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  • Name: Joël Kress
  • Age: 41
  • Surgery: Gastric Sleeve
  • Surgery date: May 16th, 2014
  • Testimonial date: June 25th, 2014
  • Surgeon: Dr. Almanza
My weight loss journey so far; my impressions, the truth and the after. So my friend researched Dr. Almanza quite extensively after she had talked to her friend who had already had surgery from him. We got to talking and decided that we should take this journey together. So we flew down on a Friday, jumped off the plane, got a text to meet the black van over by the tree and we jumped in with Omar at the wheel and started our adventure. I call it an adventure as that’s what it really was. From crossing the border, to navigating the crazy traffic (thank god I wasn’t driving), to going to the lab where the kindest older gentleman did my EKG, and the suave good looking guy took my money and got me to sign some paperwork in Spanish; to pulling up to the hospital that looked like an office building. Our adventure began.
We were brought to the room; the nurse gave me my gown and I was told I had 10 minutes to change. Ahhhhh!! This IS happening. 10 minutes later, the IV was put it, and Dr. Almanza was standing in our room explaining the procedure that was to follow. Within minutes my friend was going in, and not long after it was my turn. The following days look liked this.....sleep, drink, shots of medicine, sleep, drink, shots of medicine, laugh out loud, watch TV, eat a freezy / jello / broth, sleep, laugh out loud, shots of medicine, go for a walk down the hallway...repeat. On the Tuesday we flew home. There’s a ton of stories to tell in between, but let’s keep this fairly simple to what you are looking for.... the REVIEW.

The Good – the staff that we worked with were attentive, kind, funny and willing to answer any questions that we had. The surgery was super quick & Dr. Almanza was pleasant and exited and therefore put me at ease. It was happening, and really no turning back now. Am I glad that I did it.........ASBSOLUTELY!!! I’m on week 6 since my surgery and I’m down 31lbs. Now I started at 240lb, I’m 41 years old and 5’4. So let’s just say it’s been a dramatic change already in weight and inches. Oh my the inches have certainly been noticeable. Life changing really. For those that say this is an “easy” way out.....there is NOTHING easy about this my friends.

The Not So Good – I found that some things were a bit unsanitary. Not the nurses, they had masks, used gloves, disinfectant and the like. But I slept in the same dirty sheets for the 3 days that I was in the hospital; maybe someone else would have asked to have the bed changed...but really I thought that was just a given that it should be. The shower was dirty, so bring your flip-flops and the garbage was changed only once in the days we were there. Quite a different feel than a Canadian hospital for sure. I was super, I mean super bloated for days after the surgery. Like I looked bigger than when I went in. So bring a few boxes of Gas-X strips as this really helped and asking for a shot of anti-gas meds from the nurse helped as well.

The Ugly - Going to the bathroom, we will just leave it at that. When they take the drain out of you....bleh! Be aware of how people will react to your story if you decide to tell it. Some are supportive and encouraging and others can damage your spirit – even those you thought never would. So just prepare yourself for that.
Tips & tricks - If you have a long day of flights going on, may I suggest having some OXO broth cubes/powder in your bag. You will be starving and at least you can grab some hot water and make some broth, cuz jello is hard to come by in an airport. Also, check your bag, unless you are prepared to ask for help storing it and getting it up stairs. Take a few extra days off when you get home. You will be exhausted once you are finally in your own surroundings. Trust me it’s worth having the extra rest.

Suggestions – Perhaps a card that says “I can’t lift this, I’ve just had surgery.” The meal plan could be better laid out – what a typical breakfast / lunch / dinner would look like once you can eat the solid foods. Maybe even a calorie count of where a person should be at for the day. Sometimes I think I’m eating too much or too little. Really you should listen to your body, but a simple guide might be good Also, an average of weight loss expectations could be helpful to keep a person motivated. I mean really 1lbs a day is a pretty darn good average.

Overall it has been a super great experience, I’m glad I did it and I’m certainly glad I brought a friend- cuz the journey is way more bearable when you have someone to bounce things off of and someone who knows exactly what you are going through.
Thank you to Dr. Almanza and the staff!!!

Sincerely Joël Kress
    * This is an actual testimonial, however, your results may vary. For more information, please read our Testimonial Disclaimer and Risks of Surgery.

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      * The testimonials, statements, and opinions presented on our website are only applicable to the individuals depicted, and may not be representative of the experience of others. For more information, please read our Testimonial Disclaimer and Risks of Surgery.