Just Do It!! *

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  • Name: Robby Wilburn
  • Age: 62
  • Surgery: Gastric Sleeve
  • Surgery date: June 19th, 2014
  • Testimonial date: July 8th, 2014
  • Surgeon: Dr. Almanza
Like Nike, just do it!! I am 62 years old, 5'11", and was at 294 (heaviest was 299) when on July 14th began the pre-op diet for 5 days prior to surgery. I have been fortunate in past weight loss endeavors but the older I got it became harder to initiate and to maintain. My normal weight for many years was between 185 - 190 lbs and with the additional 100 lbs it was literally killing me. It was time to do something about it. It has been 24 days and I am down 29 lbs to 265. As I mentioned earlier, I could lose weight once I focused on it. It was around 20 lbs the first month and 10 lbs each the next two months then I would start getting bored and sliding backwards. It may take a year or two but the weight would come back with additional pounds being added. I have surpassed that 20 lb weight loss amount at about 16 days. One thing I initiated was to begin walking about a week in advance of the surgery. I was doing a mile in about 18 minutes. I am now doing 2 miles a day / 5 days a week. Do the math, that is an additional 350 calories a day my body is burning at the beginning weight. Let me share my journey in the following paragraphs.

As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to do something about the weight for several years. I met with people that had the lap band and they seemed to have some success and I met some that it didn't work at all. I made my mind up that it would be the real deal if there was going to be any surgery at all. I researched on the net and found several sights but zeroed in on Dr. Almanza in Tijuana. I live in Houston and would liked to have found a closer location on the border but the reviews and research kept bringing me back to Weight Loss Agents website. I spent about 1-2 years doing research and preparing for the journey. I finally contacted them, asked a lot of questions, filled out some information and finally decided to move forward with the $250 deposit. An older brother shared that two of my high school classmates had the surgery domestically and each looked fantastic. They were both diabetic, on many prescriptions which today are nominal per their comments. WLA provided me with a phone number of an individual that lived nearby me in the Houston area. We spoke for for about 30 minutes and he shared that he and his brother went down together for the surgery. He had weighed 480 lbs, lost 60 lbs pre-op, and an additional 140 lbs for a total of 200 lbs. I asked what his goal was and he said 280 as he is 6'8" tall. This person really confirmed what I had found on the internet about the doctor's reputation and procedure.

I mentioned this surgery to my doctor and he felt it would be a good idea but his demeanor changed when I mentioned Mexico. After 5 minutes of explaining the research, he wished me well and wanted to know how things turn out. I informed my 25 year old son whose initial reaction I should just go on a regular diet and exercise. My girl friend was totally against the surgery and Mexico. So bottom line, there was no support of what I had researched and wanted to do. I set the date for June 19th, 2014. I got my plane ticket and paid for the surgery 2-3 days before arriving in San Diego.

As the WLA's advertise, I met the van at the prescribed pick up area. There were a total of 3 people in the group comprised of 2 males and 1 female. The female mentioned that 5 members of her immediate family had been to Dr. Almanza and had very good results. That reinforced my decision even more as we headed towards the Hotel Ticuan. It was a nice hotel and initially roomed with the other male gentleman. I thought we were going to have blood test and EKG that afternoon but arrived too late for that. I sat in the lobby and met many patients that had the surgery earlier in the week. They were very helpful and everyone seemed very pleased with their progress and surgery. Again, my thoughts reiterated this was the right decision.

We were instructed to meet in the lobby at 7:45 AM on Thursday morning to be taken by van to the lab for tests. It was a storefront on a street in Tijuana and we kind of laughed when we got there. Blood was drawn and the EKG's were completed on all three of us. We headed toward the hospital and arrived by 10 AM. We were issued hospital gowns, our legs were wrapped to prevent clotting, and issued booties and head covers for the surgery. We all met in a room with the doctor and his nurse. He inquired about questions, answered them, and said I guess ladies will be first today. I ended up being last but was in surgery within 1-1.5 hours after the first began. The nurse approached me, asked if I was ready, and she was given the go signal. I asked her at that moment, had anyone at this point stopped and left? She said one person did and walked out without having the procedure done. My mind was made up and I wanted a new life. The anesthesiologist met with me, asked if I was allergic to anything, placed the needle into a valve off the IV, and I woke up with a little pressure on my chest. We were instructed to immediately get up, start walking so the gas would work its way out of the body cavity. I was the first of the three to start walking and did it about 6-8 times before 8 AM the following morning.

I decided to room by myself and paid $106 for the remaining two days of my stay. The rooms were nice and there are 3 English speaking channels on the TV. This was Friday and I went downstairs to read in the lobby and talk to other patients. Be prepared to know that a drainage tube is placed in the highest incision to drain the body cavity. The plastic tube is about 18"-24" long with a plastic bulb to catch the drainage. This was removed the night before I left. I went walking around the hotel, sat in the lobby, sipped water, ate pop cycles and finally some broth on Saturday. The nurses are at the hospital 24/7 and are at extension 109. You can shower and they will put on new bandages for you. I had a total of 5 incisions that were stitched. We had a IV on Friday night and was told to be in the lobby at 8 AM Saturday morning. We were given the blue juice in a bottle and drank a clear liquid upon arrival. We left in the van to a location where they had an X ray facility along with all types of MRI equipment, etc. You are going to be surprised at your new stomach. You notice your esophagus and intestines then a small string tube looking connecting the two. Say hello to your new stomach.

We came back and I went shopping around the hotel. I found out the return trip to the US takes much longer due to the traffic. I had scheduled a 5 PM departure on Sunday but decided to take the early van to the airport on Sunday. Well, Saturday was non eventful as no IV was needed that evening and the nurse came and removed the tube from the chest. Freedom at last!

We left the next morning and it took about 2.5 hours to get to the airport in San Diego. I sat there until the 5 PM departure, found a Chinese place and ordered Won Ton soup with nothing but the broth. Tasted pretty good! I arrived back at the airport and got home about 2 AM and was exhausted. I work out of my home but really took Monday off just because of the long Sunday of travel I endured.

Everything has gone great for me. I felt good immediately after surgery, never got sick, followed instructions and am excited about the weight loss to date. An added caveat, on our ride to the hospital, I asked the group if they had any reservations about coming to Mexico for surgery. Everyone agreed it was the best deal you could find for price, quality of care and doctor experience to that date.

I have milestones set in my mind of 250 lbs, 225 lbs, 200 lbs, 190 lbs and maintain. I have been blessed and highly recommend that if you have weight issues do your research about the procedure and doctor. I am extremely happy with my success so far and look forward to continued weight loss. One thing I would recommend is to have your phone set up for international calling as I did that 10 years ago. Many phones did not work in that area but I loaned them mine to make the phone call to their families. I stayed in touch in my business, family and friends the entire time.

I will post photos at a later date as the weight loss really becomes visible. Good luck to all! JUST DO IT!!
    * 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.