My doctor and nurse were glad to see me in such good spirits yesterday and, as a badge of honor, removed my peeling steristrips. In their opinion, my textbook recovery was just that! The interesting part of the visit, though, was looking at what happened during the removal surgery. The highlights:
- My LapBand had slipped so far down my stomach that it was literally chillin' at just a few centimeters above my pylorus (the connection between the base of the stomach and the beginning of the intestine). For reference, the band is supposed to be just a few centimeters below the top of the stomach, creating a small pouch for food (hence, portion restriction). My doc has no idea how my band got that far down my stomach, but he was impressed at seeing something he's never seen before.
- I have great circulation! Other than my stomach being swollen from the band that was restricting it's path to my intestines (he has no idea how I've consumed any food without rupturing my insides), my veins were on full display and pumping just fine!
- Up to 25% of LapBand patients now have complications (up significantly from when I elected to have the surgery over 3 years ago - I wouldn't have done it at that rate!!), and those complications primarily stem from the fact that the band is a foreign object your body is trying to eliminate. When you have a band installed, your body creates a fibrous ring around the band, trying to attack and eliminate it. When the band is removed, the fibrous ring still exists around your stomach where the band was and, eventually, it deteriorates. In my case, however, that fibrous ring was so dangerous (see #1 above) that, after mulling it over together, the doc and physician's assistant decided to go ahead and cut the ring. This, in and of itself, can be dangerous - without exact precision, the stomach could be nicked, causing fatal leakage. Without cutting it, though, they said it would be awhile before I'd have relief of my symptoms, and they weren't okay with leaving me miserable. Hallelujah - my doctors are some precise bishes and got that fibrous ring cut without incident! He also showed me the picture of what happened after they cut it - my stomach deflated from the overfilled balloon, swollen status it had been into a slimy pile of stomach muscle mush. He informed me that they danced a jig once they accomplished that!
- Although my doc refuses to remove the band and sleeve a patient at the same time (which I'm pretty sure I want to do next - I'll write another blog about that soon and look for input from y'all!), he did say that if anyone were in the position to have it done, it would be me. Although the doc prefers that the stomach heal in between surgeries, he showed me that the area they begin cutting for the sleeve (approx. 6cm above the pylorus) was exactly where my band had slipped to. Essentially, my stomach was largely intact and unharmed....just swollen.