Thursday, 14 July 2016

A new expedition?

Dear friends, you've listened to me whinge and whine about the band for the last 10 years, but me and the old goat are about to part. It's the last couple of weeks that I can whinge about it ever again.

Albert Ladysmith Steptoe, as I like to call my band, has been a pain in the backside (well stomach) for pretty much all of that time, and now it's had its last laugh.

For the last couple of months I have had excruciating pain in my port area. It started suddenly, and was a stabbing, continuous knife twisting pain.

As I'm sure you remember. I had that kind of pain back in May 2007 when my original band burst and the tubing whipped through my body cavity causing me endless distress and a new surgery 6 months later when I found out!

Because of this experience, I went to the hospital. I didn't mince my words, I made darn sure that I said I wanted to see the X-Ray after it had come through! When my original band burst, and the tubing flew off of my port, I went to hospital. They did an X-ray, CT scan and an ultrasound. I stayed in hospital for 3 days and even heard the nurse at a night changeover suggest "She's either in a lot of pain, or she's a very good actress" which I thought was a bit of a cheek! I was released after they checked all of those things as apparently there was nothing wrong with me... Possibly some IBS, maybe passed a kidney stone, maybe a little diverticulitis... But basically I was good to go.


The moronic doctors, radiologists and consultants had missed that there was a massive piece of tube lying in my guts all the way down to my pelvis, a disconnected port for no good reason and a load of shrapnel from the exploded buckle! For god's sake!!

Because of that I spent the next 6 months getting pointless fills, being told I would lose weight, being hungry, getting bigger, having serious pain whenever I bent over, cancelling work right left and centre etc etc until I went back to Belgium to see what the hell was going on,  just because they didn't spot that there was something wrong.

So, this time I was going to see those X-Ray's!

Everything was connected. The port looked fine and they didn't know what was up with me. I was booked for a CT scan, which I had on 17th May (yes, even the same timing as my original band break!!) and that showed up nothing untoward apparently... Except the clips on my Fallopian tubes from where I had been sterilised in 2001 had come off though 😳😳😳😳😳 Somewhat concerning! DH has still managed to glide over the fact we are getting him sorted as I'm not having a baby now with a 18 year age gap between his/her brother! And I like my sleep 😂

So I now have a port that's mega painful, occasionally massively bruises up under my old surgery scar, occasionally bruises near my belly button - those deep red bruises of a bleed not just a bump.
Old Gastric Band port scar
Strange bleed near my tummy button

I'm seeing a consultant about it on 22nd July. He's an NHS chap who deals with people who've had previous elective gastric surgery privately, or surgery abroad, and hopefully he can shed some light on it.

I have read a little here and there, as one does, and it's going to be bad whatever happens. The band will have to be removed, I'm dead sure. And the NHS won't give me a new one, or a bypass at the same time.

Either my port has flipped over or herniated causing the trauma locally, or the more likely story is that my band has eroded through my stomach wall. The band travelling through the stomach wall is pretty common, and is not as horrendous a problem as it seems per se.... But the buckle on the band is an issue. This lovely situation means that bugs from the guts travel down the tubing at the point of least resistance, and infect the port site. Pain at the port, swelling and stuff like that are oftentimes the only symptom.

I can no longer actually feel my port. It's all lumps and bumps and is too painful to feel naturally. I have braved the pain for a bit and had a dig about but I can't find it. I'm hoping that this means it's just a flip, but I always fear the worst, as with this little bit of silicone, it's always been the worst.

At any rate. The band is coming out. I have contacted Dr. Dillemans in Brugge and have made arrangements for him to remove it and convert me to a bypass. Surgery is likely to take place at the beginning of August nicely timed to coincide with the school holidays!

There I've said it, written it and now it's going to come true. Bypass me baby!

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