Welcome back to my story.
I have not been awake all night writing so I am hoping this won’t be such a rambling mess like the previous post. I have gone back and fixed some of it, but it is what it is.
After I had my Gastric Band fitted I was released from hospital and I went back to work 3 days later. A bit early I hear you say, YA THINK.. But I am nothing if not a stubborn bastard, so off I went. So does anyone want to take any bets on how long it was before the wheels fell off this little fat wagon? I was back in hospital 7 days later vomitting air and spit. My body hated that bloody band from the moment it was put inside me. I lost weight fast, mainly because I wasn’t eating and felt like hell. Pretty quickly I dropped 30kg and I saw a huge difference. I didn’t feel any better but I look different on the outside.
I think it was approximately 6 months post band surgery I went back to the spinal surgeon to see how things were progressing there. Had another series of X-rays taken and go in to see the specialist. He puts the X-rays up on the wall and examines them. Goes back to his notes and is muttering around for a while. They have mixed up the X-rays he says and sends me off for another series to be taken. This adventure goes on for a couple of weeks before I am sitting back in rooms with the Specialist again. He pulls out the latest lot of X-rays and paws over them for a while. The Dr made some phone calls, talked to various people who wandered in and out of the room. Finally he says to me, I don’t know what is going on here with you. Ruptures spinal disks do not heal according to the Surgeon. Yes the 3 ruptured disks I had in my back were now all normal again. A miracle, a Mystery or a balls up, honestly your guess is as good as mine.
So as a result of my gastric band my ruptures disks, L3-L4, L4-L5 & L5-S1 were now completely normal and I no longer needed a triple discectomy. Only occasionally these days do I ever get any sciatic pain but the one residue I have from that injury is horrendous cramping in my left calf, if my leg ever gets cold. If I got swimming the water has to be warm or I will cramp for sure.
Whatever, however and whenever this miracle occurred, no one will ever know but I took it as a win and moved on. In the past 16 months I have not had sciatic pain at all.
Life was great and I was finally seeing an up side to the band. My weight had gotten down to a skinny 116-120kg range and I managed to maintain that for about 12 months. I would have a band adjustment to kick start weight loss and my body would kick back. It was a bit of a seesaw process again but it was okay. Then things took a turn for the worse. I started getting long bouts of gastro. I had to start wearing a couple of pairs of undies to bed under my pj’s. I had slept naked most of my life, but that was no longer an option. Waking up laying in fecal matter is something I never wanted to experience and sure as hell never do again. It was just traumatising for me and just continued to get worse. Finally I could not avoid, ignore or pretend any longer and I went to my local doctor. He was a lovely younger Doctor who took a lot of time and did I have no idea how many tests before it was revealed my bowel was down to about 10% function.
I am so terribly sorry to say this but I am fairly certain you have Bowel Cancer, I was informed. Thanks but NO I Don’t!! I just knew all of this was some how related to that bloody band. Finally, I got back to see my Gastric Surgeon and he knew straight away what it was. All the fluid was drained from my band and I was set free on the world able to inhale once again anything I chose or desired. 6 months I was band almost free and I gained weight like no man’s business, 30kg here we come. While I tried so hard to be good and stable with my eating, when I broke loose I went feral. Eventually 6 months was up and I waddle back into my Obesity Dr and he ripped me a knew one. There was nothing he could say that I hadn’t said already. He was disappointment in me but not as much as I was in myself. So fluid went back in the band and for the next 3 years I went back to 125kg and stayed there.
Over time things slowly changed for me, I had to start sleeping on a pile of pillows to stop waking up with reflux in my mouth. Most of you who have a strong memory of that experience. I could eat a foot long subway sandwich when I could eat, and then couldnt eat for a day or so. I felt pretty crappy most of the time and it just got worse. Finally at the insistence of a dear friend who had been through the same thing, I made an appointment with my surgeon and went back to see him. I told him how I felt, what was going on with me and he sent me straight down for a barium swallow test. I turned out that my band had torn away and some point and slid up and down the place. Everything was stuck together inside me like a big ball and the band sat kind of in the middle of my stomach forming what looked like an S trap you get under the sink. I had never thought for a second that your insides moved around. I know that sounds stupid and I am a very intelligent person, but it was nothing I had considered or pondered. Any food I ate lay in the pocket on the top side of the band until it decayed enough to past through or I threw it up. There was a fermintation process going on inside my gut which was pretty bad, I was a walking talking kombucha culture.
The next week I had surgery to removed the band. Neither my surgeon or I knew what was waiting on the other side of surgery, due to what my insides looked like and scar tissue etc. A Sleeve was not an option, I did know that. So I was either going to have nothing or I was going with a bypass and it would not be decided until the surgeon got inside me to assess the situation. I did not know what I wanted to happen, at this point the 6 and a half year struggle had been awful and it was clear the band didn’t work for me. Was it a flaw with the band? Well, some of my issues were caused when the band had torn away and moved for certain. The bigger issue with the band was I just found ways to eat around it. So when I say they don’t work, in part I mean that it is like putting a time lock on the cookie jar. Sure I can get a cookie whenever I want, but I will get as many as I can when I can. It is what I call Fat Nature, human nature for fat people. The possibility of having no band and going back to my old ways terrified me. I was afraid I would die old fat and alone in my house, carried out on a pallet by a forklift because I could no longer walk and nothing else would hold me. So then, surgery day arrived and here I was at another major turning point in my life.
