Weight Ticker

Monday, 15 February 2010

Check up ...

On Sunday I had my two week post op check up with Dr Ashton at HW based at the Spire Hospital in Manchester.  Of course my satnav packed it in on the way and I had to pull over and try to to get it working.  Fortunately it kicked back into life literally metres from the turnoff for the motorway after which point I really had no idea where to go! Phew!  In fact the funny part is I was more nervous driving in a new area even with the satnav working than I was when I was waiting for my surgery!!! Go figure???

Dr Ashton checked my incision and said it was healing well, all nice and dry.

I was weighed to see how much weight I'd lost and was disappointed to weigh a pound and a half more than I did on my scales at home even taking into account that my clothes were at least a pound heavier than my PJ's which I normally wear for weigh ins!!  Also, When i went for my first consultation and was weighed I was 15 stone then Xmas happened and it was over two months until I started my pre-op diet at which point I was 15 stone 5lbs by my scales.  So when I weighed in at 14st 9.5lb Dr Ashton thought I'd only lost 4.5lbs and was asking if I'd been eating any biscuits or cake type snacks! A bit disappointing to say the least!

I had been weighing in at 14st 6.6lbs for the last few days at home, but that morning of course I was 14st 7lb and then even more at the hospital!! Not fair.

I've been finding that I'm much hungrier recently and it's hard to keep my calories down to 850 a day.  When I looked at my food diary today I realised that for the past four days my calories had been over 1000 every day, and one of the days was over 1300...hence why my weight loss has ground to a halt!  So my goal for today was to stick entirely to liquids and to keep my calories under 900 which I have managed (although I did eat some well cooked veg that was going spare at tea time.) I also realised that there are lots of things I can use to fill me up that are really low cal.  I'd gotten in the habit of sticking to high protein food when my appetite was non-existant as I wasn't eating enough to give me any energy and was constantly feeling nauseous.  This really isn't a problem now as my appetite's grown quite a lot, but i keep sticking to the high protein stuff which is fine, but I need to add in some very low fat veg based stuff such as mushrooms and squash and tomato based soups to top me up and keep me fuller for longer.  That's my goal for tomorrow add these things in and then it won't be such a fight to keep my calories down as I'm starting to fell deprived.  I don't lose weight quickly at the best of times, any normal person would lose plenty sticking to 1300 calories a day, but not me!

Another thing I've got to consciously do is drink more fluids...Saturday morning I woke up feeling hung over with a headache and a really dry mouth...and no, I hadn't had a drop to drink so I must have been dehydrated.  Then this morning I found I was quite constipated, not very pleasant...sorry if you were eating then or have a sensitive stomach. So proof positive I'd say on the need for extra fluids.  I then decided I'd take some medication for the problem, but didn't read the instructions till after I'd taken it...you are suposed to take it before bed and I spent the day tripping back and forth to the toilet.  It's one extreme to the other.

One thing Dr Ashton asked me about was whether I'd started walking yet? 'Whoops...not really', is the answer.  I felt like a naughtly school girl by the end of it all.  I did walk my son to Scouts that evening though instead of driving, there's 15 minutes I can clock up.  I must get my pedometre set up for my stride length tomorrow and start wearing it so that I can start to get my daily exercise levels up without necessarily doing a workout.  Now I'm feeling pretty well most of the time there's no real excuse not to get started is there?

Saturday, 13 February 2010

It's a slow old road to repair...Two weeks in.

Hi All,

Work this week has been uneventful, I've been pain free all week and managing quite well on my Slim-fast shakes for breakfast and lunch, the odd half cup of coffee and then various things for tea. Either a meaty soup blended up, or occassionally a small amount of non-liquid food has snuk in.  But I'm ever conscious that anything solid i eat needs to be in a very small amount so as not to put pressure on my still healing stitches.  I'm confident that most of the swelling has now gone down, but obviously I'm still healing.

I've felt really well all week, until Friday that is when I was off work! Typical isn't it?  I'd arranged to meet a friend after the school drop off for a coffee and I had dreadful wind pains in my lower abdomen, plus a not insubstantial amount of muscle pain above my insicion.  This carried on through most of the day which made it difficult to get on with anything much and ended up in my feeling the day was more or less wasted.

Then again today, I woke up early with a headache a very dry mouth and feeling pretty grotty.  It actually felt like I'd had rather too much wine last night, only I've sworn off alcohol until all my weight has been lost so I know it couldn't have been that!

I took some pain relief and had a bit of a lie in, then I had to get up to take my youngest son to his swimming lesson.  Not ideal as I hadn't had so much as a coffee never mind any breakfast. I came home shortly after 11am and had a Muller light yoghurt with a handful of cereal on the top (yes I know, not allowed on the liquid phase) and another soluable paracetamol. By this stage I was bent over with pain in the muscle around my port yet again.  I know the nurse Claires said this would take time to settle down, but I guess I expected the level of pain to start at the highest following the surgery and then gradually ease over time.  But what it has been like is quite unpredictable and very up and down which is quite frustrating as just when you think you're really over the worst you're suddenly thrown back to the beginning again. 

