Single Incision Sleeve Gastrectomy in Mexico by Dr. Fernando Garcia and Tijuana Bariatrics for a 37 Yr Old Female with BMI of 31

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I am a 37 year old woman who has struggled with...

I am a 37 year old woman who has struggled with weight my entire life. I currently have a BMI of 31 when I went to the doctor for my physical this week. My highest weight was about 192 lbs and that was about 8 years ago when I was in a very abusive relationship, so I depended on food and alcohol for friendship. Luckily he left me because I might not have, and I decided to get rid of the fat. I stopped drinking cold turkey and joined a gym. I got down to about 140 lbs with diet and exercise, but then I got into another relationship. The drinking and eating out caused me to gain 10 to 15 pounds pretty quickly, so I decided to start taking phentermine. That was the biggest mistake of my life because it worked, and I became addicted to it. I have been on it for about 4 years now even though I know it does not work. I can take it and still eat whatever I want with no control of my appetite. I hate myself! I have such strong hunger and cannot ever feel full enough. I am so easily tempted by food. It really is an addiction. I know how I should eat, but all I think about is the hunger, and a salad does nothing for that. I think about my body so much every day and how I have let myself go. I always tell myself that I will eat well tomorrow, but then I walk by doughnuts at work and take 2 or 3. I do exercise almost every day, but that cannot combat all of the bad food I am eating. I know with age the metabolism slows too, and I am experiencing that also. I cannot lose weight like I used too. Every day is a struggle with what I am going to eat. I have tried meal plans, but I cheat. I have tried driving without money to work so I will not stop at fast food restaurants and eat the healthy food I pack, but then when I get home I am so hungry that I eat whatever I can find like a crazy woman. It sucks!

I had another review started because I was going to just get the fat sucked out with liposuction. I even put my deposit down for the surgery and bought everything needed only to reschedule because I knew I would just gain the weight back because my diet was not under control. I have gained about 10 to 15 pounds since I started that review last year. I attached 2 photos from how I looked then. I even got married fat. I hate taking pictures now because I gain weight everywhere (not just tummy), so even my face looks so big now. My husband is not even attracted to me anymore. We have only had sex 2 times since we got married in October of last year. I was about 145 lbs when we met the year prior, so I guess the 20 or so lb weight gain caused him to lose interest because he wanted to all the time when we first met. I know sex is not everything, but it feels like I am living with a roommate instead of a husband. I am not doing this surgery for him though. I am doing this for me to finally try and actually be happy with myself. I have never loved myself. I have always felt so alone in this world. I know I need to love myself and be proud of who I am to truly be happy with my life.

So enough background info about me and onto the actual nitty gritty. I started researching weight loss surgery about a month ago. I had only heard of gastric bypass before, so when I came across the gastric sleeve surgery, I was so happy. The thought of having a small stomach to be able to feel fullness again and to get rid of that awful hormone that controls hunger is life changing. I know I cannot do this surgery in the US, so I started looking into Mexico. This lead me to Dr. Fernando Garcia and Tijuana Bariatrics because he performs the single incision procedure going through the belly button. He is a very skilled and competent surgeon. I have not read anything bad about him. I know when I thought of Tijuana or Mexico, I questioned if it could possibly be safe. This is a major money making business for Mexico. They have found a gap that needs to be filled and they have filled it very well. I feel confident in my decision because Dr. Garcia has a slightly different protocol than other doctors because he allows you to stay the first night at the Marriott hotel, second and third at the hospital and fourth and fifth back at the hotel. He does 4 total leak tests before you leave too. Other doctors operate same day of arrival and send you back after 3 nights only. While I know my interaction with Dr. Garcia will be minimal because he is very busy and they have this down to a science, I am comfortable in their process and trust in the results I have seen.

I have paid my deposit (500 US dollars with 3% charge for using debit/credit, so $515 total), paid for my flight (nonstop from Atlanta to San Diego roundtrip, $814 total for my husband and I, main seating on Delta) and put in for my time off of work. I am taking 13 working days off for a total of 2 and a half weeks total. My surgery date is 09Jun2016 and total cost of surgery with hotel, hospital, anesthesia, tests, transportation, meds, etc. of 5,250 US dollars total (minus the deposit for a total of 4,750 US dollars remaining that I bring in either cash (no way) or cashier's check when I arrive in Tijuana). They provide the transportation to and from airport, which makes me feel much better. My husband has applied for his passport (expedited) and we will pay for the hotel fee of $100/night to the hotel upon arrival for the two nights I spend in the hospital because he will need to do some work while there. He is not much of a nurturer, but I need him because I am deathly scared of flying and have only flown in the past with alcohol in my system to calm my nerves (drunk on a plane, haha), but obviously I will not be doing that for this trip either way. I have already cut out coffee and carbonated beverages except alcohol (I used to drink a monster zero every day and really love my coffee in the am). I have cut back on the alcohol, but plan to cut it entirely a week before surgery. I have already incorporated low sugar, high protein drinks into my diet too. Thank you so much for reading my story and my review thus far. I plan on posting in great detail my experience, so stay tuned. I am less than a month away!!

Surgery day!

