Monday, 31 May 2010

Have other lapbanders experienced this? Not for the squeamish...

I’m a squeamish person, so it must be a gentle joke by the Almighty that the only tool I can use to help me overcome a lifelong eating disorder is one that only seems to work when it causes me to throw up regularly.  It’s probably typical of people like me that I see this horrible process as richly deserved, a penance for being unable to control excess.  The self-disgust is necessary to cleanse my spirit, like the hermit who seeks solitude and self-denial to feel worthy for the next life.

Honestly, it’s a ridiculous way to live, isn’t it?

My squeamishness extends to writing about it too, but I have double standards:  I’m very grateful to other bandits who are quite happy to call a spade a bloody shovel.  Their no holds barred descriptions of the idiosyncrasies of their lapbands and how it affects their bodies are invaluable, essential, and greatly appreciated by us all.  (Who for example could forget Nola’s experiences with a lime spider?)

I am grateful beyond words that thanks to them I’ve usually known what to expect, and been able to discuss better the details of my case with the nurses in Taunton when I needed help.  At other times it’s just plain reassuring to think as I’m reading a blog – “Ooh, does that happen to her too???”

But now it’s my turn to speak about the unspeakable, because I haven’t read this anywhere.  It may be very common – but nobody’s mentioned it, and if it’s useful, I leave it to bandit readers to copy and paste it on to their blogs, or link it, or whatever they choose.

Bear with me on the chronology, there is a point to it. 

On Sunday 9th May after a swim at the leisure centre with friends we had dinner in a pub and I had scampi plus what was laughingly called a Mediterranean salad.  This consisted of the usual, plus some kind of beans slightly bigger than the size of baked beans, i.e. smallish, and pine nuts, in a salad dressing.  I munched my way through it as carefully as I could – it was uninspiring, but fine.

The following Wednesday 12th I went down to Taunton, and had a chat with them about not having lost anything in the past weeks, and perhaps not being restricted enough, and we agreed that a fill of a quarter of a cc was probably called for, taking me up to 10.25cc.  I was pleased to notice the extra restriction, and also that it wasn’t excessive.  Just in case, I had (mushy) polenta for dinner when we got back, and the following day survived on Optifast while at work (and give or take a few biscuits…), and soup in the evening, and all was fine.

On Saturday morning 15th May I had cornflakes and noticed afterwards that it felt a bit stuck, but only slightly.  Between then and Sunday evening I ate lightly, still feeling very slightly stuck – I thought this was probably the increased restriction.  On Sunday afternoon we swam at the leisure centre again with the same friends, and this time went to a Spanish style café for dinner where the meal consists of a series of tapas.  But by this time I was feeling even more uncomfortable, and only managed a couple of breaded whitebait, which are tiny.  More worryingly, I really didn’t feel like drinking anything, and only managed a few sips of juice.  I had to disappear to the loo three times (only the one loo, and for both men and women… lovely), and began to feel quite miserable.  It seemed possible that I would need an unfill.  It had been a very hot weekend - I wondered if that had anything to do with it.

The following day at work (Monday) I found it very difficult to concentrate all day, and I admit I was most unhappy.  I had soup for dinner and went to bed but kept waking up drowning on saliva, and at 5 o’clock in the morning (Tuesday) I had a coughing fit which produced not what you would normally expect, but something so odd that I did what I would never do – I jumped out of bed and put the light on in the bathroom to look at it. 

It felt at the time as though I was giving birth to the spawn of Satan, or at least that I had coughed up a piece of lung or a bit of the band.  But no, I looked upon “it” in horror as it lay on the white enamel of the wash basin, and recognised what it was straight away - two DRIED OUT beans, sliced half way through, i.e., they had had one chew, but otherwise intact, and, I repeat, completely dry.   I sat there for a long time trying to remember when on earth I had consumed them, going through meal after meal in my head, and with increasing disbelief worked out that it had been 8 days previously (I’m not much of a bean eater).  I returned to bed, and after the alarm clock went off at 7 I coughed up another little beauty.

Suffice to say I had no more feeling of being stuck after that, and the slightly increased restriction continues satisfactorily enough – though as I said at the start of this post, it involves PB’ing and not sweet spots. 

So, to recap (can you tell I try to be methodical?!!) 

