A View From Over The Scales

Monday, March 24, 2008

What can I say, more stuff to write about...

I have made a conscious decision to NOT write about a "complication" until it was all resolved.

The last thing I want to do, is to have people reading this, to get the wrong idea. I recently commented on an online forum that I belong to..

One of the things that this group (and others like it) may do is provide an unrealistic (and unintended) view to complications.

There are nearly 2500 members on this list, and you will not have had more than a couple of posts from many of them because their experiences have been "normal". I.e. They have had the band installed, and no complications and all is working well.

I, for example, have collectively made it better for thousands of bandsters!!! The list of difficulties I have had, now makes it statistically much better for 5-6000 people.

Most importantly, for me, even if I knew I was going to have the complications, I would still do it all!!!

And when it comes to statistics, they really do not matter if you are that one out of the thousand that something happens to!!!

It is probably an opportune time to remind folks that this list, while most informative and valuable, is not a replacement for a consultation with your surgeon/specialist. If you do have any concerns, speak to him/her about them, or the practice nurse or the like!

So, with that sentiment in mind, I will report on the last couple of months.

Firstly, things are good and dandy, secondly, my memory of the events has faded a little, so I shall be probably understating some of the events..

As you will recall, I had a port infection last year that required the port to be removed after it flipped over. This was not a really big issue, other than it involved another surgery, and would in the future require another surgery to replace it. Dr MOF and I had discussed that we could look at doing this in March/April...

Best laid plans and all that stuff!!!

I was complaining about a low end "grumbly pain" in my lower left side. It had been going on for a couple of weeks, and I had made the assumption that this was just the expected little thing that follows surgery.

On the Monday at work, I was sitting down in a meeting and had an event of "stabbing" pain in my lower left abdomen. Hmmmm That hurt a bit. A bit more of the previous pain, but it went away...

I did not think much more about it until later that evening at about 8pm...

Then the pain really hit... OMG!!! I was doubled over, on my knees, with an indescribable pain. I went to bed and lay down and it was worse.

I rang a fellow bandster to talk about the problem... This was something that I would normally have been able to think through, but pain distorts the ability think clearly.

Finally I decided that it was time to go to the hospital. The pain was so intense and so different from anything I have experienced, I decided that a trip to the RBH (Royal Brisbane Hospital) was in order. I had pain radiating to the shoulder and this, I have to say, was a bit worrying. (one of the signs of cardiac related pain is pain radiating to the left shoulder/jaw/arm) . I was sure it was not cardiac, but I was not going to risk it.

I was taken very quickly into the cubicle at the RBH and had my heart rhythm checked, bloods drawn and a fairly quick decision that this was probably not cardiac related. It was more likely to be "renal colic" (kidney stones).

I was then given pain relief, that really did not work. It was now about 12.30 in the morning. I needed a scan and was told I could go home and come back in the morning.. Whaa??? NO WAY!!! I was not going to be too far away from pain relief as the recent pain was still very fresh.

I elected to stay at the hospital until morning, even if the bed was like a slab of hardwood, and get the scan.

Well, the morphine helped me sleep. In the morning I was taken for the CT scan and low and behold, no kidney stones!!! These results had come through at about 1pm the following day, and I was finally released at about 3.30pm.

Now, I have to say that I was pretty impressed with the staff at the RBH as they were as attentive as they could be, given the workload and the priorities BUT, there is clearly an under staffing of the emergency department. Hey, I don't know what the answer is, as there is a real shortage of the appropriately trained staff, but when it is you in the bed, needing some care, it heightens your perspective.

I went home with a direction to see my GP. The next two days were "interesting" as there was now way I was going back to the RBH... I was no worse, in fact the pain was sort of manageable, and I say my GP on the Thursday.

By this time I had had time to think about the symptoms, the pain and what it could be. I went to see Dr Hyper, and we discussed what was going on. He and I agreed that it really needed to be looked at properly so it was off to the Wesley Hospital for investigation. It never occured to us that this may be a problem related to the band....

Well, the emergency department at the Wesley was a totally different (good) experience. I was not going in as an acute patient, so expected a wait. It was not long. Following xrays, blood tests and the like, it was pretty clear that the problem was not renal colic. The problem was still going to need looking at. Another CT scan was ordered for the next morning.

I started to think that this "could" be band related and put it to the doctor that I thought it could be something out of place with the little hose that is supposed to link the band to the port.. The Locum surgeon said that it was unlikely and pretty much unheard of, but not entirely impossible!!

I was admitted to a private room (in the Children's Ward, but that is another story) and given more drugs and let sleep til morning.

OK, CT scan completed, and guess what..... Even thought "
it was unlikely and pretty much unheard of, but not entirely impossible" it seemed that the little hose, complete with clips on the end of it, was in fact nested just below the diaphragm, scraping the diaphragm each time I breathed. Diaphragmic pain "refers to the shoulder" and completely explained my symptoms.

Hehehe, I was right... Shoulda gone to medical school huh???

My surgeon was away on holidays and returning on Monday, so I had another 3 days in the kids ward (not a lot of kids them about, well 2 in fact, on the other side of the wing) and with nursing staff used to working with kids (it was interestingly different, but I was impressed with the care).

The pain relief qas not helping much with the shoulder pain, but I slept well, got up and walked the ward to keep blood circulating and to reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

It was 280 paces from my room around the ward and back to my room... (doing the figure eight circuit to keep things interesting) Each time I got up I waked the circuit 4 times. This meant I waked about a kilometer each time. It kept me, and the night staff amused, and prompted lots of different discussions at different times.

As much fun as the nocturnal prowling was, and the hot packs on the shoulders were, sort of, providing relief to the pain, I could not wait to get this thing resolved. Dr MOF called Monday morning, and popped in to see me...

More later.... (part 2 follows)


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

I suppose it is time to reflect on the year that was...

I look back on this year as a significant one, mainly because I have taken the steps to make the biggest positive change in my life for many a year.

To date, the post operative experience has been a bit of a challenge, but each day that passes, I notice something different. The differences are tangible and make day-to-day life easier.

My fitness levels have improved, my ability to move around are vastly improved, I can get up and down so much easier. I can pick up stuff off the floor without pain and discomfort.

I have not had the almost daily back pain I used to have. I have not had indigestion/heartburn for ages now, I have not had to have any of my diabetes medication in 3 months.

My blood pressure is lower; my cholesterol levels are the lowest they have been in decades (and they were not really bad either but lower is good).

I am not snoring like the legendary freight train that was traversing my dreams… Sleep is coming more easily, and I am not as fatigued as I used to be. (This could be an artefact of not working shift work).

