Monday, 7 March 2011

Lonicera the Bandit reporting…

Much though I love losing myself in this magical screen and regaling you with stories, I must be true to myself and to the many bloggers who put up with my fantasy ramblings and being fobbed off with pictures, and actually update you, the lapband bloggers, on what is effectively my bandit sabbatical.  I do this with a heavy heart, because I was quite convinced a couple of years ago that I was heading for victory and cheers from an admiring crowd as I passed the finish line, trailing the ribbon behind me.  I have once again come up against my worst enemy – me, of course. 

I was banded in December 2008, and had a brilliant first year, losing about 20 kg.  In the second year I lost 5 kg in total – total of 25 kg or 55 lbs.  If that was a downward trend and I continued to lose 5 kg/11 lbs a year, being in my late 50s I would be more or less satisfied on the better-than-nothing principle.  But it’s no longer 25 kg, I suspect it’s way under 20 again (I haven’t weighed myself since Christmas). 

My contract with the hospital at Taunton finished when the two years were up in December, and now I must think hard if I want a fill or an unfill, as it will cost money.  I did try to get them to agree to a deal whereby I paid in advance for another 6 sessions (about a year’s worth), but all they could offer was a pay-as-you-go deal.  Psychologically, that means I’ll always hold back to save the money, or make unwise decisions to have too much fill, then subsequently need an unfill.  I’m sure you’re familiar with this pattern.  The people I liked and respected at Taunton have, by miserable coincidence, retired, emigrated or moved to other jobs, so with the exception of the surgeon (lovely, clever, but no time for too much chat) I would have to start again with them.  I haven’t been back yet, and obviously don’t really want to at the moment. 

My fill was at 10.5cc, and I had got to the point where the restriction was stopping me from eating fruit and vegetables, with its attendant problems, and thereby starting my dependence on sliders.  So on my last visit I had a quarter of a cc removed, and it seemed to work for a bit.  I do feel restriction, and I think it’s probably the right restriction, but I’m not really full after a teacup full of food, plus I’m making “bad choices”, as bandits are fond of saying.

I must keep on writing about the not-so-good times with the band.  I will NOT hide behind the sofa any more – in that sense I feel different now.  Firstly, the enormous decision (and effort) to undergo the expense and risk of an operation (first time ever in hospital at the age of 55), and secondly the fact that the band continues to work even when I’m cheating – these two factors are keeping me honest, on my blog at least, if not to my body.

Having been a chirpy sort of person most of my life, mood swings have been my sworn enemy for about 3 years now, and in the end I discussed it with my GP, who suggested I should try a low dosage anti-depressant for a few months.  After about three weeks I noticed a tremendous difference – it didn’t stop the sadness I felt, but it certainly made me feel well able to cope with it, and to be able to push it to the back of my mind when necessary.  Things ceased to become such an effort. 

I continued to read the blogs of course, and I’m grateful for the honesty many of them show when describing their highs and lows – it made me feel less alone, and I even learned a new term – ‘losing one’s mojo’. ..

I thought naively that it would also help with a growing trend since December towards eating too many sliders (chocolate, take a bow) but horrors, I feel more out of control now than I did then.  The restriction is still there, and though I eat far more than the famous teacup full, it’s way, way less than I used to in the bad old days.  I know I should stop eating after 20 minutes, but I don’t.  I know I should stop buying chocolate, but I don’t.  Why?  The same reason that got me into this mess in the first place:  pleasure.  Not comfort eating, certainly not real hunger, but because it’s a source of pleasure.  And exercise isn’t – though I might take up swimming again when the weather gets warmer.

Virtually every paragraph of this post has started with first person singular – and that’s why I bury myself in my stories.  I don’t really want to write about myself. 

But I can finish on a positive note – it’s what I often say on the comments to other blogger friends.  It you fall by the wayside for a while, that’s the wonderful thing about the band:  it’s the loyal hound sitting quietly by, waiting for you to pick yourself up and get going again so he can trot beside you.

Maybe I should have called it Rover.

