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Wayward Traveler

Pre Op
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Everything posted by Wayward Traveler

  1. Good afternoon! I had the Orbera gastric balloon removed a couple of weeks ago and so far, so good! I know I was very curious about what to expect (both in terms of having the balloon and then later getting it removed), so I thought I would share some of my thoughts and experiences with you here. RESULTS I lost 47.8 pounds while I had the balloon. I was shooting for 40 but hoping for 50. Considering that during the time I had the balloon I got married, went on a honeymoon, was surprised with a couple of showers before, hosted a reunion of sorts, hosted a baby shower, traveled for work several times and to visit extended family, and attended a number of other business/social events, I really can't complain. :-) The balloon definitely helped in all of those situations however it does not get all of the credit. It is important to keep in mind that the balloon is just a tool - careful planning and diligence is required in order for it to be successful. You also have to make conscious decisions about when to "cheat" - and be OK with that - and when it's not worth it. REMOVAL Separate the nausea that most people experience when the balloon is inserted, I (like many people) found the removal to be harder on me physically. I had a sore throat for several days (I did not with insertion) and felt kinda sore and crummy in general. Not terribly bad, but not 100%. I definitely recommend taking the day of removal off of work and, if possible, at least one day after - if not two. (For insertion I recommend at least 3-4 days off, including insertion day, if not an entire week). I actually went back to work the day after removal and I was OK, but I would have preferred another day off. Again, it's not the same miserable/nauseous feeling that many people have with insertion, it's more like a sore and under the weather feeling. PREP I didn't get a lot of great guidance from my doctor's office about getting ready for removal, but I read and heard a lot of advice from places like this. I did clear liquids the day before, full fluids the day before that, and a combination of soft foods and full fluids the two days before that (with the exception of one regular meal, due to a previous engagement). My doctor was happy to hear that, and it seemed to work well, as my stomach was devoid of solid foods. I was ravenous on clear fluids but sipped on Bariatric Choice Berry throughout the day (tastes like Kool-Aid) and warm broth that night (which was very comforting). FOOD AFTER I was ready to get back to regular foods pretty quickly, but eased into it a bit, just to be safe. I really just wanted things like milkshakes right after, given my sore throat. I even had a smidge of an upset tummy, so I was longing for things to calm that. Within a few days I was eating and feeling back to normal. FAMISHED? I have heard/read so much speculation about whether or not you'll be hungry all of the time after the balloon is removed, since all of the space that it once took up is now vacant. Personally, it was not an issue for me at all. Yes, I was hungry right after the procedure, but that's because I had been fasting for a few days - lol!! I am a believer that your brain can be retrained during the six months that you have the balloon IF you take the process seriously and are very deliberate about what you eat and when. (In many ways, the brain has more influence on hunger than the stomach does.) I have not been hungry all of the time or felt like my stomach is empty. In fact, I would say that my hunger pangs are fairly normal. I have not gone on or been tempted to go on binges. I am making just as many deliberate choices now as I did before. The balloon was the jump start that I needed, and it put me back on track ... and I have been able to stay on track even without the balloon. WHAT NOW? I made an appointment with a nutritionist (not at my surgeon's office) a few days before the balloon was removed. She created a plan for me that I am working on now, and I chat with her weekly to ensure that I stay on track. This was an important step for me to keep things moving in the right direction, and to ultimately reach my goals. (I also considered the Rise app ... which I may try at some point.) One thing I know is that I need accountability, so whether I am working with a nutritionist, a doctor, Weight Watchers, a friend an app or whatever, I will be ensured greater success with an accountability partner than if I just trudge through on my own. SUCCESS!! I have continued to lose since the balloon was removed and - including the weight that I lost BEFORE, DURING and AFTER the balloon - I am now down ~ 111 pounds. :-) I would like to lose about 39 more and am confident that I can do it. I am excited about what the future holds! RECOMMEND?? I have been asked by several people if I would recommend the balloon to others. That's difficult to answer, because I would hate to be the person who recommended it someone, only for them to struggle with it (because not every experience is the same). So let me say this ... I recommend it with a number of caveats. First and foremost, you have to go into it with your eyes wide open, knowing the pros and cons and the fact that each journey is unique. You could have great experiences, you could have terrible ones. You could lose a lot (I have heard as much as 77 pounds) and you could lose nothing (I've heard that too) ... heck, you could even gain if you don't do everything that you're supposed to do. You could get miserably sick and not get sick at all. I've heard just about everything, including kidney failure and early removal. It's a crap shoot, and you have to be prepared for any outcome ... including catastrophic ones. As with many things in life, you have to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. So do your homework, stock up on essentials and be ready for anything. Further, I once again have to stress that the balloon is only a tool - not a solution. You still have to count calories, watch your protein and get exercise, making healthy choices all along the way. If you don't do even one of those things, you will not have optimal results. Lastly, and more importantly, you have to be gentle on yourself. Don't be so rigid that you feel depressed and deprived the entire time. That's no way to live and it's not sustainable long-term. Allow yourself to indulge occasionally but do it consciously, and graciously accept the consequences (for example, I only gained a pound on my honeymoon ... I was not upset about it, I was THRILLED that I was able to have that much fun and indulge as much as I did, and only gain a pound in the process!). You will have ups and downs. You will plateau. You may not lose anything at first ... you may not lose anything at the end. That's OK. Just be diligent and give it time, and be thankful that you're being HEALTHY even if you're not losing. As they say, we didn't gain it all overnight ... we're not going to lose it that fast, either. This is about the long-haul and truly embracing lifestyle changes that will keep you healthy and happy once the balloon is removed. I hope that helps. Please feel free to reach out with any questions. I will pop back in from time to time to let you know how it's going and hopefully to be a resource to others on their journeys to good health. :-) Cheers!!
  2. Wayward Traveler