I am fitting clothes that I have not worn for two or more years. (I have even had to order new uniforms for work, and I am hoping that I can get them all off the rack rather than a tailor made deal)

SO what to look forward to? Feeling better that I have been as a process of improvements in health and fitness…

I thank the gods and goddesses (notice no gender bias here J ) daily for the life partner and soul mate I have in my wife. Even when I get grumpy, she still makes sure I have eaten (prolly to make her life easier as I get super grumpy when I have not eaten). She is there for me, and I for her. We celebrated 18 years married this year. That is a big achievement, and one we are proud of. Above all, I cannot imagine life without her as she is part of me. I know it sound corny, but every day that passes makes the bonds of love stronger. Who knows how it will feel when we hit the 44 year mark that my mum and dad reached a few days ago?

So without getting maudlin, I go forward with a positive view, and a desire to improve. It has been a hell of a year, but what a hoot!!

Peace, love and mung-beans to you all.


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Should I buy a lotto ticket??? (LONG POST)

What a month!!!

I have been, up to now, very loathe to post to the blog.

I have been quite low in my general feeling, but strangely enough, still have had a positive view for the future about the banding. This is not withstanding the need to undergo more surgery to resolve the issues.

To cut a long story short as I can, I shall quickly (as I can) outline the last month to six weeks.

I now live on the antibiotics... morning and night, morning and night ad infinitum. It is bad enough to take a course of AB's and maybe a repeat, but 6 weeks???? The things that that does to your body in trying do good is enough to grind you down. Even the addition of probiotic foodstuffs has not really helped the demolition of my gut flora, and for those who know about these things, the gas generated by such a change allows me to almost play a fanfare for myself everywhere I go... Another of the side effects is yeast infections... GOD!!!!! I just want to scratch my skin off at times...

So why all of the AB's? As I wrote about earlier, I have had an infection in the port location. The port is the section of the device that is located under the skin, and allows the surgeon to add or remove fluid to the band. It also corresponds to the larges of the wounds from the surgery as well.

The AB's were allowing me to keep the infection in check and to stop the wound from leaking. The leaking has been constant up to 3 days ago when the wound pretty much dried up and sealed itself. The problem is, that this did not allow the build-up of fluid to drain off, and the pain levels increased.. Hmmmm, dribbles from the wound and constant dressings OR pain... Gimme the dribbles...

We thought the infection was being dealt with, ever so slowly, by the drug regime, but even in preparation for potential surgery to resolve the infection, it was decided that the best course of action would be to find the right level of "tightness" of the band, and then if required, remove the port and clean out the wound site to allow the body to heal totally and put the port back in at a later stage...

Well, this seems to be where the problem started to become obvious... To add fluid to the band, the surgeon has to get a needle (and in my case a loooong needle about 3 inches long) and palpate the area of the port, introduce (what a stange word, introduce...

(Warning: Digression into he world of fantasy follows) Hmmm.. Here is how the introduction may go in my sick minds eye: " Hello Abdomen, may I introduce this bloody humungous needle to your wall and drive it in and wiggle it around your flesh?")

Anyways, back to reality.. In goes the needle, just a little sting but that was the end of normality. In the previous fill, it was relatively simple, in goes needle, port located, press, a sort of click is felt, and lo and behold, $107 bucks later, fluid added... (Seems the dollars are all claimable on medicare so it ain’t so bad to add insult to injury)

10 days ago, we went thru the same procedure. The port was located OK, but it seemed like it was an apple-bobbing event. I could feel the port being touched by the needle, but no satisfying "pop" as the needle entered!!! There was a scrape, a bump, and more of a prod, but no pop! OK, maybe if some of the infection product (yukky brown fluid) was removed... So another needle, fluid saline added tot he infection location, a bit of a flush, and lets suck out some of the gak (note the technical term: GAK)... OK a quantity of gak removed and another attempt made to hit the mark on the port.

Still no go. I suggest a postural change... Hmmmm "If you want to" says Dr MOF, “that may work”.

I thought it was going to be a put your legs up thing, or a turn on your side...

Nope, It was a stand up and lean forward and back at the same time.. Problem with this is now I SEE the whole thing easily... The long needle, the stick it in and wiggle it around thing, the brutality of it all... Well, it was not really brutal, but the problem of starting to feel light headed is compounded by the fact that I was now in a position to drop like a sack of spuds if it got too much... The lying horizontal on the bed was all of a sudden a really good idea. We stopped; I lay back down to recover, and after a couple of minutes suggested to Dr MOF that I perhaps did not want to play this game anymore today. He concurred, saying that he was surprised I was able to continue for so long, and how about I come back next week for another go.

"Sure" I say... So next week I come back for another "go"!! I did not mention that in the process of all of this, that the good doctor also took a swab of the wound. Now these swabs are basically a looooong cotton bud on a stick.. When I look down and only see 3 or 5 centimetres of the stick outside my belly, it was a bit of a freak-out, but no pain, just that really weird sensation of something not really belonging there.

So, another week of AB's and I return for another "go".. This time, Dr MOF, sensing that this may be a bit of a challenge, give me a local anaesthetic. It helped a lot, but after another significant attempt not dissimilar to the previous, Dr MOF withdrew from the attempt and sent me down to the X-ray clinic to get the job done utilising an image intensification process...

What’s that, you may ask.. Basically, using x-ray to guide the needle to the port…

I am about to digress from the subject at hand... The whole x-ray thing is not so bad, apart form the realisation that "Dr will see you "shortly" means that when I get up to ask when "shortly" will be as 90 minutes have passed. (The real issue here is that I have not eaten a solid meal this morning (and this is now 1pm) as I did not want to have anything in the vicinity of the band when it was tightened, and I subsequently would have eaten the dags off a fast running lamb, if the opportunity arose.) I then get told, "Oh, you are still here, ummm let me check.." And the response is 5-10 minutes.

Now it appears "Shortly" is 90+ mins and their 5-10mins are 30+ minutes...

Again, I get up, and approach the counter. I get a look of "Not you again" from one of the desk jockey’s and another kind soul says "oh, you poor thing, I'll check again"..

For those who know me well enough, this is like a red rag to a bull, and I say, something along the line of them being in cahoots with the carpark and their extortionate fees, and ask if they have a clock that works, and is the concept of telling a patient the truth is alien to them, and what business do they have calling the desk a "Customer Service Desk".. It should be called the Customer Desk, as service is a foreign concept to them!!!!!

