27, No Kids, Low Bmi, Self Pay - Mexico

Hi everyone. I'm currently about 205 lbs...

Hi everyone. I'm currently about 205 lbs 5'3" and just applied for gastric sleeve surgery in Tijuana. After searching surgery reviews for something unrelated, I found this website and stumbled onto the WLS reviews. Thank goodness I did. Fast foward about a year later and here I am folks.

So, I've been overweight all of my life. However, with slimfast shakes replacing one or two meals a day, I stabilized my weight throughout high school at 165 lbs. One summer in my teens, a daily strenuous exercise regimen and calorie restriction I was able to lose 20 lbs and get down to my lowest (at the time) for 145 lbs. Once school started I didn't keep up with my heathy habits and slowly my weight crept up again. When I was 24 and had climbed to 215 lbs (my highest weight ever to this day), I began a paleo diet combined with zero exercise and through this carb restriction/Atkins style of eating I lost a whopping 70 lbs --to be my lowest I've ever been at 135, and also the most depressed/anxious I've ever been. Looking back I realize that exercising would've helped out with my anxiety, but alas. That [exercise] never happened and the for the last two years I've gained a total of 70 lbs. That's 35 lbs per year. Wow.

So, I know I can lose the weight, but would rather do it again with this sleeve being the tool. For if I fall off the wagon along the way I won't be able to cheat at the degree that I'd be able to otherwise and it'll be much harder to sustain an overconsumption way of life and diet. I currently work in the healthcare field but in the next year or so I plan to start nursing school and I'd rather begin that after my sleeve because I'll be much more comfortable and energetic in my own skin.

This time around I very much will embrace exercise + portion control + healthy choices.

I chose Dr. Maytorena at Long Term VSG because he's a trauma surgeon at $2,999. I put in the required $300 deposit to secure my surgery date; shooting for around May. Feels like forever to go, but I know it'll be here soon enough, and reading/watching reviews on Real Self, Bariatric Pal, and YouTube fill the time.

Oh, and the Dr. only wants me to do a one week no carb high protein diet prior to sx which I can easily do. Even still, to maximize my sleeve power I plan to begin a moderate in carbs, high protein, high fiber diet in these next 3 months.

5:2, isopure, scale, gym.

Bought some batteries today for my scale. Dusted it off, poor thing hadn't been touched in years... No idea who took the batteries out. Weighed myself tonight at 198.6 (woo! Thought I was 205. Will have to reweigh myself at the office to confirm.) and so I've decided to begin the ritual of weighing myself again, only one day a week though as I've grown tired in the past of the daily weigh ins. Which one is not encouraged to be doing anyway. I wanted to add a few more reasons as to why I decided on this procedure, and honestly writing my first review really put my weight in perspective. I can't believe I've only managed 3 times in my whole life to get down to a healthy reasonable weight, these other 24 years I've lived life have been under quite a bit of discomfort in myself, not in an immense breaking my spirit kind of way, but rather a constant nit picking thought and view of yourself that continuously chips away at happiness until you're passive, dull, and numb to your fatness. Which leads me to what I was going to say, that at this rate if continued without the sleeve, and once I enter my thirties or forties my metabolism will inevitably slow down, pack on future weight of being pregnant, and having more of a chance of having to deal with excess skin at that point are all very possible and very real scenarios. I'm so grateful the sleeve exists. Thank you science! My current plan is to get down to 185 lbs on surgery day.

Feb 200 to 195
Mar 195 to 190
April 190 to 185 (by end of April/start of May)

And here we go again with the dieting folks,. Looked up something the other day, intermittent fasting possibly, and a diet called 5:2 came up which I thought seemed fairly easy and straightforward. Basically you eat normally 5 days out of the week, and you calorie restrict to 500 calories for the other two. Seeing as with a future sleeve a 500-800 calorie day may be the norm, I decided to embark on this for the next 2 months to maybe lose the bit of weight I've planned and to get into the swing of things. Knowing the elephant of an appetite I will have to deal with on my "normal" days has me considering a gym membership. Nothing too crazy, just like 3 days a week. I will have to shop around and see what kind of deals there are. Until next time!

Closing in!

So ive begun keto after attempting calorie restriction (and failing at it) and lost 5 lbs.

