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Gastric Sleeve Surgery--My Journey To a New Me! - Tijuana, Mexico

I am going to get the vertical sleeve surgery...

I am going to get the vertical sleeve surgery because I'm overweight and I have been overweight for a long time now. I also have developed type 2 diabetes. It is time to get my weight under control. I also have terrible self esteem and don't like to go out and meet people because I'm insecure about my weight. This has been going on for probably 7-8 years now and it is really making me a recluse. It is time for me to join the world again and be happy and free. I am going to get my sleeve surgery on Friday 2/3 and I am very nervous, excited, and scared. I am flying to San Diego Thursday evening and then leaving for Tijuana, Mexico Friday morning for pre op tests and surgery. It is going to be quite interesting. The anticipation is killing me. I cannot wait to report back about my experience and how the surgery goes. Thanks!


Hey guys. It has now been almost a week since my...

Hey guys. It has now been almost a week since my surgery. Let me say it is a little scary going into Tijuana if you've never been there before. The clinic is a small outpatient style with an operating room and some other patient rooms for recovery. It is nicely decorated and the day time nurses are good. The night time nurses were so/so. The doctor is very experienced though, even more experienced than most U.S. surgeons because gastric sleeve has been done in Mexico longer due to government approval process.

So now that I'm home, I can feel the appetite restriction. It is definitely working. I feel pretty good considering I just had surgery. This has been the year to giving me a better health and I'm on a mission. Got smart lipo, got my front teeth fixed, and now I'm getting my weight under control with the help of the sleeve. I've lost weight BUT I have been having trouble losing enough to get in a healthy BMI. Hopefully this will help with that and with my diabetes. I will keep everyone updated on my weight loss progress. So far I've probably lost around 10 lbs but it's easy to lose that when you're only eating liquids before and after surgery.

So now I'm 3 weeks post op. I am feeling back to...

So now I'm 3 weeks post op. I am feeling back to normal except for the fact I have a tiny stomach. I went out to eat for the first time today and was able to eat sweet potato fries (only was able to consume 2-3 of them) and some bits of lump crab meat tilapia from outback. It's recommended to eat soft foods for the first 4-6 weeks. I was full off of that small amount of food! It's amazing. When you go from a 60 ounce stomach to a 3-4 ounce stomach you can definitely feel the difference. If you are a binge eater or boredom eater, this is a great help! Even if you are an emotional eater, it may not be a cure-all, but it can help you restrict yourself. There is a psychological aspect to overeating, emotional eating, and etc. Obviously food is a coping mechanism to many overweight people. This definitely helps eliminate that uncomfortable hunger and cravings.

I have lost a bit of weight so far and my pants already baggy. I will keep reporting back and let everyone know how my weight loss goes and if it was worth it or not. So far, it's looking that way.

Well, in a day it will officially be my 5 months...

Well, in a day it will officially be my 5 months post op. I just want to let everyone know I'm doing well. I have lost a ton of weight. I am adjusting pretty well to life after surgery. I still have times where I eat a few bites too many or eat too fast and have what is called "foamies". It is when you've eaten a few bites too many or too fast and the body makes it come back up in sort of a spit. I know it sounds unpleasant, but it's not a big deal. It does NOT happen very often. It is when I am not paying attention and just accidentally eat a bit too much and miss that full feeling. Honestly, since surgery I've done really well with the post op rules. After sleeve surgery, you are supposed to eat protein first--never drink and eat at the same time--and chew slowly. I've done wonderfully on the protein first and not drinking and eating at the same time--but not at the chewing slowly. It looks like I'm going to be a really slow learner at that part. Thankfully, I usually stop eating when I feel satisfied. However, when eating too fast you don't always realize you've suddenly gotten full and then one bite too many means the foamies LOL. That is my issue.

The other issue I've had since surgery is reflux. I do have to take a PPI like Prilosec to keep the acid reflux at bay. It works wonderfully though. As long as I'm taking my PPI, I do not have any issues with reflux.

So those are the only issues I've had since surgery. Reflux and foamies. Reflux is in remission with Prilosec. Foamies are of my own doing because I sometimes eat too fast and that results in missing the full feeling. Slowing down on the chewing is my last sleeve obstacle to overcome.

Now for the BENEFITS!! The benefits are so huge! The benefits are like 99 times more than the two small issues I've had. I get satisfied/full on small amounts of food and I am able to tolerate anything. I choose to eat healthy proteins first and save a bit of room for complex carbs or veggies. Occasionally I will have a treat like low fat no sugar added frozen yogurt/dark chocolate/ wheat thins. Nothing has give me issues except eggs when i was first sleeved. Since about 2 months after surgery, I've been able to eat scrambled eggs with no problem at all.

The weight loss is phenomenal. Those first 3 months the weight flew off. I have still continued to lose around 8-9 lbs a month the last 2 months. I will probably continue to lose between 6-8 lbs a month for the rest of the time until I'm at goal. That seems to be about the average. I only wanted to lose 75-80 so it looks like I will hit goal within the next few months and may even go a bit below goal. My main goal is to have a normal BMI. I don't want to be super skinny. Just healthier and not overweight anymore.

My diabetes is doing much better. The high protein diet of the sleeve is a life saver. It is so much more tolerable to do it with the sleeve. Hunger is tolerable after the sleeve as well. It removes the part of the stomach that produces grehlin (the hunger hormone). Grehlin is still produced in other parts of the body. Some people who have sleeve report zero hunger. I do still have some hunger and I'm okay with that. It is WAY better than before surgery. I remember feeling hungry way more intensely before surgery.

