Saturday, 14 February 2009

Doubting Thomas and Diabetes

I haven't posted for a week due to a combination of feeling it was very trivial in the light of the fires in Australia and the number of Australian blogs I enjoy, and because I've been a bit glum myself.
I feel barely any restriction: the band only makes its presence felt when I eat a piece of bread or pastry too quickly. Then I get gradually increasing pain and I have to stop eating for 10 minutes, or the keen desire to burp - productive or otherwise, and on one horrible occasion a couple of weeks ago (at home thank goodness) I was sick and didn't even make it properly to the loo in time. The cause was a piece of toast eaten before a bowl of soup, of refined white bread and eaten too fast. But the point is, although I'm reassured that I have a band and that it's working - even if on a go-slow - I have no feelings of fullness after a small portion, just the discomfort, and then my appetite returns the same as before.
Yes, you have to work with the's just a tool... ; yes, you still need a certain degree of willpower; yes, you can't shout at it "Stop me eating, will you!!"; and yes (wistfully) I realise other bloggers I read are successful particularly in the early days and clearly I'm not. However my willingness to cooperate is tempered by low spirits which have nothing to do with being overweight - although of course they make it harder to bear - and I find myself wanting to negotiate with this inanimate object I have in my chest and say "show me first that you can work properly and then I'll do my bit"... like a latter-day Doubting Thomas who wants the miracle before he'll believe...
I have my second fill coming up next Wednesday 18th, and I'm hoping they'll give me enough to start this process properly. Listening to other bloggers' experiences it seems to follow a cycle: a fill gives you a jump start which makes you lose weight which gives you a real lift, and in seeing the obvious improvement in yourself it gives you the strength and enthusiasm to carry on, which makes you continue to lose weight. Then gradually the restriction relaxes a bit, you get impatient at first, then downcast, then give into temptation, slip a bit, slip a bit further... then back for another fill and the process starts again. I know this is a bit simplistic, it doesn't always happen like that. Some of you maximise the good phase by doing exercise, and sometimes the cycle speeds up due to outside circumstances...
To my surprise I'm losing about half a pound a week, evidently there's a tiny bit of restriction I'm not even aware of - so it's not all negative.
I'm too self-conscious to start the only exercise I'm interested in - swimming - until I've lost at least a couple of stone, and have finally got the diabetes back under control since the op. I keep having middle-of-the-night hypos due to insulin overdose, and swimming makes the glucose go down faster. A hypo in the pool is awful and you get little warning - it feels as though you can barely reach the end to get out.
So far I haven't read any bandster blogs by diabetics, though I'm sure there are plenty out there - so I wonder if these comments might be useful:
(1) Your eating pattern changes when you lose weight before the operation. You barely eat at all, and insulin-wise that's easy because all you have to do is react to the result of the blood test you give yourself. My consumption of insulin went down to a third.
(2) In the hospital you follow their advice - up to a point. It's better to have high glucose than low, but in the first 10 hours my glucose climbed steadily, and the nurses kept consulting each other and the on-call doctor as to what they should do, and gave me a different type of insulin. However, the glucose kept climbing. I asked to be allowed to decide for myself what I needed, using my own insulin, and eventually they did, making me carry out frequent blood tests. As I was leaving the senior nurse's comment was that it had been better to let me judge what was best for me.
(3) Insulin intake during the initial slop phase is more or less the same as for the crash diet beforehand.
(4) The interesting bit comes once you inevitably start to increase your food consumption, and here's the thing: if you take your glucose reading before you go to bed, and it's high, this could be because (a) you've had dinner and/or sweet & greasy snacks too recently; (b) you had a meagre dinner but had a substantial lunch - or sweet & greasy ditto - and forgot to test or inject (I know I know, don't nag me); or (c) you snacked on sweet or greasy foods throughout the day - even reasonably lightly.
(5) If (a), then the usual amount of insulin for that reading will be fine; if (b) or (c) it will be very difficult to gauge how much insulin to give yourself: the high reading may be on its way up because of (a), or has already peaked and is on its way down, so the 'usual dose' of insulin will be too much.
(6) So - there's another bad habit to overcome, apart from over-eating, and that's irregular meals...
It's not just my body that has a long road to travel.


Dawn said...

Hi Caroline,
Wow, what a blog. You have been going through it. It is weird how the band works and I think we all go in to it thinking that it will solve all our problems. And when those 'problems' don't disappear straight away we automatically blame ourselves. I was told 'your band is a tool and you have to work it, like the carpenter, he can only produce great work if he uses the tools correctly' I'm still finding out how to use my tool, and when I slip it takes a while to get back into it. What I have learnt is that, I can eat lot's, but I don't eat as much as I did, and that's got to be a good thing. And even if the weight loss is higher in some people at the begining, low and easy is best for keeping it off longer.


DocSly said...

Hey Caroline, do you realize that a little depression can follow the banding and you have some other causal conditions as well. I will be thinking about you on the 18th as I too have a doctor's appointment. I need a fill because I can eat too much and I am hungry all the time. It seems like many of us are having some issues with weight coming off right now. I know I don't want to go near a scale. I need some sunshine, more exercise, and less stress in my life. You take care and know I am pulling for you from far away. Sylvia

Zena said...

Ahhhh Carloine,

I am sorry to hear you are feeling glum, it does get a bit too much at times and I do feel that sometimes the band does not quite live up to expectations, I know it is a 'tool' and as such we must work with it....that aside I think I still did expect more!

Caroline, also are you taking vitamins to help, as you may not be actually eating as much as you think you are and as such not getting the right vits therefore maybe contributing to you feling glum!. My sis is forcing vits into me, so I am making sure you are getting yours too.

Loads of love to you xxxxxxx
Zena xxxx (((HUGS))) xxxx

Lonicera said...

What lovely comments - thank you so much.
Dawn - "I can eat lot's, but I don't eat as much as I did" - that's exactly what I find, and can't get over my surprise to find I'm losing, even if it's only half a pound a week, or even two weeks. But for the sake of my morale I really need to drop a couple of stone, which will give me the momentum to carry on and, more importantly, to start to feel better about myself. But I have to admit I feel a damn sight better with the band than without it, even after seeing my bank statement this evening when the cost of the op disappeared out of my account.
Sylvia - agree, can't wait till Wednesday, though still feel they'll tell me off for not losing much. I have to absolutely force myself to get on the scales these days.
Zena - you may be right, I started taking a multivitamin at first (a horrible jellied pastille) but stopped when I realised one day that if I wasn't cutting down on food much, I probably didn't need it. But it may be a factor.
I do feel the long-distance support, and it's so appreciated. Apart from the band, blogging is the best thing I ever did to help myself.

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