Keto feels awesome, so content, so satisfied. I learned that after a while your own body manages the calories you need, rather than with frankenfoods that exceed cals but leave you starving for real nutrients. With my past success on this lifestyle and now with the ease of keto, I calculated that I can afford to lose weight up to the point of being 170 lbs for a bmi of 30 to be allowed to be gastric sleeved. I really do still want the sleeve. My portions are still larger than average for my H&W and I know that's part of my problem [having to overeat by a large margin to feel full and satisfied]. I haven't gotten a gym membership either but I've been going on outdoor hikes and taking advantage of the great beach weather lately. Seriously Laurasvsg on YouTube is great. Vlogs are just awesome in general but I'm way too shy/private to want to do those. I'm getting super excited now that my sx date is on the horizon!

I've been sleeved! And one week post op!

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!

Month 4 Post Op

Wow. What a freakin ride! Let me get everything up to speed.

Pre op weight: 196
Day of surgery weight June 1: 191
July 1: 175
Aug 1: 165
Sept 1: 155

That makes a 15 lb loss during the first month post op and a consistent 10 lb loss every month. Total loss of 41 lbs since the journey. I keep track of my losses and long term goals on my notepad on my phone, I visit it frequently and edit it accordingly, and if I know I'm closing in on finishing a month I will try harder to hit goal. And by harder I mean kinda try. It isn't very hard to do. Actually, it hasn't been hard at all.

I'm going to flat out say I haven't been following much advice or the rules about the "do's and dont's" of VSG. Sorry, not sorry. Instead of walking and walking right after surgery to let out gas (which I didn't really have), I slept and slept and recovered within 72 hours. I had my surgery Wednesday evening and felt all healed up and ready to go back to work that Monday. I want to emphasize that I slept sooooo much that weekend, I'm talking hours-long day naps and I felt amazing and healed from it. I looked beyond rested as well, glowing even. It's amazing what good sleep can do for you. Also, super important, I don't live, die, or dream on the scale. Couldn't give two flying monkies about a stall week this or a stall week that because I weigh myself once a week, if that. More like once every 2 weeks spaced apart and perhaps 1-2 days in a row for kicks if I've been good because I know I'll receive pleasure from looking at numbers fall. It's much less stressful for me this way because even if I were on a stall by the time I'd get around to actually weighing myself there's a decent chance the stall would have probably been broken by then. Also, I eat what I want when I want. I have a few bites of said "forsaken" carb then poof! The head hunger to want that particular item is quashed. It's magically gone. The fantasy of how awesome it'll be to eat that particular food item gets immediately broken. I may even feel that whatever I just had wasn't even worth it, "it just doesn't taste how it used to" I tell myself, and to be real, it probably does taste the same it's just that I can't wolf it down over and over so it's simply less satisfying. Then, once had, the mental desire for that said food item is gone, forever. There just simply is no room for the desire to polish off everything and anything anymore. Allowing myself to have anything I want provides my physical and mental health a comfort that says "hey, you're not dieting anymore. You can relax." The dieting mindset had just lead to restraint and restraint had just lead to failure. That was the past. Now, I'm starting to feel like a normal person. And by normal I mean that I can eat without freaking out over gaining weight because now I have portion control on my side. I know this all might sound awful or irresponsible, or maybe even revolutionary, but remember that I started off with a low bmi to begin with. I enjoyed healthy foods as well as junk foods before the surgery, and now I have reawakened a new enjoyment of eating healthy foods while simultaneously nauseating myself off of unhealthy foods. It's so weird. And awesommmmmmeeeee.

I am very content with my body at 155 lbs, I am so comfortable and feel so light on my feet. Clothes look so cute on me. I'm a size small in scrubs and a size 8 in target jeans. I'm energetic, I move around better, and of course compliments left and right.

I have another 20 lbs to lose to be at my initial goal weight of 135 and I'm giving myself until Nov to get there. Ultimate goal weight would be 125. I don't doubt my body will begin to slow down from here on out with the 10 lbs per month losses but I've planned against that by 1. Reducing goal to 5 lbs per month loss and 2. introducing full body toning/weight lifting to create more muscle to help increase a sluggish metabolism.