Well, I did not say these things out loud, (I was thinking them) I did question them about what each of the time frames really meant, and that I needed to have a hot drink!! They come back and say, they had an influx of inpatients, and that I would be another 30 or so minutes, and that I should go and get a coffee, (in a takeaway container) and return shortly. I admit to being a bit short in saying something like, "No, I will go and get a hot drink, I shall be sitting out in the sun and I shall await your call on my mobile to advise me when to return" in my most directorial tone of voice! ( I was trying to channel OB Wan Kenobi)

So, I go, and get a skinny chai latte, it is just served when my phone beeps with a message to return... So to recap, "Shortly" is 90+ mins and their "5-10mins" are 30+ minutes, and their 30 minutes is in reality 6 minutes. Next time I hope they tell me that I have a 3 hour wait and I will be in the next second!!!

I go into the x-ray suite, place my now hot latte down, lay down on the table, get this medieval device (to change the angle of the port) applied to me in ways only a true masochist would appreciate, and we take a look..

"Look at this", says the doctor now wearing a camouflage lead vest and apron... Like jungle camouflage is gonna hide him in there!!! You would think that a beige vest would work, or in extreme cases of nausea, a Technicolor vest would suffice (but only if there were bits of corn in the pattern). Who really wants a camouflage vest.. I started to laugh out loud when I saw this, and told him I could still see him, and that he should get his money back... This is probably the "wrongest thing" to say to some one else who is about to play with a 5 inch needle in your belly, but fortunately he had a good sense of humour.

Again I digress... "Look at this", says Dr Rambo Radiologist (herewith known as Dr RR), "the port is on its side, lets just rachet down this torture device and make it so you cannot breath much at all and stick the needle in, and wiggle it around and work out what side of the port I can see, and jab it a few times and then suggest that it can't be done and tell me to go back to Dr. MOF with the news"...

Well he did not really say that, but that is what transpired. In actual fact Dr. RR was a pretty cool dude. He explained heaps, turned to monitor so I could see it and was truly most professional. I like him, and I hope I don't have to do that again!!!

Bottom line is, that Dr. MOF had me in for surgery on the following Monday.

I had some concerns about the recovery process as I had a bit of a rough time the last time. The RN's assisting the anaesthesiologist (Did I spell that right?) told me to talk it over with the doctor who would be doing the aesthetic (see that attempt to not to spell it again) and she said she would give me something to relax me prior to going under..

Well, I have to say, it is important to discuss these things... I came out of my sleep in recovery, and it was brilliant!! The best ever!! She can do me (i mean my anaesthetics) anytime!!!

Over the next 8 hours I was feeling better than I had in months.. Dr. MOF bumped into me on his trip around the ward, and told me what had happened, and confirmed that he had tightened the band a little (another 1ml of fluid) before removing the port, and that the infection was really yukky (see techo term in use again) and that this was the road we had to go down.

I had asked the most delightful nurse for something to nibble on, as the nearest low flying duck was at risk of getting it bum chewed off.. She comes back with a couple of packets of cheese and crackers and some water.. I cannot begin to tell you that how good that tasted, just the sips of water going down, and no blockage (the band was not too tight yehaaaa), and how great a simple crackers and cheese tasted... HEAVEN!!

I can truly say that I feel I have turned a corner and it is less than 24 hrs post surgery. I have been really down over the past month, and my in built resilience has taken a beating. Work has been hard to face; my ever-loving wife has been on the receiving end of my periods of blue and short temperedness (and giving as good as she gets, bless her). I do not underestimate the support I have had from friends, and also to a large extent from the online support groups that are out there. I may not post to them often, but it is nice to know that they are there, and I can learn vicariously through their experiences.

Whew, what a post!! There is more to tell, and I shall do so another time. It has taken over an hour to write this, but I feel better for doing so. I just could not bring myself to write when I was feeling down, and possibly giving an impression that things were worse than I made them out to be.

Anyway, Onwards!!!

Oh, the Lotto ticket thing... Seems that I am now one of the 1 in a hundred or less than 2 percent of patients, or the this has never happened before to me, type of patient!! Should I invest in a lotto ticket, or do I still have a ways to go before I get to the one in 12 million mark???


Friday, November 02, 2007

How do I feel???

Over the past few days I have been asked al lot about how I feel... And I pondered the response a bit more yesterday.

In he short term, I have all of these crappy sensations and bits of pain and ather stuff to deal with, so I can rightly say I feel like cr@p.

But, that is not the whole picture.. Overall, I feel a whole lot better! I actually was able to bend over and pick up my keys yesterday without the whole "f@t @rsed b@stard bending of knees and supportive arms in use sort of pickup". It hurt lots as I forgot about the localised pain I still have in the upper abdomen, but it was good to be able to do something I have not been able to do for many a year!

I guess it would be easy to slip into the malaise of "why me" with the post surgical difficulties, however, I cannot deny the overall feeling of iprovement I have had. That feeling tends to over ride the short term issues. In fact, I have almost forgotten the post surgical dramas between "operation one" and "operation two".

The odd expletive still is heard popping out when I do something that is physically too early.

On another tangent, I have to say that dinner last night was WONDERFUL!!

Apart from seeing some dear friends and talking about lots of stuff, reminising etc, we had a dinner of an assortment of Indian food and well lubricated (by the juices of the curries) rice. I cannot tell you how much I have craved the spices and flavours of a couple of different curries at one time. I even was given a smaller bowl to eat out of (at my request) to make sure I did not load it too much, and I had about a cup and a half of food over the meal time. The best thing was being able to stop there. In the past it would have been 4-6 times that amount.

This weekend will be interesting as close friends of ours are having a joint birthday/anniversery luncheon to celebrate with some friends... Yup, the 3 course meal thing is on the go.. I want to go, but have ordered an entree to be had as the main.. and at this time no dessert (but that may change depending on what it is!!)

You don't tend to realise how food is tied into celebrations and happy occasions until you are forced to focus on it. I have come to the realisation over the years that alcohol and a good time are not a mandatory coupling. I just have to get used to the fact that a little food, and a good time are not a similar sort of coupling!!!

So how do I really feel?? About a six out of ten in the short term, but immeasurably good overall and over time!!!



Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Lessons in how my body works...

As strange as it seems, I have spent much of the past week trying to work out what the sensations and feelings I have been having, mean.

What is that feeling??? Does it mean I have had enough? Is it that I have over eaten? Is it just an artifact of healing or fighting the infection?? I really have been struggling with the trying to equate one behaviour or action with the sensation.

I have been still feeling that shoulder pain on a regular basis. For a while it was when I thought I had eaten some cold stuff, then it happened with hot stuff.... What is happening here? Oh well, time will tell.

As far as the leakage goes, it is still being a bit yukky (techo term I know, but it seemed appropriate)... The volume has diminished and the pain levels of the wound site are diminishing. The antibiotics seem to be working and I am not doubled over in pain when I stand anymore. I was asked today how I felt out of 10, and i said that it was about a 6...