    Read BEFORE Gastric Balloon for one persons review

    Every experience really is different. After feeling crummy for a couple of days and feeling hungry for a week or two, I then had great success. I lost weight, never had the balloon adjusted (I didn't even know that was an option with Orbera?), didn't feel sick anymore, didn't feel the restriction reduce, etc.. In fact, I even continued to lose weight after an uneventful removal six months later. It was right for me and I'm glad I did it. Personally, I was just not comfortable with the idea of permanently altering my anatomy. Having said that, I would never say that the balloon right for everyone, but I just knew it was all I needed to get a jump start and to re-establish healthy habits. All I can recommend is that people really do their research, ask a lot of questions, ensure that they have a sufficient support structure and then do what's best for them. Cheers! Sent from my iPhone using the BariatricPal App
  3. Wayward Traveler

    Orbera Placed on 5/8

    I don't like most protein drinks since they tend to be thick, sweet and/or mediciny. Blech. If that's why you don't like them, then I'd highly recommend organic fuel by organic valley (they have a different drink too, so make sure you get the FUEL version). Most grocery stores carry it in the dairy section, but some (like wegmans) has them on the shelf in the organic section. I actually order it on Amazon - same day delivery!They come in singles, 4 or 12 packs. 26g of protein for 260 calories - great ratio. I prefer the chocolate flavor. It's thin like milk, and the flavor is relatively light. Orgain (in the green and white package) is another good option (but not their high protein one in the blue package - it tastes like medicine). I've even seen that in drug stores. Similarly, it's thin with light flavors. In that one I prefer the strawberry or vanilla. Broth is also a good choice. If you can stomach it, bone broth is even better. And while regular old Popsicles don't have any protein, there's something satisfying about them. :-) But don't get the sugar free ones - you need all of the calories that you can get right now. Good luck!! Sent from my iPhone using the BariatricPal App
  4. Wayward Traveler

    Orbera Balloon Next Week!!!!!

    I did the balloon and had great, non-invasive success. Every person, every experience, every need is different. I would never tell people to run and and get a balloon, nor would I tell them to have have an invasive - and permanent - WLS. People need to research each option carefully, determining which is best for them. Part of that research is understanding the risks and the fact that you may be one of the few who suffers really adverse effects. The worst part about that is that there is no way to know in advance how your body will respond ... and that's true for any surgery. I think chpstick2u did her homework and made an informed decision like the rest of us, but was one of the unfortunate few who had a bad result. That is precisely why I am happy to share my experiences and advice with folks, but I also tell them that they're no guarantees. And, frankly, I've seen more issues with traditional WLS surgery than I have with balloons ... so no procedures should be taken lightly. Regardless, what may be good for one person may not be right for the next (i.e. when it comes to these things, there are no absolutes). Having said that, I personally would never go to Mexico for surgery, but that's a personal choice. To each his own.
  5. Wayward Traveler

    Orbera Balloon Next Week!!!!!

