Just got enough time to update. I just want to say everything went wonderfully, more so than I could ever imagine. Here's the story from the beginning:
After myself emailing the patient coordinator back and forth a few times before my sx date to confirm the date to make sure there'd be someone there to pick me up, I packed my things. I woke up around 6 AM Wednesday 6/1 and had a friend drive me to the SD/Mexico border (aka San Ysidro border). I was supposed to be there by 9 but got there at 9:30 AM because there was a bit of traffic. Immediately called them to notify them I was there, but unfortunately my cell coverage down there was awful and I kept dropping calls. Omg I was so nervous at this point. Thankfully my texts went through no problem so I texted them and eventually someone came to pick me up. Also just want to add that you have to send them a picture of what you look like at this point so they're able to spot you. A young good looking man in a new Jetta came by within 10 minutes and I was on my way. I'm quiet and introverted but I told him I spoke Spanish so we just had a simple nice chat on our way to the center. He asked if I was going to the center to visit someone that had the surgery or if I was the person getting surgery. I told him I was patient and he was like "Oh okay, didn't know because usually the patients are a lot bigger." We got there and the center was in an average gated business parking lot with other businesses around. Walked into the center which was nice and into the office itself which was actually pretty small. A nice young girl gave me paperwork to fill out and asked for my ID and payment. Just a quick FYI for anyone that ends up going here, only give them the $300 deposit when you are interacting with them through email/phone, and give them the rest when you get there through cash/money order. I made the mistake of sending multiple payments through my bank to lower my balance due and that just really seemed to confuse them and delay the process because they had to go look through their bank records and I had to show them my bank receipts/online payments on my phone and the corresponding dates so that they could cross check to make sure they had all the money. I understand that with so many patients they get, or other business transactions in their account, a payment to their account but might be like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Sooo yeah, just do the $300 deposit to them in the beginning, and pay the rest only when you get there. You can use your credit/debit card when you get there but they charge 3.9% of the amount you're paying. Alright moving on. So I'm there sitting in the waiting area and there's only one other guy there, a patient I assume, and I see him saying hi or talking to the different clinic personnel that would walk by into this other room. Since he also spoke Spanish I asked him if he knew anyone here. Turns out he's a police offer and the reason why he's getting surgery is because he's a bodyguard or something for some of the doctors that work at the clinic and they had offered him this surgery as a thank you for his services. Brilliant! He said he only just gathered the courage to actually go ahead with it. Well, that only gave me even more confidence that Dr. Maytorena was legit. Ten minutes later or so, another patient walked into the office and she seemed to be about my age, but a lot bigger and she had her mom and grandma with her. They were talking in Spanish/English sooo I asked the girl about her pre op diet. I was given instructions to do a one week low carb pre op but I was kind of worried because I had cheated a bit on day 3 or 4 with 2 small squares of pizza. She had told me about her relative and friend that had also cheated a bit and they did fine on their surgery. Also the same doctor had given her a 2 week low carb diet so depending on how much weight you have to lose is the pre op diet they give you. This isn't to encourage anyone to not stay on their pre op diet, but hey, I'm sure there's someone out there that might be relieved to hear that. I just want to add that also because of that pizza I ended up not eating a single thing the day before surgery. Also, they don't want you eating NOR drinking a single thing the day of surgery though. So about 20 minutes later or so we were sent to the next door which was the room adjacent to the office and where very polite nurses gave us our rooms and bed. This area obviously was larger and what struck me first was the very sterile and modern, clean medical decor the place had. You share a decent size "room" with one other person, but their area and yours are separated with a medical curtain. I had to take off all of my clothes and put on a medical gown and compression stockings. Just and FYI to the ladies, make sure you're not on your period because I was beginning to spot and the nurse said I could have my panties and pad on while I waited but when it was time for surgery I'd need to take them off, so plan accordingly. I then sat on the nice comfy, clean, hospital bed and chilled out. I was probably checked in around 11:30, I didn't have surgery until like 6 or 7 pm. Between that time though, a lot of doctors and nurses, and a cardiologist came by and I also took a few small naps to relax and cus I was fatigued from not eating anything for a while. They of course had WiFi which I used on my phone at this time too. Also at this point I was also hooked up to an IV and was given fluids, had my blood drawn, and provided a urine sample. Had to give my medical history like 2 or 3 different times and I was blown away by how young one the female doctors was, 26! And she was so pretty and so polite! Apparently there's a whole team of doctors there performing the surgery on you. I met Dr. Maytorena alongside Dr. Montalvo the anesthesiologist. Montalvo did most of the talking and questions but Maytorena, my surgeon, seemed very humble and attentive in a reserved manner which I appreciated. Another Dr. Ramos came by to say hello to me and he was super cool and friendly and even suggested we should take a picture together but at this point I was too lazy to take my phone out to do it haha but I did promise him I'd write a review, so, if you're reading, shout out to you Dr. Ramos! I overheard the cardiologist talking to a nurse saying that Friday was going to be a very busy packed day with 5 patients on the schedule. I was super glad I had chose Wednesday as there were only 3 of us getting operated that day. I had my surgery last. When it was time for me, a nurse came and got me and we walked into a very open and large room where Montalvo instructed me to lie on the table and he took my hand and told me he was going to give me something to relax and for me to think of something pleasant. I knew this was the cue and I started thinking of the crazy shopping spree I was going to indulge in after this was all over and my weight under control. Anesthesia, or whatever he gave me of that wasn't first, feels like a heavy mild icy hot being pumped into your hand and arm. I then fell asleep. When I heard noises