- HEALTH TRACKER
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Salvador Valencia M.D., F.A.C.S.
I spoke with Dr. Valencia on the telephone. Our conversation flowed freely and lasted over an hour. This gentleman is caring, witty, talented, humble and makes his patients feel so at ease. I am fully content with the decision I have made in selecting him to care for me.rnHe is very clear about this procedure not being a magic trick and he is not doing the surgeries for just anyone willing to travel to Mexico for the lower cost. He wants his patients to make knowledgable decisions, knowing the risks as well as the advantages about each of the available procedures available for them. I really like this man and his way of thinking. He is currently involved with most of the major surgical organizations in the US, (I can't name them all off the top of my head). Doing his fellowship at UCLA, Dr. Valencia is very serious about his profession and integrity as a highly skilled physician and surgeon. He even has a great sense of humor and laughs easily. His English is fluent, even the \"slang\". Wooo Hooo!
Latest Surgery Support Comments
MY ENSENADA MEXICO SURGICAL EXPERIENCE.... No regrets
I have a friend who had Open RNY in Mexico in March of 2004. She lost over 150 lbs and looks better than I have ever seen her and I've known her since I was a small child. At the time she told me about it, I was dubious about taking such rash measures to be skinny. I wasn't at my heaviest at that time, although I did weigh probably about 215-220.
I chose to get on LA Weightloss and got down to 193 in 9 months during the year 2006, only to gain it all back and more in less than 6 months. I started doing research on RNY and various doctors.
I was working as the Administrator for an Assisted Living community for seniors in Camas Washington. This sort of career is very stressful. Everything rides on the Administrator's shoulders, good or bad. But the insurance was ok. So, at first I checked with my insurance. Nope, not even gonna cover it. My only alternatives were to finance it or to go with self pay in Mexico. I applied for financing, but got denied because I don't have the optimum credit for a 40 thousand dollar surgery. I was despondant. Beyond depressed. I hated myself and had no idea how to save the money for surgery. Work was driving me insane with staffing and scheduling as well as budget problems and decreased census. My blood pressure was sky rocketing and I could feel the blood swelling in my veins. I was fearful I would stroke out. But I couldn't share this with my family. I couldn't share this with my husband, who may consider me weak or stupid for not quitting. I didn't know what to do.
I found Dr. Valencia by stumbling across his profile on the Internet. I found MANY MANY MANY doctors this same way, but something about Dr. Valencia in Ensenada/Tijuana Mexico made me check him out further. What is uncanny is that Dr. Valencia does not advertise his profession as typical Bariatric surgeons will on the internet. He is very humble and not easy to locate. Anyway, I started investigating him through UCLA, (yup- he was legit) Every license, membership, fellowship, I could find on Dr. Valencia turned out to be true. Here is a link to UCLA website about the risks of RNY surgery: http://bariatrics.ucla.edu/aboutsurgery/surgery_risks.htm
To put my doctor's bio in a nutshell, Dr. Martin Salvador Valencia did an exchange student program in his Senior year of Highschool which brought him to my back door in Eugene Oregon (I'm born and raised Oregonian). He is published in many medical books and belongs to many organizations, both American and Latin American for Bariatric and other surgeries. He's into the latest and greatest technology and the man is sincere to his word. He never forgot any thing I ever told him in an email and always responded to my emails within a reasonable amount of time. After speaking with him over the telephone one night for over an hour, I knew this was the doctor God wanted me to have. If you want to learn more about him go to www.alighterme.com and speak with Sandy Johnston, his Patient Coordinator in Elk Grove, California.
Well, God heard my prayers and saw my tears. My health was going down hill. I had depression, insomnia, high blood pressure, anxiety attacks and was binge eating to soothe my stress. My family and friends were very concerned for me because they had never EVER seen me so heavy. I weighed a whopping 263+ in the Summer/Fall of 2007. My husband lost his job. I know... what a strange way for God to answer my prayers, right? But he got a better job making 3 times the amount of money doing something he loves; Safety Management for a gas pipeline. He as gone all summer and fall but I was able to save the money for surgery in three months. A total of about $13,000.00 I also quit my job just before Thanksgiving. I knew in order to make this new tool work in the best way for me was to get away from the stress which caused a lot of my weight to come back after being on LA Weightloss. My last day of work was Nov 15, and my surgery was November 27th. In the few weeks before my surgery, I was able to lose about 15 lbs total.
I had to pay for the flight to San Diego California. Dr. Valencia had his driver, Jonathan meet us there and take us 90 minutes south into Ensenada Mexico, where we arrived at Velmar Hospital. I walked inside the hospital and was greeted by Hugo Valencia, who is my doctor's brother and also a doctor of Anesthesiology. He assisted me with registering in the hospital. While we were standing there, I recognized the other doctor who would be assisting with the camera during the procedure. His name is Dr. Curiel Marchena. Wow, he was tall and just as handsome if not more so than his picture on the interrnet. http://alighterme.com/doctor_curiel.html
He shook my hand and together, he and Hugo took me upstairs to my room. Hugo was so friendly and spoke fluent english. Curiel was a little more limited with his English speaking, according to him.. but I considered him at least 85% fluent. We had a wonderful private suite for a room with a separate hallway leading to it. It was on the corner of the building so I had a lot of windows to look out.