This surgery has been one of the greatest things I could have ever done. I am so pleased with everything. Food does not control me anymore. I'm learning to control it and develop a healthier relationship. I'm not perfect. No one is. It's not humanly possible. But it's so much easier to make far healthier choices and I'm so grateful for that. I am so happy I had the sleeve and I'm so grateful for all of the wonderful health changes I've had. I would recommend anyone get the sleeve surgery if you have a weight problem that has gone on for years and years with little success. I used to yo yo diet a lot. The problem? The weight would always come right back. This surgery will definitely exponentially increase the chance that once I lose the weight I will keep it off this time! I have such a great tool to help me out.

I will update again later on this year to keep everyone in the loop. Hopefully I will update again at 8 months post op and then for sure I will update at a year post op! I hope to reach my goal at least by a year post op,,IF NOT SOONER :-) I have done so much better than I ever thought possible. I never thought that anything would work for me. I was so skeptical when I got this surgery...but I was so HOPEFUL this would really help. I'm so pleasantly surprised that it has!

Hey guys, I'm now 9 months post op! Still doing...

Hey guys, I'm now 9 months post op! Still doing really good! After about 9 months, your stomach is mostly healed from all the swelling. The first 3 months you can eat very little maybe one or two ounces of food. After about 6 months you can eat about 2-3 ounces of dense protein like meat or chicken but you can eat more soft foods like yogurt or cottage cheese (around 4-5 ounces of soft foods). Now that I'm about 9 months post op, I can eat about 2 ounces of protein that is dense and also some vegetables with it with no problem at this point. I can also eat about 4-6 ounces of softer foods like cottage cheese or yogurt. So yes, your capacity does increase as the swelling stops. My weight has been great. I'm still losing slowly at this point. The bulk of the weight loss occurred in the first 6 months. I am fine with losing slowly at this point because I'm SO CLOSE to GOAL! -) This surgery has been excellent for me and I really hope that it works out well for anyone who gets it. I find that this surgery is a great compromise for someone who doesn't want to get the lap band because it's a foreign object that probably won't last longer than 5 years and someone who doesn't want to get the gastric bypass because the vitamin and mineral deficiencies sound too extreme. I think the VSG is the perfect middle ground and that is why I chose it. I would do it all again! I will post again when I'm a year or so post op and let you know how I'm doing. And of course I'm thrilled with my jeans now too--getting into the single digit sizes now! That's a nice plus.
Dr. Mario Almanza

You don't get to be with the doctor much because he has other surgeries on the same day. Yes it is cheaper in Mexico. While you get a quality surgeon for the procedure, you don't get as much one on one care in Mexico. It is less personable in Mexico. However, what matters is the quality of the surgeon and he is highly experienced. The nurses and staff were all friendly and helpful. Most of them spoke English. It is about 1/2 or 1/3 of the cost of getting the procedure in the United States and if you don't want all of the fancy bells and whistles, then this is the place to go. You get a great surgeon in an okay facility that may not be a full service hospital suite BUT it's clean and well run. When I say clean, the facility was SPOTLESS when I was there. My doctor has done thousands of gastric sleeve surgeries and I am thrilled to have that kind of experience working on me.

4 out of 5 stars Overall rating
3 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
4 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
3 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
3 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
3 out of 5 stars Wait times
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Sorry I don't know what happened to my long post but basically I was thanking you for all of your great info and in such detail. I am in pre-op now prepping for surgery hopefully targeted for Feb 2013. I was just diagnosed with sleep apnea so my insurance will cover here in California. I am 5'7" weighing 255. My goal is to lose 85 pounds. I too don't want to be too skinny, I just want to be healthy, have more energy and change my relationship with food. I have lived to eat most of my adult life and I'm jumping off this weight gain/loss roller coaster! So thank you for sharing your journey and getting me super excited again! This is one of the best blogs on VSG I've seen. I'm glad to know you had little issues post-op. I love that you can tolerate any foods. And good to know about foamies. I will remember to chew slowly. I also heard Prevacid works better than Prilosec for reflux. I look forward to your year update, hopefully before I have my surgery in Feb! Take care and great job!!
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Thank you so much for your comment! I am so glad it has helped someone! I have hit goal now (just this week) and have decided I would like to drop another 10-12 lbs to be in the middle of a normal BMI range and am hoping to get there by my 1 year mark.
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I'm also going feb 24 2013! Are there any things you are doing to prepare I'm excited and nervous but it's time to get it done two babies I need more energy and I need to be healthier.
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gastric sleeve mexico: Going through a gastric sleeve mexico surgery poses some risks that must be considered first. Much like any other major surgery, there are risks that come along with it. Some of the potential gastric sleeve risks and complications include cardiovascular disease, arthritis, diabetes, and some types of cancer.
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Thanks for the update and congrats on all your success! It sounds like VSG was the best op for you. I also see it as a "middle ground"; everyone is different, but it does strike a nice compromise between the lap band and bypass.

Any plans to post "before" and "after" pics? :)

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That's awesome news about your diabetes! This isn't a cure-all surgery and it still takes hard work and determination, but it sounds like you're completely motivated to get to where you want to be! Keep up the good work.

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Hi Sharon! Yes I am so happy! I was extremely skeptical when I got surgery and was just hoping for a miracle. This surgery really has been a life saver--literally. My diabetes has been pretty much in remission since surgery. I feel a lot better.
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Congratulations on your weight loss so far! Sounds like you're doing great. Woohoo! :)

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Thanks for updating us. Just take things easy for a few days and get used to your new stomach. Let us know how you're doing!

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Glad you're home and doing okay. I'll be following your progress. :)

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Good luck tomorrow! Hope everything goes well.

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Hi there, thanks for sharing your journey with us. Good luck for your surgery tomorrow! Please keep us updated on your progress.

Kirsty

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