Lap Dance

This blog documents my experience with the adjustable gastric band. The surgery took place in July, and thus the pre-op and post-op information can be found in the July archive.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


We went to Oktoberfest this evening. Wow, it was not what I expected. First, it had a midway with rides that looked for all the world like the Illinois State Fair. We went in one of the beer halls to get some dinner, and the scene in there was controlled chaos. There was a band playing that included a singer and a brass section similar to that of a ska band. The Germans all had huge ceramic mugs of beer, out of which they were drinking copiously. The curious thing was that the drinking was taking place while they were all standing or dancing on the benches of the tables. Not only were they dancing and drinking, they were also singing along to every song the band played. Most of them were American songs sung in English, but some of them were translated into German. It takes a while to recognize to recognize “I’m a Believer” in German. It stopped me cold to hear drunken Germans singing “Highway to Hell” in English without the remotest clue what they were saying.

Every few songs, the band would play the same song, which sounded like a short commercial jingle. Everyone knew it and lustily sang along. We were perplexed as to why the band repeated the song so often. After an hour, our best guess was that the song served as a drunk-o-meter: if you’re too drunk to sing it anymore, it’s time to put down the stein and get off the benches.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Wilkommen auf Deutschland

I arrived in Germany this morning, along with two of my colleagues. The flight was a solid eight hours, and I had no trouble whatsoever with the band. I note that because someone on the DFW Bandster board reported that her doctor had warned her that flying could be problematic. I’m not clear why. But anyway, eight hours at 36,000 feet was fine.

We went to the bar at the hotel to order some lunch before we went in to work. I ordered a club sandwich, and then it happened. I took a bite, chewed, swallowed. It was immediate pain, very strong but dull in the base of my throat. I felt like I couldn’t breathe, but if I concentrated and tried to relax, I could breathe without difficulty or additional pain. I started producing a lot of mucous in my mouth, and I was producing saliva like one does before vomiting. I sat there, swallowing and swallowing and hoping it would pass. The swallowing either made it worse or did nothing. Finally I had to excuse myself and go to the restroom.

My body already urgently wanted to throw up. I did, and the pain was immediately reduced. When I went back to the table, everything I swallowed caused pain again, including liquids. I chewed on some French fries for a while, and then I just gave up. It hurt too much.

Readers, what the hell happened to me? Did I swallow too much gas? Did I get something stuck? Opinions, please!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Off to Germany

This morning I made an appointment for a fill for Wednesday. That turned out to be in vain, because midmorning the partner in my practice group came into my office and informed me that I was to get on the next plane to Germany, where I will be working for the next two weeks. So I cancelled the appointment. I toyed with the idea of trying to get in a fill before I left, but my better judgment tackled me. At some point, in theory, I will have restriction. It would be excruciating to be over-filled while overseas, and it would even be difficult to adjust to good restriction while eating foreign foods. Well, damn.

So I went home. While I was waiting for my car to the airport to arrive, I went and got a really terrific haircut. The best haircut of my life, in fact. I looked the stylist in the face, and said without shame, “Let me be honest with you: I don’t shower in the morning, but rather at night after I go to the gym. I also don’t ever intend to blow-dry my hair or style it beyond brushing it. Given those parameters, make it look as good as you can.” And she did! Kristin the stylist has herself a permanent client. She layered it, and now it dries curly and looks fairly polished. I’m pretty stoked about that.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

No Restriction

I have come to the conclusion that my third fill has still not provided restriction. In fact, despite an entire cc of saline, I feel absolutely no difference. I have to admit that I’m pretty bummed about this. Dr. Horgan was so confident that this fill would do the trick.

Back to the drawing board. I’ll make an appointment tomorrow to get a fill on Wednesday. I sure do wish that this would work. However, I am feeling a renewed sense of willpower. That will have to suffice for now.

Shopping spree total: $236.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Product Kudos

Recently I have discovered some quality band-friendly products, and I'd like to give them the shout-outs they deserve.

1. Liquid Tylenol PM: Jewel-Osco carries liquid Tylenol PM, but it's in this skanky vanilla flavor that tastes kinda like when you throw back up a girly cocktail. Sweet, but nasty. However, it's a useful product, and I choke it down on the occasion that I need it. Okay, so this was not an unmitigated shout-out.

2. Alavert: It's an 24-hour allergy medicine that dissolves in your mouth. It works great on my multi-faceted allergy needs, and it tastes like the good kind of dinner mints.

3. Chewable Centrum vitamins: Orange-flavored and convenient, I take one daily. If you're a sissy like me, be sure to take them with food or you'll spend the morning at work kneeling in the bathroom stall debating whether you can successfully yak between the times people come into the bathroom.

Third Fill

The battery in my scale died this morning, and I nearly had a seizure.

I went for a fill today, and surprisingly Doctor Horgan did it himself. I was kind of under the impression that the Doctors Nice and Hot (Dr. Mouton and Dr. Galvani, as I found out today) always did it, but I was wrong. He whisked me right in, and I prayed so hard that I wouldn't pass out in front of him. He's a very brusque man, and I like that about him. He makes me feel like this is all very routine and shouldn't freak me out or embarrass me. However, he doesn't ooze empathy: I feel like he'd be more likely to roll his eyes and draw a mustache on my face with permanent marker if I passed out, rather than try to revive me.

