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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!!

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I would like to know if you had any other weight loss surgeries or not? Is this a way to get back on your program or is it just to help you lose the weight? You seemed to do well. I had my RNY 3 years ago and I have been successful in keeping off my weight but my hubby just had a Sleeve done and he isn't losing his weight near as fast as I feel he would have with the RNY. His mind hunger is totally taking him down!!! Thank you in advance

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Sorry to hear that your husband is struggling. It's never easy, is it?

No - I did not have any other surgeries or procedures before the balloon. In fact, I don't think people who have had other surgeries are eligible for the balloon, but don't quote me on that. It might be good to talk to his doctor about alternatives, or to contact a balloon surgeon near you to see if it's even an option.

I would say that the balloon is a way to get back on track with general weight loss, and a way to lose weight. It may be all someone needs or it may just be a part of their process ... it all depends on how much they need to lose and how much they actually lose with the balloon.

Please note that in the US their is a max BMI for the balloon. Conversely, in some other countries they primarily use it in morbidly obese patients who are preparing for weight loss surgery. So it's been used in a variety of circumstances, but is only permissible in certain circumstances depending on where you live.

Good luck to you and your husband both on your continued journeys.

Edited by Wayward Traveler

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Thank you!! I don't really think he was interested in it any way. LOL I'm just trying to help him any way I can. But...the bottom line is HE HAS TO DO IT!!! Again Thank you!!

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#waywardtraveler

I am so glad you checked it to let us know how your removal went! You have truly been an inspiration for me right from the start when you suggested the patch for nausea. I have looked forward to all of your comments. The balloon seems like it was the right choice for you.

Here's where I am as of this morning. The doctor I found to do the procedure is a bone-head. His office has called me a total of one time in almost three months. The after patient care has been terrible! I called him Friday because I have had diarrhea for three weeks now. It is not an all day problem but I have very runny loose stools every single morning. I have been taking Imodium daily. I called his cell phone and he told me now to worry about it! Really?

It will be three months on October 26. I am still stuck on 20 lbs but......I am learning what to eat, how to eat, and how much to eat. I know I will lose more in the last three months. It has been an interesting experience so far. If it wasn't for the diarrhea I would be very happy at this point.

Please check in from time to time and let us know how your are doing, I always look forward to your post!

Best of luck to you on your continued and very successful weight loss journey!!

Shirleyd90

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Shirleyd90

Is the diarrhea something new? After my RNY ( not sure which surgery you had but...) I became Lactose Intolerant. Which caused me to have bad diarrhea. I was on Premier Protein drinks for 2 weeks Preop and 4 weeks Postop!! I had diarrhea so bad, and my Surgeon finally told me to try some other Protein because it was more than likely the Premier drinks!! Funny thing is I can't drink milk but I can do yogurt, cheese, sour cream and Half and Half. I have to use Almond milk or I get the back door trots every time. Just a suggestion.

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Thank you for the informative post! My one year goal is 50 pounds. I have lost 46 pounds in 46 months and am scheduled for removal tomorrow.

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@@Dixie_Amazon - that's fantastic - congratulations!! I just (finally) passed the 50 pound mark and couldn't be happier!! :-D I'd like to lose another 20-40 but for now I am thrilled with the results ... the balloon was definitely the right decision for me. Good luck with your removal - I hope all goes well. Cheers!

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Wow what a great post. Although I have the sleeve, I love hearing about all WLS, especially when it's the new kid on the block. Thank you! The fact that you kept on your program and continued to lose weight is truly an inspiration.

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@@Wayward Traveler Thank you, it's been quite a journey for me, first the lap band (2009), then the lap band to sleeve revision (just 2 months ago). I have to have restriction (cry hehe) which is why you're exceptionally inspirational to me. :D Keep up the great work!

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Hey me and my husband are scheduled to both have the balloon next week and I am just wondering what your long term progress has been like.

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