Gastric Sleeve & Dr Almanza Rocks! - Tijuana, Mexico

Hi ALL! I want to start this off with... I just...

Hi ALL!

I want to start this off with... I just had the surgery so this review is on my results thus far, the procedure, and review of the doctor, staff and facilities only. I will keep posting we new results so you know my journey. I promise to tell my truth, the good, the bad and the ugly. I pray that it is ALL GOOD!!!!

After review several doctors for several years I decided on Dr. Almanza and Staff. Yes, I seen a few negative reviews but you have to take all reviews with a grain of salt. It's another persons experience and not yours. My boyfriend is finishing up medical school now and he tells me about the stuff that even goes on here in the states. Some of it is just going to happen, it's life, we can't control everything. As much as we want all to be and go perfectly it doesn't. So I closed my eyes and jumped towards the Doctor I felt most assured of... assured as I could be.

My experience: My oldest daughter and I decide to do it together we completed all or investigative work on the clinic (even sites that my medical background boyfriend had me check out along with him checking out things on his end) and we made our appointment for just 10 days out so I would not have the time to back out once again (I'm know from backing out of things like this). We booked our flight on Sprit only $216 round trip (no luggage) just a small carry on that gave us enough clothing for the few days we would be there.

Our cost was $4,500 because of the two of us booking together. We paid our balance a few days latter and begin reading and preparing from the instructions that they would email, text or call us with. The staff in the call center is very helpful and patient because I called, emailed, text so many times my back office profile reads like a CSI Mexico novel. I know if someone can work another's nerves it would be me! No one time did any of the support staff act or show annoyance with me at anytime.

Both my daughter and I had to do a 3 day liquid diet darn boring but we made it through. Early Sunday morning we left for the airport and we where the first to arrive. Slow each patient showed up and Michelle or Melissa stayed in touch with me and answered each one of my calls confirming arrival of each patient and when the shuttle will be there to pick us up. Two patients where running late because of their flight so we where off schedule by about 30 minutes or so, but the shuttle came right after the last person arrived and off we drove across the boarder in to Mexico straight in to our new life where after Monday morning there was no turning back!

Crossing in to Mexico was no hiccups at all (just don't take out your camera and start taking pictures) that may cause problems there are warning signs posted. Once in to Mexico the shuttle took us straight to the hotel. I don't know if they will still be using the hotel for recovery by the time you read this but if so... YOU WILL LOVE IT!!! It was not what I was expecting. I like nice things and I always stay in 4-5 star hotels when I travel, but for this I was trying to keep my little snooty ways in place and not expect much, times have changed for me, money is very tight and I could not allow myself to be disappointed because of the recovery house. I was going to go through with the procedure even if I did not like the hotel and had to pay to stay some where else if it was just that bad. I was so surprised, pleased and very happy. The Hotel Ticuan is so nice. My daughter had already looked at the reviews and pictures on line but I have traveled so much and became very skeptical about hotel reviews over the years. A lot of them would not be as nice as the pictures so I just hold my breath and wait until I'm there. Well no worries at all with this location. New, modern, nice, great staff, great restaurant that they give you as much free broth as you like. Now right outside the hotel is a different matter. My daughter and I would not go outside the hotel without one another, however when we did venture out a few times everything was all good. No one bothered us, a few cat calls and that was that.

I was asked if I wanted to be the first patient for the day and I quickly said yes and my daughter second. I told my daughter if I was not out in 45 minutes not to do the surgery and come looking for me (still a little scared and not trusting especially when it comes to my children). The took me and my daughter and one other person to stay the night at the clinic Sunday night after we had paid for out one night paid stay at the hospital. So make sure if you are going to be the first patient of the day that you do not pay that extra day. We did not get a refund. Any way went stayed the night at the clinic, yes it's in a old shopping center but once you get in the small clinic you do not even think about our notice where you are. The clinic is very small but very clean. I have never seen support staff clean up soooooo much. Smells clean, looks clean it is clean. I felt safe and I slept well.

