ORBERA Journey

Posts for tag: weight loss

By Mona
October 03, 2017
Category: Weight loss
Tags: ORBERA   weight loss   gastric balloon  

The first week without my balloon has had a lot of ups and downs, but has given me a lot of clarity as to what the balloon has done for me and what I did for myself.

I started eating normally the day of the procedure and realized at 3 a.m. the next day that that was a huge mistake!  I went back to my post balloon insertion liquid diet for the next day and proceeded with caution for a day or two after.  That really helped me reset a bit.  Most importantly I met with my ORBERA coach, Coach Heather, who I had been studiously avoiding for the last couple of months since my weight had plateaued.  I decided that if I really want help losing more weight and keeping off the weight I have already lost I needed to come completely clean to Coach Heather.  That can be really embarrassing, especially when you are FaceTiming.  I think generally we like to talk about our "wins".  Our challenges can be a downer and not talking about them often means not thinking about them.  So this time instead of telling Coach Heather about the new spin class I love or my plan to run a 5K (all true) I decided to tell her about what wasn't working.  I confessed my inability to say no to pizza and pasta.  When she advised me to ask the waiter to not bring bread to the table when I go out to eat I told her how sad the thought of passing up bread made me.  There are literally restaurants I go to just for the bread (I'm looking at you Coastal Flats!)  She paused for a moment and spoke to me a bit about discipline.  I know that having discipline is really important for anyone trying to lose weight (or achieve any goal) but it is also really hard to do if you don't have it.  As we talked more about what I mean when I say that I have no control when it comes to pizza and pasta Coach Heather asked me how much of these things I eat when I do eat them.  As I told her about my portions I realized that in fact I do have discipline or rather the ability to acknowledge that I am full after a slice of pizza or a few bites of pasta.  As simple as this seems, it is information about myself that I did not have prior to this procedure.  I also realized that many of the things I implemented because of ORBERA have just become habits.  Coach Heather also suggested that I pick one meal a week where I don't limit myself if eliminating cheese, bread, pasta, and pizza from my diet makes me so panicked that I throw out all my discipline.  I agreed to that with the understanding that if I don't stick to it, I go cold turkey and eliminate all of these things to break the habit.  

Coach Heather then asked me about my exercise regimen.  I have been going to a spin class with my friend Maureen once a week  OR going for a walk/run once a week.  I was very honest with Coach Heather and shared with her that after a good workout I get busy with other things and don't prioritize another one and before I know it a week has passed.  She looked at me for a moment and then just said, "exercise four times a week."  That's it.  She promised me that if I do these two things she asked me to do I would lose 5 lbs. by our next phone call.  She also felt confident that I will reach my goal weight BEFORE THANKSGIVING if I keep following through.  I find that almost impossible to believe.  My goal is a weight I have not been since law school.  I will say that I have been following Coach Heather's advice this week, I cut out dairy(which I have a sensitivity to but eat anyway) almost completely, I had my full cheat meal on Saturday night complete with chocolate cake, and I alternate running/walking with spin class twice a week.  I made an effort to walk rather than wait between my daughter's basketball games on Saturday knowing that my cheat meal was coming.  Early Sunday morning I ended up in the ER with an allergic reaction.  It ended up being to a laundry additive, but it is the kind of thing that has historically sidelined me for weeks.  I'm on medications, I'm not sleeping well at night, wearing exercise clothes itches etc. etc.  However, I know that I can go one of two ways here.  I can gain all the weight I've worked to lose back (I've done it before) or I can keep moving.  I did take Sunday off, but on Monday morning I completed my run and this morning went to my amazing spin class complete with a Tom Petty tribute.  I felt pretty good already, but when I stepped on the scale one week after my balloon removal, I was in for a surprise.  I weighed in at 132 this morning.  That's 35 lbs. less than my starting weight.  I don't quite believe it since I look the same, but surely it could be losing the weight of the balloon combined with some release of water weight.  Whatever the case, I'll take it and use it to motivate me to keep moving both mentally and literally.  

