I just want to throw this out into blogland to see what others think or maybe to pose to your doctor. There must be statistics somewhere.
One of our bloggers, Big Daddy, mentioned last year that his doctor recommended being defilled every couple of years to give the band and/or stomach a rest. My doctor doesn’t make any recommendation but…
My experience over the last couple of years is this fill-unfill-refill-defill rollercoaster I've been on. My clinic is not aggressive at all with fills. I get 0.1 cc fills. I know that sounds small but it seems to be what works for me. And I can feel a difference with that tiny amount. I have free fills at the clinic where I had my surgery but I pay $50 here at home with a doctor who works with them. I guess I've seen him about 8 times ($400) and about 5 at the clinic.
I also have big problems when I fly so they take out some fluid. My last defill (down to 3 cc from 4.5 cc) was last September 29th just before BOOBS. It was the strangest feeling. I didn't feel like eating at all, although I had less fluid. That did change and I was able to eat anything and everything but after about 1 cup of food, I'd get this dull ache in my right shoulder, something I've experienced my entire band life. My trip to Europe was wonderful. Full of walking and Goulash Soup but with no problems eating. I gained 1 pound.
My weight stayed the same through the fall. On November 11th I returned to the clinic to be refilled. I also told them that I thought everyone should have an unfill/defill every once in a while. Things just felt different. I think not being too tight helped my stomach relax and readjust to the band again. The nurse said others had told her the same thing. She only gave me a pittance of what had been taken out 0.5 cc/1.5cc. Two weeks later another 0.4 cc was added.
And now I'm hungry. ALL THE TIME. I can blame Christmas. I can blame travelling. I can blame the winter. I'm up 2 pounds since BOOBS. It has to come off.
But I have to wait until after my gallbladder surgery on January 24th. I'm in Bandster Hell! Knowing that getting a fill will help take the hungries away but knowing I have to show my own self-control until then. I've booked a fill appointment on February 1st. I may only get a sparrow's fart of a fill—meaning 0.1 cc but know deep in my heart that this is the only way I can survive with the band. Little fills at a time. When I get too much of a fill, I am plagued by PB'ing, heartburn, throwing up and unable to eat more than a tablespoon of food. Twice I've been so sick, not being able to swallow my spit and don't want to revisit those times EVER again.
I think having an unfill respite for the last 4 months has made an enormous difference in living with the band. I just know that I still need the band and its restriction to do that. So I'll relive "Hell" for a few more weeks. And then really get down to business and make this investment pay off big time.
Throwing out this question: Do you think it wise to give the band/stomach a rest every once in a while by having an unfill/defill?