I was banded on Nov.24th, 2008. I am 5 ft 2 inches tall and started my pre-surgery diet at 320 pounds. Seven weeks post surgery I am now down to 285. I chose lap band because of the price (my insurance did not pay) and the fact that it can be adjusted. I was concerned about the malapsorption aspect of the bypass surgery and the permanent re-routing of the internal organs. I was also a little shy of telling others I had had surgery and thought the slower weight loss and quicker recovery time was easier to explain to others, especially co-workers. Lap band was a good choice for me, but may not be the surgery for you. Bypass may be the better choice. You have to make your own decision, but I will tell you that there are other people with high BMI's having the lap band. In my support group yesterday, I met two people who started their journey at over 600 pounds. Both had lost around 200 pounds so far.
Whatever surgery you have, I would encourage you to do as much emotional work as you can before surgery to help with you new lifestyle. When the food is gone, you will begin to experience many emotions that the food has helped you to suppress. I began seeing a counselor 2years ago and am currently in eating disorder group therapy. My group is mixed with over eaters, bingers, restrictors and purgers. When I started the group, I did not think I belonged, but have come to realize that many of the same emotions that make the other women restrict or purge are the same emotions that make me want to binge. I have learned allot about myself in that group and have gained the support to finally change my eating behavior for good. Without these lessons, I'm afraid I would not be able to stick to my food plan. I also began attending support groups sessions and nutritional classes at my surgery hospital. I did this for 3 months before surgery and feel I was very prepared for life after surgery. You will also need someone in your life to be a support to you. Most people will not understand what you are going through. My mother, who is overweight and has not had surgery, has been my strongest support. There have been nights that I have felt so low that I found it difficult to talk. I just needed to hear her voice on the phone reassuring me. There are other times when I need to talk, talk, talk about my struggles. Most people can not handle this, but my mom has agreed to do it.
To answer your questions, yes I do miss eating the way I used to. I had to go through 6 weeks of a liquid and mushy food diet during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. It is difficult to find ways to socialize with others when you can't eat very much. I did go to holiday parties and gatherings. I didn't eat and when I felt uncomfortable, I left early. At restaurants, I found that I could eat soup. I just had to eat around the chunks. If I thought I couldn't handle eating soup when others were eating my favorite foods, I did not go. I had family support during family dinners, but still had to sit and watch everyone else eat. However, the freedom I am starting to feel now that I have made it 7 weeks post surgery is invaluable. I am finally beginning to feel free from the pull that food has over my life. I'm beginning to make better choices for myself both with food and in other areas of my life. I'm starting to feel healthy and am looking forward to the future. I wouldn't do anything differently, but I also know that if I wasn't ready for this change emotionally, things would be different.
The pain after surgery was mostly in the muscles of my stomach and torso. It felt like I had done 1 million sit ups. With the pain medicine, I could make myself comfortable by laying in a recliner with a small pillow behind my back. This pain only lasted a few days. After that, I was only sore when I needed to use those muscles. (Sitting up to get out of bed, coughing, etc.) This lasted for about 2 weeks. I am a teacher and was back at work after 7 days, feeling no pain from standing all day. I was weak because of the liquid diet, but that got better over time.
To answer your question about being frustrated with slower weight loss, I'd have to say I was frustrated right after surgery. I actually gained 5 pounds the first 3 days after surgery and my caloric intake was about 500 cal a day. (I later increased my caloric intake.) I was told everyone gains a little weight during surgery due to all of the fluids they fill you with. I lost that weight in about a week. At the beginning, there were some weeks that I would lose 1 pound and some where I would lose 8. I was told to not expect must weight loss until the band was tightened. You body needs time to heal. I may have been frustrated then, but I am happy now. People are beginning to notice the difference and I feel very healthy. I am also very confident that I will continue to lose weight. When the scale doesn't say what I want, I know that the next week it will. It's all about the journey.
You have a big decision to make. I hope this information helped. I would encourage you to seek information from others as well. Preparation makes all the difference.