They prepped us with our IV's and off to bed I went. I slept well, I was not worried or anxious like I thought I would be. They came in to get us around 5:30 AM and Dr. Almanza came to speak with us. Yes he is very handsome like everyone says and I could understand his English well. He gave us all the needed information and then I was off to OR. All I remember is I did not have time to get scared and worked up. They strapped my legs and arms down, Dr. Almanza ask if I was comfortable or nervous the anesthesiologist introduced himself as he was putting the solution in my IV and that's ALL she wrote. I don't remember anything else until my daughter was asking me questions later that morning. Actually I don't know what time it was, my daughter had her surgery and was recovering also but she was much more alert than I was. All I wanted was to go back to sleep.

We stayed there over night they watched us hour on hour and was there at every beck and call. The next morning they took us back to the hotel to recover and go through the rest of the days as scheduled. The only incident I had that pissed me off was someone stole money out of my daughters wallet. Could she have dropped it yes, but I don't think so because everything else was there. So the only advise I would say is keep your money and cards with you or ask for a locker to lock them up in and don't take no for an answer because they did not offer anything to rectify or satisfy us. We are just out of the money even though it was a small amount it was ours and not for the taking. I'm not holding that against Dr. Almanza because I'm sure staff comes and goes and if they do find out who is doing that they would not have any problem letting the go, I doubt they want that kind of image.

We paid for a VIP service to get back to San Diego faster and in a private car instead of the shuttle, yes that is well worth it! I did not have to ride in a bumpy shuttle after surgery, the line was 100 times shorter through the boarder and it was not hassle at all. I would recommend paying the extra $20 per person for that if you have it.

Just don't go expecting things to be so detailed as we are here in the states. They keep it quick, simple, safe, clean and affordable. That's what I wanted. I did not need to be treated like a princess even through I felt that way with them (you get a free message). I just wanted a safe procedure. Safe from beginning through end for the rest of my life and that what I think Dr. Almanza has given me. If things change I will post it here to let you know.

Peace, Love and Body Rock!
Lisa

Not easy but worth it! Am I hungry???

I don't want to scare anyone but I did say I would tell the truth as it relates to me. The good, the bad and the ugly. Well for the last 3 days it has been the not so good. This clear broth is just about to get on my last nerve. I have been on a liquid diet for (pre-op diet included) 12 days now and must go for 6 more days. I'm just ready to chew on something. I don't think I'm hungry, just that old habit of eating keeps nagging at me. I go to the refrigerator when I'm not even hungry. If I see something my daughter leaves out I go to grab it and taste it without even thinking. I know this is part of it and I do think it is pretty cool that I'm noticing these things and with the help of the surgery I can control myself whereas before I would have shoved the food in my mouth without a second thought! So when you ask me if this is hard I'm going to say yes, but yes with a hard lesson learned which is always a good thing if I'm learning. Learning about me, what makes me tick, what my triggers are, that's a good thing for me. I need to lose 100 pounds, I need to learn so I can stop blood pressure meds that I have been on since 2007. I need to learn because everyone says I'm shaped just like my mother who at the age and time of her death I weight the exact same weight and wore the same pants size as my mom. My mom she died in her mid-40's from congestive heart failure.

Most people do not think I'm fat enough for the surgery and they tried to talk me out of it! People, don't let another make this decision for you. This is a life matter and you are the responsible party! I only stand 5'3 on my best days and I was 225 of solid fat! I solid, stocky and heavy. The weight on my heart (just like my mom's is not a good thing). Stop comparing and do what is right for you. There is no need now days to wait until you are 200 or mover over weight. If you know this has been a life long struggle for you and your health is not in good shape do you, do what you must to live your life! This is the only life I was given and I'm not going to sit around and let someone's beliefs dig me an early grave. I know up close and personal what can happen if you do. As long as I keep improving no matter if it is slow weight loss or fast. I can take the hard, the boring broth, the exercising while looking forward to living and having a Rocking Body!

I would love to hear about others struggles and victories. Comment or email me so we can chat, I need some new friends who I have something in common with.

PS: I know my grammar and structure in writing my posts is not very good but… Please hear my words and know my heart that is good!

Peace, Love & Body Rock!
Lisa

Stalled!!! What the Heck!!!