One of the things that keeps me motivated is having things to look forward to.  We are sponsoring a team for the "Scope It Out" colon cancer awareness 5K walk/run in March, the exact date is yet to be determined.  I plan to run it.  I have never run in any situation before so for me it is quite a challenge.  I've started by preparing by downloading a really simple app, Couch to 5K.  My sister is joining me in training with the app as is our office manager Tia and we'd love to have anyone who feels they need/want the support to join us as well.  As for the 5K, the more the merrier.  We are planning a lot of great things around the event and would like to see as many of our patients, colleagues, friends and family come out and join our team. If you are interested send me an email at [email protected] and I'll put you on our update list so we can hit the ground running when the date is released!


By Mona
September 26, 2017
Category: ORBERA

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!


By Mona
August 28, 2017
Category: ORBERA
Tags: ORBERA   weight loss   gastric balloon   TRAVEL  


This was written last month and is just being published now, so please excuse the delay! The picture on the left was taken by our office manager the day before my procedure and the one on the right was taken about a month ago in the same outfit.

The last month has been really busy with the end of Ramadan and a trip to Spain, I've survived both and even managed to make a little progress.

The difficult thing about Ramadan is that feeling that you "deserve" something fatty or calorie laden after a long day of fasting.  You can easily consume 1500 to 2000 calories in one sitting without thinking about it.  I tried to finish out the month by being mindful although I wasn't always successful.  What made it easier was the relatively short amount of time available for eating (from about 8:40 p.m. to 4:30 a.m.) and by the end of the month exhaustion sets in and all you can manage is some water in the morning and maybe a protein shake or a boiled egg. I found that particularly with the balloon, that was plenty of food to get me through the day.  By the time I got to the end of the day water was all I wanted and after a quick dinner I felt great and ready to do it again the next day.  The result was about 5 lbs of weight loss that I quickly regained once Ramadan ended.  As you can imagine I was REALLY nervous about traveling and gaining more weight out of my comfort zone.

Prior to embarking on our trip to Spain we checked in with our ORBERA representative who gave us the numbers of physician's trained in ORBERA in each of the cities we were visiting.  Although my experience has been really good and I travel with my doctor, I wanted to have a backup plan in case of emergency.  My biggest concerns were not being hydrated enough and not getting enough exercise.  I will say that this was a very active trip and we walked as much as possible.  Several members of our group (including Dr. Din) ran with the bulls in Pamplona and we were moving non stop.  Also, luckily for me I didn't love the food.  The downside of this is that I ended up consuming more carbs than I probably should have but I also ordered vegetables a lot and substituted fruit for meat in my breakfast.  The drinking was tougher because quite frankly I didn't want to use public restrooms.  I compensated by drinking most of my fluids at night once I was back in my hotel room or at lunches where I knew the bathrooms were clean.  At the risk of sharing too much information it is the most regular I have ever been while traveling!  

I did feel really bloated towards the end of the trip and was dreading stepping on the scale when I got home.  After a good night's sleep in my own bed, lots of water, and a shower I weighed myself the day after we returned.  The travel bloat had gone down and I lost the weight I regained after Ramadan and am now about 30 lbs lighter than my starting point.  I have between 12-15 lbs left to lose and am really going to try and reach that goal before my balloon removal scheduled for the last week of September.  

By Mona
June 05, 2017
Category: ORBERA

One of the scariest things about any weight loss program is the risk of falling off the wagon when something in your delicate new routine changes.  Today marks the 11th day of Ramadan, which for observant Muslims is a month of fasting from dawn until dusk. This fast is a complete abstinence from food and drink (not even water).  I have fasted every Ramadan for over 35 years but I will admit fasting with ORBERA had me a little nervous for a couple of reasons.  The first is that I wasn't certain how my body would react to fasting.  Although I have done really well with the gastric balloon, I still have a foreign object inside my body that has instructions for use that include medications and certain routines particularly drinking lots of water.  The second concern was the fear that the change in routine that comes with Ramadan would throw my progress off and my discipline completely off kilter once I broke fast in the evening.