Thats not too bad I guess. The thing is, I generally feel a whole lot better overall, but the ongoing painful niggles are just a PITA.. (well, belly/neck/side/and other non descript places)

Of another point of interest, I have been testing my blood sugars and given that I have not taken any diabetic medications since surgery, I have not had any high readings. Is this attributable to the smaller amounts of food (albeit that some are sugar laden) or the fact that I may have crossed the weight threshold that has caused the issue?? Who knows?? The great thing is that despite the slight difficulties to date, there is positive movement on some of the more serious issues!!



Saturday, October 27, 2007

Hmmmm, I am leaking....

Time for the "Short Story"???

It seems I am leaking...
I had to go to the surgeon to follow up on what appeared to be an infection at one of the wound sites. It is the largest of the wounds and is the location of the port (where they inject to place fluid in the band)..

I have been having some pretty intense pain for a couple of days and the day before yesterday, I "sprung a leak" from the wound site. Not to get too icky about it, as it is a good thing as when it drains a large chunk of the pain dissipates as the pressure drops.

Dr MOF aspirated some fluid from the wound, took a swab for pathology, and squeezed and prodded a bit more. It was not "painful" rather some odd little sensations... I am getting good at the sensations aspect of what is going on.

If there is an infection around the port site, it will mean another couple of procedures to remove it, allow healing, and then replace it some 6+ weeks later.... Joy oh bloody joy!!! However, with luck, we may have got the antibiotics going in time, and the site may clear up, and well, it all may be ticketty-boo!

Given my current run, I am sure I wont be betting on the Melbourne Cup!!! I want all my "luck" focussed on this little hiccup...

I am taking all of this in my stride (I think) and know that things will be better in the future, regardless of what the present holds. I am now officially (in my own mind) "allergic to pain”... When I feel pain, I feel like crud!! I am not sure I want to go through a desensitisation program though! :) (on the other hand, the visit to the hospital puts a lot of my whinges into perspective, and they become just that, whinges)

Interestingly, I arose this morning without much tenderness, BUT, if the last few days is a guide, that will pass in a bout 10 hours and this afternoon bed will call to make things feel better..

Good news is, that I have had very little shoulder pain recently!

Onwards (down the highway, albeit a little bumpy right now)


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Ohh, and I stood on scales yesterday... Yehaaaaa

I stood on scales yesterday when I visited the surgeon...

From the time I started this journey, I have lost a total of 49kg...

For the start 18months ago til Novemeber last year, I lost 19kg on my own...

Novemeber last year to October this year I lost another 11kg on my own...

From pre-Optifast til 10 days post surgical, another another 18+ kg!!!

A grand total of 49kg.... I have to slow down the weight loss to something safer, and I guess that 4+days of absolutly nothing but IV fluids helped a bit, but nothing that I want to do again!!!

Realistically, I want to lose about 40kg more.... Albeit slowly.

Onwards and downwards (weightwise)



One of the things I have had to watch out for is the possibility of infection of the wound sites.

For the first week things ere fine but there was always a bit of tenderness over the largest of the incisions.

Yesterday I had to visit the surgeon to get an antibiotic prescription for what was a alight infection of the largest incision and the point where the drain was placed.

For some reason, things got a little more intense yesterday afternoon with the pian levels going pretty high as I stood up. A bit of pain relief helped, and the antibiotics were started.

This morning, I poked at the wound site and started "leaking".. Hmmm, after a bit of "milking" I felt significant relief as some of the pressure that had built up in the wound site had been released.

Yet another of the things to watch out for had been realised. I get the feeling that even though I am vigilant with the hygiene stuff, I am going to be "tested" through this whole thing.

The whole process has an underlying feeling of “piss-offed-ness” that it all cannot go smoothly for me as it has not done, so why the issues all along.. I have always been outside the norm!! I don’t suppose I mind that, but this time it is just bloody uncomfortable.

As I read this back, I am doing the whole self-pity thing… But hell bells, I want to, so I will. It will only last a short time.

Oh well, onwards????


Monday, October 22, 2007

A Sunday to forget..

Remember recently I spoke of the shoulder pain.... Well, today I am gonna say it sucks!!

Pretty much all day yesterday I was getting stabbing pains int he shoulder, and no end of rubbing was going to get rid of it.

Every time I ate, drank sat up it bloody well hurt. It was only when I went to bed last night that I lay down on my stomach and it stopped... INSTANTLY!!!

Whoa, what I time to learn about that! Sleep did come easy after that.

I guess the good thing is that I know this will pass and it is all for a good cause (so to speak)

I went to my Sunday sauna and was greeted by all and sundry very warmly. I am not sure that they realise that if it were not for them, I probably would not have taken these steps on the banding expedition. As I was reminded of last night, some were not so gentle in their "encouragement" but in hindsight, I do not recall anything other than concern and love.

Dinner last night was a little wanton soup, with well masticated mince pieces and followed by a delightful roman custard (backed to perfection by Zany)... I still do not feel hungry! I do want to eat as I am craving flavour, and now, more so, texture. Gee, to crunch down on an apple is the things dreams are made of!! (How sad is that???)

The bizarre thing is that I am eating foods that I would not normally eat because I need a lot of nutrition in small amounts. I have not had to take any diabetes meds as my BSL's are well within the good range.

There is a bit of me that is disturbed by the idea of going to KFC and getting a small potato and gravy and knowing that that will be all I can tolerate. I was wondering, could you go there without smelling the chicken?? (Not that I have had KFC chicken for many many months)

Dietician appointment is later this week... (I am interested to see what the scales say them)

Anyway, enough of me today... Onwards


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Hmmmm thats what it feels loke to be pain free???

Today has been a bit of a first.

I awoke, got up, drank a bit of juice... and was not in any pain at all!!

Nice feeling, I have to say. Even the wound sites were good.

I took the opportunity to go out today to the session (folk music) at the the Muddy Farmer, drank a bit of juice, severely masticated a chip or two and enjoyed some good company!!

Now that I am home, I am feeling a bit weary, but looking forward to maybe going to a movie tonight.. We will see.

Hmmmm Normality is striding back into my life..



Thursday, October 18, 2007

Thursday morning... 2:24 am.

I awoke after 2 hours sleep with shoulder pain... Damn it hurts (a lot)...

I usually check emails and the like and decided to go back to the start of the blog and read it from start to finish.

It really has been a journey and a half to get here.

I started the blog to let friends know what was happening, and it has become far more than that for me. It is a reference with clear historical markers of my journey, the motivating factors, my "head space" at the time and some interesting "special" events. It charts some down times, and marks points of celebration...

