Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Full, Fuller, Fullest

This afternoon I went for my fourth fill; the surgeon gave me another 1ml taking me to a total of 7mls in a 10ml band. He told me that usually after 6mls he only goes in 0.5ml increments, but clearly he felt sorry for me (or something) and I got double the dose!

Prior to the fill and while we were having our little chat on how things were going, I mentioned that I didn't think that I had yet worked out how to tell the difference between being stuck and being full. Clearly, when I have eaten only one or two mouthfuls of something (especially bread or meat) and things get uncomfortable, then I know I'm stuck. BUT, if I've eaten say six, seven or eight mouthfuls and I get a feeling that I think is stuck and I pop to the bathroom to 'relieve' the feeling am I actually full and by bringing up some of the food and then having room for more, am I defeating the object of having a band?

So, in an attempt to help me differentiate between stuck and full, the surgeon carried out a little experiment on me - he filled my band to its maximum capacity of 10mls so that I could see what it feels like to have complete restriction (and to reassure me that there really is a band in there!)This had to be done standing up, so that I could take a drink of water while he still had the needle stuck in me (in case he needed to pull out some saline in super-quick time; luckily he didn't!) I was a little nervous at first of drinking the water in case it came straight back up and all over him (how embarrassing would that be?) but it was all fine. I drank about half a cup, in four mouthfuls, at which point I could feel it pooling at the base of my throat. As the surgeon said 'And that's just water, imagine if you were feeling like that with solid food.' So, I think I know now what it feels like to be full when you have good (or perhaps too much?) restriction, as opposed to being stuck.

The surgeon then made me take another small sip so that I could feel what it's like to be too full and it started to feel a little bit odd - not painful, but like I had to keep swallowing to keep it all in. At that point he started pulling out some of the saline and asked me to tell him when I could feel that the water had gone down. It happened at 7mls, and that is where he stopped.

Since being home I have had a small bowl of pumpkin soup, a caramel creme dessert pot (same size as a yoghurt) and 8 Cadbury's chocolate buttons (sucked to within an inch of their existence.) Interestingly, my surgeon suggested that going straight to purees after this fill was fine 'as long as they go down ok', but to then stick with that consistency for a couple of days. I'm fine with the liquids for tonight and will probably stay on them for breakfast and lunch tomorrow, but them move to purees/mushies for dinner (if all goes to plan.)

So, that's fill no.4. Let's hope I get the restriction I've been hoping for and that the weight starts to come off again.


  1. I hope this one works for you. Very interesting about how he put in the saline. I've been super tight and know that feeling of not being able to swallow spit. I am always surprised how much saliva we produce each minute. Anyway, onward to victory and further weight loss.

  2. That is super cool. I wish my doc would do something like for me. I don't think I know the difference...

  3. that's kind of cool Justine! That would probably help everyone in the beginning. Hope this one helps you out.

  4. That was very neat how the doctor did that. I think it would be very helpful to know what you are feeling. Hope this one hits the sweet spot!
    Surgery Date: May 25

  5. That's great that surgeon took the time to go through the experiment with you. Sounds like you have great support. Wishing you good restriction.

  6. I am going to ask my surgeon to do that for me as well... It is great to know the difference between being too full and being stuck. I have had similar confusions since I was banded in March. It sounds like your surgeon is very understanding and supportive. You are lucky! I also have a wonderful surgeon so I think if I ask him to do what helped you understand the feeling... he will. Thanx for blogging, I am inspired.

  7. That is a pretty cool technique! I hope this one gets you there! <3

  8. Hi Justine,

    That is how my surgeon does each fill. He pokes me first while laying down (my port is easier to access when I'm laying down), then I stand up, he takes everything out to verify the fill level, then puts it and more back in until I'm filled all the way. Then I start drinking and tell him when I feel it at the base of my throat. Then he lets some out, I feel it go down, and we go back and forth until I can feel it go down quickly. I'm at about 6.8 ml right now. I've been getting .4 ml for my last 3 fills.

  9. That is really cool Justine. It took me months to figure out the difference between stuck and full. Figuring full out was huge and my weight loss took off after but it seemed like a lot of mistakes up to that point.

    What your doc did is a great idea I think.