My Life Started on January 16, 2015 *

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  • Name: Jolene Frazier
  • Age: 46
  • Surgery: Gastric Sleeve and Gallbladder Add On
  • Surgery date: January 16th, 2015
  • Testimonial date: February 2nd, 2015
  • Surgeon: Dr. Almanza
My journey to get the gastric sleeve
My journey began when my consultation with insurance representative left me disappointed, discouraged, and outraged. I was told of the hoops I would need to jump thru and while many were ready to go that course, I was not! So I started researching on line and reading every book I could on the gastric sleeve. I gained the support of my husband and together we decided that Dr. Almanza in Mexico was the way to go.
In November 2014 I scheduled my appointment thru for a surgery date of January 16, 2015 and was amazed at how attentive they were over the next few months. Any questions I had, they were quick to answer, and all questions and answers were always posted in my patient portal so that I could read them over and over if I wanted to.
The day came for us to fly out to San Diego in the next step of our journey. So Thursday January 15, 2015, we rose early and headed out to catch our 7:30 am flight. When we arrived in San Diego, I called the per instructions, and they called the drivers to advise that we had arrived and were sitting curbside awaiting pickup.
The 2 vans came directly to the pickup site, and we loaded up and off we went to Tijuana Mexico along with 7 other couples that were to become lifelong friends!
It was about a 20 minute drive and while heading there, I learned a little about the other couples in the van, and where they were from (Texas and Georgia).
We arrived at the hospital and were show upstairs to a waiting room. There were 6 couples including ourselves and one by one we were taken back to begin the process.
We started by being given an EKG by a cardiologist, and taken blood. Then we were taken to the office of Dr. Almanza assistant (his cutie patootie brother) who went over our surgery and finances, and asked if we had any questions, and then signed our patient information sheet. At this time I was given the opportunity to have my surgery that day rather than waiting until the next day when it was scheduled, and as I had not eaten anything that day other than water, I accepted. If you are given an opportunity to get your sleeve sooner, I definitely recommend it because it s an extra day of recovery at the hotel under 24 hour nursing care or an extra day to see San Diego before flying back home.
I went back to my husband in the waiting room, and we waited not even 20 minutes before they called those that were having surgery to head down to the surgical wing.
We went to the surgical suite and were told to undress and put on hospital gowns and lay down on the bed. A nurse came in and started our IV and another came in and started wrapping our legs for blood clot prevention. Once we were prepped with our hair nets, our booties, IV, hospital gowns, and leg wraps; Dr. Almanza came in and talked to us about our surgery and then took photos with us. I loved that he said, My English is no good, but my hands are that was the perfect reassurance that we were in good hands.
The families were allowed at this time to come sit with us until we were taken back for surgery. We kissed our loved ones and were told that they could either stay in the suite that we would be coming to after coming out of recovery, they could go to the waiting room, or they could go to hotel, shop, or whatever and then come back when we were done.
My husband and his new found friends went and ate some street tacos from a neat little place outside and down the street from the hospital. When it was my turn, they had me follow the nurse (great English) and we went in a surgical elevator down to the operating rooms. There she had me lay down on a gurney in a sterile room and wait for the surgical nurses to come. While lying there with my sheet over me, I thought about the journey thus far, and had complete peace about my decision. About 10 minutes later, they came and rolled me to just outside of the surgery room and the anesthesiologist came up and introduced himself. He asked if I had any questions (English was good) and then when I said no, he asked me where I was from, as I said New Mexico, the world faded away
I woke up in my room with my room with my husband handing me flowers and giving me a kiss. I don t remember the recovery room at all, or being wheeled into my room with the other 2 roommates that had just had their surgery done, but they said that I came in with a huge grin on my face!
I slept for a while, aware that my husband was there, but too tired to engage in conversation. I was also aware of the others in the room, but again didn t really focus on the conversation because sleeping felt so good.
When I really started coming around, one of my 2 roomies (all 3 of us stayed BFF thru the whole process up until we said good bye at the airport) said that the husbands had to go back to the hotel because visiting hours were over. We were all awake and in different stages of recovery. Because I was the last of the 3 in our room to get surgery, one roomie was feeling a little discomfort and asking for pain meds. The other was having nausea and was focusing on not throwing up. The nurses came in about every 30 minutes to check our IV fluids, and check our pain level. Pain meds were injected into IV. The encouraged us to get up and walk, and so all thru out the night, I got up and down, walking the hall with my little IV poll. Ironically the floor was shared with Labor and delivery, and there was a woman at the end of the hall that was in labor. Every time I got up and walked I hoped to be able to see a new baby in the nursery window when I walked to the end of the hall.
On the floor was 3 women in one room, 2 men in another room, a husband and wife couple in a third room, and the 3 of us in our room, for a total of 10 people sleeved that day.
The next morning we were allowed to dress and given our pain medications and instructions for next steps. We were loaded in the van and driven (3 blocks) to the Hotel Real Del Rio
Once we were settled in the hotel, (really nice rooms) a nurse came to our hotel room and gave us the schedule of rounds. We were asked to take a shower and remove the bandages in the shower and then lay down and let the nurse know we were ready. She came in and dressed the incisions and then hooked our IV up to a bag of cocktails (solution, pain medication, and antibiotics). We had kept our IV in from the hospital so they only needed to inject it into our ports. We rested until the bag was empty and then given popsicles and Jell-O. We were given the ok to go out walking, (some walked in the hotel only) so hubby and I took a slow leisure stroll around the block to take in the sites. Food tacos, night clubs, convenience stores, the usual downtown look. Pretty.
On the 2nd day, we were told to meet in the lobby to go get our leak test done. We were given a small bottle of water with blue dye and told to drink it. Then we were taken to an ultrasound facility that ironically was 3D and 4D ultrasound facilities for pregnancy, and one by one were taken to x-ray. The barium stuff we had to drink moments before they took the x-ray was not pleasant but didn t cause anyone to throw up. The best part was getting a sucker immediately after to get rid of the chalky taste.
We were taken back to the hotel and allowed to do whatever we wanted the remainder of the day; medication, popsicles, jell, broth from the restaurant in the hotel, and walking.
On the 3rd day we took a cab ride to Avenida Revolucion Street where tourist items and food was galore! We bought a few trinkets and enjoyed the sunshine. It was fun to see all those that had surgery out enjoying the day and recuperating.
On the 4th day, we were given the choice to stay that extra day but chose to return to San Diego so that we could spend the next 24 hours with my son who was stationed in San Diego, CA.
The following day, we flew home and I can honestly say that if you follow your pre op diet faithfully and you walk, you will have very little discomfort.
My life is beginning and I couldn t be happier!
    * 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.