Re-reading it has been cathartic, particularly the comments from people, and a real lift.

The shoulder pain has passed, and I need to sleep now.

Onwards to sleep


Oh, I just looked at the title of this post, and it reminded me of one of my favourite songs, Simon and Garfunkle’s Wednesday Morning 3 A.M (P.Simon). I particularly love the description of the girl on the bed beside me... I see that every night (and I love it)

I can hear the soft breathing
Of the girl that I love,
As she lies here beside me
Asleep with the night,
And her hair, in a fine mist
Floats on my pillow,
Reflecting the glow
Of the winter moonlight.

She is soft, she is warm,
But my heart remains heavy,
And I watch as her breasts
Gently rise, gently fall,
For I know with the first light of dawn
Ill be leaving,
And tonight will be
All I have left to recall.

Oh, what have I done,
Why have I done it,
Ive committed a crime,
Ive broken the law.
For twenty-five dollars
And pieces of silver,
I held up and robbed
A hard liquor store.

My life seems unreal,
My crime an illusion,
A scene badly written
In which I must play.
Yet I know as I gaze
At my young love beside me,
The morning is just a few hours away.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A bit of a blue funk this morning...

I woke up early this morning feeling pretty down. Partly coz it was 4:20am and I was hurting a lot, and partly coz I was thinking over the past few days and wondering if it was all worth it.

Now, the self-pity lasted until about 2pm today... I got back to bed at about 6.30 and slept until 9:30 and it was the sleep of the dead!! No pain, no waking moments, just good sleep!

I have been having a really difficult time getting fluids down my throat, to the tune of only about 800ml yesterday. My blood sugar was quite low this morning (not dangerously low but as low as I have ever had it) and I was feeling quite light headed and not myself.

I had a pee this morning and just about had a coronary until I realised that the colour was due to the Supadyn multi-vitamin (sort of like Berocca) that I had yesterday... It was looking for a second like I was VERY dehydrated. This along with the light-headedness was all conspiring to get me concerned.

For a moment there I was wondering what it would take to get the band out and call all of this a bad dream. The feeling passed...

At lunch time (for the want of a better description), I made a call to the nurse that I saw as part of the pre-operative checks and information sessions and left a message. She called back an hour or so later and we discussed some of the issues and a bit about what I was experiencing.

One of the things that has really been concerning was this pain I was getting that was shooting into the shoulder near the neck. Because I had escaped the referred pain in the post surgical day, I figured it was not going to be a problem... Not the case buckeroo!!! This was a classic case I was told, and I have managed to work out it is when I eat and the stomach pouch fills… Yet another motivation not to eat???

Shortly after I had the chat with the nurse, DR. MOF called me to follow up.

I must say that after I had spoken to the both of them, I felt my spirits lift. I was not imagining things, and the experiences were not out of the ordinary.

The bottom line is.. I had a second surgery, it will take a bit of time to recover and heal (allow the swelling to go down) as it was significant work. IN the long run, it will come good.

You know what the really bizarre thing is?? I have not felt hungry since Thursday last week! Sure I would like to eat, but there was no HUNGER!!!

I do not recall what this feels like, not being hungry all of the time…

So, tonight, I am sucking on a COLD slurpy (my first in over 12 months) and it feels good! It will give me a bit of sugar to help with the BSL, and did I mention it feels GOOD???

I am also feeling good in myself, a really huge change from this morning. And I have to say, that each time I get a call from someone, or they email with a message of support, or leave a message on this blog, I get a lift!

Kudos to you all for being there for me. I really need/ed it.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Surgery.... DONE!! (Twice)

It is Tuesday morning and I finally got out of the hospital on Monday (mid afternoon)...

To say that my time in hospital was carefree would be a lie, but it has been a bit of an eye opener!

I had my initial surgery on Thursday afternoon and from all reports it went well. When I awoke Friday morning, I was given some tablets to help with pain and then something was clearly wrong. I was able to swallow, but everything I swallowed come back up.

Dr MOF came by and we went thought the possibilities, decided that the swallow test (x-ray) needed to be done and it showed that nothing was passing the band. It was too tight for now.

We decided to wait it out over the weekend to see if the swelling came down of its own accord. I spent the weekend unable to process even saliva (YUCKKY).

BY Sunday afternoon it became pretty clear that this would not work without an intervention, so less than 30mins later I was being processed for surgery (fasting was not an issue). I felt like I had a really difficult time through recovery, but maybe that was just my head working in strange ways after the anaesthetic.

After a pretty sleepless night, I awoke with a feeling that I had not had the previous time, and that was the ability to swallow down saliva without it revisiting me. Hmmmmm this was nice!!!

Wow, breakfast (after fasting for 4 whole days), it consisted of a bowl of clear soup and in normal times it would have just been an insipid bowl of stock flavoured water, but to me the 5 or 6 spoons full were heavenly!!! And sips of water, wow cool water.

This is how it should have been!!

Now, what went wrong?? Well, nothing went wrong. The band was placed correctly, and no other damage done, but it seems that part of the problem can be if the band situates over a layer of fat around the stomach.

Apparently this is a less than 1 percent issue, and happens sometimes with big blokes. The resolution was to go back, undo the band (that was still in situ as expected) and "de-fat" where it was placed. Apparently the site got a bit "oozey" and this necessitated that a drain be placed for the recovery phase. Now, let me tell you about the drain!!! It was just another bit of kit they have hanging off you for your wellbeing, like the drip stand that I became very intimate with (took it to bed 3 nights in a row, took it with me for walks, had breakfast with it, I am sure it would have held my hair back if I threw up, such was the bond we developed... It woke me up regularly through he night and day, just like a snoring or tossing and turning woman.... Get the picture??

Well the drain is a tube that is placed in the wound with constant suction applied to get any "free" blood or fluids out of the wound site... Worked a treat, and I got the good news that it would be able to come out.

I had a student nurse (3rd year, just about to graduate) working on me with her preceptor, and it was interesting hearing what it was, how to get it out, the pitfalls that may befall the unaware nursing staff etc etc etc. This I found interesting until she said: "This would be painful, it is just a strange sensation...." I hate the "this wont hurt a bit" comments, don't you?

Well, Student Nurse does what she had to by removing the retaining stitches, good so far, then grabs the hose (some what akin to a garden hose in my mind) and starts pulling, and pulling..... and pulling until I hear, "WOW, that was longer then I thought!!"

Now the experience was not "painful" but it was the damnedest feeling of your intestine being tugged out.... I felt the tube unwrap itself from my entrails (in here, around there, up here, down there and OUT!) I really do want to return this experience to the sealed memory box, even thinking about it has my stomach turning a little.

