Once your stomach has healed and you're onto solid foods without any problems, the band can be filled. This is done slowly to get the amount of restriction just right, as having it too tight can be dangerous and too loose will mean you can eat too much.
This week, I had my first band fill, a day before being eight weeks post-op. I also had to have my measurements done, which resulted in a lovely surprise.
To start with, I had to get weighed, which is always a nerve-wracking experience for me. I haven't been sticking with weighing myself as I don't want to get too obsessed with the numbers on the scale. However, I have been tracking my weight loss through the number of dress sizes I've dropped. So far I've gone down two. It was a nice surprise then to find that I had lost 2.5 stone since the day of my operation. When you add that onto the 7lbs I lost on the pre-op diet, that is a total weight loss of 3 stone, which is a really good start.
My surgeon was really happy with this as it is a nice steady amount that is sustainable. I'm also ecstatic as I honestly didn't think I'd lost so much. I'd also had no problems with the band beyond food getting stuck once, so he was happy to do the first inflation then and there.
The process of getting the band inflated is not particularly nice, or at least it wasn't for me. During my operation, a port was stitched into my abdomen. You can't see it but I can feel it every now and then, especially if I put pressure on my stomach as this can cause a bit of pain. This port means the saline that is used to fill the band can be injected or removed with relative ease.
However, the port can shift slightly with weight loss, which means it was exactly where my surgeon had put it. This meant he had to locate the middle of the port in order to do the injection. To do this, my surgeon had to push down hard and repeatedly on my stomach, which was incredibly painful. He also had to stick me with the needle - which was the longest needle I'd ever seen in person - several times. A couple of these really hurt as they went through muscle, but we got there in the end!
I was advised that often people don't feel much of a difference after the first band fill, even though it is the most amount of saline to be injected at one time. So far, I've felt a very small difference in that I have trouble with food that is too dry, I can't gulp water and white bread makes me feel really uncomfortable. I also have to eat slower, which is saying something considering I had already had to start eating much slower following the operation.
Once I've gotten used to this level of inflation, I can have another band fill, which I have already booked for the end of August. Until then, I'll continue being careful with what I eat, occasionally weigh myself to see what I've lost and maintain my positive attitude throughout.