I made an agreement with Dr. Din that I would suspend fasting at the first sign of trouble.  I have had to miss fasting before for pregnancies and when I was breastfeeding as well as when I was ill prior to my hysterectomy.  It is disappointing when you have to miss a fast but obviously health concerns come first and I was prepared for it.  I have made it through the first third of the month of Ramadan without any issues thank God. Much of the credit goes to careful preparation and great advice from my ORBERA nutritionist.  She advised me to load up on protein for my pre-dawn meal and pass on the carbohydrates and fruits until my evening meal.  I start my day with 2-3 dates filled with peanut butter and perhaps an egg or some avocado on Ezekial bread (not really bread!)  I also make a point of drinking at least 32 ounces of water with my pre-dawn meal, at least two of those glasses AFTER my meal which is the amount recommended to rinse the balloon after eating.  Prior to eating anything I take my PPI (stomach acid prevention medication).  This has been really effective in keeping me full throughout the day.  I know that it is the diet and not the balloon keeping me full because this morning I deviated and had leftover Hakka noodles and I'm already starving at 2 p.m.!  

In the evening I break my fast with what we call "green juice".  It's a blend of 4 ounces of orange juice and an Isagenix product called "Greens". Greens are a mix of vegetables, herbs, and botanicals https://www.isagenix.com/en-us/products/individual/isagenix-greens?gclid=CjwKEAjwgtTJBRDRmd6ZtLrGyxwSJAA7Fy-hXLUFUyUXnTG-q71Phg9Kx3L72npYgq-4tAgJkJnwXhoCFe7w_wcB . It's a refreshing way to break fast, pack in some produce and take the edge off of hunger quickly.  It tastes good enough that my picky younger daughter requests it!  I also have a date to break my fast.  It is a tradition to break fast with dates, but there is also some science behind this.  The dates regulate blood sugar quickly and are full of digestive enzymes that help the body adjust after 18 hours or so of fasting. The fiber in dates helps with regularity and satiety as well.  I plan to integrate dates into my diet after Ramadan ends as it has worked so well for me. I also have two glasses of water immediately after breaking fast.  In my family we move on to a regular dinner after evening prayers.   Evening prayers after the initial green juice, dates, and water gives my body a chance to process what I've ingested so I'm not quite as hungry when I sit down to dinner. When we finally sit down to dinner I'm ready to make better choices for myself and have a 400-600 calorie meal that will keep me full through the evening but not so full that I cannot eat properly when I wake up to eat again at 4 a.m.  Also, I needed to figure out how to take my thyroid medication in a way that it would be effective.  Taking it at 4 a.m. with food rendered it ineffective and had me exhausted the first couple of days of fasting.  My friend Anika suggested I switch to taking my medication at midnight or right before bed so I had a few hours of an empty stomach to absorb my Synthroid.  It has worked really well and has limited my late night mindless snacking because I know I want to give my body at least an hour of an empty stomach to take my medication on. Focusing on getting my water in before bed keeps me from excessive snacking as well.

I have lost some weight in the last two weeks, about 5 lbs. but I don't know how long lasting it will be but I'm glad that I have not gained any weight this Ramadan as I often do!  This week my challenge will be to reincorporate exercise into my routine.  I am exhausted by the end of the day and more importantly I am preparing the evening meal for my family an hour before breaking fast which is also the ideal time to get a workout in.  Like everything else, fitting in a workout at the end of the day will take some preparation (a casserole in the oven instead of searing scallops right before dinner for example) but it can be done.  

I'll check in again once Ramadan ends (June 25th) and let you know how I've done sticking to the basics and how I'm doing getting back to the old routine.  My next challenge is international travel with ORBERA so I better get this straight before I take off!

By Mona
May 02, 2017
Category: ORBERA
Tags: ORBERA   weight loss   gastric balloon   diet  

Today marks my 2-month balloon anniversary (the 1/3 mark for removal). This has been one of the best things I have done for my own health, not because the balloon has actually done the work, but because it has forced me to be introspective and make changes I should have made years ago.  I am halfway to my weight loss goal and only about 10 lbs. away from being at a “normal” BMI range, not something that means much to me generally, but it is the metric used for purposes of the balloon eligibility so I’ll use it as one more way to measure my progress as well.