Dr. Nice saw me come in, and very discreetly followed us into the fluoroscopy room. Dr. Horgan asked him why he was in there, and he winked at me and said, "Moral support." How nice is that? What a sweet man.

Dr. Horgan was in and out with the needle lickity-split. Frankly, Dr. Horgan is just flat out better at it than Dr. Nice, which makes sense. I questioned him again about how much is in my band, and he confirmed that Dr. Nice misspoke. I had 2.0 cc's in my band after the second fill, and the band holds 4-5 cc's. After today's fill, I am at a grand total of 3.0 cc's.

I asked Dr. Horgan if he thought I would feel a difference this time. He smiled kind of sadistically and said, "Oh, you'll be restricted all right." I told him teasingly that he was a sadist, and asked him if he'd been a personal trainer in a former life. But on a serious note, I hope he's right this time. Having a standing appointment each week with Dr. Nice is getting old.

I can't tell how the restriction is yet because I'm on liquids for the next 48 hours. However, when I drink fast, it definitely gurgles down a little bit now. Cross your fingers for me.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Olive Garden Doom

So this last Sunday night I have this bright idea that Mr. Kennedy and I should go eat at the Olive Garden for the all-you-can-eat pasta thing they've got going now. He tried to talk me out of it, but I insisted, and off we went. I had most of a plate of angel hair with some white sauce on it, and that's it.

Monday morning I wake up and I weigh 182, up two from Sunday morning. Now, I understand a bit of punishment, but two pounds?! I didn't eat that much! And 182 is where I've been for the rest of this week. That is patently unfair. No weight loss, and I think they weight gain was undeserved in the first place. And I've worked out for an hour every day this week.

Yesterday I think I lost my mind. I ate two snack bags of Chex Mix and two large cookies from the bakery next door, and that was my food for the day. Who EATS that? I do, or did, I suppose.

The only thing I can think to do is get a fill. I made an appointment for tomorrow at 4:15. I am totally out of control, with all of the lovely self-loathing that comes along with that. I am out-and-out praying that I get some restriction this time. Someone on the DFW board once said that the band is like the cavalry rushing in to save you from yourself. I thought it was going to arrive with the surgery, and then with the first fill, and then with the second. Now, with the third, I NEED it to get here and help me, and I'm starting to have vague doubts that anyone's going to show up.

Shopping spree total: $221

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Second Fill - Still No Restriction

First, the good news: I weighed in at 180 this morning. Much yowling from the vicinity of the bathroom scale ensued. Not only did I take off all the weight I put back on from my meltdown last weekend, but I also dropped an additional 3 pounds for the week. This drop was largely facilitated by the liquid diet Dr. Horgan requires for 48 hours following a fill. It's hard to get excited about drinking tomato soup.

The weight has flown off this month at an astounding rate, and I attribute it to my hard work at the gym. Mr. Kennedy is cautioning me that I can't get bent out of shape if I plateau soon, because my body will need to adjust at some point. He's right, but we both know I'll still piss and moan about it when it happens.

More good news: I am solidly a size 14. I spent the morning trying on the huge pile of size 14 clothes, and now my closet is bulging from the additions. I think I have an entire wardrobe in each of the sizes 18, 16, 14, and 12. With 16's and 14's in there, my closet rod is groaning. Perhaps soon the 16's will look too baggy, and I can move them out.

Further good news: I did not pass out during my fill on Wednesday. It was uneventful, if slightly more painful. Nice Doctor made me tell him a story while he did it, and even though I knew it was a mental trick, it still worked and I felt fine.

Now the bad news: the fill didn't really work. I don't feel any more restricted than I did before. Nice Doctor said my band will hold 4-5 cc's (making it the small band), and the second fill put me at 3.5 cc's, up from 3.0 on the first fill.

Now I'm all worried that I'm going to run out of room in the band before I get to my goal weight. That happened to a lady who posts on the DFW Bandsters board. My band may only hold another .5 cc, and I don't have any restriction yet. I called the surgeon's office, and they told me that won't happen, but mathematically I don't see how it's not a possibility. Mr. Kennedy wonders if maybe Nice Doctor misspoke, because going from 0 to 3 cc's in one fill seems like a lot.

The doctor wanted to schedule another fill, but I demurred. One, because I've decided I hate getting fills. But also because I'm losing 3 pounds per week right now as it is, and I'm perfectly satisfied with that rate of loss. Any faster and I risk my skin getting all baggy or the weight loss getting very noticeable and someone guessing that I've had surgery. I'll wait until I plateau and then get a fill.

Shopping Spree Total: $206

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Back on Track

When I weighed in this morning, I was all the way up to 187.5. Ugh. I really screwed the pooch this weekend. But there's nothing else to do than get myself back on track today. I ate perfectly all day, drank plenty of water, did an hour of cardio, and didn't eat dinner. This evening I was 187, down a half-pound from this morning, so hopefully tomorrow morning's weight will be an improvement.