I'd already taken a paracetamol, so I hobbled back to the bedroom once I'd made my son some lunch and gingerly lowered myself onto the bed and read a book for an hour.  Once I got up again I felt waaay better, which was a relief.

Tomorrow I'm heading into the Spire Hospital in Manchester to see Dr Ashton for a check up and an official weigh in to see how I'm doing and how my stitches are healing etc. The stitches look fine to me, no sign of any infection, but I'd still like to go in for the check up anyway.

I managed to refrain from having a shower or bath for ten days as instructed which seemed quite horrendous to suggest.  My means of accomplishing this and still remaining fit for human companionship were the obvious means of having regular 'sponge baths', using Andrex moist toilet tissue instead of regular stuff and another secret weapon which I'm glad I found out about as I would have really struggled to wash my hair hanging over the bath due to the difficulty of bending over and supporting my weight following the surgery and that is dry shampoo!  You can get it in really tiny tins from Superdrug for about £1.99, but it doesn't last long that way, so I went on the internet and found a much larger tin from 'Pharmacy2u' for around the same price as the smaller tin! It can make your hair look a little powdery if you have dark hair, but if you let it do its work for a few seconds, brush it through and then kind of dust off any areas that look powdery it's not bad. You can also buy one designed for brunettes which is a little dearer if you like.  I'll probably try that once this runs out as it's super handy to have around to freshen up your hair if you tend towards an oily scalp.  Ever since I started having the Depo-Provera jab every three months instead of taking the pill I've suffered from this as one of the side effects and it's quite frustrating, which is how I found out about the dry shampoo.  I mentioned the problem to a friend who suggested it.

Anyway, I'll let you know how I get on at the Spire tomorrow.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Back to Work

Hi All,

Yesterday was my first day back in the office.  I felt a little sorry for myself as I was setting off as my stitches were pulling painfully, but by the time I'd arrived in the office they were fine.  I had a good day and the only issue was the desk pressing into my incision a little uncomfortably. 

I felt quite energetic yesterday evening too which is strange as my calories are very low still.  Yesterday I only consumed 750 cals.  I've been keeping my intake at around 850 on most days during the past week and to ensure I'm getting all my nutritional requirements I've been taking an iron and multivitimin/mineral syrup which I bought from Holland & Barretts and a general soluable multivitimin which contains some different things which I was given by my provider Healthier Weight.

Initially following the surgery I was quite bloated and so never felt hungry at all.  I was only prompted to eat whenever I started to feel very nauseous.  By about day 5 however I was finding that the soups and things were not satisfying for very long at all and I'd soon get the sick feeling back.  My calories for the day were around the 800 mark by this time.  I've found that if I stick to Slimfast shakes they are quite satisfying and stay with me for 3-4 hours.  I imagine this is due to the protein.  I've now slipped into a routine of having a Slimfast Shake for breakfast and lunch and then possibly a small snack late afternoon and then a protein rich soup such as pea and ham, or beef and mushroom for my tea around 6 or so and this keeps me going till bedtime.  I may have a highlights hot chocolate in the evening or a diet coke but usually I just have a large glass of sugar free squash to make sure I'm getting enough fluids.  I've been having far less tea and coffee than I used to do. Pre-op I would have struggled not to start the day with a freshly brewed coffee, but have only just introduced it back now that I'm back at work and I've been having 3 cups a day at work, but only drinking around a third to half of each cup... 

I am able to bring up any wind at the moment as I haven't yet had my first fill and so am able to drink the diet coke without any issues, although I have only just reintroduced it this week.  Previously I was slightly dependant on it and would have at least one can on most days. 

It's been quite funny being back at work as no-one here has a clue, so it's very hard to believe I've gone and had surgery and had a device inserted into me!! My colleagues just think I'm on one of my usual diets.  They've gotten very used to the cycle of intensive dieting and then intensive weight gain so are unlikely to wonder too much and as the diets have not historically proven successful long-term they are not disposed to discuss them anymore and neither am I.



Sunday, 7 February 2010

An Introduction...

Hi all,

My name is Sparkler and I have recently had a gastric band.  I decided to keep a blog as a bit of diary and also because when I was researching my band it really helped to read other peoples blogs from the beginning about their experiences with the band, so that I could see what day to day life was really like living with the band.  So if anyone reads this and finds it helpful then that's good too. 

As you may guess, I haven't told anyone about my band apart from my husband, hence the 'nom de plume' (if that's how you spell it)!

Today is day 8 of living with my band and I'm starting to feel much more fit and well, but don't worry I'll try my best to fill in the back story in my next post.

I live in suburbia, in South Manchester with my husband and two young boys.  I work part time in Manchester as a PA about 20 hours a week or so and my husband has his own business.