Although I have a long way to go (about 18 more lbs.)  I do feel successful already.  I truly believe that much of this can be attributed to the people I surround myself with on a daily basis.  It is certainly helpful to live with the doctor that did the procedure on me, but that really is more because it has changed his perspective as my husband.  I think this process has given him, a person who has never really struggled with weight loss, a literal insider’s view on the process!  He is invested in my success in a way that he has never been before, essentially my success or failure impacts his reputation and so he is doing everything he can to help me.  This includes changing many of his habits that have weakened my resolve in the past like the daily after dinner dessert, or the cravings for cheesesteak or burgers that can pop up at any time.  Obviously I have some responsibility here, I could always say no, but having a husband who will never acknowledge you are fat combined with one who loves eating all the same things you do makes life happy but not always the healthiest!  He has really embraced my decision to make a change and we are actually enjoying many parts of it.  If you have a partner on board, it certainly will make it easier than one who actively opposes your efforts, but it is not your only place to seek support.

Our entire office has gotten on the health bandwagon and we are in it together along with our ORBERA patients (and really any of our patients who want our help).   It is so nice to go in to work and have everyone trying to keep up their water intake, pick the healthiest option for our lunches, and sharing ideas.  I am fortunate enough to have our medical assistant, Mildred, doing this with me.  We encourage each other, make suggestions for snacks, and do our fair share of complaining about everything from missing certain foods to aches and pains from exercise.  We try to not do it too loudly in front of Dr. Din :)

I can’t undervalue the professional help I’ve gotten through our ORBERA team and Isagenix.  The nutritionist has been so helpful in helping me figure out how to make this my life in a way that I enjoy versus a temporary solution.  Our personal trainer Melvin is instrumental in getting our patients on the path to sustainable fitness.  He is definitely tough love, but I reluctantly admit he was right about working out first thing in the morning!  What a difference it has made. Isagenix is the brand I choose for nutritional supplementation, but as much as I like the products what I really like are the coaches who have so many ideas on how to use the products as well as the real support they provide clients in setting and reaching goals.  

I have assembled the most beautiful group of girlfriends (inside and out) through the years.  Almost every one of my closest friends is in fantastic shape and looks great.  What has kept them my closest friends through the years is that for each and every one of them it is the least important thing about them and not one of them has EVER made me feel like I was somehow less because I had weight to lose. I actually blame some of them for keeping me fat by always complimenting me :)  Not that it would have mattered, because as my friend Neelofar says, “weight loss is like religion, you don’t convince anyone to do it by talking about it.”

There are women out there who obsess about their own looks to the point that you can’t take it for one more minute and those who derive their value from weight and as a result they try and make you feel inferior when you aren’t meeting that mark, but for me, they don’t stay friends for long, mainly because it bores me to tears.   I mention this because I think for women this is the most damaging kind of person to be around.  It’s not helpful and it isn’t what will make you successful.  They are also the easiest to replace.  I did it years ago and have never looked back.  The bonus of having healthy, supportive friends is that once you decide to get healthier these are the ladies (and gentlemen) who know how to do it.  My friends are my best cheerleaders and role models as I decide what to eat, where to eat, how to begin exercising again, when to take it to the next level, and when to give myself a break.  They have been my biggest cheerleaders and I have learned so much from them through the years.  Obviously friends who are in a different place in their journey may not be the best to be around RIGHT NOW as you are trying to acclimate, mainly because of the temptation to overeat, drink too much, and blow off workouts, but as long as the friends you have are supporting you they are an invaluable resource (I had to say that because obviously I was that friend two months ago!) 

My incredibly healthy daughters, who are far more athletic than I ever was especially at their age have been so supportive, except for the time I substituted half the cheese in their lasagna with spinach.  Jenna has walked with me to get my steps in, passed up on things I know she wants to eat because she doesn’t want me to feel tempted, and says absurd things like if I get any smaller people won’t be scared of me anymore.  Inshira FaceTimes me daily from college and listens to boring stories about new recipes, new workouts, and miniscule changes in weight and size, always supporting me and exclaiming, “you’re doing great Mama!” even if I’m not.   It does help that they are a little older now and that I can motivate myself by thinking about repossessing clothes I’ve bought them when I get to my goal weight. 