    @chpstick2u: Good grief. I'm so sorry to hear that. It's shocking, really. I did not feel anything immediately after (it was the calm before the storm) and felt fine when I left the hospital. I understand that a lot of people do - they typically don't start having issues until they get home and the drugs wear off. But even then, I didn't feel pain, I just felt crummy and queasy. I did not throw up until the next AM and even that was not much ... after that I felt a lot better. I'm so very sorry that you had such a terrible experience. Everyone reacts differently ... some people don't get sick at all!! Crazy. Have you already had it removed? If so, hope that went well. If that's still coming up, hope it's uneventful. Regardless, best wishes to you on your future endeavors.
  6. Wayward Traveler

    Orbera Balloon Next Week!!!!!

    I think mine cost more than that (maybe $7000?) but I don't recall ... regardless, it was worth it and it was the right choice for me. May not be for everyone, but I'm glad that I did it. :-)
  7. Wayward Traveler

    Orbera Balloon Next Week!!!!!

    Hi chpstick2u: I was worried about post-op, too. Granted, it was no picnic, but it was not as bad as I expected, either. I only threw up a couple of times about 48 hours after, and that was it. I was miserably nauseous for the first few days (to the point of thinking, what have I done?!?), but that passed too, and then I felt a lot better. I would say to be prepared to ease back into soft and the solid foods ... I think some people get into trouble when they transition too quickly. Also, I don't recall if I took pain meds or not, but I definitely needed the nausea medicine (i.e. both the patch and pill). Come to think of it, I had liquid Tylenol 3 but I didn't take it. I also didn't need the anti-spasm/cramping meds and/or the anxiety pills. HOWEVER, I was glad to have them ALL, just in case. One thing that I've learned is that everyone reacts differently. There is no way to predict what you'll need so, in my opinion, better to be safe than sorry ... you sure don't want to be making a pharmacy run if you're feeling miserable. Other than that, if you search for posts from me, I've provided a lot of advice about what to do and eat, so hopefully that will help. Good luck!! :-)
  8. Wayward Traveler

    gastric balloon with RNY

    I could be wrong, but I don't think they allow people who have had previous gastric surgeries to get the balloon. You might want to confirm on the manufacturers website. Best wishes on your continued journey.
  9. Wayward Traveler

    New here, procedure set for Jan. 12, 2017!

    @@BlueTuna - I'm so sorry - that sounds awful!! Are you eating regular or diet Popsicles? If the latter, try the former. Also you might also like Isopure - a clear Protein drink. It didn't agree with me but some people love it. Are you at the point yet when you can do eggs? If not, don't rush it, but when I was able to move to soft foods l felt a lot better. I also enjoyed frozen spaghetti w/meat sauce. It's really soft so it was easy to digest and had lots of protein from the meat sauce, which made me feel better. Best wishes!! Sent from my iPhone using the BariatricPal App
  10. Wayward Traveler

    New here, procedure set for Jan. 12, 2017!

    Get as many as you can, but I was the same way - about 200 the first couple of days (mostly regular Popsicles). Not optimal but if that's all you can do ... :-/ Don't forget Jello and broth - other sources of clear calories. There are clear Protein drinks, but I was not able to stomach them. Hang in there!! Sent from my iPhone using the BariatricPal App
  11. Wayward Traveler

    New here, procedure set for Jan. 12, 2017!

    Hang in there ... it will get easier. Well, after it gets harder. You won't want to eat much so you probably won't feel hungry, but you will likely feel pretty crummy for a few days. Have Popsicles on hand, Jello and clear Protein drinks (if you can stomach them and they're readily a available). broth is also a good option - especially bone broth (given the high protein), if you can stomach it. Just remember - it will get better. Cheers!! Sent from my iPhone using the BariatricPal App
  12. Wayward Traveler

    New here, procedure set for Jan. 12, 2017!