Hi! I am currently waiting to be taken back for my surgery. I arrived last night about 6:20 in San Diego. Luis picked us up and took us to the marina to wait for another couple. We finally arrived to the hotel about 8:00. I was on clear liquids yesterday, and I was starving. We went to hotel restaurant about 9pm and I had two bowls of the broth. It was good, but I wish they had not brought the bread basket for my husband. I was staring at it because I wanted it so badly! Also, I do want to mention that it flying delta at Atlanta airport, chick fila does not have soup. The best place I found was pf chang, and I got the large wonton with broth separate from the other stuff, which was a good portion size for the 4.5 hr. flight. The hotel was nice, and I slept better than I thought I would. The hotel has a scale, so I weighed myself this morning before going to the hospital, and I weighed 173. They measure in kg though. I got weighed here with clothes and shoes on and was 175. We met downstairs in hotel lobby this morning at 6:45 and got picked up by shuttle about 7. The hospital is about 10 min. from the hotel. The hospital room is very nice. They were very quick to come one by one into my room to get me going, but now I have just been waiting and it is already 11am. I have not met Dr. Garcia yet. They said he was doing fall bladder surgery then he would move on to us bariatric patients. I am hooked up with iv, leg compression tights are on. I do have clear nail polish on and toes painted, but they have not said anything. They did make me remind my nose ring though. I will post as soon as I can to update about how the surgery goes and how I feel. I am scared, but I have to trust this is the right decision for me!

At hotel and finally got some sleep!

Hi! So surgery was not fun at all. I am being completely honest. I went into the operating room and started to cry because I was so scared. I woke up in recovery wanting to get up immediately. I had so much anxiety! They finally brought me back to the room and it was the longest two nights of my life. I tried walking so much and they kept giving meds, but I could not get comfortable in that hospital bed and only for a couple hours sleep both nights. It is hard! Others did not seem to be having a hard time like me though. I had such bad chest pain. I had and still have very bad heartburn. The other ladies did not because they were already on prilosec. We did the leak test this morning. It takes like one minute to do, but you do have to go to another location to get it done. They take you back to hospital and remove your drain and stitches before you then can be enough back to hotel for the next two nights. Right when we got to the hotel, I laid down and my husband walked to the mall. I got a good couple hour nap. I am very hungry and had a bowl of chicken broth. It is not bad, but I wish I was not feeling hunger. The other ladies were not feeling hungry, so it is very person specific. I am trying to drink my water to prevent dehydration. Also, I did gain about 9 pounds when I weighed myself at the hospital before I left, so I guess it was from all the fluids they were giving me in the iv. I was urinating a lot from it too. They have a tour you can go on tomorrow, which is the day before we leave, so that should be a great way to kill some time. It is not scary here. We walked to the mall about half mile from hotel, and it was not bad at all. Let me know if you have any questions and I will post some more updates soon!!


So, I am about 10 weeks out now. I will say this is not easy. I do want to overeat still. I do get really hungry. I guess that part of my stomach was not removed. There have been stalls. They are frustrating. I do eat the wrong things sometimes (slider foods like ice cream and cake that do not fill you up). I have had to make myself throw up from eating too much. I am still learning. I am down to taking one protonix in the am (instead of also in the pm) for acid reflux, so that is getting better. I have drank alcohol (wine). I have gotten drunk (not on purpose), but like I said, I am still learning. I have not had anything carbonated since they say it can stretch my sleeve. I do not drink protein drinks anymore. I try to get it all through food now and use Genepro (ordered on Amazon) to add to my yogurt, oatmeal or soup. I can eat pretty much anything now though, so do not have all the food funerals like I did prior to surgery. So dumb! I just eat one piece of pizza now instead of like 4! I posted a picture so I am using mederma and bio oil on my scars, but they are still visible. I had single incision, but they do use a drain, so I have the one in my belly button and one off to the side of it too. I hope they fade! I started to indoor cycle on day 10 (they told me to wait like 4 to 6 weeks, but I could not do it). I do exercise about 45 to 60 min per day. I do wear a fitbit, but hardly ever get my 10000 steps. I did try tracking my food with it, but I just try and make sure now that I get my at least 80g protein in per day and drink at least 2 Liters of water per day. I have had some major constipation lately and did not want to take laxatives, so I have tried to drink more water and add fiber in my diet (so more fruit and veggies). It has helped. Taking the vitamins orally sucks, so I wear the multivitamin and Calcium/vitamin D patches. I get my levels checked by my primary care doctor the beginning of next month. I have not had the dreaded hair loss yet, but I have heard that starts about 3 months out. So, I am currently at about 141 pounds and 26.5% body fat, so I am normal on body fat, but still considered overweight on my BMI. I have a goal of about 125 pounds, so wish me luck! Ask any questions you like too. I am on lots of groups on facebook that have been so helpful too!
Mexico General Surgeon

I will update after my surgery to give rating. Dr. Garcia Training and Experience: As the former medical chief of a local hospital in Tijuana, and a current professor of advanced laparoscopy at the University of Tijuana Medical School, Dr. Garcia understands the importance of furthering his knowledge, honing his surgical skills, and educating others about their health and technological advances. His attention to detail, accuracy, and thoroughness are unparalleled. Dr. Garcia has been in the medical field for nearly two decades, and he has been specializing in bariatric and metabolic treatment for eight years.

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