Gastric Banding…is it worth it?

Looking at the above picture you probably wouldn’t guess the effort, the anguish, the physical hardships it has taken to get to look semi-healthy (well in the eyes of a brain washed world anyway) but I question my decision to have my first Gastric Band and even more so the revisional surgery, which stitched it back, after it had ripped from my stomach.

I almost daily wonder where I would be if I hadn’t taken the steps to have the surgery in December 2011. I fear at 23 and a half stone, that I would be dead. Medical professionals, that I was liaising with told me I could have a heart attack at any time. Scary stuff. But surprisingly it was more the emotional turmoil that I went through daily, rather than the physical, that pushed me into a life of restricted food, constant vomiting and I suppose at the end of it…my goal weight.

So the big question is…was it worth it?

Bloody hard question to answer.

At the time, I was tipping the scales at 23 and a half stone, I could barely walk, I would get taxis everywhere, which in London and on a students salary, was financially draining. I was also attempting to gain my undergraduate degree in Theatre and English, which I adored but I found the physical requirements of the course challenging and at times embarrasssing. Whilst my fellow Theatre students were gorgeous and supportive (Go UEL!) I found the Theatre practices and warm ups physically straining. For example, take the daily warm up – the ‘hodder’, well, that certainly was a beast of a warm up. It consisted of jumping from foot to foot, in a circle with your fellow classmates, each taking it in turns to enter the circle with another and continue to jump in time, whilst keeping eye contact with the person opposite you in the circle. Needless to say, a very hard task for someone of my size. I would try and control my embarrassing shortness of breath by holding it? Don’t know why I thought that would work?! This method of shame prevention almost ended in fainting!

Being sweaty was another thing I absolutely hated about being overweight. Many a time I would turn up somewhere slightly late, having run up stairs or quickly through tube stations and appear at the venue with huge drips of sweat hanging off my face. I was always constantly warm. In contrast to that, anyone that knows me now, will agree that I am constantly complaining of being cold…not sure that’s a win?

I had always had support from my Mother and my Maternal Grandmother on my weight issues. Each one representing both side of the spectrum at dealing with an overweight family member.

My Mother had decided not to discuss food, weight, bodies etc, thinking that I would perhaps grow out of over-eating or perhaps was under the delusion that It was simply puppy-fat and would come off at some point. She chose to be kind and in-offensive.

My Grandmother on the other hand was always fiercely critical (with the best possible intentions of course) of my weight gain. I don’t think she could fathom how I could let myself go that much, having always been a slim woman herself. It was my Grandmother in the end, who coughed up half of the nearly 12 thousand pounds that it cost to undergo gastric band surgery and then supplied the money for revisional surgery a second time, when it all went horribly wrong (more about these amazing women in another post).

Anyway back to the question in hand.. is it worth it?

Well, I can now walk, I can even walk with a swagger, in fact sometimes I choose to practically shimmy down the street, happy in the knowledge that my legs are not burning horrendously and my feet don’t hurt.

I can now wear high-heels! Ok, I can’t wear stilletoes really due to my ankles being so weak from years of strain and damage from falling over. Damn you weak Canckles! But I do wear chunky or kitten heels. In fact in protest of not being able to wear heels for so long, I now don’t wear anything else, much to the bemusement of my family when I turn up to a walk in stylish, but maybe a tad impractical pair of wedges!

I have discovered bones that I literally didn’t know existed. Not necessarily a positive experience the first time you encounter something jutting out of your body under your stomach. I shout to my partner in fear “babe what the hell is this?” whilst simultaneously pointing to this monster or alien growing out of my body! “That, my darling, is your hip bone…”

But of course as you have probably guessed from my moaning previously about pain and anguish, there have been some pretty serious bad sides to this lovely ol’ band of mine.

Details of which you shall discover in my next instalment…. gloriously entitled ‘The Vomit Chronicles.’

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