    Good luck!! :-)
  13. Wayward Traveler

    New here, procedure set for Jan. 12, 2017!

    I was pretty miserable the first few days, although not as bad as I had expected (based on what I had read in advance). After ~ 3 days I started to feel a lot better - hope you do too. :-) Popsicles and Jello helped me a lot. Miso soup sounds like a good option, too. Just take your time easing in to soft/solid foods. Hope all goes well - good luck!! Sent from my iPhone using the BariatricPal App
  14. Wayward Traveler

    New here, procedure set for Jan. 12, 2017!

    I didn't even know that was an option - good tip! Sent from my iPhone using the BariatricPal App
  15. Wayward Traveler

    New here, procedure set for Jan. 12, 2017!

    Hi everyone! Just a few thoughts now and I will write more later ... My favorite Protein (by far) is chocolate Organic Fuel. It's not a full Meal Replacement but if it's only a few days and you're taking Vitamins, it should be sufficient. It's not super thick (I can't stand the weird texture of some protein drinks) - it's more like the consistency of milk. It's also not sickeningly sweet and it does not have an overwhelming Vitamin flavor. It just has a subtle chocolate flavor. And at only 260 calories for 26 grams of protein, you can't beat it. I love it so much that months after having the balloon removed, I still have it almost every day for Breakfast. If you want more of a full meal replacement, Orgain is another good option. Similar texture, just a little more flavor and no aftertaste (unless you get their high protein version - blech!). In that one I actually prefer strawberry or vanilla. Orgain has more vitamins and minerals than Organic Fuel, but not as much protein, so it's a give and take. But both are organic/natural, which I like. FWIW I only had to fast for 3 days before insertion - 2 days of full fluids and 1 of clear. I actually fasted a little longer before the removal (it can be more of an issue at that time since food can get stuck on/around the balloon). But I would do whatever your doctor advises. Other fasting options - (bone) broth, Jello, popsicles, Bariatric Choice liquid (smells like medicine but tastes like Kool-Aid - not bad!), unjury (various drinks and Soups, including an unflavored option, but I have not tried them) and Isopure (a clear protein that I got for post-op, but I couldn't stomach it ... not sure if that's because it was too thick/sweet or if it was because I was queasy ... but some people swear by it). Ensure even has a clear Protein Drink (I have not tried that one, either, but Ensure is pretty popular). I even just drank the broth from my favorite canned Soup - Progresso Chickarina ... it was very soothing. :-) BTW, if you're fasting, you might want to consider going crazy and getting the regular popsicles and jello (not the lo-cal versions). They are only like 15-40 calories to begin with ... you'll be at such a tremendous calorie deficit that your body will thank you for the extra "nutrition". Also, ask your doctor if you're allowed to chew while fasting. If not, you may just need to let these options dissolve in your mouth. (Sounds crazy, I know, but chewing activates saliva and digestive juices, which they may not like ... that's why you're not allowed to chew gum the day of the procedure.) I hope that helps. Best wishes to you all!! :-)
  16. Wayward Traveler

    Telling friends & family

    The weight loss with the balloon is not as dramatic with traditional WLS, so it is not quite as obvious, and the balloon does not require the same down time. In other words, you don't "have" to tell anyone. I only told a few people - family and friends who were closest to me (I didn't even tell my boss). The rest I just told that I was doubling down, being very structured about and committed to my weight loss efforts ... which was true! The reality is that the balloon will not work unless you are really committed to the process, and the plan that you follow with the balloon can be just as effective without the balloon, if you follow it as diligently (I have continued to lose weight post-balloon, following the same plan ... so my journey has been seamless to those around me). In other words, tell who you want, what you want, and nothing more. If you choose to tell everyone - great! If you choose to tell no one, that is completely fine too. It's totally up to you. :-) Best wishes!
  17. Wayward Traveler

    holiday after gastric balloon

    I have heard of some people taking a long trip within a week or two and doing just fine, but I would not recommend it. I would give it AT LEAST two weeks, more like four, just to be safe. And some people take longer to adjust, needing more like two months. But I would think that a month would be good for most people. Good luck!
  18. Wayward Traveler

    Weight watchers w orbera?