and my name I awoke and I all I could think of was sweet baby Lord Jesus I made it. There wouldn't be any scary phone calls to make to my unaware parents today. This total high of having come out of surgery SUCCESSFULLY gave me the strength to walk out of there and into my room with vigor. Ladies and gentleman, I thankfully did not awake with the common and dreaded chest pain or shoulder pain I've read so often. I only felt like my stomach and guys were distended like when you're over the top bloated. I felt soooo damn great and even the nurses noticed and commented that I looked as if I didn't even have a surgery. Ok, so, I found a guy on BariatricPal that I kind of made friends with who had had Dr. M and he told me that it'd be wise to immediately ask for pain meds as soon as you wake up and get put into your room because that way you're able to manage your pain easier rather than waiting until you're pain and then when they administer it, it actually takes longer to work on your body. And really that's how pain and pain medicines go. So when the nurse asked if I was in pain I immediately said yes even though I really wasn't and probably could've managed it on my own. I 100% believe that having done this method progressed me beautifully to a quicker recovery. Each time the nurses offered pain medicine I took it. Also want to add that I didn't experience dry mouth either which I forgot to mention that I bought Biotene which is a rinse for dry mouth and right before surgery I gargled with it and immediately after I gargled with it again so didn't even experience none of the dreaded dry spell feeling. The only negative thing, which didn't last too long thank God, was severe nausea attacks that I got when I came out and ended the following morning. The nurses gave me medicine for that too but it didn't really work. But since that was all I had to deal with and because it wasn't constant I didn't complain about it there and I won't complain about it here. So that Wednesday night I was out of surgery I was in bed by 8:30 pm and I felt totally awake and listened to some music on my phone and fell asleep finally by around midnight. The next morning we were told to pack up our stuff because we were going to a different facility to do the x Ray leak test and that after that we'd be dropped off at the recovery house. Oh I just want to mention that I had read about people's experiences with this "drain tube" on their stomach, I just want to clarify that it isn't as awful as it's painted out to be, it just kind of reminded me of a little snack size ziplock baggy that is taped and just chillin on your lower stomach on the side and it's where that incision, which is where they took out your stomach, can get rid of anything gross your body's expelling to heal. It doesn't fill up or anything but there is some clear pink blood liquid. Ok so we were driven to the leak test, and boy did it feel good to get out and get some fresh air and sunlight. Leak test was quick and then we drove like 5 mins to the recovery house were omg guys it was soooo cute and beautiful and like your home if it was decorated out of an ikea magazine. Also coming from a Mexican, I could tell that the area the recovery house was in was more upper scale and definitely in a safe neighborhood. When we all got there, I was promptly given a room that guys, I could not have asked for more to make me feel completely comfortable and at home but also in a sterile, clean, modern environment. I was delighted that my room had a street facing window (with decorative metal protecting the window aka no one can get in haha) cus I need my air and light, and a flat screen tv and a little desk and matching chair, and a big easy boy leather recliner. Immediately given pain medicine again through the IV, still have the IV in at this point, and I just want to add that for me the pain medicine did not make me an ounce loopy or euphoric or any kind change whatsoever. It only helped managed the pain from my stomach. There are 4 incisions which only felt a bit tender, but definitely my stomach on my left side on the inside I felt like I couldn't comfortably stretch, like a bend backwards motion, which I really felt like doing cus it was my back that hurt and felt like it needed a stretch. I couldn't totally walk upright. And that was really my pain at this point. However, as the day at the recovery house progressed, I was able to lay flat on my back over the bed with my head and my feet hanging and I got the stretch I wanted. But, any movements like having to use your abs to get out of bed or moving to reposition yourself on the bed hurt, and I'm not gonna tell y'all it feels like having done a bunch of crunches cus I've done a bunch of crunches before folks and that's not what it felt like to me, it felt like a pulling on something in your insides, a pulling of something that was very very heavy and painful at a single point on my left, rather than all of your stomach. Definitely slept a lot that Thursday at the recovery house, and definitely got woken up a lot by nurses and doctors at the recovery house. Early in the day still not feeling thirsty I asked for some water anyway but was only given ice chips. Later that night I was given another bitter liquid to drink similar to the x Ray test liquid to again confirm that my stomach wasn't leaking. It was bright blue in color and when I finished it the doctor came by and checked my ziplock stomach bag to make sure it was free of blue liquid and it was, yay! I was given chicken broth and it was sure tasty and I made sure to take the smallest, slowest of sips and I savoured the saltiness of it. She even gave me quite a big bowl of it bless her heart, I only took about 3 tablespoons of it. Slept wonderfully that night and the following morning on Friday it was time to head out. They did not rush me what so ever, and I even slept it and the nurse told me I could take a shower. She removed the IV, she removed the baggy, and I took a nice shower with soaps they provided. We probably left the recovery house at 11:30 AM and there were already a new group of people waiting in the dining room and living room waiting to get their rooms, and these people were definitely not Mexican, they were American or white and there was a bit black man as well. The girl I had met and her mother offered me a ride across the border so I went home with them and we were given a medical fast pass to cross the border faster. Then my friend was there waiting for me at the border. Made it to my home in Orange County about 2, 2:30 and unpacked and took some liquid extra strength Tylenol for a headache and went back to bed and just watched TV and lazed about. My week has gone so perfectly well and I can't wait to describe it and go into detail but I'll have to save that for my following post.
Bottom line, it was totally worth it, loved my surgical team, loved what I paid for it, weighed 191 day of surgery and one week later I was down to 185. As of this morning, which puts me at one week and 3 days post op I'm weighing in at 181. My mind is just blown. Alright, till next time!