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  • Name: Vittoria Pascente
  • Age: 54
  • Surgery: Gastric Sleeve
  • Surgery date: August 26th, 2015
  • Testimonial date: October 14th, 2015
  • Surgeon: Dr. Almanza
Like so many, I have been dealing with my weight for most of my adult life. Once upon a time I had a beautiful body which I took for granted. In my twenties I began what would become a future of yo-yo dieting. I bought into the countless weight loss remedies which were successful for a time until for whatever reason I reverted back to past weight gaining behavior. I would convince myself that I would jog or go to the gym; behavior which would sometimes last for as long as two to three years but would eventually lapse for whatever psychological reason. Losing weight became an obsession and my lack of lasting success made me feel like a loser. As a research scientist I understood all of the chemical reactions which occurred during digestion and fat storage. I had read enough books on the matter to write a book of my own. I even worked on the development of a drug which would prevent fat absorption. To make matters worse I would constantly be confronted by so called well meaning friends and family that would offer unsolicited advice, not to mention the borage of societal insults we all face on a daily basis. Although I was only about 50 lbs. overweight it started effecting my health and I started taking blood pressure, cholesterol and acid reflux medication in my forties. I developed sleep apnea and I snored very loudly, which prevented me from getting a good nights sleep consequently depleting me of all my energy. The excess weight fueled this vicious cycle and my lack of energy prevented me from breaking it. The physical effects of obesity paled in contrast to the emotional ones, I became very depressed, therefore, very self destructive which caused me to eat and gain more weight. Although I took very good care of my family, I didn't care about myself. In fact there were days when I wished I was dead. I felt worthless. I'm not blaming everything on the weight but it certainly didn't help. Lack of success in one area doesn't exactly give you the confidence to succeed in other areas, however unrelated. Even today, 2015, when everyone is so politically correct, it's still ok to pick on the "fat" person, because after all the problem is their own fault.
After so many diet failures I heard about gastric sleeve surgery. I had heard about gastric bypass and the gastric band and had even researched these procedures in the past. Gastric sleeve made a lot of sense, nothing was being reconfigured as in gastric bypass and no foreign objects were being implanted as in the gastric band. I loved the fact that it was the only weight loss surgery that reduced the hunger hormone ghrelin. I started researching gastric bypass on u tube. I listened to these brave gastric sleeve patients and watched their miraculous transformations, but what struck me the most was how drastically their lives had changed for the better. Their emotional transformations were even more severe than their physical ones. These videos convinced me that gastric sleeve was the answer to my obesity problems, however, I also discovered that my insurance company would require me to jump through so many hoops before I could get approved that it would take at least a couple of years before I could get the surgery in the USA. My son was getting married in June of 2016 and I wanted to feel great about myself and really enjoy his wedding in every way, so I started considering having the surgery in Mexico. I started researching the Mexican surgeons and was very impressed with Dr. Almanza. He was very reputable and unlike other surgeons didn't charge an arm and a leg, which I couldn't afford. He had even had the surgery himself. I knew my family would tie me down before letting me go to Mexico for surgery, so I lied and went by myself. I had no choice, but after having been through the experience it's better if someone accompanies you. From the moment that you're picked up at the San Diego airport you're assisted every step of the way. The other patients are also very friendly and willing to help because I believe that it's human nature to help others going through the same life changing experience. I wasn't prepared for the severe nausea that I felt after surgery and for the remainder of my stay, which was 3 days longer than what they recommend. My recovery for whatever reason was harder than most and I had a lot of regret, being alone certainly didn't help. The nursing staff at the hospital and at the hotel was great ( Thank you Alex and Sebastian). There were days when I felt good enough to go shopping and to Rosarito beach and days when I needed medication for pain and nausea. Everyones body reacts differently, truer words have never been spoken. Two batches of patients had already gone home and I still felt sick. Alex the nurse told me that my best friends were ice chips and water. The cold helps to heal the stomach sutures. I had a terrible taste in my mouth so I drank too much gatorade which also made me nauseous. I can't emphasize enough how important it is to stick to the diet. After the x-ray I had terrible diarrhea due to the drink they give you before the x-ray, so bring pads because the loose bowels reoccur. The surgery also heightened my sense of smell which made me even more nauseous, of course I was the only one to whom this happened. I was very ignorant to think that surgery on my stomach wouldn't have such an adverse effect on my whole body. The nausea and lack of food makes you light headed and weak, however when I finally got home I was thrilled to see that I had already lost 14 lbs. but I was still feeling nauseous and light headed. Day by day I took it easy, followed the post op diet and started feeling better. It has now been 7 weeks after the surgery, I have lost a total of 27 lbs. and am thrilled that I had the guts to take my destiny into my own hands and go alone to Mexico for this life changing surgery. Learning how to eat with a stomach the size of a banana is not easy, I often eat too much too fast and experience "dumping" which is extremely uncomfortable if not downright painful, which consequently forces you to eat the right way. As I observed on u tube, the emotional effects are far reaching, I'm so much happier and looking forward to a future without medication and sleep apnea. I feel like I finally reversed the vicious cycle. I enjoy food by consciously tasting every bite instead of shoveling it down like I'll never have another meal. I love fitting into smaller sizes therefore, have a renewed interest in fashion. I look forward to the many positive ways which the weight loss will impact my life and thank Dr. Almanza and his wonderful staff for making it possible. I'm confident that I'll be shaking my size 4 butt on the dance floor of my sons wedding in June. I urge anyone who's walked in my shoes to go for it because it was one of the best decisions I ever made and I still haven't reaped all the benefits.
    * 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.