It hasn't been a full week yet (2 days to go) but I have so much to share with you that I couldn't wait!
The one piece of advice I have for anyone starting this journey, is be prepared. That includes having options for nutrition and hydration at home, making sure you give your body enough time to adjust, and having your home team in place to help you out. Like most good candidates for ORBERA, I'm fairly healthy. I have never had to juggle this many medications at once (don't worry, it's short term!) but I was happy to do it to avoid any nausea or vomiting (these are the most frequently reported symptoms). Thankfully it worked. What surprised me is that I felt really weak initially. It was so helpful to have a friend come over (thanks Anika!) and make a list of what medications I was supposed to take and when and make notes of how I was feeling and what alleviated my discomfort. When we realized that standing and moving helped me tolerate drinking we went for a short walk. I also spent a lot of time sleeping the first couple of days.
I also hadn't really planned for what my family was going to eat. Luckily my friend Neelofar was on it and brought enough food for the rest of the week along with an array of drinks that were allowed on my inital clear liquid diet (first 48 hours). The one that worked the best for me was the Honest Tea Orange Mango Flavored Herbal Tea. It goes down smoothly (water was surprisingly hard to tolerate) and I felt good about the ingredients. This is a quest for improved health after all, what goes into my body matters.
I was driving by the next afternoon, but again felt really tired. Once 48 hours passed and I could move beyond clear liquids things really improved. I couldn't wait for that first protein shake! My favorite is Isagenix Chocolate. I have one for breakfast most days. With ORBERA in place I really couldn't have more than a quarter of my usual shake. It did, however, really help give me a boost of energy to be getting some nutrients in. I've alternated that with an Oikos Greek Yogurt strawberry smoothie (the little bottles). Initially I could only drink about half. Perhaps the most helpful "full liquid" was a thin lentil soup (daal) that my mother in law made for me. It tasted like real food, is rich in protein, and went down really well.
As a person who hasn't really monitored food intake or been terribly careful about food choices the hardest part has been cravings. I know that I'm not hungry but I have a running list of what I would like to eat. Ledo's pizza (original College Park style), dinner rolls from Bourbon Steak, Burger 7, the spaghetti Neelofar made, Rosa Mexicana, and the list goes on. It has been incredible insight into why I make the choices I do and the no going back nature of the balloon has forced me to avoid "cheating". I realize that I always give myself a pass for special events, when I'm really hungry, when I'm really stressed out and countless other situations. Knowing that I will literally be sick if I eat something not on the list before my body is ready for it makes self control a no brainer.
The biggest motivator? I've already lost 5.6 lbs. The instant gratification of the weight loss is really pretty great. I know it will probably slow down as I acclimate to regular food, so ramping up my physical activity is my next goal. I woke up this morning ready to go. I was able to drink the entire yogurt smoothie (7 ounces) and start my prescribed workout, basically a 20 minute walk on the treadmill and best of all drink water normally. I'm back at work and looking forward to moving to the next stage.