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A Lighter Me Bariatric Center

6 Reviews for A Lighter Me
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I had surgery with Dr. Almanza on July 25th and have lost 29 pounds in 5 weeks. That's the short story. The longer one is that I was going to do self pay surgery in the USA, but the doctors wanted me to jump through so many hoops - endoscopy in a month, EKG, in another month, therapist in another month that I would have gained another 20 pounds by the time I could get the surgery. Dr Almanza was no fuss, no muss. I originally scheduled for August 1, then got time off work sooner so I scheduled for July 26th. We flew to San Diego on July 25th and I was told that Dr Almanza needed to do surgery that day. I was picked up on time with my friend and 4 other women having surgery that day. All very nice - as was the driver. The hospital - not clinic - was a hospital, not a strip mall clinic. We had our blood drawn en route to the hospital at a lab and also had an EKG. Very efficient. When we got to the hospital we met Dr. Almanza and he answered our questions as a group. A half hour later I was in my gown and talking to the anesthesiologist. I could see the surgeons operating on someone as we trolleyed by the operating room and I was put in line for surgery after being given something to "relax" - same as in the good ol' USA.

Upon awakening from surgery I was told all went well. Because my surgery was in the afternoon it was nearly evening by then. My friend had to go back to Hotel Ticuan (really great place) and I drifted in and out of consciousness all night. One of the three women in my room had to be intubated for a pre-existing condition and had trouble sleeping. The older nurse kept rolling her eyes every time the woman asked for help which was mean. She acted bothered every time anyone needed anything, but she was the opposite of the hotel nurses, who were, I discovered later - fantastic.

If you have this surgery - anywhere- it is crucial to walk as much and as soon as possible to get rid of gas! Your recovery will be a lot easier and less painful - I know docs always say discomfort, but I know pain when I feel it. I've had three laparoscopic surgeries now and it has been true for all of them - gallbladder to bypass.

Beginning the next morning I was sick for three days straight - I vomited every time I tried to ingest anything from water to air (or it felt that way) while the others in my group strolled and shopped, not sick at all. On Monday morning I had to do the dreaded X-ray/leak test and managed to do it - after which I vomited so violently I wet my pants in front of the group of 16 - yes 16! - who had surgery with Almanza the same dayas I did! That afternoon we returned to San Diego after waiting more than 4 hours to get over the border to return to the USA. DO NOT miss the medical fast pass bus! It was too full to fit us that day so what should have been a 30 minute ride took more than 4 hours.

So it has been 5 weeks and 2 days. I am alive and well! My good and bad are noted below:


1. It worked - I am on the way to permanent weight loss. I still have the mind f* - but no surgery fixes that. I am very full after two teaspoons of anything - and still think about food. Like I said - mind f!
2. I've lost almost 30 pounds and had a low ( ha! Relatively speaking) bmi to begin with at 31 - I am at 26.7 bmi after a month and feel so much
3. Not one of the 16 who had surgery on the same day as I did had a leak (if you don't count my lack of bladder control while I imitated Reagan from the exorcist)! Ugh. :)
The bad:
1. Mean night nurse at hospital
2. 4+ hours waiting to get back over border because they will only buy one medical fast pass. Dude, you made almost 100 grand CASH doing surgery just on the day I had mine and your staff makes peanuts! Loosen the wallet and buy another fast pass.
3. They did not excise my mind f* - so I still think about food even when I am full. :)

Sept. 1, 2014

I received excellent care under Dr. Elias Ortiz and Dr. Oscar Morales from A Lighter Me. The care I received at Mi Hospital was great as well. I would do it again with these surgeons and this company.

Aug. 13, 2014

Dr. Elias Ortiz is an amazing bariatric surgeon. When I struggled to lose weight, he has really coached me through it. The A Lighter Me team is caring, compassionate and friendly. They truly care about all of their patients.

June 9, 2014

Excellent pre op, surgical and post op care. The entire team is incredibly dedicated and my results are the proof. My surgery was successful and I feel good.

April 9, 2014

I had already put a review on here but it has disappeared so I will do it again. I had surgery 12/18/10. I am very pleased. My entire experience with Dr. Almanza and his staff was excellent. I was scared at first about going out of the country, but between Louise (his patient rep) and all of the research that I did I felt reassured. The clinic is clean and well run and the staff is wonderful.

Feb. 7, 2011


Sept. 23, 2009
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