I was banded by Mr Franco Favretti at The Spire Hospital in Manchester on Saturday 30th January 2010 through Healthier Weight.  I weighed about 15st 6lbs when I started my pre-op diet 5 days prior to my surgery and probably weighed about 15st 2 or 3lbs on the big day.  I am including my weightloss ticker which will appear at the bottom of each page so you will be able to see how well or otherwise I am doing.  Currently my goal weight is 10 stone.  Sorry if this all sounds a bit dry, probably what will work best for me is to just start from now and then when things seem relevant I can expand on them as they come up, (eg. my reasons for having the band, the pre-op diet, the surgery itself ).  I think this will keep my writing fresher and more readable than trying to fully update you right now.

As I mentioned today is day 8 post surgery for me and I'm feeling pretty good.  I still have my dressings on and the main incision is somewhat uncomfortable, but otherwise I'm pretty much getting there.

The first couple of days out of hospital I was quite amazed how well I was considering.  I kept myself dosed up on solpadene, but I could just about have managed without if I had to most of the time.  I have had many very sharp wind pains, which I was prepared for, but they can be quite excrutiating.  Luckily when I moved around they cleared fairly quickly, so were managable.  I did have one lingering all evening last night though which in the middle of the night became quite painful and I had to get up and walk around, rubbing my side and moving my arms around.  It felt just like a really bad stitch and hurt a lot when I breathed in, but it too subsided before too long.  One thing I've been surprised at is how unworried I've been about most of the twinges I've had.  I had imagined prior to surgery that I'd be sure that every bout of indisgestion was band slippage...but not so.

The first few days I found I got pretty nausious and tired if I tried to do anything that involved any thinking, like reading, using the computer or sorting out anything fiddly. So I would need to go and have a lie down for a bit. My main pain is with my main incision and I've tended to walk around slightly hunched over holding it like I'm pregnant!

For the first 5 days I felt pretty bloated and wasn't able to eat too much...which is good, but initially it took effort to make sure I was getting enough calories and protein to keep me going. I'm pretty sure that is why I was feeling nauseous.

I had to change my own dressings on Wednesday (day 4 post surgery) as my husband is too squimish to do it. It made me feel sick as I'm squimish when it comes to my own gorey things. I managed to accomplish it though dispite one of my dressings being badly stuck to my stitches. uugghh!

On Wednesday I was feeling pretty good, much more energetic.  I could tell I was improving and I was looking forward to being a lot more active on Thursday (I'm on a weeks annual leave), but then...cue heavy music...dum, dum, dum!!  During the night I woke up and got out of bed...and when I took a step with my left leg I was in agony! I felt like I had torn a muscle or had a hernia or something really revolting. The pain was an inch or two above and to the left of my tummy button. I hobbled to the bathroom and looked under my dressings but nothing to be seen. By this time I was sweating and thought I would be sick, then I started to feel very woosey and thought I was definately going to faint, so hobbled back to bed as quick as I could manage and lay still till I felt better. It was fine as long as I lay still, so I thought I'd wait till morning and see how I felt. I was still in a lot of pain in the morning when I stood up, but could walk easier and it did ease off as I moved around more. I really wasn't sure what to make of it and felt quite worried that I'd lifted something too heavy and caused some internal damage.  To confess, I had lifted up my small dog and carried her outside for a wee just before I went to bed... I phoned the nurse a couple of times and when I eventually got a call back she seemed quite off hand about it and felt sure it was the muscle the port had been stitched into and absoulutely nothing to worry about, Ppphhhewww! Although part of me was worried that I'd damaged the port (in one of the blogs I follow 'Banded Girl' had a twisted port and needed to have port revision surgery...I'm sure they didn't put it in crooked, so was this going to happen to me!).  I posted the details of my experience to a forum group I'm a member of (http://www.ukgastricband.co.uk/) to see if any others had experienced anything like this whilst I was waiting for the nurse to phone me back.  When I logged on to update the thread following my discussion with the nurse I saw that several others had had very similar experiences and were fine.  It was very comforting.

I dosed up on plenty of pain killers and hobbled around as best as I could at home, then low and behold by 4:00pm I felt fantastic.  No pain at all, even from my incision.  It was amazing.  I had a really enjoyable evening pain free!
When I woke up Friday morning I was still free of the weird port pain, but my incision felt a bit sore and unstable.  I felt as though I needed to be careful or my internal organs may pop out through my stitches eeerrr! But otherwise I was feeling fine.  Since Friday I've even been able to walk upright without holding my stitches when I'm in company, a definate improvement.

The big event for Saturday was my first day back behind the wheel.  I was advised not to drive for 5 days following surgery by the Healthier Weight dietician who came to see me before discharge at the hospital.  I felt a little weird, particularly as I was in my husbands car which is a Discovery and I'm not really used to driving it. At first I felt as though it was too soon, but really I think it was fine, I was able to twist round to look out the rear window without any pain.

So now we're pretty much up to date on the timeline, but I will give more details in future posts about my surgery, my motivations, my provider and anything else I think other potential bandits may want to know.

At least I've made a start now.  I've been wanting to start for ages, but really not sure how to begin.  I finally thought, just begin, before you've forgotten everything!