My journey started in May of 2016. My doctor had told me that if I did not do something about my weight and diabetes, I would be dead sooner rather than later. I had just turned 61, 5’10, weighed 303 lbs., and had an A1c of over 15. Sleep Apnea, neuropathy in my feet, on 6 different medications from diabetes to blood pressure, you name it, and I had it.
I had considered weight loss surgery in the past, but my insurance would not cover it, and I just could not afford the cost. I went to google and typed “can weight loss surgery be financed?” And voila- Beliteweight! I will admit, the part about going to Mexico to have the procedure done was a little intimidating, but after extensive research and interviewing several people who had already done it, my wife and I decided to proceed. I need to interject here that I would have probably chickened out if not for the incredible support that my wife gave me every step of the way. It gave me great piece of mind having her by my side throughout.
The people that I dealt with at Beliteweight, JoAnn and Jamie were great! Once, we decided on a date, July 4, 2016, they took care of everything. Any question that I had was always answered immediately. They sent me all the paperwork and made sure that I understood it, and was always clear on what I needed to do. There are some pre-op things you need to do to minimize post op pain and maximize recovery, and it was clear they cared enough to try to make sure I was following these guidelines.
I arrived in El Paso at noon on the 4th. Before I could get my bag out of the overhead bin, my ride to the hospital called and was waiting for me in baggage claim. We got to the hospital between 1 and 2, was in my room by 2:30, taken down to surgery at 4, and was walking the halls at 10 that evening. That is not an exaggeration! I spent all day Tuesday walking the halls, was visited several times by the surgeon and hospital administrator, and learning the next few weeks diet. Wednesday, I was discharged at 10, and driven back to the airport and was home Wednesday night. I went back to work on Friday.
The hospital was incredible. The nurses for the most part did not speak English, but we got good at charades, and they were always so sweet. As an example, the night nurses used the flashlight on their cell phone so they would not have to turn on the room light and wake up my wife. Both doctors spoke perfect English, and saw me several times during my stay. Frankly, American hospitals could take a few lessons from them.
I mentioned earlier that I was on 6 medications before the surgery. I went to my local doctor 3 weeks after surgery, and he took me off all my meds! My type 2 diabetes was in total remission, my neuropathy was gone, and I put my c-pap machine on my closet shelf. That, dear people, is a miracle!
I had lost 20 lbs. before weight loss surgery, so I was at 283 Lbs. and had a 52-inch waist. Last August, I decided to take some of the money I was saving on groceries, and eating out, and hired a personal trainer to help me tone and get some flexibility. On my one-year anniversary of surgery, I weighed 203 lbs. and a 38-inch waist. Heck, I even went extreme zip lining in January in Jamaica. Pretty miraculous for somebody that a year earlier had to sit at a table in a restaurant because he could not fit in a booth.
On July 24, this year on a very hot day, I was at work, and started feeling light headed. I fainted, and was rushed to the hospital where I was told that I was in the middle of a heart attack! I needed to have quadruple bypass surgery. My surgeon gave me a 98% chance of a full recovery and said he honestly believed that the one reason I was not already dead was because of the weight loss and exercising! The surgery was a success, and less than 6 weeks later, he has cleared me to resume normal activities.
I started this journey because I knew I needed to change my life style. I have been able to do things that I thought I would never be able to do. People treat me different since I have lost the weight, I can buy clothes at a regular store, and have more variety. Flying in an airplane is a LOT more comfortable. Things like hang gliding and zip lining are back on the table.
But, more importantly, much more importantly, weight loss surgery saved my life! And If I had not found Beliteweight, well, then I would not have been able to bore, I mean regale you with my journey.
Surgeons Dr. Jose Rodriguez and Elmo Aramburo
Surgery Gastric Bypass