Friday, September 10, 2010

Me and the Lap-band Part II

Back in November of 2008, my monthly visitor was particularly painful, which is really not unusual at all for me. I vomited violently from the pain of the cramps, and pretty much immediately noticed that my lap band didn't seem to be working. I had never reached that "sweet spot" that the salesman had raved about, but it seemed to me that the lap band was no longer working at all. I told the lap-band salesman, and he informed me that I just needed another fill. I went back the next month, and told him the last fill had done nothing; he told me I just needed another fill and rambled about this hypothetical "sweet spot" that I hadn't reached. The next month I was pretty adamant and asked for an x-ray. He finally did one, it took about 30 seconds (literally) and he said everything was fine and I just needed another fill. I cried all the way home -- clearly I was just a complete failure who couldn't manage to lose weight, even with a giant rubber band tied around my stomach.

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:

Pro replacement:

  • 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.

Pro removal:

  • 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:-)

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Taste of Tuesday

As you know, I am not fond of High Fructose Corn Syrup in my regular (non-junk) food. I came across a recipe recently that called for barbecue sauce, and when I went to buy some, I could not find any that did not contain HFCS, which really kind of irritated me. So I decided I would try to make my own. Now I am NOT claiming under ANY circumstances that this sauce recipe is low-calorie,  but it is FREAKING yummy and works really well with the recipe here. So without further ado:

Dee's Barbecue Sauce

  • 1 can tomato paste
  • Just a touch of apple-cider vinegar
  • Orange marmelade*
  • Brown sugar spenda*
  • Molasses*
  • Black pepper*
  • White pepper*
  • Cayanne pepper*
  • Grated orange peel*
  • Liquid Smoke*
  • Paprika*
  • Onion salt*
  • Fresh crushed garlic* (to taste, but I use enough to kill all of Transylvania)

Mix all ingredients together, stirring well. Ingredients that are asterisked should be added to taste and should be adjusted as needed. I accidentally added too much vinegar and had to tone it down with the splenda. If you go easy on the vinegar you might not need the splenda at all. Feel free to leave out or add any spices you like or don't like. I promise I won't have the Cooking Police come after you.

I Don't Have a Clever Name For This Recipe Yet, But It's Freaking Yummy, Trust Me
Cooking time:  Hours if you have to chop the raw chicken and snow peas yourself. It drives me nuts when I watch Rachel Ray's "30 Minute Recipes" -- yeah, right. It takes 30 minutes if you have minions to do your chopping for you. If you don't, plan on 30 hours!

  • Chicken thighs (uncooked, chopped into bite size pieces)
  • Shrimp (uncooked, peeled, deveined, tails off)
  • Roasted Peanuts (these are optional, but I thought they really added a spark to the recipe)
  • Snow peas (uncooked, chopped into bite size pieces)
  • Flour, red pepper, black pepper
  • Dee's Barbecue Sauce

Mix the flour and spices together. Coat the chicken and shrimp in the flour mixture and stir fry in oil until the chicken no long clucks and the shrimp stop whining about how hot the pan is. Add in the barbecue sauce and peanuts and stir until warm. Last, add the snow peas and cook until al dente.

Nom, nom, nom, nom, nom, nom!