Down 115 pounds in 6 months! *

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  • Name: Melody Hulse
  • Age: 30
  • Surgery: Vertical Gastric Sleeve
  • Surgery date: February 10th, 2012
  • Testimonial date: September 5th, 2012
  • Surgeon: Dr. Almanza
I turned 30 the beginning of February and knew it was time to take control of my lifelong weight issues. I was almost 300 pounds. I was going down the same path as other members of my family toward heart disease, diabetes, sleep apnea, and other issues. I have 4 young children, and needed to take better care of myself. I had a very positive experience at Jerusalem Hospital. My husband came with me. We were both treated very well at all times.

We were picked up at the San Diego airport with 6 other women and their spouses or friends by a nice driver in an acceptable van. It was nice to meet people in the same circumstance. We went across the boarder and right to the clinic. The clinic is very small but well kept. We met Dr. Betercourt and Dr. Almanza after signing in and having blood drawn. Dr. Betercourt was hilarious and up front. He made us all feel very comfortable. Next we went upstairs and had health background reviews, changed into hospital gowns, and had an EKG. Dr. Almanza talked with us about what to expect after surgery. He showed us his surgery scars which for some reason was comforting. We were then taken one by one into the surgery room. I think it was in order of BMI, but am not positive. I was not scared going into surgery, but very excited about moving forward into this next stage in my life. I woke up in a dark room. The nurse was next to me right away. I was taken to a shared recovery room. There was a phone and a US number we could use to communicate with family and friends. All of the patients were retching post op due to the nature of the surgery. For some it lasted only a little while. Others were still dry heaving on and off the next few days. For me it lasted only a few hours. The nurses were there to help us all night. My husband was able to be with me whenever I needed or wanted him there. When he was not with me he was socializing with others in the staff lounge eating cookies and chips!

The morning after surgery I felt much better. Some people went to the recovery house. Since my husband was with me we went to a nice hotel with a few other couples. We were picked up by a driver each day to return to the clinic for check-ups and to have an x-ray. Anyone who felt they needed more care spent extra time at the clinic. By the last evening we were shopping in downtown. A few of the husbands were eating tacos from street vendors while the wives were sipping bottled water. The final morning we were driven back to the San Diego airport. I was weak and slept quite a lot for a few days but other than that felt very well. I took my antibiotics but never needed the pain medications. One of the incisions on my side came open after the stitch was removed. I went to Urgent Care and had it closed again. All incisions healed well.

For the first few weeks I had to make myself eat on a schedule or I wouldn't eat. I dropped weight very rapidly. At 3 months I started having a lot of hair loss but according to others that is very normal and has now slowed. By 5 1/2 months post op I had lost 100 pounds, gone from a size 3xl to a women's medium to large, and dropped from a size 20 pants to a 10. Currently almost 7 months post op I have lost 115lbs, wear a size 8 pants and feel great. I still have 35 pounds to reach my goal weight. I can eat a bit more now but still small amounts. The weight loss has slowed down of course but has not stopped. Of course I have a lot of extra skin on my arms, middle, and thighs. I hope to have that taken care of in the future and when I do you can bet I'll be going back to Jerusalem Hospital! You can follow my future weight loss on
* 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 time to regain your health is now! Shed those extra pounds and don't be camera-shy any longer. No more people simply saying "you have such a nice face". It has worked for thousands of patients of ours. Sounds good? Give us a chance to earn your trust and help you regain your health. We're excited about the opportunity to be part of your journey to health, and we're looking forward to speaking with you and helping you soon. Please note that results may vary and surgery involves risks.

    * 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.