Last but certainly not least, is all of our patients, friends, and family who keep an eye on the blog and follow us on social media and ask me how the process is going when you see me.  It keeps me honest in a way nothing else has.  I’ve always heard that publishing your goals can be helpful in weight loss but never thought much of that idea.  First of all, it seems like a set up for a much bigger failure than if you just fail alone, but also it’s kind of a self absorbed, boring topic that I could never imagine anyone cares about.  This is all probably still true, but it has really been helpful for me.  Whenever I think about quitting, I imagine explaining to all of you how I ended up gaining weight with ORBERA and it gets me back on track!

Surround yourself with likeminded people, know that we will be your in house team even if you have nobody else with you on this journey, and put yourself first because nobody else will.





By Mona
April 18, 2017
Category: ORBERA
Tags: ORBERA   weight loss   gastric balloon   diet  

I'm entering Week Seven this week and while I am happy overall with my results there are certainly things that are frustrating me as well. Just as I was starting to get into my workout rhythm I injured my foot and am in a walking boot for the next week or two.  Getting my workout rhythym is no small task for me.  I make every excuse in the book to avoid exercise, but I had finally gotten to the point where my body was craving it and I was doing it almost happily.  Additionally I had hit the dreaded plateau that anyone who has tried to lose weight knows all too well.  After losing the first 10-12 pounds pretty quickly, worse than being stuck I'm actually going down and then up again!  I know there is some normal fluctuation in weight, but that doesn't make it any easier to watch.  Mildred (our medical assistant who is taking this journey with me) has advised me to stop weighing myself daily.  I'm trying but it's not easy.  I like to see the numbers move!  In the meantime I refuse to give up the ground I've gained and am trying to walk in smaller spurts and focus on exercises that don't involve my foot (they exist!)

What is happening, slowly moving scale notwithstanding, is a change in my wardrobe.  From jeans, to tops, to the one piece of clothing that never makes me happy to wear, dresses, I am finally excited to buy clothes again.  Although I'm just about at the halfway point for my weight, I am so happy with my new clothing sizes and more importantly how everything fits.  I've dropped down from a 10-12 to a size 6 in 7 weeks.  For a person with a build as small as mine that is hardly the end game, but it's a start that I'm really happy with.  I'm even back in my european sized jeans. 

I have a long way to go though.  As of this morning I was down between 15-20 lbs. taking fluctuations into account.  That leaves me with about 20-25 lbs to go.  When I spoke to my ORBERA nutritionist yesterday, she shared two really interesting pieces of information with me.  The first was that often when you've hit a plateau it's because you aren't taking in enough calories.  She advised me to stick closer to 1200 calories than 1000 calories.  Quite honestly I'm a terrible calorie counter and so I haven't really been watching really closely, just monitoring what I eat, making sure it's often enough, and relying on a lot of repitition.  

The second thing was her response when I shared with her my concern that I will gain all the weight back once the balloon is removed. She reiterated that the balloon was just a tool, and then reminded me that the balloon is NOT losing the weight, I am.  In fact, there are people who GAIN weight with the balloon if they do not follow the protocol.  While that did scare me a little, it also made me feel a lot better to know that I have done this myself and can continue moving forward once the balloon is removed as well.

With my newfound sense of empowerment, I've decided to take accelerating my weight loss to the next level by incorporating a cleanse that I like and has worked for me in the past into my routine this month.  It's called Isagenix and we carry it in the office, but more importantly we use the products in our home.  Something like this may not be for you, but for me I want to get through this plateau before I lose interest or become discouraged.  I've already incorporated the shakes into my diet (part of the repitition) and have added some supplements that are helping with the bloating and other digestive issues that come with a change in diet.  This week I'm doing the detox cleanse as well (it's two days this week and I'm already almost finished with day one).  I'm taking advantage of the balloon keeping me less hungry to get through the cleanse.  I have invested so much into this that I need to do everything I can to maximize my results.