I have an appointment for a fill tomorrow at 4:30. Here's hoping a) that this appointment goes more smoothly, and b) that I make significant progress on restriction, but not so significant that I can't eat sushi.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Falling Off the Wagon

Mr. Kennedy and I traveled all weekend, and I ate like a horse the whole time. My first fill has not given me much restriction, and my will power really failed me. I ate heartily at every meal, and in between as well. This is my first time really falling off the wagon since surgery. On the one hand, going two months without a major malfunction is pretty good, objectively speaking. On the other hand, I feel like a real horse's ass for eating so much and blowing my big loss from last week. I was 185.5 this morning. Good grief.

I'm really down on myself for this weekend, and even more for what I did today. I ate HORRIBLY today, and on top of that I didn't go to the gym. I'm so disappointed in myself, and I feel like I'm wasting both time and the $15,000 investment we made in me.

However, it's time to pull myself up by the bootstraps and get back on track. I scheduled my second fill for this Wednesday afternoon. This serves several purposes: my eating will be lessened by the restriction, I'll be required to get back to eating right because of the post-fill liquid thing, and doing it will help get me back in the mindset. And in the back of my mind, I know I don't want to go for the fill, so it's a little bit punishment as well. With the experience I had last time, it will unfortunately be a bit of unwarranted punishment for Doctors Nice and Hot as well.

This is the first day that I've really understood what the band is going to do for me. I can lose weight on my own, always could. Still could. What I can't do is keep it off. If I didn't have the band, I would be seriously contemplating giving up on losing weight. And I would continue to eat like I did this weekend.

Now, I suppose at this juncture I could give up and start gaining it back, since I don't really have restriction. But I have the option of simply making an appointment to get a fill, and it will make me at least maintain instead of putting it back on.

The tough part about weight loss is that losing weight is not one big momentous decision. It's hundreds of very small decisions that, individually, have very little impact, but in the aggregate have huge consequences. You don't make one decision to lose weight. You make a decision to pack your gym clothes on Monday. You make a decision to eat oatmeal instead of a Snickers for breakfast. You decide not to sit at your desk and snack all afternoon. You decide to look at the nutritional information. You decide to put the fork down. It's easy to tell yourself it doesn't matter, and actually that individual decision really doesn't. But when you add it to the entire day's worth of bad decisions, it matters. Multiply it over a week, a year, it really matters. But each little decision is tough. You have to be mentally tough and determined for each of them. But with the band, you can make the tough decision (to get the surgery or get a fill) in a moment of lucidity, and that decision will stick with you through all the decisions where you're not being so responsible. So this morning, in a moment of lucidity, I made the appointment for the fill.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Hello, Size 14!

I had the day off today, as Mr. Kennedy and I are going out of town for the weekend. I slept in and then weighed myself, checking in at a stunning 183 pounds, a loss of 3.5 pounds for the week. I checked to make sure I still had all my limbs, and then hopped back on the scale to make sure. Yep, 183.

That's ten pounds from when I last went down a dress size (192.5), so I tried on stuff from my size 14 pile. I didn't have time to go through the whole thing, but everything I tried on fit. So I think it's official: I wear a size 14, down two dress sizes.

For the Weight Watchers crowd, I had a non-scale victory this evening. Mr. Kennedy and I went to a cocktail party this evening, and I wore a size 14 A-line sleeveless dress. I noticed a man giving me the all-out once-over. I haven't seen that in a while, and it felt nice. I was amazed at how much more socially confident I felt.

Shopping Spree Total: $184

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Back on Real Food

Today was my first full day off of the post-fill liquids, and I was curious to take the band out for a test drive to see what was different. I ate very lightly through the day, and we went to Red Lobster for dinner.

When we went there before the fill, I really went to town: I ate two biscuits, a cup of gumbo, the entirety of a half-portion of Salmon New Orleans (the salmon was the size you’d eat at home), and all the mashed potatoes. Today, I ate no biscuits, half the cup of gumbo, all of the salmon and a couple small pieces of broccoli. I felt pleasantly full.

Just to provide more information on the fill situation, Mr. Kennedy and I went to Sushi Samba Rio in the city last night. It was an obligatory event; please don’t think I’m so dumb as to choose to do sushi as my first post-fill meal. However, I was fully stupid enough to go along with it and eat it on someone else’s dime. I have to admit I was also stupid enough to go ahead and order a hand roll. I had a piece of sea bass and one tuna roll. I’m pleased to report that the rice and seaweed went down just fine, and the fish was divine. There was no projectile expulsion at this work function.

This morning I weighed in at 186.5, down two for the week. Mr. Kennedy laughed because he could hear me cheering through the bathroom door. Of course I just finished jumping on the scale this evening, and I’m at 186.5 at the end of the day. More cheering ensued, and hopefully that will prove for an exemplary morning weigh-in. It occurred to me that, between my mental weigh-in chants of “BIG LOSS! BIG LOSS!” and my audible cheering, I am becoming the weight loss version of those creepy contestants on Wheel of Fortune.

Shopping spree: $152.