Broken Bay Writers – Stories of NSW Central Coast and beyond

Scribbles on life, the universe and everything… Woy Woy, Ettalong, Umina and teh Central Coast that is!

Tag Archives: Optifast

Scars and a very serious muffin top!

G’Day Lap Band Fans and other Voyeurs!

Here is another update on my laproscopic scars from my Lap Band operation. The photos (below) of my stomach are not pretty but what else do you expect for someone who requires this procedure 🙂 The procedure requires four small  incisions (less than a centimeter). These are in an arc across the top of the belly. It also requires one larger incision, about three centimeters long.

The wounds are covered after the operation with a clear plastic dressing that is water proof (see my previous blog). The dressings come off after 12 days and are easy and painless to remove. The only stitches seems to be on the three centimeter incision (and then only two or three stitches). There is no bleeding or seepage after the removal of the dressings after 12 days (not in my case anyway).

The wounds have healed very well. You can only just see some of the small ones and the large one is looking good. The photos below were taken five weeks after the surgery.

I have lost about 25 kg (55 lb) now, and I feel so great! I am walking faster, riding my pushbike even my motorbike has more ‘grunt’. I am not quite half way but feel very confident of getting to a healthy weight. No problems with eating the ‘tricky’ foods (e.g. red meat, corn, bread) and I am glad to see the end of Optifast. Optifast was great but you get sick of the same old thing. I did love the Chicken Soup while I had to be on it.

My partner, Judy, is very supportive and is very innovative with meals, I cook on the weekends which can be a point of risk 🙂 My sons live with me and are very supportive also. Friends and family are wonderful to make you feel good. The strong ‘cheer squad’ is a huge plus!  The right team with your Bariatric Surgeon is also an important success factor.

Al's Scars after five weeks

Al's Scars after five weeks

Al's scars after five weeks

Al's scars after five weeks

Thanks to Stefan for the photos – see his web site, great photographer – especially the wild outdoor stuff – makes your head spin – Stefan’s Photographic Web Site

Share your Lap Band experience with me!

I am writing about my Lap Band and obesity journey. I would love to hear any experiences that you may have. It does not matter if you are thinking about a band, have one or would not have one. If you are a friend of partner of an obese person, I would love to hear you story also. Please make comments here or email me at Everybody has a story and I would love to hear it!!!

A small prick and I’m good to go!

OK, that was easy! I went in for my first service on my Lap Band. I had a “fill” – they jabbed me with a needle into the port on my abdomen – and I am now in full “restricted” mode.

It was only the slightest pin prick, less painful than a flu needle in the arm. You lie on your back with a pillow under your middle back. Do a bit of a crunch and in goes the needle… too easy!

My doctor wants me to restrict intake for a week – one Optifast meal a day, spread over 2 or 3 meals! Yikes! He says I won’t feel hungry.

One weird thing, the port is on my abdomen and just under the skin. I thought it would be under a bunch of fat. Turns out my fat is on the inside, surrounding the organs – the worst kind of fat (dangerous) and well suited to the Lap Band!

One more week and back on solids… with caution! One more check up before winging off to visit family and friends in Canada in July! I hope I can drink again by then…

Lap Band Surgery aftermath… prepare for an ugly sight…

…not the operation incisions, I mean the ugly belly!!!

It has been 2 weeks since I “went under the knife”. Dr Caska did a great job and was glowing in his praise for my preparation. He says obese men are the hardest to operate on for Lap Band placement. He requires a very strict Optifast regime to make my liver “manageable” for the procedure.  I had a BMI >50 so he laid down the law. Two weeks of 3 Optifast meals per day, followed by two weeks of 2 Optifast meals a day. I was allowed a cup of steamed vegies from a list each night. No booze!!! Surely this treatment is banned under the Geneva Convention? I guess the loophole is, the Geneva Convention only pertains to the treatment of prisoners of war 🙂

I did such a great job that Dr Caska put 3 mls of saline in my Lap Band during the operation. I had lost >20kg (45 lbs) on the Optifast in 4 weeks so my stomach had shrunk. My BMI was <45 after that month, my heart, pulse and blood pressure perfect and my Cholesterol was down to 4.4. I guess the Optifast does the trick! Their Chicken Soup was my saviour!

I am now healing very well. The first week I had some nasty times with gas, gout and constipation. All is well now, especially with some help from flax seed and metamusil. I am amazed how quick he scars heal up. 

I suspect the band needs adjustment already (2 week mark) as I have much of my hunger back. I am restricted in how much I eat in a meal, but with the hunger, you tend to pick in between. I have an appointment for a Lap Band adjustment in 2 weeks so I will just have to behave. The adjustment means they jab a respectably large needle into my abdomen. It does not hurt any more than giving blood.

I am on solid foods… no problem so far. I had a glass of red last night and was swinging off the chandeliers – and we only have down lights!

So, here is the picture you have been waiting for, feel free to adopt it as your computer screen background and for your family Christmas card!


Al's belly showing the 5 incisions for Lap Band Surgery!

Al's belly showing the 5 incisions for Lap Band Surgery!


Note: The plastic is the waterproof “bandages” – they came off after 12 days – piece of cake! Only the big cut had a couple of stitches. Try to control yourselves over that hairy chest 🙂


Lap Band Day!