Pictures are coming soon, I haven't posted them simply because I don't take pictures at the glamourous events I go to like the grocery store, AAU games, and work.  I'm headed to a wedding this weekend and I just barely fit into my outfit when I bought it 6 weeks ago. I haven't tried them on since, but  I'll share the pictures with you as soon as I have them!

Thanks to all of you for your support, I love your feedback and encouragement.  



My older daughter is home from college for two weeks and one of my biggest concerns about having the procedure this close to her coming home was not being able to enjoy special meals with her.  I really agonized over not making lasagna or  going out to eat with her before she got here.  If you haven't guessed, much of what we do is food centered.  The first week she was home was also my first week with the balloon so we certainly were a little limited.  What I should have realized, but didn't is that my family is entirely capable of cooking what they feel like eating and are perfectly happy to eat whatever they are served.  The next thing I realized is that ORBERA really is a lot more flexible than  I thought.  It's a mindset change more than anything and my family has been very supportive of that. Once I made that mindset change, things became a lot easier.

This week I transitioned to more solid foods.  Although some people require pureed foods for longer than others, adjusting to the balloon really is different for different people.  I couldn't stand the thought of pureeing food before eating it, so I've stuck to softer foods that I can just chew a lot before swallowing for the most part.  I've tried chicken salad and egg salad sandwiches, meat sauce on a baked potato, lots of cottage cheese. I've done well with most things, spicy foods have been tough though.  I'm not a fan of spicy so luckily I won't feel too bad avoiding it.

We had a snow day yesterday and for my family that means EATING.  I made the usual preparations including a Morroccan chicken stew with couscous, modified to be healthier and ORBERA compliant.  The entire family loved it (my college girl even said it was one of her all time favorites!) I also got plenty of the usual junk food.  Here's where the mindfulness comes in.  I have made a decision to make a change to my dietary habits.  My family can still enjoy the foods that I am TEMPORARILY avoiding.  This actually gives me a lot of pleasure because I still get to provide them with special treats and I'm not particularly tempted by any of it especially if I eat before I present it to them.  Surprisingly, the rest of my family has started having sympathetic balloon symptoms as well!  Smaller meals, more water, and healthier choices for everyone. 

I have tried to stick to protein shakes or a yogurt drink (Oikos is my favorite) at night as it definitely does go down more smoothly than solid foods. Drinking 50-64 ounces or more of water throughout the day helps as well.  I also had my first consultation with the ORBERA Coach nutritionist. I've never met with a nutritionist before and am approaching it with an open mind.  Obviously what I've been doing hasn't worked so I'm willing to try it their way.  The biggest take away for me was that while I'm modifying my eating habits and portion sizes, nothing is truly off limits to me forever.  That certainly makes committing to it now a lot easier. 

As always, reach out to me if you have questions, I'm happy to answer them if I can.  I'm down 8 lbs this week and Mildred, our medical assistant is down 16! We are both really happy about our results but know we have a long way to go.  Thanks for taking this journey with us.

March 02, 2017
Category: ORBERA
Tags: ORBERA   weight loss   gastric balloon  

I had my balloon placement done yesterday at 8 a.m. One of my biggest concerns was the reported side effects.  I was not looking forward to nausea and vomiting until my body adjusted.  Dr. Din researched this procedure a lot prior to introducing it to our practice, but the unknown is always concerning.  He has picked a top of the line medicine protocol (the down side is that one of the medications that helps the most is quite expensive) and I followed it to the letter.  I started with an anit-nausea patch behnd my ear and the first dose of my antinausea medicine.

When we got to the endoscopy center I was ready to go.  The staff and physicians took great care of me, and my understanding was the procedure took approximately 15-20 minutes.  It is comparable to an EGD, a procedure Dr. Din has done thousands of times. 

I am happy to report that I have not had any nausea or vomiting and it has been a little over 24 hours since my procedure.  I'm trying to keep myself hydrated.  The biggest side effect I'm having is some reflux and mild cramping.   The antispasmodic prescribed as well as the over the counter medication FDGard has helped a lot with that. Walking around helps as well.  I was able to sleep in 6 hour increments yesterday as that is when the antispasmodic starts to wear off, so keep your medicine close to your bed so your sleep is as uninterrupted as possible.  

