Mildred and I both had our ORBERA gastric weight loss balloons removed yesterday. I'm going to speak for both of us unless there is something specific that we have different experiences with because my balloon buddy and I really did share a lot of the same concerns and have similar goals.
There were so many feelings attached to the removal of the balloon. These 6 months have flown by but we have challenged ourselves in ways we wouldn't have considered doing last year. We are definitely proud of that. There is regret that we didn't give it our all. Neither of us committed to a really disciplined workout routine nor were we as strict as we could have been on the diet portion. One thing we did do, however, is acknowledge our own role in our setbacks and work hard to do better the next day. There is fear. On my way in to the procedure I was texting with Mildred who was already at the center and we both were worried that we would lose the ground we gained because the balloon wouldn't be there to help us. The truth is that the balloon was a tool. It showed us what we could do if we put the work in. It also does not accept blame. If I choose to eat around the ballon (as some ORBERA patients do) or skip workouts it was certainly reflected on the scale and the only person to blame was myself. I've gained and lost the same 7 lbs more times that I care to count in the last six weeks. That's on me. There was definitely excitement. At the end of the day, with all the ups and downs, we each lost a significant amount of weight, we mostly stuck to a program we committed to, and definitely felt a sense of completion as this part of the journey ends.
The procedure itself was quick, just like the placement. There was no real downtime from the removal other than the usual sleepiness after being sedated. I had a little bit of a sore throat from the tube, Mildred did not. I had lunch immediately after my procedure I kept it light because of my sore throat, but also was surprisingly not terribly hungry. I had my procedure in the afternoon and by 7 p.m. I was well enough to go to Michael's for my daughter's project, review my service contract with Verizon at the Verizon store, and hit the grocery store. I still couldn't drive because of the sedative, but felt great otherwise. Mildred felt a little "loopy" but otherwise energetic as well. We are both back to work today and feeling pretty good.
So far no real difference in appetite, so that's good. I feel as if my body really has changed from the inside (specifically my brain). We know that in order to keep making progress we have to keep changing and working hard. We have each lost about 30 lbs in six months and still have about 15-20 more that we'd like to lose in the next six months so this journey is by no means over.
Stay tuned as we continue working towards our next goal which will culminate at the Scope It Out 5K held annually in March. We invite all of you to join us and will put out more information about our team as we get closer to the date.
UPDATE: I have to revise my initial account of post ORBERA recovery. Mildred and I felt so good after the procedure we both probably overdid it the day after both in terms of activity and eating. On day 3 we both felt some cramping and nausea and had some vomiting early in the morning. We were told that this was likely because we went straight to full meals and because we were tired after a regular day and slept right after eating. We are sticking to liquids today and after half a day of discomfort and an essentially liquid diet I am feeling better but should probably have taken the down time right after even though I felt I didn't need it. So the updated recommendation is to reintroduce food to your system the same way you did once the balloon was initially placed and follow the same precautions. Give your body a day or two to adjust to the change. We will continue to keep you posted!