Hi All,

Every day I tell myself not to get on the scale and just like a hard-head child I disobey my fair warning and get on it in-spite of being disappointed yesterday. This morning I'm back on the scale and it is back up to 213.4 I'm ready to pull my hair out because I think I'm doing everything right but the scale keeps screaming WRONG oh-so wrong! At first I was doing well with the pre-op clear diet which my doctor had me continue until this coming Monday. Pre-op start day was Friday 5/17, I weighed in at 225. Monday 5/20 I had my procedure, Thursday 5/23 I came home and weighed in at 213.4. Friday morning 5/24 the scale sang a new song of 212 even weight, I was excited! Well the excitement did not last very long. From Saturday 5/18, I have had a fierce tango dance with the scale which says I’m bouncing back and forth with 212-213.4 pounds since last Friday and I can’t believe it! It’s driving me wild!

Don't get me wrong, I'm encouraged when I see things that I’m doing that I can recognize and change now, or when I can feel now when I’m full and stop eating. I’m determined to continue with my new life style and the prospect of a new lease on life, but I'm telling the truth when I say I'm getting depressed about the weight loss stall. I think I'm doing everything right. I stay within 600 calories a day some days it's less and I know that is not good but I can't seem to get stuff down well some days and other day’s it seems like I eat too much but still with in calorie 600 calorie count. I'm walking and doing light exercise. Two days ago I started upping my water at first I could not take the taste but I started putting just a little crystal light in my water and now I can drink about 48 oz. per day I will get up to the 64 here soon. I'm mainly on clear homemade chicken broth now but once every other day or so I go for a cream soup because I just get a little tired of the broth. I take my vitamins and I'm working on finding a protein I can tolerate. Even the one I have I still mix it in something to try to get down as much as possible but typically everyday I'm only getting in 50%. Today I order a unflavored kind I hope that works better for me. I know how important it is to get it in.

I don't know what I'm doing wrong so if someone out there can let me know please do so, I'm very frustrated and just want to do this right. I've spent the money, the time and now I want the best results possible.

Lisa In Onederland!!! Yep! Yep!!! 199.4 Today!

Today I made it to Onederland! 199.4 this morning Yeah baby Yeah!!!! Just wanted to let you guys know things have finally started falling in place for me and I'm not a ball of nerves any longer. I still have ruff days or ruff moments but it's much better. The weight is coming off at a steady pace now. I'm taking my supplements and vitamins, water and working out. To keep up with my story please visit my channel on YouTube: BodyRockByLisa and subscribe follow my journey, I would love to have you. (copy and paste) to see my video http://youtu.be/BN_d0t74e7o

Getting It In: Protein Drinks

Hi All,

As of yesterday I'm down 35 pounds current weight is now 190 pounds. I will not say it has been easy, I feel like I watch it just as much now as I did pre-op. I have to select the right foods, exercise and get the protein in daily. I must say I don't enjoy the protein but I have come up with some good recipes to help it go down. I guess it's like "A Spoon Full of Sugar Helps the Medicine go Down!” You can take a look at my Channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/BodyRockByLisa) on YouTube to hear all about this month and see my progress. Let me say this... Even though is is not an easy journey to take, losing weight by gastric sleeve I truly feel (on most days) ;-) it is worth it. I love seeing my health improve, my body change and my self-esteem grows each month. Take a look at my channel here: http://www.youtube.com/user/BodyRockByLisa

My progress current weight 10/10/2013 174lbs

My progress current weight 10/10/2013 174llbs

Slowly But Surely

Sometimes the greatest happiness comes out of tears;

Sometimes courage is found in your deepest fears.

Sometimes strength is found when you’re weakest;

Sometimes leaders come from the meekest.

We carry the world and embark on treacherous trips

Full of monsters, storms, and sunken ships.

There will be days you wish you could re-do

But the past is behind you; it’s done, it’s through.

The only thing you can do is work to improve,

Because forward’s the only way you can move.

It’s all part of His plan, despite your frustration,

Sometimes from destruction comes creation.

A big bang started the universe and all it’s parts;

Be silent and to God you must open your hearts and trust,

And inside of you where your own explosion lurks,

You’ll find it’s a beautiful display of fireworks.

Author unknown

Highest weight 248
Date of GS Surgery 225
As of today Nov 12, 2013 I'm 168

Slowly but Surely, I'm sneaking up on my goal. There are days that are not as easy as the next but in spite of the small mishaps I continue to push forward and try my best to improve each and every day. I have to remind myself constantly that this is a total lifestyle change if I want the to be a lasting change.

