of 10, nay 20, loyal followers of this here bloggy thing. I haven't written since Thanksgiving, and I deserve nothing short of a good Singapore caning, followed by a week in the hot box with a case of Ex Lax and a dozen rolls of barbed-wire toilet paper. Truthfully, I just haven't felt like writing. And when a writer doesn't feel like writing, then nothing gets written. And that's all she wrote. Am I right?

Secondly, I'm happy to report that I'm 40 pounds down and feel great. I'm walking 2 miles a day, eating healthy, and with the exception of The Christmas Day Dinner Roll Debacle (which I'll explain in excruciating detail shortly), I've been relatively incident free.

Finally, I went in Dec. 16 for The Big Fill. This is where the Band de Lap takes center stage and shakes its moneymaker. I've included handy dandy visual aids below for reference, but for those of you unlearned in the ways of the bariatric underbelly, here's a the short 4-1-1:

The Lap Band sits around the top of the stomach, just as it meets the esophagus. The inner side of the band is inflatable, like a bicycle inner tube. A tube runs from the band to a port, which is inserted under the skin and muscle and attached to the lower part of the ribcage.

With me so far? Good.

When you get a "fill," a needle is inserted through the skin and into the port, and saline is injected, filling the band's inner tube and squeezing the stomach opening, thus restricting the amount of food that can pass through the stomach at one time.

The tighter the band, the less food it takes to get full, the less food you eat, the more weight you lose. Get it?

And now, handy dandy visual aid No. 1:

Now I know what you are thinking. "Boy, there's a tornado in your belly. Get in the tub pronto and cover up with a mattress!" And yes, that was my initial reaction, too. But while there is often torrents of wind of F5 proportions swirling around in my lower intestines, the dark parts you see above is the yummy shooter of barium that Dr. Fill (heeeee) gave me in order for my insides to show up on the fluoroscope (that's a fancy word for X-ray!).

Here is handy dandy visual aid No. 2:

This is one of those medical model representations you see in the doctor's office. You know the ones that you start playing with but then it falls apart in your hand the exact moment the doctor walks in? Well this one gives you a good idea of what it looks like in my insides, except that my insides are covered with thick layers of vodka and bacon. Mmmmm. Bacon martini.

Anyhow, back to Dr. Fill. After finding the port with a sonogram (insert pregnancy joke here), the actual procedure was fairly painless; just the short prick (heee) of a needle.

The Band 'O Lap holds 10 CCs of saline. My first fill was 3 CCs. The idea is to eventually find that "sweet spot" where you can eat the foods you want and maintain once you reach your goal weight. So I imagine I will have another fill or two before it's all over.

At first I hadn't felt any difference. Like before, as long as you take small bites, eat slowly and chew well, then all remains well in Lap Band Land. However, as the Band get tighter, your margin for error shrinks.

Enter Christmas Day dinner. Like any good Texan, we blew off cooking dinner in favor of ordering takeout from Sonny Bryan's BBQ. And if you've ever eaten at Sonny Bryan's, you know about their dinner rolls. YUUUUMMMMMY! Well, the meal went well. Small portions, small bites, yadda, yadda, yadda. I even ate a dinner roll. So far, so good. But when you continue to sit and talk around a table of food, you tend (at least I do anyway) to nibble. And I nibbled on a second dinner roll.

Not. Very. Smart.

Regardless of whether I chewed well or slow or swallowed it whole, bunches of white flour bread in your belly is a no-no. White bread expands and clumps together into a big wad of WOE, and when your newly sectioned off stomach is the size of a thumb, well, you do the math. And when that newly sectioned off stomach the size of a thumb has an opening the size of a dime for food to pass through, well, do more math.

I quickly broke out in a cold sweat and had to get up and walk around with my hands on my head doing that twisty, turny torso dance that I do so well. For the next 15 minutes, I swallowed, gagged, squirmed and squiggled. Now I'm not going to compare this to childbirth. I am smart enough, having grabbed a leg during the birth of our oldest, to know that the pain involved here is not even a fraction of what you ladies go through.

But I will say this. I now have a new appreciation for the idea of something the size of a watermelon slowly and painfully pushing its way through a hole the size of a peach. It was not a pleasant experience to say the least. Much like the Pecan Pie Incident, consider it lesson learned.

Dinner rolls. Bad.

So I've made it through the Holiday Foodfest Triangle of Death, but not without some internal bumps and bruises. However, I've emerged thinner and smarter and begin the New Year wearing clothes that haven't seen the light of day in years. So yea for me!

I'm starting to see some true benefits of weight loss; things that you take for granted, and I'm re-learning that life is so much better without loads of lard weighing you down.

In the next few posts I'll talk about that. I've been pretty wide open about my experience with this so far, but this will be more out there than ever. So prepare yourselves accordingly.

Peace, love and BBQ!