My Surgeon, lets just call him Dr Dreamy, came in to see me and we talked through what was going to happen. He is a magnificent Doctor and just a great bloke. I remember looking at the clock above the door in the theatre suite, it was 5pm. They wheeled me into theatre and I swung over onto the table. Just count backwards for me if you………………gone.
The 40 minute surgery went ass up 3/4 of the way through and turned into 3 hours plus. I woke up briefly as they wheeled me into my hospital room when they smashed the machine that goes “Beep” off the bed and it hit the floor with an explosion of glass and plastic. I was kind of conscious long enough to see my partner there who had been crying. I had messaged him with my phone at 3pm to say they were wheeling me in to theatre then. They had wheeled me down the hall, taken my phone and left me parked for a couple of hours.. I suspect they forgot I was there.. lol He arrived at the hospital at 5.30 pm expecting to see me, I didn’t arrive back to the room till 9.30pm. He had kept asking where I was and he was being told I was still in surgery, so of course he thought the worst.
The 15th of March I woke up feeling very sore and sorry for myself. I had a morning visit from my Doctor and now I had a highly modified Rouyen Y Bypass. George informed me that he was almost finished the surgery and it all blew apart. The scare tissue kept breaking up when he was trying to put me back together. He had to just keep trimming and sewing until I was finally back to working order. The bruising that came out around my torso was amazing. The next 3 months were not fun at all. I was in and out of hospital every 2 weeks on average and the situation just seemed to be getting worse. At times I had tests to see if I had a leak, George had been worried seeing that the surgery had been so difficult. Most of the time my body kept presenting with blockages. I could not figure out how that was happening as I wasn’t eating anything that I could see would cause a blockage.
I had 7 general anaesthetics in 2 months and one of them was over 3 hours. I am here to tell you that takes a serious toll on your body and mind chemically, let alone the mental cost of what I was dealing with. The last time I ended up in hospital for 4 or 5 days we finally discovered what the problem has been. For years with the band, I had been so restricted with what I ate, very little fruit or bread. Once I could eat solid food again post surgery I loved have a piece of toast with vegemite on it. It filled me with a lot of joy, during a time I was having very little joy. Can you imagine how happy I was when I discovered it was the bloody toast causing the problem. Post surgery I am now highly sensitive/ allergic to wheat. The toast was causing my intestine to swell closed which is why I kept presenting with a blockage. Once I got my dietary issues sorted, no wheat, no milk casein, and a few other things I was healthy and healing.
My weight slowly started to drop and life went back to normalish. Nothing is every the same again as the majority of you know. It is a modified version of a previous life. As the weight dropped things started to happen, my body changed and so did my personality to a degree. There were things going on I did not understand. I was heightened in my sensitivity. I certain was more emotional and I was trying to work through all of it while having a life. There was some huge turmoil that occurred for me in the following months, not just within myself but in my world. The business I was managing was closed 6 weeks post surgery, turned out the owner I was working for bought it illegally from overseas. The rates and water bills had never been paid because the transfer of ownership had never been completed. It was a giant scam. I was highly traumatic for us and we had to find somewhere to live with 10 days notice. All my old coping mechanisms, “eating” were gone and I was spiraling. The stories and gossip about what was happening in my world were just awful. No one had any idea and it made sense to no one, including me. So people made up their own stories and do to this day. I had run the business into bankruptcy, I had stolen everything from the poor person, I had done this, I had done that. The only consistent thing was I was the bad guy. The truth was, I was the schmoo who was stupid enough to trust a person I thought I knew. BUT I SURVIVED…
As far as the difference between the two procedures to live with, I will say without a doubt the bypass is far easier to live with than a band. Gastric Bands have a 50% failure rate after 5 years. I was told that by my surgeon at the time we booked my revisional surgery. I still see people using them as a surgical option now. For anyone who is contemplating surgery.. A BAND IS NO OPTION. DO NOT DO IT.
I chose the band originally because it was less invasive in my eyes, to me I felt like far less of a failure choosing that over a bypass or having my “stomach stapled”. I don’t know about all of you, I was highly embarrassed that I had weight loss surgery. Many people never knew I had been through it. Today when people ask me how I have lost so much weight, I tell them the whole story. I still get twinges of guilt or shame, but I am honest about it. My judgement was that I was a failure because I needed to have Obesity surgery. That judgement is also regularly reflected to you by other people. For me my mother would often tell me, you are such a smart boy, why can’t you just figure it out and stop eating so much, all this talk while offering me dessert. Or my other personal favourite, You know you would look so much better if you weren’t so FAT!!. NO SHIT SHERLOCK!!! Of course my equally cutting retaliatory response was usually something like, You know People would not think you were such a bitch, if you didn’t play one so convincingly. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore my mother, she is one of the most amazing human beings I know and on so many levels is incredibly supportive of me. It was just her way of trying to encourage me to change and she simply did not know what to do or how to help. She has been my greatest teacher in life on so many levels. It was the determination or bloody mindedness I inherited from her that is the reason I finally found the Key to unlock my life. So at the end of the day Mum is the chrysalis that lead to 100lbs Down becoming a real thing.
Anyway I am going to head off to sleep now. Have a great day and I will talk to you all tomorrow. Until then my friends, be kind to yourselves.