1.  Those wretched beans had been stuck to the sides of my pouch for 8 days, despite the natural flushing through caused by PB's, not near enough to the band to either go through or block me altogether until the 0.25cc fill caused a "crisis"; 

2.  Stomach juices (which surely get through to the pouch?) had had no effect on the evidently tough skin of the beans, because they were in perfect nick, except for being half sliced through; 

3.  Yes, you can chew all you like, but if you eat food that comes in units this size – and I would include sweetcorn within this range - by the law of averages some of these units will slip through before they’re “ready”, so this means that these are foods which can only be eaten when liquidised.

4.  Here’s the (probably rhetorical) question to which I'd like an answer: is it possible therefore when bandits comment – as they do frequently - that they can’t understand why they’re restricted one day and not the next (“go figure….” etc), it could be because there is some food stuck there, not doing any real harm, just minding its own business, but effectively acting as an extra lining, taking up space and filling you up sooner than you would have expected?  And then something makes them go through, so you feel less restricted and return to "normal" - and you were totally unaware that this was happening?

OK folks, I feel grossed out by all this, but knew as soon as it happened that I was going to have to write about it, as it taught me something completely new.

One last point:  the people at Taunton, plus comments on specialist websites come to that, tell us that the LapBand is a relatively recent invention – no more than 10 or 15 years old I believe, and that everybody, clinicians and patients alike, are still learning.  Therefore never forget, bandits, that WE’RE PIONEERS!!!!!!!!!!!!  Respect please.


Photo Finish
From Lonicera’s non-digital archives

A day out in the city of Bath - landmarks

The Royal Crescent

The weir

(some doorways for Zanna!)

Meadows along the river Avon

Expectant crowds before a rubgy match against Bristol at the Rec, where yours truly would be running up and down, hoping to catch the definitive shot for the programme printers.  This was in the days when Bath were top of the league.  (Overheard as we were leaving:  "Other supporters don't like coming to the Rec, cos they always go away disappointed".  Oh how have the mighty fallen... but then so have Bristol this season...)



Sandy Lee said...

How terrible for you. I wonder if you have a little pouch in your pouch that catches things. Band Groupie had a bezoar in her pouch which they found when they scoped her. Looked like a hair ball. I know I stay away from corn and wondered about the little seed (like pinenuts). I can eat peanuts but will now remember to chew.

You should ask them if you need a barium swallow to see how your band is positioned. But thanks for the info. You are right, I don't remember ever reading about something like that. Hope the weight goes down. My last fill worked a bit but it is so sloooow. Could be the wine I seem to be consuming on the weekends. LOL. Be well.

Squeegees said...

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Band Groupie said...

I was looking for how much water you were getting in per day, but maybe you didn't mention it because it was the normal amount. Just in case it wasn't...dehydration can cause the pouch to get very tight and not process the foods normally. Glad your better and thanks for're right, hadn't heard that before!

Shaggs said...

Not so surprising really considering this strange thing we call a band??? Have definitely had the "drowning in your own saliva" thing but my food is either down all the way or up never actually been consistently plugged up for any length of time but i have heard of it before and once the offending food was removed all was well (one friend was like that for about 2 months!!). I talked to my wonderful cowboy doctor last time and we talked about the whole tight one day loose the next phenomonen (sic its 3 in the morn here) and seeing as we are women and ruled by hormones and cortisol and other band affecting bodily processes he gave me some fluid tablets to take on those impossible days and let me tell you they're brilliant! And while they enable me to eat a little more I am consistently losing more weight cause i'm not reaching for the chocolate, chips and sliders on those tight days. I love them. Only take about one a fortnight but thats all i seem to need. And what a difference! Now, call me sick, but your post made me hungry I am jet lagged and out of whack but man I want some of that tapas!

Lonicera said...

Forgot to mention that pine nuts didn't 'reappear', and they're much smaller than the beans were - maybe they just slip through.
I will certainly mention it next time I'm in Taunton.
I think Band Groupie you have something there - dehydration has been a problem for me from time to time (I still can't believe my body wouldn't tell me I was thirsty for goodness sake...), and I'm going to look into this, and also discuss it when I go to Taunton. It makes sense if the 'proceeds' were so dry, doesn't it?
2 months plugged!!! What must that feel like... Don't the fluid tablets deal with excess fluid, not insufficient?? Again, something to ask. Thanks Shaggs. You can go to bed now.

Zanna, travelling tart said...