I'm surprised with how aware of my body the balloon has made me.  I was a little disappointed because I was feeling hungry and that was the biggest purpose of the ballon, to stave off hunger.  I mentioned this to Dr. Din and when I described my hunger pains he gave me the reflux medication and I was no longer hungry.  Have I been eating everytime I have reflux? That would explain a lot!

So far, so good.  Really looking forward to moving beyond this liquid diet (either tonight or tomorrow).  It has truly been a full reset in many ways, I look forward to continuing my journey and sharing it with you!

By Mona
February 16, 2017
Category: ORBERA
Tags: ORBERA   weight loss   gastric balloon  

One of the reasons I jumped on board to try ORBERA first was because I wanted to "test" it out before I started marketing it as part of my job.  I probably could have continued living a relatively sendentary lifestyle and gaining weight without too much concern for a while longer if this hadn't come along.  As I shared with you last time, part of preparing for the procedure was undergoing a routine colonoscopy and EGD that I had pushed off for far too many years.  At the end of the day yesterday, Dr. Din received my lab results from the colonoscopy. We were both really surprised to discover that the four polyps that had been removed were precancerous.  I am grateful to God on so many levels.  First that I was led to a place where I was pushed into having the colonoscopy (I had no symptoms that would have propelled me to do this otherwise) and second, that none of these polyps had advanced to beyond precancerous.  It has made me so very appreciative that the journey I am taking is one of health and weight loss and not something far more serious.  

This of course doesn't mean that I didn't panic a little and consider all the "what if's".  Dr. Din shared with me (as he has for many years without me really listening) some ways to reduce the risk of both the recurrence of polyps and prevention of colorectal cancer.  This time I'm listening a little more closely.  The risk factors that I've been ignoring include excess weight gain, inadequate water intake, excessive consumption of red meat, and a lack or exercise.  It must be noted that you can do everything right and still end up with polyps or colon cancer.  The best preventative measure is routine colonoscopies.  However, if I can make changes that will reduce my risk I have to do it. I am so glad that the opportunity to change some of these habits is right in front of me and that I have access to a weight loss tool and an incredible team  that will make this a little easier. 

The week before the procedure Dr. Din, Kelsey, Melvin, and all of our staff (the "Team") are already hard at work getting things set up.  I was surprised at how much I'm already doing to prepare.  I had my weigh in, my vitals logged, and my "before" picture taken, All my lab results are imported into our patient portal and I have started taking an acid reducer (Prilosec) which is basically used to prepare my stomach for the balloon.  

Dr. Din has called in my prescriptions and Kelsey and I have gone over what my first week will look like.  She's given me a grocery list so I can be prepared when I get home from the procedure.  One really important item to have on hand is a protein shake you like.  I like Isagenix myself and it requires ordering so I have to make sure I have enough for the first week.  

Melvin gave me my workout a few days ago, but honestly I let myself off the hook because I was still recovering from a cold.  Nothing gets you out of bed and on the treadmill like the realization that cancer could be knocking on your door.  I'm still coughing, but I got my workout in this morning and I'm ready to roll.

I'm signed up for ORBERA Coach,  an app we set patients up with.  It's primarily a nutrition tool containing recipes, places to log pictures of your food and enter how many steps you've taken each day.  Most importantly, this is the portal through which we meet with our nutritionist to design a customized plan.  I'm really looking forward to this part.  I have terrible eating habits and it seems like I'm supposed to avoid everything that I like eating.  I really don't think I can revamp my diet on my own, I'll keep you all posted on how helpful this is.  Kelsey will supervise everyone's progress through ORBERA Coach as well.  Although you may not have Kelsey right next door to remind you to take your Prilosec like she does for me, she will be with you every step of the way as well.

I've learned through countless efforts (sometimes successful, sometimes not) at weight loss that the support you have and the people coaching you through the process are as important as, if not more important than, the product or system.  Getting started has been the hardest part for me.  Once I made the decision the Team really took over. I'm really proud of the team we've built and can't wait to get started!


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