    Absolutely! In fact, I highly recommend following some sort of plan with the balloon. Just know that for the first few days you can't follow much of anything, and that depending on how long it takes you to adjust, the first month could even be a bit wonky. Regardless, there may be some foods that just don't agree with you while you have the balloon, but that's ok - you just eliminate them from your diet and defer to others (the good thing about WW is that you have SO many options ... you can eat just about anything). Last but not least, no matter what plan you follow, make sure that you get enough Protein - that is critical for weight loss and general good health. Best wishes to you!
  19. Ya ... it's easy to get sucked into that site - so many interesting trials for so many things - lol!
  20. Wayward Traveler

    Flying with Gastric Balloon

    Nope :-)
  21. Wayward Traveler

    Gastric Balloon medication costs

    My insurance covered my meds at the typical rates, as well. I don't recall how much my exact out of pocket was, but it was comparable to whatever I pay for other prescriptions. The only thing that's not covered is the procedure itself (and any meds that you receive as part of the procedure - for example, the patch - are included in the cost of the procedure). Best wishes!
  22. Hi timeless333: My BMI was just under 40 (and I, like you, didn't want to do anything that included cutting/changing my anatomy). I met with one doctor who said he would not do the procedure on anyone who was a fraction over that, and another who said they had some wiggle room, so it may depend on your doctor. Having said that, I believe (as you said) it is used in other countries to prepare for WLS, so it stands to reason that patients with much higher BMIs have done it. However based on how it was tested/approved in the US, I don't believe that's an option here. But you may be able to find a clinical trial where that's being done - check out www.clinicaltrials.gov to learn more. Best wishes to you in your weight loss journey.
  23. I'm so happy to hear that you're doing well!! Congratulations on your weight loss - how exciting! More importantly, congratulations on what sounds like a new lifestyle - you're certainly making healthier, sustainable choices. Good for you - you should be proud!! Yes, those first few days are awful (and mine were rough with the patch - I can't imagine them without), but thankfully it gets better for most folks. I'm sorry about the cramping. I am thankful that I didn't have that, but it sounds like a lot of people do. :-/ I'm so happy that my words have been helpful. That's really the only reason I post here - I'm hoping to provide others with the info that I was so desperately seeking before I got the balloon. I will do my best to continue to provide that kind of support. As far as life after the balloon, I'm still doing well and continue to lose. I'm now down to my lowest in 4-5 years. I've eased up on myself so I'm not losing as quickly, but I am still losing (just not as quickly) and enjoying life at the same time. :-) So all is well. Thanks for sharing your story. Best of luck to you with your continued success! Cheers!! :-) Sent from my iPhone using the BariatricPal App
  24. @@DHurd35 - I was nauseous for 2-3 days (I threw up late the night of the procedure and twice the morning after). I had the procedure on a Wed and was back to work on Mon, and I was fine (I actually got out and about a bit the weekend in-between). Once I was back on solid (probably even semi-soft) foods, I felt pretty much back to normal ... Protein goes a long way to preventing weakness. :-) So for me it was very manageable and totally worth it for a couple of days of discomfort. However please note that it is different for everyone. I know people who were not nauseous and never threw up, and others who were sick (almost) the entire time. There was even someone at my doctor's office who got so dehydrated that (s)he went into kidney failure and had the balloon removed early! So while I fared well, you may not ... and you may do even better (someone else here lost 77 pounds!). That's the challenge - there's no way to know. Both the gastric balloon and plastic surgery are very personal decisions. I'm glad that I did both, but neither was a cake walk. Plastic surgery has its own recovery challenges, and mine went a bit sideways. My draining would not stop so my stomach ended up distended. It's still much improved with the excess skin gone and and muscles tied, but it's not perfect and really requires a follow up procedure. So both have their pros and cons ... and both have risks. You need to do what's best for you and to accept that you might have challenges along the way, regardless of what you do. Whatever you may decide, I wish you the best of luck and an uneventful journey. :-)
  25. Wayward Traveler

    Balloon Removed and Feelin' Fine! :-)

    @@Sai - thanks - you too! :-)