Anyway, after a lunch of strained soup, a spoonful of (well, half a spoonful) of jelly and a sip or two of water laid back and waited to see what would happen.. Nothing!! YAYYYY!!

Out came the IV entry, new dressings and I was out of there.

The thing that happened that I was hoping for did! I was not hungry the whole time I was in hospital, but I do feel the need now for a bit of fluid) Hunger pangs just for the hell of them are gone...

Now it is just up to keeping up with the recovery plans, and I cannot wait till I get some solid food in about 2 weeks!!

I have to say that the respect I have always had for nursing staff has been reinforced. Where would we be without those who choose these sorts of careers... Thanks to all of them!

And also, thanks to you all who called in, emailed, and phoned. It was really nice to see a face or two every so often, to break the self-pitying moments.

Oh, and if you want to lose weight, I can recommend the 2 weeks of Optifast, followed by 4 days of NOTHING but IV fluids and self pity, as being effective, but not desirable! I have not stood on a scale this week, but will report back later!

Onwards and lighter


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Todays the day!

I was surprised that I was able to sleep so well last night. I was anticipating a bit of a toss and turn night. Perhaps the nightshift the night before was the contributing factor! As it was, apart from the snappy and jump down your throat mood I was in yesterday (more attribyutd to nightshifts that I am unused to), sleep came pretty easily and I slept the sleep of the unconcerned!

I have awoken today with no feeling of apprehension. Well, not about the afternoon, but more about finding something to wear as pyjamas (that can be worn in public)...

So, off to the shops, search for some boxer shorts, bring home wash and have dry and ready to go.

Timetable for today is:
  • Shop, wash dry new purchases, food (if you want to call it that) and water at 9am, then fast until surgery time.
  • Head to the hospital for 11am admission (a barrage of paperwork) and then a bit of a read/snooze before pre-operative meds and surgery scheduled for 4pm.

I am sort of hoping I don't remember anything about the rest of the day until tomorrow morning. In fact I am looking forward to the sleep.

If all is good, and I can swallow a bit of fluid tomorrow, it is home time. It seems the xray they do to check placement has gone by the wayside if there are no issues swallowing.

On another point, I have been innundated with messages of support, care, and best wishes.

Thanks for the good thoughts! It has been refreshing and dare I say, humbling, to have so many people ring or message! (there goes another one now)

More soon.

and thanks again!


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Preadmission capers.B-Day-48hrs

It was a bit of a full on day today... Because it had been so long since I had seen Dr MOF (the surgeon), I went to see him today and decided to do the pre-admission assessment and interview afterwards.

Dr MOF was his usual delightful self and all of the bases covered again regarding the surgery, potential complications and the procedure. I had a few questions to ask as well.

It was also the first time I paid some significant dollars out!! I guess I look at this from a positive point of view when I say that all I could think of at the time was the points that would be accumulated on the credit card...

The preadmission appointment went well... It was a case of MORE forms to fill out, and a blood test (that drained me of bucket loads of blood) from a phlebotomist that was pain free. I have had a good run recently with the blood suckers of the clinical world.

I also had to get an ECG as well.. It was a nice quick turnaround at each location.

I left a little bouyed by the experience, I dont know why apart from it really was time. It seems my surgery will be at about 4pm and 99 times out of 100 I should be out the next day. Dr MOF even said that they don't do the xray any more (UNLESS there is a problem swallowing a little water)

Strangely, I am off to work in about 90 minutes as we have to take the CAD (computer Aided Dispatch) system down for maintenance for a few hours. Wow, a night shift the day before surgery, am I crazy?? Ahhh who cares, it will be fun running a manual dispatch system!!!

So for now, I am feeling really great, expecting to sleep much of toomorrow (and the afternoon after)...

I also cannot thank those friends of mine who have called and provided support over the past weeks. It has been welcomed.

Feelin' good, do do dododo doo!!! (ahh shoot, a medical benefits jingle, noooooooooo)

Hooroo and Onwards


Monday, October 08, 2007

Underlying Trepidation

This week is a bit odd! It is the first time in 18 months that I have had some annual leave. The whole idea of not having to go to work is novel but leads to the situation where I have some down time, and during that time I would normally eat.

Thank the gastonomical gods for low joule jelly!!! Why cant they make jelly that tastes like satay chicken and add a bit of crunch for a texture surprise! Oh well, 3 days to go...

I do have to admit to a little trepidation, but it is not overwhelming and is very easily passed over as a fleeting thought. I am as grumpy as hell though my sense of humour remains...

I have the preadmission assessment appointment tomorrow and a visit to the surgeon toomorrow... Then a night shift at work!! What a day!



Saturday, October 06, 2007

One week to go.

The Optifast thing is clearly working, if the idea is to be hungry all of the time except for that brief millisecond after consuming a chocolate shake for breakfast!!!

Well, it is not that bad. I get the feeling that weight is dropping off right now, but I really do not have the energy to get out and walk too far right now. Even the geocaching has dropped off the radar a bit recently due to work and work and other stuff.. The ever elusive 500 finds is drawing ever so slowly nearer. I am hoping to hit it this coming week.

The thing about the sudden and severe change of diet has been the low to medium grade headaches that started. They have all but stopped now, so all I have to do is watch the dehydration thing... That means drink 2 litres of water a day or more.

I have had to eat a little lean meat protien to get through these last few days, and it is nice to get something with a bit of flavour in the diet. Lean chiken tenderloins, cooked wiithout oil, but rubbed with a nice curry powder, then drizzled some soy over it... heaven!!! A little bit of protien, no fat but heaps of flavour...

I was sitting down the other evening just craving flavour, and I spy a jar of Vegemite... Hmmmm flavour... I dipped my finger in the jar and had a generous smear. It was delightful, and the hunger pangs disappeared for a bit... The things you crave for.

Oh well, 5 more days of optifast, then L-day.. I have to go to a pre-admission appointment sometime in the next few days. I am now on holidays, but have volunteered to go back to work for a night shift when they have to switch off the computer systems and go to manual dispatch from midnight to 6am. I would not miss that for quids, as it takes me back to the "good old days"! It will be a bit of a challenge food wise, but doable.

I must admit to a bit of trepidation to going in for surgery, but based on all of the research, and minimal complications, I KNOW this is the right thing to do.

Counting the days down!!


Sunday, September 30, 2007

The date is set!!

It has been a bit of a full on 3-6 months for this lapsed blogger. but finally, a date has been set for the surgery.

L-Day is the 11th of October.

It has taken a bit of time to get the money together and to make sure all is good to go.

