The unobtainable dream....obtained! *

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  • Name: Amelia
  • Age: 54
  • Surgery: Gastric Sleeve
  • Surgery date: March 18th, 2013
  • Testimonial date: July 14th, 2013
  • Surgeon: Dr. Almanza
I am sure I have the same story as thousands of other people...that is why I have hesitated in doing any type of testimonial. I now feel a necessity to write it. By writing it down it may somehow make this dream that is now my life a reality to me!! As I write this...and think of how and what I will write, I confess that tears are streaming down my face. Tears for years lost, hurt feelings, a childhood lost, demeaning looks and treatment by ignorant people.. all due to being fat...tears of regret & sadness & pain! I cry for the child, the adolescent, the adult!!
Then I look in the mirror & I see how I am now, how good I feel, how differently I move, any yes, how differently I get treated by people!! I contemplate my future.. and cry harder!!...tears of gladness & success & joy!! Again, I cry for the child, the adolescent, the adult.... for silent prayers have finally been answered, we will no longer be fat.. we are no longer unwanted... we are no longer invisible to the world and we are no longer restricted by weight! There is so much to say.. but no words to describe how good it feels.. both physically & emotionally. I think to myself... this is only the beginning of the journey... I must be looking at ecstasy further down the road!!!

THE DECISION: Surgery is a very difficult decision to make. I wish I could say that my motives were for better health (I have no health problems except obesity); or that I was doing it for my children, spouse or other family member (I am divorced, my kids are grown and have lives of their own); or to prevent future health problems (if I have to live the rest of my life fat.. I would rather die early)! I chose this because: 1)I could no longer diet, knowing eventually I would be right back where I started; 2)if I were going to spend a few thousand more for weight loss... I wanted it to be the LAST TIME; 3)I wanted to experience being a "normal weight", a "normal size"; 4) to spend the next 15-20years (or more) experiencing the things I could not as a fat adult; 5) I would like to raise a little (or a lot) of hell and have as much fun as time (and money) will allow before I 'kick the bucket'! That may sound selfish to some... but that is my reality! You will get healthier...but I saw that as an added bonus!(more years to have fun! I literally made an attempt at every option to loose weight except one.... surgery! I read up on & watched videos on U-tube. I read many testimonials (such as mine, lolol). I got on forums & monitored what people were talking about, where did they go, who did they use, how their experience was and asked questions. I have crapy insurance at work! I could have pressed them and fought to be able to have insurance pay.. but for me it was not worth it for a few reasons: 1) It is not for someone that has no knowledge of me to decide that surgery is either right or wrong for me! 2) It is not for someone else to tell me wether they feel I am fat enough to need surgery! 3) It is not for someone else to tell me wether I am emotionally stable enough to get the surgery! 4)It is not for someone else to tell me I have to wait 6mths to a year...and then have to jump thru all the hoops and obstacles they put in the way!

THE LOCATION: Being self pay...the decision to look "over the boarder" was strictly money related. But I don't want to make it sound as though I settled for 'second best'... because I DID NOT! I could have paid what they wanted in the states...but if I could get good care, good Dr, good outcome at 1/3 the price... I would be stupid not to take advantage of it! Was it scary going to another country? YES! (especially since I would be going alone). Did I experience 'second thoughts' while there? YES! (nervousness & second guessing yourself at that stage I would consider normal!) I can add also.. now that I have went thru the process, I KNOW the decision was the right one for me. How many times have you said to yourself... 'if only I could do it over again??' Well, if that option was given to me now.. I would go back to Mexico, back to Dr Almanza, and DO IT all over again!! The only difference this time is that I would find a way to do it a lot sooner and I would relax more and allow myself to celebrate the experience more knowing that everything would be ok!

THE DOCTOR: Again.. I just researched different doctors, kept my eyes and ears open when on the forums & asked questions of the people on them that had already had surgery. In hindsight, it was the right decision to pick Dr Almanza and his team. His credentials show that he is well qualified; however, to me... the proof is in the meeting!! I can say that I was not let down after meeting Dr Almanza. He is quick with a smile or a gentle touch when talking with you. He does not make long speeches or jokes.. he is very serious when he talks and preps you for the surgery but at the same time I was made to feel that I could opt out (even at this point) if I wanted. I was encouraged to ask any questions, to voice any concerns and did not feel rushed.

MY EXPERIENCE: I am a registered nurse (med-surg and intensive care) so I am not easily impressed. I am also pretty critical of things and can see when things are not being done as they should (or could) be. The clinic was small but orderly, clean in every aspect. Staff was friendly, caring, open, always nicely dressed and groomed, and very courteous. I only experienced minor problem with communication. Even though there were a lot of others there that also were getting or already had the surgery, each time I was taken care of or talked to... I was given the feeling that I was their priority, how I felt or what they could do for me was of key importance at that moment. (sadly, that does not happen much in the states anymore)! This was a 'no frills' journey...you get there, you have the procedure, you pass your tests, you go home! Everyone was treated the same... as an adult! You were not waited on hand and foot... but all you had to do was ask if you needed anything or if there was a problem; staff would always make an attempt to help or correct a problem. Primadona's, Barbie dolls, and daddy's girls may want to give a second thought to this journey!! lolol. As for the hotel I stayed at... it rivaled any of the better hotels in the states; clean, orderly, beautiful rooms, comfy beds, courteous staff, very well mannered (again.. the states are lacking a lot in that category)! I enjoyed my stay at the hotel (as much as one could that just had major surgery). I feel that it was actually better for me than it would have been laying in a hospital! I was up, dressed in my own clothes, more active with the other surgery patients, making friends, talking and joking with the staff, able to walk outside and get fresh air. The nurses there checked in on you and they were always just a phone call away (took them only minutes to come when called). The only thing I would change in this category is that I feel an option to stay a couple more days to be monitored should be offered to the patients; sometimes it just takes a couple more days for the swelling of the stomach to go down enough to prevent dehydration.

POST MEXICO EXPERIENCE:Four days home found me in hospital with dehydration; this was a potential complication I was aware may happen... so I was not scared. I come from a small town, NO ONE in the hospital (ER doc, nurses, dietician) had good knowledge of this procedure. When they found out I went to "MEXICO" they freaked out! I finally allowed them to bring in a top bariatric surgeon from Pittsburg, PA and after doing tests agreed with me that Dr Almanza did a very good job and he had nothing further to add. Even when he questioned me with things I should be aware may happen... I was able to finish his sentences!! I am a few days away from my 4 month anniversary! I try not to go by how much weight is gone... I am done counting calories and done having a scale tell me wether I 'pass the test' or not!! I just eat my proteins, get my fluids in each day, make a decent attempt to exercise when possible!! lolol
I can tell you though, that I have went in slacks from a 2x to a large! In tops..2x-3x to a size 18! And it has only been 4mnths!! My weight is not going down fast, but it has been a gradual decline; however, my body is shifting and for sizes in clothes and how they fit and look... I am extremely pleased! I am at the point where everyone who knows me is noticing my weight loss. There is not a day that goes by that someone does not compliment me. Most at work know that I had surgery... those that don't and say something to me.. I just smile, and say "yes, I have lost a bit of weight. I have been watching what I eat."
I am very proud that I made the decision to get the extra help with my weight that surgery offered to me. It is by no means an easy way out; but I have always lived by the motto that 'it is the journey, not the destination' that makes a trip memorable! And this is the ultimate journey of my life!! VIVA LA VIDA!! I do not hide on purpose that I had surgery. Anyone who seems interested or directly asks me... I tell them all about it (until they wished they had not asked at all)!!
* 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.