Tuesday, August 11, 2009

In His Time

Today I had my lapband fill. It was a fascinating experience. All the people waiting for a fill chatted about their experiences in the waiting room. One by one we were called into a room where we laid down under a floroscope. When my turn came, the Dr. looked for my incision, swabbed the area, and felt for the port. He took this cool device invented by someone at UIC (waiting broader distribution) pressed it to my stomach. It let out a poof of air and injected lidocaine without needles and without pain over the area. Its so cool. Its used before IV's are inserted, before shots are given, before surface cuts are stitched.

After the lidocaine the doctor inserts a needle through which the solution can be injected into the band. He had no trouble finding the port. I could feel the band puff up. Then I had to start drinking the barium drink. He watched the barium go through and adjusted the fill accordingly. When he was satisfied it was just right I was helped down and was done.

Except the picture from the floroscope was still there. So I asked him to explain it. He showed me the esophagus with the new pouch at it's base, barely wider than the esophagus. He showed me the shadow of the band and how narrow the opening was to let the barium through to the old stomach. I could see the squirts of barium curling into the old stomach. Pretty actually.

I was amazed at how small the opening between the stomachs was. Its obvious I'm not going to be able to get much through that narrow tunnel. I'm going to really have to take tiny bites and chew things to death. Today and tomorrow I'm just having liquids and then I'll be adding solids.

This Dr. was not my surgeon. He handled patients from all the surgeons. This was his specialty and he was running an assembly line.

Not everyone is so blessed. Some have surgeons who do the fill themselves and can't find the port and refuse to use floroscopes or don't have them available. That makes it hard to get the fill just right. So they inject minute amounts at a time so that it takes months and months before the patient begins to feel restriction. Its almost like torture for these desperate patients.

I'm really blessed to have been sent by my HMO to a top notch facility and doctors. I'm glad I've found such a good support group on lapbandtalk. I"m glad I spent so many years learning about addiction, ADHD, and eating disorders. I'm glad for my experience in Alanon, and OA, and group and individual therapy. My chances of success with the lapband are pretty good because of the self-knowledge I gained as well as the great support I have from my providers and other bandsters.

I really feel good about getting the band. I have this sense of peace about it, and this feeling that I'm being blessed through it--not just with weight loss. I've never before pulled all the threads of my disease out of the woven fabric they'd created in my life and examined them and the pattern they'd created all in one place.

Getting the band, seeing all these threads, and recording how they're intertwined has given me enormous relief. I rejected shame and its power over me. The power to make me feel paralyzed to do anything about my eating disorder. I took a powerful step when I decided to get the band and jumped through all the hoops I needed to jump through to qualify for the band. I stuck to it for over a year.

For an ADHD person, that was a major undertaking. I actually gained a few pounds in order to have a high enough BMI which, combined with my co-morbidities, qualified me for the surgery. Then I had to lose that weight and keep it off as part of my requirement. I had to attend eight months of nutrition classes where I knew more of the answers than anyone but the nutritionist. I had to deal with the insurance company and liase between them, my regular Dr. and clinic, and UIC. Details like that drive me pretty crazy, but I did it.

I took back the power this disease took away from me. I think it all happened in God's time. All the other things I've been through and dealt with have led to this time when an effective tool has been made available at a time when I actually have the time to deal with the disease.

Summer school was canceled freeing me up to have the June surgery with the rest of the summer to deal with recovery. I had the time to write this blog. I had the time to explore lapbandtalk. I had the time to start to heal some of my physical limitations, figuiring out how to use the incline board to relieve the pressure in my neck that was limiting my ability to walk any distance. (It was also making it more and more difficult to teach.) I can now swing my arms while I walk and do not experience burning neck pain while walking.

I believe I was sent to the right doctor, at the right hospital, for the most helpful tool, at exactly the right time.

I don't have any doubt who was behind all that.