Lots of people have asked me exactly what will actually happen during the operation. Well - it isn't a gastric band. It is a mini gastric bypass, which involves bypassing two metres of intestine and reducing the stomach to a pounch the size of my surgeon's thumb. You can see a simple diagram of the procedure just under my blog heading.
After the operation my intake of nourishment will be restricted to liquids. Within two weeks of the operation I should also be eating yoghurt and puréed fruit and vegetables. Six weeks post-op I believe that chicken and fish can also be made into a purée and added to the list of things I am allowed to eat. I have to say that with the puréed food we are talking about a couple of teaspoonsful to begin with and getting up to half a normal yoghurt pot size, so not bowl or platefuls! Gradually you add very small solid pieces of food which have to be chewed very, very well before swallowing to avoid bits getting stuck and causing a lot of discomfort. By six months most healthy food can be eaten but a third to a half of a plateful per meal is satisfyingly filling.
Liquids are taken differently too. Initially liquid is only allowed in 1-2oz quantities. No liquids to be drunk an hour before a meal and half an hour to an hour after a meal. This is partly because liquids will fill the stomach and not allow enough food nutrients to be eaten, but also because the liquids will turn the solid food into a "soup" allowing it to pass through the stomach too fast and not give the feeling of fullness essential to being satisified.
There is a problem which can occur called gastric dumping syndrome. This happens where foods bypass the stomach too rapidly and enter the small intestine largely undigested. "Early" dumping begins concurrently or immediately succeeding a meal. Symptoms of early dumping include nausea, vomiting, bloating, cramping, diarrhoea, dizziness and fatigue. "Late" dumping happens 1 to 3 hours after eating. Symptoms of late dumping include weakness, sweating, and dizziness. Many people have both types. Apparently you feel as if you are dying and it is to be avoided at all costs. Not eating sugary and fatty foods and chewing everything well should make this less likely to happen.
Alcohol intake has to be limited as it's obviously very easy to consume lots of calories that way. Luckily I am not worried about wanting to drink alcohol, I'd be more likely to want cream on my fruit purée, which wouldn't be good either.
So it's not a miracle cure, the mini gastric bypass. It is an aide to eating sensibly and having a resultant weight loss, and I now only have three more nights at home before I go in to have mine done - yikes!