I have posted new videos hope you stop by and take a look, you can copy and paste this YouTube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=si_kiHm_bZc

Love, peace and BodyRock On!
Lisa

Gastric Sleeve 7 Month Update - Dr. Almanza, Thank You!

HI all!

Just wanted to post a quick update on my progress. I have lost a total of 67 pounds now and i'm starting month 7 tomorrow Dec 20th. Time is really flying by. I will say that any one if you are like me and you have at least 80 - 100 pounds to lose, do yourself a favor and give it enough time. I thought i would be at goal my firs 5 -6 months. Don't ask me where I got those calculations from I have no clue. I guess it was just a desire to make it happen and happen fast. Well now I know better. If you are following the rules (which I'm a firm believer in doing) your body will do what it do. You will just have to trust that it knows what and how much to lose at any given time. I have started understanding my body's pattern. My body typically drops 1-2 pounds around the 2nd or 3rd week of the month and it does absolutely nothing during the other two weeks, well sometimes it plays with the 1 to 2 pound weight loss by gaining it back and losing it again in a day or two. The towards the end of the month or right at the beginning of the month almost like clock work it loses around 5-6 more pounds giving me a total loss of on average 6-8 total pounds lost for the month.

When I first started I was so frustrated with the multiple stalls I was having, now as time has gone by I see that is how my body works, then it gives me something to get excited about by dropping the weight. Ya'll it will happen if you do your part your body will do the rest. Rest assured and hang in there. I'm adding my video link here so you can keep up with my progress in more depth or learn more about the procedure and how my journey was with the sleeve. I even talk about my Dr. and clinic of choice. Feel free to comment, or email me I would love to chat. BodyRock On! Lisa

I Need WLS Vetrans Help!!!

Hi Everyone! For all who have had WLS and who are going to have it this year… Happy New Year & Happy New You!,

Now that I am several months out, I need some encouragement and advice from some of you pros. Can you give me some heads up on your journey like how do you react to eating now, are you throwing up, does your tummy still bubble, and how hard is it to maintain the loss? What are some of the things you do to keep your weight loss on track? I have emailed or messaged so many WLS Veterans on here and other sites but it seems once they hit goal or close to it they stop commenting or returning message request. I'm looking for help and support for the part of the journey I have not come to yet.

The closer I get to goal the more I'm struggling to maintain loss, to control appetite and cravings. I have noticed if I don’t keep busy I think about food constantly just like the old days. At first that did not happen but here in month 6 & 7 I feel it coming back stronger and stronger. If you have these thoughts what do you do to combat them? I also struggle to control the amount of food I can eat now, some days I can eat a lot and other days I can’t it hurts to eat and my tummy bubbles a lot on some days or some meals. If I don't take Mirlax every morning I do not go to the bathroom. What is your experience is there something else I can do? I don't want to be on Mirlax for the rest of my life. If you are more than 6 months out are you still drinking protein shakes and taking several vitamins?

I’m loving the way I look and feel but I’m constantly worried/scared about re-gain and will this be a lasting change for me. I was order by my pain mgt doctor to stop working out a few months ago because of a bad car accident and now I'm not sure if I can even motivate myself again to hit the gym and start running again like I use to. Please anything you can tell me will help. Thanks in advance, I wish you the very best this year and many more years to come.

Gastric Sleeve 9 month update

Hi All!

Just wanted to give a quick update. I have not posted for awhile. Life starts to get back to a new normal and you don't have as much time to post (or I should say we don't make time). Anyways... I'm a little over 9 months out now. I have lost a total of 78 pounds now. Start 225 Current 147 Size 4-5. Here are a few photos but if you like please visit my YouTube to get more about my last few months.

New Pic's

Doctor Almanza

Great Doctor To the point, fast, neat, clean and courteous. It appears right now he knows his stuff! Doctor Almanza is way too busy to spend time with anyone. If you are looking for that he is not the one. He is busy doing precise procedures and moving on to the next. I don't need a friendly doctor (even though Dr. Almanza is friendly and nice) working on me I need a competent doctor and that's what I got in Doctor Almanza! Update 7/29/2013: Great job I'm still feeling great it gets better every week. Small clinic but very, very clean. Dr. Almanza you Rock!!!

4 out of 5 stars Overall rating
4 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
4 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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