I have a month of holidays so I can focus on the issues at hand, and while the surgeon (and friends) says that a week will be more than enough time to recover, I need leave as I have not had any for nearly 18months.

I am currently on the hypocarbohydrate diet, which is designed to reduce the fat around the liver and to "shrink" it, making it easier for the surgeon to do his job.

So, it has been an "Optifast" diet for the past 4 days, and apart from feeling like my throat has been cut in four places (feeling hungry) and the constant dreams of food in every non waking moment, it has not been impossible... so far.

The key thing is that to keep the surgery safer and easier to make sure that I stick to this.

There is something just plain wrong with having vanilla or chocolate flavoured breakfast lunch and dinner. Can't they make a bacon and egg flavoured breaky, or a roast pork and apple sauce with vegies dinner shake???

Willie Wonka was on the right track!!

Anyway, 11 days to go..... and counting.


Friday, April 27, 2007

Calls from friends from long time past.

There are times where your heart just jumps.

A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting at my computer and saw a request for a call come up. It was a name that I had not seen in 4 years or so, and before that, it was about 20 years ago.

This was a girl who I went out with for a while and we were very close.

Neither of us know what happened to the relationship, there was no animosity, no arguements, just an acceptance that this was the way it was.

I was at work when the phone rang from a colleague (one I worked for 20 or so years ago) and she said there was some one who wanted to speak to me. I recognised the voice in a millisecond and it was like no time had passed at all.

We met and had coffee, I dropped in to visit her mum a few days later. It was a treasured time.

So, when she popped up a few weeks ago, it was an absolute pleasure. We have spent many hours chatting on Skype and it is just a great way to hook up with her and keep up.

Of another interesting point, we discovered that even though we had not seen each other for so long, that we have both gone down similar paths as far as recreation and lifestyle choices go. I wonder if we influenced each other (unknowingly) at the time.

Oh, and this is a weight loss blog... I am still pulling in the belt tighter on a regular basis, my blood sugar level is holding in the desirable range and I am feeling better than I have in many years..

I have been enjoying my geocaching more and more, and hit the 200 caches found last weekend. I am trying for 100 caches in the month of April. Click on the link at the top right hand side of the page to follow the geocaching quest.

Life is good, and all I have to do is sell the van.



Monday, March 19, 2007

Interesting changes.

It is interesting what you notice yourself.

This time last year, my bride and I flew down to Sydney to visit a friend on her birthday. It was a good time, but the flight down was bloody uncomfortable. It is hard enough when you are 6'2"tall to get some leg room, but when you are a FAB (fat a$$ed B@stard) it is near impossible.

I also struggled with the climb up the driveway and the stairs and the shower opening was smaller than Bob sized. It was a real struggle.

Aint it amazing what a year does.... This year, it was a reasonably comfortable flight down, I COULD fit into the shower NO PROBS!!! The hill was not a bother, the walk to the shops was something I wanted to do, we went out and walked around without me experiencing any back pain, and the snoring was almost non existent.

I bloody well like this new stuff, and on the whole life is so much better when you do not have a lot of the underlying troubles.

And to top it off, I managed to snatch some geocaches while I was down there.

It can only get better as well!! I just do not really understand how things got so bad weight wise...or more to the point, why I did not register that it really was happening. It is the 64 Million dollar question. If I had the answer to that, I would be rich AND skinny!!


Oh, and happy Birthday MJ!!!!


Thursday, March 01, 2007

It's nice when people notice.

I have seen quite a few people in the l;ast week I have not seen for a while, and it is really nice when people notice that I have lost weight and make supportive comments.

It is not all in my imagination at all. Seems I have lost 10 inches of my hips, heaps off my face (now that I have the beard closer cropped it is more noticeable).

I am really itching to move forward onthe surgery as soon as I can.

Sorry for the short note, but time really is of the essence today.



Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I had a freaky night recently.

The other night I was over at a friends house and experienced something really strange.

It was a situation that has caused me to look at my response and try to resolve the situation my mind.

This event that we attend is a weekly occurance and it is a very special night of the week for me. It is a time when we sit and talk with some of our closest frinds, speaking what amounts to solvng the problems of the world or discovering new and exciting concepts. As I said, we do it every week, alternating between preparing different aspects of the evening meal. This time, Mrs Rastas and I did the main course. (It was a first time recipe for me, and was delightful, albeit a bit dangerous looking in the visual impact of it.)

Now, I have been struggling with going to these nights for the past month or so, as dinner is generally around the 8.30-9pm mark and it makes for a latish night. The lateness of the night I can deal with, but eating late really screws around with my eating plans and Blood Glucse levels

It is really difficult to sit and watch others eat what are ALWAYS brilliant meals, when I have eaten earlier in the night (at my usual time). In recent weeks I have left prior to dinner, and that in itself sucks big time when that is the time when much of the great discussion, comradeship and general fun occurs.

I decided that I would eat some of the dinner I prepared, primarily as it was the hosts birthday party but I wanted to try this curry properly. I served up a small portion of food for myself along with the other serves of dinner. When I went out to the table, my portion was not there, or rather it was in the process of being eaten by someone else.

I just don't know why I reacted the way I did, but I needed to go outside and cool down. There was an anger that built within me, for no apparent reason, that just welled up to the point of "pissed off-ed-ness" that was so out of character for me.

One of my frinds was in the kitchen, and I vented a little to her. Her cuddle helped a lot!!

This whole weight loss thing has been really hard for me. It is trying to change a near lifetime of habits and I have been working bloody hard at trying to be sucessful.

I have been achieving more than I believed I could in the past 6 months, so I should be happy with what is happening. But this anger just hit me out of the blue.

I am still trying to process this, and I guess I will work it out in my own time.

I always thought that the "stopping eating so much" was going to be the hard thing, but I am used to it now.

The really hard thing seems to be now, not being able to do the things I used to that were associated with food. The comraderie, or events, or activities that all surround food have become harder to accept and I think it all down to the habits and what I was used to.

It is still hard to go to the movies and not have an icecream (chocolate coated of course), and for some reason the movie is not as enjoyable as it used to be.

Anyway, I was just surprised at my reaction, and it is no ones fault, nor is it anything that wont be resolved in my mind.

What do they say??? A problem shared is a problem halved... Anyone want to share my weight problem, if so I am there!!!



Where am I at now?

Well, it has been a while since I wrote, but in short there has not been a lot to write about.

Things have stabilsed well in the BSL front, and I am happy with the progress made there.

At this stage it is about getting the cash together to get the procedure done, and I will be out of pocket just over 10 grand at the end of this little bunfight. I have no hesitation in doing this, but I want a bit of a cash reserve in play.