And some people have the nerve to say the band is the easy way out!!! Band Groupie's comment about the water interested me simply because I make myself drink 2 litres every day - I'm not normally particularly thirsty - some days not at all but it does make me feel so much better and does wonders for my skin and it might make a difference to how your body is able to process foods. Thank you for 'my doors' - I feel very special getting a photo just for me. Zxx

Lonicera said...

2 litres - wow. I find it a chore to get a lot of fluid down me, but I realise I must try, because I really (really) don't want an unfill. Things are sort of working for me now, though in fits and starts.

Girl Bandit said...

You poor thing...that sounds really uncomfortable and I hadn't heard about that before. Thanks for sharing

Tina said...

Occasionally I examine--ehhemmm...what I expel :) but have never identified anything that old :)..I have, however often worried about catching something in the pouch during the fill itself. I figured no breakfast would be good enough. Never thought i might have to worry about days before the fill :).

Your stomach acid is not supposed to go into your pouch so it is probably a good sign that the beans just dried up. If they did go in there acid reflux would hurt.

Finally, I have been really afraid of beans and corn and do eat them but only if I can I.D. them and chew them one at a time. It is a small sacrifice to pay to get to eat them.

Again the picture are lovely--I have been trying my hand at a little photography. I am quite proud of a few close ups this morning.


amandakiska said...

OMG, my dear! ¡Qué horrible! I am so glad you shared, but I have no idea what to say!

Cindylew said...

I haven't had my first fill yet so I must say I've never experienced anything like this at all.
I'm so sorry you went through this but I'm glad you came out on the other side.

Nella said...

Definitely one to add to the "books"! I will look at corn and beans in a whole new light! Sorry you had to experience that! Wishing you the best!
Love the pics!

Bunny said...

I am guessing that you didnt notice that the beans were particulary dry, or uncooked (even just a couple) in the uninteresting salad you had. I think you would have noticed if there were some crunchy beans in there... so its a bit random. But that said, our digestive juices try to take out ever little bit of nutrient from the food we eat, so maybe, as they were at the opening to the pounch restricting you badly, they were kind of being sucked dry by the digestive juices that do enter a little way into the pouch (which it does - anyone try milk first thing on an early morning... cheese curds people!)

And those juices, small though they might be, they stomach would still have been trying to digest them i guess and in the porcess were sucking those beans dry. But WOW 8 days!!! LOL thats like amazing.

could be that you might have a bit of an oxbow in your pouch... they do stretch over time and sometimes things can happen (one of the reasons I had a complete unfill as you know) but I reckon they were rolling around the entrance to your stoma, and with the fill (seing as the entrance is about the width of a gel pen when you are restricted) meant they couldnt pass through, or just wanted to see you again! LOL

Who knows babes, but yeah. grim. Worst I ever had was the cheese chunks in the mornings when I used to have milky coffee. that used to annoy the crap outa me as it would inflame me for most the morning. I cured it by washing through with a glass of water first then everything was ok.

thank god its gone now though hun!!


Nola said...

Lol....I am so PROUD of you for writing that account!!! Well done...I know it couldn't have been easy for you:) I can't say I have had that happen....or maybe I just haven't been able to identify something like that....and I DO LOOK...usually:) I can't understand how they stayed dry though? Anyhow....I was interested to read everyone elses comments as well. There is always something new to learn isn't there!!? You are right...we are pioneers and it is bloody hard at times. I am pleased to hear you think your band is working well for you at this stage. I think I might have a bit much in mine but I will deal with that when I get back off holidays. I love your photos too.....such old buildings. Now don't be shy if anything else "odd"happens....I want to hear all about it!!

Lonicera said...

Interesting - I thought I'd get comments telling me that it was a common complaint... I'm conscientiously keeping water by my computer so that I drink little and frequently... and not 5 minutes ago a slopped the lot onto my keyboard... and have been shaking it madly to minimise the damage. So the keyboard is properly hydrated anyway.

I'm scared off beans I'm afraid, unless they're the large variety - and even then I don't dare eat the skins...

I agree wiht you Bunny about the possible effect of digestive juices getting at the stuck beans. Ugh.

Thank you all very much indeed for adding your opinions - all carefully read. And thanks for all the encouragement.


Leslie Lim said...

Thank you for posting some kind of information. It was really helpful since I am doing some research now.

Nathalie Uy said...

When you feel like quitting think about why you started. (y)

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