The two doctors sat and visited with my husband and I. It was very late (9:30PM or later). Finally my doctor arrived. http://alighterme.com/doctor_valencia.html We sat in my hospital suite and talked like family. I felt so at ease. Then (as usual) my husband was getting hungry. The doctors (all three of them) told him that they were taking him to dinner and would bring him back later. However, I was given a grape flavored cocktail and told to go to bed. So, I gulped it down and slept like a baby until the cocktail started cleaning my bowels at 4:30 the next morning. For shits and giggles, I got on the scale after the cocktail had cleaned all it possibly could from my system. I weighed 244. I went into surgery around 11:00 AM that morning. The nurses had my legs wrapped, my IV in, and everything was going great, other than I still had a bra and underwear and socks on when they finally wheeled me into the surgical room. Dr. Hugo gave me a "relaxing med... just to relax" he said. The next thing I know, they are telling me to wake up and move over onto a different bed. Apparently, the doctors put me to sleep before realizing I had on so many extra items of clothing. Honestly, I was intending to tell them, but everything happened so quickly from the nurses saying, "Let's go" to Dr Hugo saying "This med will just relax you."
I bet they had fun maneuvering this dead weighted beached whale to get my boxer shorts off!
Dr. Hugo came out of the OR several times during my surgery to let my husband know how I was doing. He also brought my garments out and claimed I was finally naked. When they made me get off the table or scoot over onto something (hazy memory here) I guess my ........ Va Jay Jay was showing to the wide wide world. Anyway, I didn't know. I was swearing in Spanish and telling the doctors that I was dead in Spanish. (Yo Muerto) I do remember a bit about that. My teeth were clattering like a skeleton and I was freezing and had instant pain and nausea, but it wasn't so terrible I thought I was dying or anything. The doctors turned the heat on, and gave me meds. Then everything was fine.
I was in and out of sleepyness for about an hour. When things started to make sense again I made myself get up and start walking. My throat didnt' hurt, which was unusual, knowing I had to be intubated for this surgery (A huge tube stuck down into my respiratory system through my mouth). The doctor must have been so gentle on me. I appreciate his extra gentleness in my care. They also didn't use a catheter for my urine, which made it easier for me to urinate post op. When Doctor Valencia told me he uses "Minimally Invasive" procedure, he meant every word of it. I didn't have a drain tube and even my ports were smaller; one only being 2mm in length. When I ask Dr. V how he knows if their is a leak without doing a test, he replied, "Your body's reactions will tell me. You will get a fever and SOOO much pain. Your heart will go into tachycardia and I will immediately take you back into surgery."
Well, I did get a little feverish that first night. It was my body's reaction to what had happened and was expected. No one panicked, not even me. I didn't even ask for Tylenol for it because I believe that low grade fevers are the body's natural way of cleaning up.
When no one was looking I took some little sips to moisten my mouth. I was never nauseated. I progressed that evening to ice chips which I wasn't supposed to swallow but I did. Still no nausea. But Dr. Valencia had me on IV Nexium which prevents nausea and vomitting. It was probably a good thing.
My pouch is approximately 2 oz in size and my intestines were bypassed 100 cm according to Dr. Valencia.
I looked NINE months pregnant after surgery from all the gas they used to blow me up with for the surgery. It caused the most discomfort. The left port (Camera port) bruised and it was the most painful. But with a lot of walking and deep breathing and coughing, I was ready to leave for our hotel on Thursday around 11AM.
As soon as I got to the motel, my husband took me walking for HOURS all over the shopping areas. When I got too tired, he called a cab to return us to the hotel. Then we rested for a bit, and walked to dinner. I was eating soups and refried beans and jello the first night. Uh oh... I got the foamies. It was NOT fun. The next morning, my husband took me to breakfast, where I ate a few bites of mashed eggs and chorizo. It went down fine. In fact, everything usually went down fine, or I got a slight case of foamies for about three minutes. On Friday, we went to see La Bufadora "The Blowhole". It was ok, but we got caught in a flash flood and I was soaking wet and cold for hours while the water washed away roads, caused accidents and created detours for traffic. I was MISERABLE. When I got back to the hotel that night, I took the hottest shower I could and fell fast asleep. I vaguely remember my doctors all checking on me with phone calls, etc. Dr. Hugo even stopped by late that evening, but I was asleep. I remember hearing him speak with my husband, but was too exhausted to speak up and say goodbye or thank you.
On the flight home, my loving husband got us moved up to First Class. Soooo nice.
Since I have been home, I haven't had any problems other than constipation, which at 2 and a half weeks post op I finally got taken care of. I am down to 235 this morning (December 14th, 2007). Some complications I have been having are dehydration, a chest cold, and not getting all my protein in. My doctor called and we talked about constipation. He recommended Milk of Magnesia. He is releasing me to regular foods this coming Monday the 17th of December, as tolerated. Sheesh, I'm tolerating most soft things right now. I don't really want to eat bread or rice or a lot of vegetables, Im afraid to. I'm happy right now with the foods I do eat, which include meats, soups, baby cereal, peanut butter, nuts, juices and protein shakes.
My ports are healing well. They itch, but I use A + D Ointment on them and it works great to keep the scabs soft and reduce itching. I have suffered only one bout of what may have been dumping. I ate one sugarfree christmas chocolate. Or it may be the potato ham soup I made. Anyway, I got diarrhea within about 20 minutes of injestion. Well, at least my constipation issue got resolved and this morning I weighed TWO lbs less than yesterday. ~~~~~~~~~~~ The End
MOST OF THE HIGH POINTS IN MY WEIGHT TRACKER IN THE EARLY YEARS ARE DATES OF DELIVERY FOR CHILDREN BORN. I always lost back down to a decent weight until I got pregnant again. Then gained after hysterectomy in 2001