I dutifully went for a few more fills, but was not losing weight, and there was no difference no matter how many fills I got. I pretty much gave up and stopped going for fills altogether. As described in the introduction to this blog, I spent the next 2 years in psychotherapy and being treated with drugs for depression and food issues.
In June of this year, I noticed that my insurance listed a lap band guy right near my house. I figured I would give it another shot, at least I would only be losing 1/2 hour every time I went for a fill instead of making the 2.5 hour trip to the previous doctor. I explained my history to the new doctor, and his first effort was to give me a fill. I went back and told him it didn't make any difference at all. He suggested a swallow test (which the previous lap-band salesman never did.) The swallow test showed that the lap band was in place, but was not restricting at all. He tried one more fill, which again, did nothing. He then took out all of the fill and measured it -- there should have been more that 8CCs in the band, and there was less than 7, which indicated a leak.
Which brings us to this week. I went in for a fill under (flouroscope? something like that) which showed that in fact the band was leaking, and it had also slipped out of place. When the doctor confirmed this, I just burst into tears. I had spent the last 2 years completely convinced that I was just a fat miserable failure. As mentioned at the start of this blog, I saw a shrink who helped me be more accepting of myself, I started this blog in an effort to encourage other people as well as myself, but deep down inside, it's been killing me that I failed so spectacularly at this. When the doctor finally validated that the band was broken and had been for a long time (if it ever was right, which I have serious doubts it was) I was filled with relief, sadness, and more than a little rage. Must... not.. make... hulk... mad... I cried pretty much the rest of the day. I talked to mom and calmed down, and also chatted with another friend who got her lap band done at the same time as mine.
Which brings us to today. The band has to be either removed or replaced, but it is up to me to make the decision. It's something I have thought about a lot and need time for. So far, the merits of replacement vs removal are pretty even in my head:
- My insurance will cover replacement now, but if I just get it removed and decide in the future that I want it put back, my insurance will most likely not cover it. So, this is my second chance, but most likely my last unless I want to pay out of pocket. And, if I want or need it removed in the future for some reason, the insurance will cover it.
- Although the band doesn't help with sugar, which is my worst vice, it does help with bread, pasta, pastries and other carby stuff that used to eat way more of.
- I really don't think the band ever worked properly, so I don't have any way of really knowing if it will help, but I've never succeeded at weight loss on my own.
- It might work.
- Sugar is by far my biggest issue, and the band does nothing for that.
- My common sense tells me that eating 4 ounces isn't a natural or sensible thing to do. And, with how much I work out, it seems even more nonsensical.
- I will not be able to use the band as an excuse to eat "safe" foods. Ice-cream, fancy coffee, candy, etc do not get stuck in the band ever. Chicken, beef, rice, raw veggies can and do get stuck.
- I have been very very depressed since I had it put in. As described above, a huge part of that is that I failed with it and blamed myself entirely, so this might not be an issue going forward if a new one actually works, but I think it is still something to keep in mind. As I've talked about a lot here in this blog, the band won't make the food addiction go away or even lessen cravings. It only can prevent me from eating more than 4 ounces in one sitting.
So, if anyone is still reading this, let me know if you have any input, or if I've missed any points in my analysis above. I have a doctor appointment next Thursday, but will not rush this decision and will wait if I need to, just until my head is in a better space. I welcome all thoughts, words of encouragement, and so forth though. Heaven knows I need them right now. Thanks for reading!
PS: Sorry for the length and seriousness of this post. I am running a 5k Sunday morning though, so there is a very good chance that I will have a goofy Dee story to post on Monday:-)