In the mean time, I am still loosing weight, not that I have stood on some scales, but the belt gets taken in evey week or so, and shirts get looser.

The other day I put on a shirt that I had not worn for 3 years.

The belt that I am using as my "yard stick" is now showing that I have lost about 26cm or 10 inches of my waist. Whoo Hoo!!!!

Things are coming easier for me these days as far as mobility and other physical stuff goes.

I have gone back into "geocaching" again as a way to get out and walk a bit. Take a look at the site and see what it is all about.

I will try to post the HTML for my cache progress info on the front page of the blog.

In the past week, I have done a couple of caches that I would not have been able to do 6 months ago. It is a nice feeling to achieve this stuff..


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Just what is a Gastric Band???

I have been chatting with a few people over the past month or so and the question that seems to be the most problematic for me to describe is what the actual gastric band looks like and how does it work.

I have taken some images and words from one of the Monash Uni Centre for Obesity Studies pages which describes gastric bands.
(Source: http://www.core.monash.org/lapband.html )


The photo shows a standard LapBand made by Inamed Health. It consists of a ring of silicone which is placed around the very top of the stomach. On the inner surface of the ring is a balloon which is connected via a long thin tube to an access port which is buried deep under the skin just above and to the left of the umbilicus. If we pass a fine needle through the skin into the acess port we can inject saline into the balloon causing it to swell up and thus tighten on the stomach wall. This will give the patient a sense of satiety or lack of hunger. Even if they have not been eating they will feel less hunger and less interest in food. If the band is adjusted optimally, there is almost no interest in food or appetite for eating. When they do eat they quickly get a sense of fullness and do not feel inclined to eat more. The net result is that they eat 3 or less very small meals per day and feel quite satisfied with that.

These four pictures show two of the Lap Band models – the 10cm band and the VG or Vanguard band. They show them without additional saline and with added saline so that you can see the effect of adding salaine has on the space available in the middle.

The Lap Band is placed laparoscopically – keyhole surgery. Thin tubes are passed through the skin into the abdominal cavity. A telescope is passed down one of these tubes. It has a very high definition camera attached and the surgeon can see what he is doing by looking at the image on a television monitor rather than looking directly inside the patient.

The adjustments are performed in the office and generally only take a few minutes. Apart from a quick jab of the needle through the skin there is no particular discomfort.


Study: Gastric band works better than 500-calorie diet

Study: Gastric band works better than 500-calorie diet
by Nanci Hellmich / USA TodayMay 2, 2006

Adjustable gastric banding is much more effective long-term than a very low-calorie diet for people who are about 50 pounds overweight, a study shows.

Medical guidelines support this surgical procedure -- which puts a band around the top of stomach to create a feeling of fullness -- in patients who are extremely obese, about 100 or more pounds over a healthy weight, or those who are almost as overweight and have serious medical conditions, such as
type 2 diabetes .

Researchers at Monash University Medical School in Melbourne, Australia, recruited 80 patients who were on average 52 pounds over a healthy weight. Half had the laparoscopic adjustable gastric band surgery.The other half followed a medical program that included a variety of strategies such as a very-low-calorie diet (500 calories a day) with liquid meal replacements, prescription weight-loss medication and behavioral therapies.

Findings in today's Annals of Internal Medicine:

  • After six months, both the surgery patients and the low-calorie dieters lost an average of 14% of their starting weight.
  • After two years, the gastric band patients lost 22% of their starting weight. That was about 87% of their excess weight, or roughly 45 pounds.
  • They also showed marked improvement in their health and quality of life.
    At the end of two years, the dieters had regained much of their lost weight but were still 5.5% below their starting weight.
  • They had lost 22% of their excess weight, or about 12 pounds.
Researchers are still analyzing the weight-loss data. "I'm very happy that the gastric band patients are continuing to maintain their weight loss," says lead author Paul O'Brien, director of the university's Centre for Obesity Research and Education.

Since the study, he received grants from INAMED Health, maker of the LAP-BAND® System.

In this study, the surgery was as safe as the diet program, but O'Brien notes the procedure does carry risks, and some may need follow-up procedures, such as readjusting the band position.

The surgery costs $14,000 to $18,000 in the USA, he says. Insurance companies vary widely in coverage of gastric banding or gastric bypass, a more complex surgery that creates a much smaller stomach and rearranges the small intestine. Average cost: $26,000.

Under certain conditions, Medicare covers both surgeries.Many surgeons in the USA use gastric bypass because bypass patients lose more weight overall and lose it faster, says Neil Hutcher, president of the American Society for Bariatric Surgery and a surgeon in Richmond, Va.

Thomas Wadden, an obesity expert at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, says gastric banding "is a very effective procedure, but it's not a rational, cost-effective solution to the epidemic of obesity." "Because we have limited health-care dollars, we have to decide how best to invest them. Are we going to provide bariatric surgery for a relatively small number of people or instead invest in the prevention of obesity so our children hopefully won't need this surgery?"

Copyright © 2006 USA Today. All rights reserved. Republished with permission.

A View From Over The Scales agrees that surgery of any sort should be a last resort and not seen as a quick fix. There is an obesity epidemic, and as such should be dealt with as an early intervention by educative means. To date there is precious little real effort by governments and if the platitudes continue, it will be too late.


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Stability in Glucose readings YAYYYY

Yet again the pictures tell the story.

There is some comfort in the knowledge that things are working well. I am starting to work out what foods are doing what, but the biggest thing is the need to eat at regular times. If I don't, it just sends things a bit haywire..

But, all is good. I have been feeling really good of late, with added energy (due to weight loss??? or not).

Anyway, back to the grindstone...


Monday, December 11, 2006

Ongoing success... and food for thought

It has been a bit of time since I last blogged, and for those who have emailed to prompt me to do so, here is the latest iteration.

It seems like i have now stabilised my glucose levels and I never cease to be amazed at what my body reacts to and how it relates to BSL. I was expecting to wake this morning to a higher than usual reading after a nice dessert last night at the sauna dinner. This was not the case. Stranger and stranger..

Not to worry, all is good. I have decided to work towards a late January timeframe for my gastric band surgery. I could have gone just before christmas, but I really was not enamoured with the idea of not having people (doctors etc) around during the holiday week and early in the new year. I now need to get the endocrinologist on board with the surgeon to make sure that I am properly monitored pre and post operatively. It is just a complication (without much risk at all) that needs to be considered.

Apart from that all has been good on the home front, but I have had a few issues of concern raise their heads within my family. These things, albeit best case scenario given the discoveries, are in the forefront of my mind. I know things will turn out for the best, but one cannot help worrying when it is some one who you love. It just tends to focus you on the important things, the things that matter.