The fact that I had it fitted makes it seem like the procedure and recovery are relatively simple. While keyhole surgery means that the operation was a lot simpler than it could have been, the whole thing was far from easy.
I've said that I'll be honest about the whole thing, as I think it is important for anyone else considering having it done, so here is what the whole process has been like so far.
Before things got started
Luckily, my consultant was really nice and listened to everything I had previously tried - which includes numerous diets and even hypnosis. He also took me through all the different surgical options - gastric sleeve and bypass - as well as the band to ensure I understood what the pros and cons of each were.
After this, he asked what I wanted from the surgery beyond weight loss. One of my main things was control, as I don't want to lose too much weight and I want to make sure I can still get everything I need when it comes to getting pregnant. Just as my research suggested, the consultant agreed that the gastric band was likely the best option in this case.
Once I had his recommendation, I could arrange a surgery date so I went for the soonest available time. However, before I could get super excited about having this date marked on my calendar, I had to undergo numerous tests to ensure I was healthy enough for surgery.
These included a lot of blood tests - I had to have extra as there is diabetes in the family - an EKG, blood pressure and lung tests. This all took a while and I'll admit that I was scared that something would be found that meant I couldn't have the surgery so I'd be back at square one. Luckily, everything came back perfectly and I was told that I was actually very healthy so there should be no issues with the surgery.
Because the operation is done laparoscopically, you need to make sure no other organs are in the way of the stomach or they can get damaged. This meant I had to take steps to shrink my liver in order to avoid lesions and bleeding that could cause issues with recovery.
I had a really strict diet to follow that allowed minimal carbs - we're talking a slice of toast for breakfast and two tablespoons of cooked pasta for lunch - hardly any sugar, including from fruit and no processed foods. The only good thing about this diet is that I could have all the vegetables I wanted, so I lived off salad for lunch and could make my 50g of protein for dinner a lot more interesting.
I actually lost half a stone on this diet but I was starving all the time. It did it's job though, as my liver was reduced enough for the surgery.
The big day
Once I was shown to my room, I had to go through the full procedure to get admitted, including getting weighed, getting jewellery taped and being given a medical bracelet with my details and drug intolerances on it. I also got kitted out with a pair of compression socks, as DVT is a possible side effect after surgery. I was then told to get into my gown and be ready to go once they got to me on the list.
I mostly sat in my room watching Netflix while the odd person came in to ask me questions and check up on me. My surgeon came to take me through the operation again and to get me to sign the final consent forms. He was really reassuring and made sure I knew what would be happening immediately afterwards as well.
My anaesthetist also came to talk to me to tell me what medication I would be given before and after. He explained that I would have a cannula in my hand that would be used to give me several medications as well as a drip for fluids. I was also to have a tube down my throat, which would mean it would be sore afterwards.
At 11am, a nurse came to get me to take me to theatre. I started out in a separate room that was connected to the OR. Here I got on the bed and had weird pump things wrapped around my legs to reduce the chances of blood clots. I also had a heart monitor connected and the cannula put in my hand - which took a couple of tries.
The anaesthetist just talked to me the whole time to keep me calm and talked me through each of the different injections he gave me. It didn't take long for me to go under and there was none of that half awake feeling at all.
Keep an eye out for Part Two to find out about the recovery process.