A quickie… it is 6:20 on Tuesday May 19, Lap Band operation day! I am off to the hospital in 15 minutes. I weighed in for the last time before surgery, I have lost 39.6 lbs or exactly 18 kgs!!! That loss is from 4 weeks and 2 days on Optifast, I dropped from 3 Optifast meals per day to 2 per day 2 weeks ago.

I have been amazed how well I have handled the tough diet. We have had dinner parties, attended dinner parties, museum openings, fine restaurants and generally been around delicious food for the whole time. Torture!!! I have endured gout and a cold for the past 10 days.

My partner Kitty, and my boys, Tim and Ben, have been a power of strength and support! My friends, family and work-mates (including my bosses) have been wonderful! Kitty particularly had to endure my grumpy moods that came in the last 2 days (exacerbated by the gout especially).

Onwards and downwards!
Stay tuned!

Self inflicted lamb lust!

I have one of those personalities that can rigidly stick to anything – for a very short time! To achieve this state I need three things: I must totally believe in what I am doing; I have to really want it; It has to have a clear end date.

That is why I can’t lose weight long term!

That is why I am going for a dog collar on my stomach! Woof!

I have been on the Optifast thing for 19 days now but whos’ counting?! ME!!!

I have lost 20.2 pounds (believe me, the 0.2 counts 🙂 and I have so much energy my partner is starting to hide from me. At least I’m not stealing her choc late any more. My clothes are getting looser, I feel in control with food (because I don’t get any) and I have not had the bad moods I expected. The first 10 days was all headaches and hunger but that is long gone.

On Sunday we had two very old friends over for lunch. I slow cooked a leg of lamb on my barbie (barbie-Q that is, not the cheesy doll or Klaus type barbie). Now, this is where the torture is self inflicted. Kitty was quite happy to throw together one of her amazing lasagnas. This would be equally mouth watering to me but at least I would not have spent five hours lovingly preparing, basting and carving it.

Now I am sitting with Kitty, my two sons and two old friends, gazing across the impossibly beautiful Broken Bay. I am chatting away affably as I sip my Optifast soup. They devoured the lamb along with Kitty’s fabulous Greek salad and the eggplant that I had grilled on said barbie and lavished with Greek yogurt and cucumber.

Tragically, there was lamb leftovers!!!

Did I lust after the lamb? Was it self inflicted? I know you know the answer… slimming better be bloody worth it!!!

I know it will, it is already better. If I did not believe it, I would not be able to stay on Optifast for two consecutive days, let alone nearly five weeks.

Bring on the dog collar!!! Woof!!!

Purple Patch.

Wow! What a pleasant surprise!!!

After the first 10 days of Optifast meals, I have reached a point of NOT being terrorised by hunger pangs. My doctor has prescribed a month of Optimax to prepare for surgery. The lose of weight will mean better blood pressure (mine has always been “normal” – how mediocre 🙂 and a healthy liver (which has to be lifted for the procedure).

The first 10 days were torture. Watching family and friends devouring wonderful meals, noticing how much food advertising appears on TV (and I watch very little TV) and being consumed with food and the desire to eat. I was low on energy, had headaches and other symptoms designed to make me eat. I toughed it out and now I’m feeling good!

Next week I go from 3 to 2 meals of Optifast a day. I was dreading this but I actually feel ready for it. The weight seems to be falling off now.

I’m feeling great, no pain right now. A spring in the old step and very motivated. Great support from family and friends, especially Kitty!

I can’t wait for Friday morning weigh in – reward time!!!

Fat boy torture!

Cruel and unreasonable punishment… well, torture anyway…

My colleague at work had her last day at work before going off to have a baby. The company pays for a lunch. Location is a beer cafe in Sydney I have been dying to try… perfect! Almost! I am on the Optifast diet in preparation for LAP BAND™ surgery. I get a shake, a bar and a soup (with a small serve of non-starch vegies) and that is my day food wise.

My workmates offer to go somewhere else. No way! I can take it… easy said!

The server gives us the menus, it all looks yummy. I zoom in on the beer menu, this is a brew pub with a serious reputation. Beers all round except for the pregnant person and my good self… sparkling mineral water… no slice! They order up. The server looks at me and I tell her I am not eating, I am a spectator. She looks confused.

I try to change the subject from food. They ask me how my preparation is going so we do food again! Bum! I point out how many food advertisements there are on TV. I begin to salivate!

The drinks come and the beers look good… I love red beer and they have it here. I throw back a swig of mineral water, exhibiting that “devil may care” nonchalance of a tea totaler! I have this gig under control…

… then the food came…

I bit hard into the Optifast bar. They taste great, but I suspect the medium lamb on couscous was better. The bread with dips seemed a little hard to avoid eye contact with also. 

I have the big picture in mind, the ultimate goal – to weigh about half of what I am now. I am not going to let temptation beat me but it is bloody tough. I will be in Port Moresby in a week, I will have to pack the Optifast and stay away from the local cuisine… I will do it, I will survive.

I wished my colleague all the best for the birth, I won’t see her for a few months. I suggested confidently that we will both be smaller next time we meet. That was one of the hardest eating things I have done. It is hard to be social and be on such a restricted diet. The prize is worth it!!!