Hi Squeaky & Nickers.
I had my band removed in May last year after not being able to swallow my own spit. I had the band since 2010, and it was good for about 2.5 years. Then, I had no ends of trouble where I would vomit after every meal, yet I was actually putting ON weight. I had fluid out, fluid in, a gastroscopy that was allegedly "normal" but I struggled. Then one day at work (I work in a hospital) I had a lightbulb moment. "OMG, I am so dehydrated, my skin was crunchy!" (Slight exaggeration there, but you get the drift).
I had already made my mind up that I wanted the band out, and had made an appointment to see a different surgeon, whose work I had seen. However, on this day, I went to the Emergency Department, and was rehydrated. I was admitted and went to theatre the next day. The surgeon really wanted to salvage the band if he could, but I was adamant, and I wanted it out.
When he got in there, it had slipped and I had a very large oedematous pouch above the band. He removed it. Afterwards, I am afraid I ate (cos I could again!) and I gained a lot of weight. The surgeon had said he would not operate for 4 months to allow time for the stomach to heal. I had a holiday to Spain booked, so I did not actually have the sleeve until November.
At surgery it was a bit more tricky as I had so many adhesions from the band, but the sleeve was done successfully, and I recovered really well.
It is so much better than the band - no more struggling with food choices. You can really eat anything, just much much smaller amounts. You do choose nutritious food over junk, as you just cant fit both! You cannot eat and drink at the same meal...something I miss, as I did like a glass of wine with dinner when I dine out, but you learn to live with it.
Weight loss has been slower though, than in those who did not have the band. I think it is because your metabolism has adjusted due to the band. I am exercising - I cycle 3-4 times per week, 20-30km, so I think I am building muscle. I can notice the difference in my clothes.
I am currently 10 weeks post op, and have lost 12.5 kg, with 7.5 in the first 2 weeks. Slow since then, but I am happy with that...as long as it is downwards!
I do not regret having the sleeve ne little bit. I just wish it has been at the stage it is now technically in 2010 - there were too many leaks and comps back then as it was a new technique...
Good luck to you!