Band-Aid…Is it my Band or is it Something Else?

So…you’re out on your bike enjoying a lovely ride.  The sun is shining and you are (of course covered in SPF 30 or above…thats the nurse/mother in me talking) sailing along, enjoying the scenery, feeling GREAT and looking damn good in your bike helmet when all of a sudden you start to feel a discomfort in your lower abdomen.  Hmmm…not sharp but dull and kinda nagging, moving around, up and down, left and right.  In fact it is pretty much all over the lower abdomen now and starting to spread up a bit TOWARDS THE BAND OR WHERE YOU THINK THE BAND IS and is increasing in intensity.  Now its cramping.  Abdo is a bit tight.  You ask yourself:  “Have I ever experienced this before”?  Not sure.  “Did I ever have this pre-band”?  Don’t think so.  “Could this be related to my band”?  Absolutely.  “Should I call the clinic”?  YES, ASAP, IT MUST BE A SLIP, WHERE IS MY GD PHONE??!!  Suddenly…you let one rip and the pain disappears…whew.  THIS time, thank heavens it was only the broccoli.

In general physics there are two ends of the colour spectrum and 7 colours are distinguished when white light is dispersed by a prism.  Red is at one end of the spectrum with the longest wavelength, and violet at the opposite end of the spectrum with the shortest wavelength (and that is the extent of my grade 11 physics knowledge..but admit it, you were momentarily impressed).

There tends to be two opposite ends of the band spectrum as well.  The “Red” patients relate every ache, pain, malady, wart, cramp, nosebleed, to their band (and often their family MD’s do as well).  The “Violet” patients on the other hand may be tolerating only liquids, have persistent heartburn, night-time reflux of food and/or fluids, are seeing specialist after specialist, being scoped up and scoped down to determine the source of their discomfort and have never once contacted their clinic.  These patients are at opposite ends of the band spectrum.  I have seen MANY of both at our clinic (and of course this applies to people in general NOT just banded patients).  Thankfully most people fall somewhere in between red and violet.

I’m really not trying to be impertinent here, just a bit lighthearted…and perhaps a bit cheeky.  To have something ‘foreign’ in your body can be a frightening experience, particularly in the beginning when you are not at all sure what to expect.  It is not unusual to question yourself and your symptoms and to relate them to this new piece of hardware.  (But just for the record: anything happening in the groin region or below is usually not band related…don’t be embarrassed to ask but don’t be offended if you get a slight giggle…we are only human).

In an attempt to ease some fears and provide a bit of insight, but IN NO WAY TO TAKE THE PLACE OF YOUR CLINIC OR SURGEON(I hope I made that clear) I am providing below:

“Symptoms which could Suggest that Something MAY be “up” with your Band and should have you contacting your clinic” :

  • new or persistent heartburn
  • difficulty with most solids (not just the ‘trigger foods’ such as dry meats, soft bread, rice, pasta, stringy foods, steak, pork for example)
  • difficulty with liquids
  • persistent nausea even without having eaten
  • persistent vomiting not related to ‘trigger foods’ mentioned above
  • the ability to eat ‘everything’ and never feeling the presence of the band, sometimes combined with weight gain
  • reflux of food/fluid up your throat at night (and not just when you ate/drank late and went right to bed)
  • night-time cough
  • pain/discomfort with eating
  • persistent abdominal pain/discomfort
  • redness, warmth, around port site, fever/chills

Your clinic should be THERE for you and you should never feel embarrassed to contact them should you feel that you may be experiencing a problem that is band related.   Your clinic should be your best source of information and support (not the internet).  Resist the temptation to believe everything you read on-line…the internet can be a wonderful resource and it can also be the cause of a great deal of anxiety and sleepless nights.  Your clinic should know best.  If you suspect something is seriously wrong with your band please contact your clinic/surgeon.  And rest assured that 9 times out of 10 there is nothing wrong with your band, but always better safe than sorry.

Yours in Health and Fitness,

Sue

About BodyWell Fitness

I am a Registered Nurse, Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor, and Lapband Education Coach. I have worked since 2005 with the obese population and over 5000 lapband/gastric banded patients helping them to understand life with a gastric band, eat well, lose weight, get physically and mentally fit, become healthy and stay motivated. It is my goal to provide information, share knowledge and motivate people to help them reach their hopes and dreams.
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