What else.. Oh, hair loss. Yeah I'm losing tons of hair, began at end of month 3 and progressed into beginning of month 4 and I don't think it totally has to do with protein. That's probably just a myth. A co worker of mine had ovarian cyst removal surgery after a few months of having lost a ton of weight and she was complaining about hair loss-- but eating protein in quantities bigger than VSG portions and so I dug into hair loss a bit more and it's very common to lose hair when you're losing lots of weight but also when having had anesthesia. For us VSG'ers, that equates to a double whammy. I have a lot of hair though so I'm not tripping. Also if anyone out there is considering this surgery and is reading this I recommend you tend to your scars ASAP. I was so very lazy and not diligent about massaging them enough to flatten them out, 4 incisions total, and now I'm afraid I'll be left with visible scars. I recently purchased Dr. Blaine's scar kit off of Amazon for under $20 and it's supposedly well reviewed and had a money back guarantee so we'll see how that goes. Favorite food these days are salmon sashimi with soy sauce and pickled ginger, fresh sliced mango, pink lady apples, diced cucumber and tomatoes with white rice vinegar and olive oil, Bai supertea, people's choice beef jerky old fashioned (only 1 carb sugar), and chocolate Slimfast shakes original powder made with whole milk. Ok thanks for reading, till next time!

Month 4 post op pics

I appreciate everyone's comments! Thanks for being supportive. Here are some pictures!

Month 5

Just thought I'd update. I'm currently at 140 lbs and looking fabulouuuuuuussssss. I can't freaking believe I'm so close to my goal weight of 135. Although I'm totally in love with how my body is shaping out, I have a few stubborn rolls left in my arms, inner thighs , and tummy. I think getting down to 130 is very possible and I'll get the look I want. I haven't been exercising as much as I should. I recently did a weight toning video using only my body weight and I couldn't believe how weak I was. I think putting in the effort to do weight lifting and toning will really change the composition of my body so that I can be the same weight, but with more muscle weight rather than fat flabby weight. I'm so excited to become active now that my body feels so light. I've gotten food and meals down to a science now. I make fresh smoothies with frozen blueberries, banana, spinach and unsweetened vanilla soymilk and a little dash of stevia which makes about 8 oz and a very filling, nutritious meal. With this autumn weather here in California ;) I've been loving to make homemade shrimp soup with yellow, purple, and orange carrots with small baby purple potatoes and onions, celery, garlic, spinach, and zucchini. It's beyond amazing and I've noticed that eating soup goes down so much smoother with the sleeve. Bread and rice feel too clogging so although a bite or two of those are nice, your meal ends up coming to a grinding halt once you get that uncomfortable feeling and I get it within seconds which makes me pissed off for even attempting to eat that because then you're done eating in like 60 seconds. 60 seconds for a meal is womp womp. So, soups are so much kinder to my belly because I can be working on soup for a while and feel like I'm getting the proper fill without feeling stretched and bloated afterwards. Beef jerky and salted nuts are a life saver and sometimes I even make that my dinner. I get a kick out of people at work who watch me puzzledly when I eat a piece of chocolate candy or a small slice of cake because they probably honestly believe I've been 100% "good" and starving myself to have lost these 50 lbs. But no. It's simply and greatly satisfying to see their reactions when I do allow myself that occasional treat. It makes me feel like a normal person. Had they never seen me overweight but rather a normal weight person eating a treat they would've never even looked twice or batted an eye, am I right or am I right? And before, when I had gotten down to this weight, I truly was a neurotic mess and wouldn't touch anything with sugar with a ten foot pole. I was scared to be in situations where there was food I knew I wouldn't be "allowed" to have. That kind of life was crazy!! I don't feel anything like that at all now and it's so amazingly liberating. If you're reading this and you're at a lower weight, I greatly advise you to just do it, get sleeved. You're still at a low controllable weight where perhaps all you ever needed was a bit of that portion control. I feel normal, and hey, yeah I can eat that fun size Halloween snickers bar cus I know I'm not going to want to devour the whole bag cus simply I don't *feel* like it. I don't want it. Thank you sleeve! I just stick with meals that I know are nutritious but I only eat what I goddamn enjoy. One tip though, be very wary of falling onto the snacking train. Other women I've talked to that have the sleeve want to eat constantly. And even if those are smaller portions, if you're constantly grazing you're gonna go into the danger zone because 10+ snacks here and there are definitely going to add up at the end of the day. The whole eating a small meal every 2-3 hours is a sham IMO. I've read research studies that suggest this way of eating is actually bad for your metabolism. That burning hunger is a good sign for when you should eat. If you're not hungry, don't eat!!! Overeating when not hungry is how I got myself into this mess. However, naturally, some days you will eat more, some days you will eat less. I believe the sleeve maintains its proper size with these natural fluctuations. I'm more in tune with my body now and I listen to it and treat it respectfully now, as I should. Here's hoping I'm 135 by the end of November!

October pics

At 140 :)
Mexico General Surgeon

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