-oOo-


Photo Finish
From Lonicera's digital archives


Adventures in Photoshopping

I've lightened the foreground and darked the sky. 
Strangely enough, what makes it look a bit fake is the colour of the sky - which was a bleached out version of that orange colour.   haven't learned yet how to put in a colour that isn't there.

Selective cropping - with digital pictures they're often sharp enough to be able to do this - it's so satisfying.

Non digital - just lightened a little

This one was unusable because the contrasts were so great. 
I lightened the foreground and darkened the hills and sky.

Lightened a little - which left it with a slightly blue cast.

Darkened a little.  The light is a bit harsh anyway though.

I often seem to photograph hibiscus, which can be quite a challenge because the centre bit (calix?) sticks out so far, making it difficult to get it all in focus.  This was was selectively cropped.

White bougainvillea, selectively cropped to just a corner of the picture

-oOo-

6 comments:

Tina said...

This whole thing is not easy Caroline and I am really glad you have put this all out for us to understand. I think there is still much to be learned about the support that hospitals and surgeons need to provide us banded. Thankfully the bloggers have your back :).

When your ready..rover will be there :) I don't think the struggle ever goes away..it is a baby step kind of thing.

Joyful said...

I really don't understand all the lingo and process around the band. But I do get very clearly that it is hard. Perhaps instead of focussing so much right now on the band itself, it would be good to have a very easy exercise. One where you don't have to go anywhere. I recommend a recumbent bike. I don't have one myself but I did buy a stationary bike and though many days I stare at it - it sits in my living room. There are other days I actually get on it, gasp! And enjoy it, another gasp! I did get on it consistently for a time until I got interrupted with my mom's ill health out of town. When I got back I was too sick myself but almost feeling ready to get on it again. The beauty of it is, once you have it, you don't have to go anywhere to exercise. That for me has always been the problem. If you want to go out swimming, you still can...but this will be handy (a treadmill would work too but I think the bike is much cheaper). I wish you well. The antidepressants thankfully are helping you too. Mood is so important. Hugs xx

amandakiska said...

Beautiful pix!

Hard to say if you need a fill or not, but food choice is definitely an important part of this. I do eat some sweets and such, but I limit myself to two or three servings of high-quality chocolate a week. When I have it, I enjoy it very much and I don't feel guilty about it.

Keep blogging! I love the stories AND the real stuff too.

Pamela said...

Querida Caroline! He estado alejada del blog de Patagonia, más dedicada al de cocina, que supongo no te motiva por razones obvias. Tampoco he estado muy buena para visitar, el verano me complicó mucho la vida, con cambios en mis rutinas y lo que comentas de tu depre lo entiendo perfectamente, pues estoy pasando un período de esos, espero que estés cada día mejor, nunca bajes los brazos, tienes que seguir adelante, ya has avanzado mucho, simplemente tómate tu tiempo. Un gran beso

Lonicera said...

Thanks Tina - by the time I meet you goodness knows whether I'll be up or down in weight. Four months to get myself together...

Joyful, I tried buying an exercise bike once years ago, but it was a 9 day wonder. However you've set me thinking. If I could watch TV at the same time...

Amanda, I'm glad you like the stories and the pictures too - it's very encouraging to know they're read/viewed. I wonder sometimes if anybody reads them, so I'm very reassured.

Te agradezco tus palabras Pamela - ayuda mucho saber que otras personas transitan por lo mismo. Y no me di cuenta que tenías un blog de cocina, y me he pasado unos 20 minutos leyendo tus recetas (y encontré foto tuya también!)y envidiando la vista que tenés desde tu balcón. Qué hermoso lugar. Me encantó leer los comentarios que recibí sobre el zorrino. Tengo dos anécdotas más sobre otras cosas que postearé dentro de algunos días. Gracias por los comentarios tan positivos!
Caroline

Christine said...

Weight Loss is a long and hard process. Some times you lose motivation, but look back at all your success and be proud of what you have accomplished! When you find that spark again that got you to start this WLS journey you will have that Lap Band waiting and ready to roll:)

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