While it would be great if every day with one was easy and you could breeze through it, simply watching the number on the scale drop, this is far from the case. Some days can be incredibly hard to get through and you never quite know when your band is going to throw a spanner in the works. Unfortunately for me, this Wednesday was a particularly bad day.
Funny enough, I had an appointment with my dietitian (who is so lovely) on Tuesday afternoon and we spoke about how well I was getting on with my bad. I explained about the challenges I had experienced with certain types of food and how I had changed habits to accommodate them and haven't since had any real trouble. Everything seemed great and she was amazed at my progress. After all of this and being so positive, it's almost as if my band knew that I was getting to comfortable and needed to show me who is actually boss.
For me, bad band days usually start with my first coffee of the morning. I often struggle to finish a full coffee as my band tends to be a bit tighter when I first wake up. I've got into the habit of making a smaller coffee and not gulping it down quickly, which usually does the trick. But on Wednesday, as with other similar days, eve my coffee couldn't get through my band and I started my day hugging porcelain.
This is always a signal that I need to take things easy, which usually helps my band loosen up enough to eat a proper meal later on. I tend to drink water and hot drinks when this happens, sipping them very slowly to help loosen things up and avoid being sick. This tends to do the trick and I can enjoy breakfast around 10am.
However, on really bad days - like Wednesday - this doesn't happen. Instead, I manage to eat a few mouthfuls and feel a fuller a lot quicker. This then turns to discomfort as nothing moves through my band, meaning it just sits there. If nothing is moving to the next part of my stomach, there's only one way out and so I spend a lot of my day running back and forth to the bathroom.
As you can't just not eat during bad days, one because this won't loosen and the band and two because it isn't healthy, you have to keep trying. I make sure to chew food really well, drink some water and go slowly. How quickly this works varies, but I usually end up able to eat some lunch with minimal hurried bathroom trips.
On particularly bad days - of which, Wednesday has been the worst so far - breakfast, lunch and snacks all end up in the same way. Then my band actually lulls me into a false sense of security by letting me eat something so I try something else a couple of hours later, at which point it points and laughs at me because it fooled me and now I have to run back to the bathroom.
Unfortunately for me, this happened this week after I'd been to the gym and was about to get the bus home. After managing to eat a satsuma before the gym, I thought I'd brave a banana afterwards. Everything was fine until I got to my bus stop - the bus was due in 4 minutes with the next one being in 25 - and then had to quick walk back the way I came to find a public toilet before I had a very embarrassing moment in the busy streets of Leeds.
Luckily, these situations don't tend to hurt, they just get incredibly frustrating. In comparison, the few times that something has gotten completely stuck in my band - damn you melted cheese - I've genuinely been in agony and have ended up with pulled muscles. These tend not to be full days though, just singular events that usually don't have much of an impact for the rest of the day.
The worst part about bad band days is that you can never be sure if something is slightly stuck in it or if a certain food has triggered it. The latter usually causes me some issues as I start to worry that eating anything I did on a bad day again will cause similar results. You don't know until you've tried, so it's a case of weighing up the probabilities - the chances are if I ate pasta, rice or bread, these are what set off the chain reaction.
Basically, a bad band day is far from fun. It's completely different from when I was sick before I had the operation, not least because I now have the worry that I could do some serious damage to myself. Unfortunately, they are just part of the package and I'm just happy that they don't happen more often and don't last more than 24 hours.
It just goes to further prove that getting a gastric band and then living with it is far from the easy option.