5 Things I Know About Life After Lap Band Surgery

A Guest Blog By: Heather Kemp

Lap Band surgery is something most have heard of.  It is a great weight loss surgery option.  It is an outpatient procedure that is done laparoscopically.  It can be taken out if you change your mind or something better comes along and can even be adjusted if you decide to have more kids after the procedure.  However, it is a weight loss tool, and it comes with many lifetime adjustments.  Here are 5 of the things I know about life after lap band.

Time To Adjust
For the first year, you will be going back every 4-6 weeks.  You get weighed to see if there is a difference (and yes, sometimes there is not.)  You will be filling out a questionnaire about any possible complications you have had over the last few weeks.  It will ask how much food you eat on average and more.  If it is determined you need to have more or less fluid added to your lap band, that is done through a port.  You are usually asked to stand and sip water while the adjustment is being done.  This is to make sure you are still able to swallow.  The port is on your abdomen under the skin and is not visible.  The needle is poked right in and fluid is adjusted.

This surgery is not a miracle.  You need to be ready for weight plateaus.  At the beginning the weight feels like it is just falling off, but then it slows down.  Some weeks it will be mere ounces you lose, others you may have no difference, or even an occasional gain.  You need to mentally prepare for these times or you may just go a little crazy.  While you may not need a doula necessarily, you will need support for during these times.

Liquid Calories
One of the things you need to be careful about is what you drink.  While you will definitely be changing what you eat, it may be harder to change what you drink.  You don’t need to completely give up your lattes, cutting back would be a good idea and maybe not getting a grande.  You are able to drink without too much problem usually and because of this you could tend to intake too many calories.  If you really want to make this surgery an effective weight loss tool for yourself, consider tracking calories and not having a whole day’s worth of calories in one drink!

Food rejection is a real thing.  This will be a complete lifestyle change and it takes time to find out what your body will and won’t have problems with.  Your surgical team will likely give you a list of typical “problem foods”, but it is different for every person.  Most people have problems with breads, some pastas, rice, and tough meats.  Personally, I cannot eat most of those foods.  However, while I have had to give up pizza (mourn with me), my body has been kind enough to allow me to still have steak as long as it isn’t too dry (medium rare is usually ok).  I am almost a year post-op and I am still learning what my body will reject.  Also, by reject, I mean just that.  I will literally have to excuse myself because of “productive burps”, which means I will burp and vomit.  Quite fun when out to eat (note the sarcasm).

Night Coughs
Night coughs have to be my favorite, NOT!  These usually happen if you eat too close to the time you go to bed.  Laying horizontal, if the food hasn’t digested yet, will travel back up.  Typically, you will wake up coughing and not realize what caused it at first.  It is once again a form of vomit coming up.  I tend to notice it happens about the time I would fall in the deep sleep and relax enough for it to travel up.  On occasion, it will happen even if you haven’t eaten too late or even come back up closer to the morning.  Unfortunately, once this happens the best thing you can do it try to sleep upright (in a recliner is most comfortable).
Now while there are side effects, this surgery can be a very useful tool.  Make sure you follow the instructions given to you by your surgical team to have the best success.  Join a support group if possible and make sure you have supportive people you can turn to at home.  GET A GYM BUDDY to help you stay motivated!!

If you would like to follow Heather’s journery or get more information on the doula services and more she if offering in the Kankakee and Iroquois county Illinois areas, check out www.GeminiBirthServices.com

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