Before After VSG with Amanda

Before & After VSG with Amanda, losing 150 pounds!

November 14, 2017

Why I Decided To Have WLS

For as long as I can remember I struggled with being overweight. When I was in first grade, I was the tallest in my class, even towering over all of the boys. I continued to be the biggest girl in my class for my entire school life. I was very athletic, but no matter how many hours I spent at practice and at the gym lifting weights and doing yoga, I could never lose weight. During my freshman year I sustained a broken ankle during a basketball game, then I was on crutches and out for the season, from that moment on my weight spiraled out of control.

I had always been in denial when it came to my food addiction. I would self-consciously tell myself that I had to finish my plate because I was raised not to waste food. The reality of it was that I was filling an emotional void the only way I knew how. The worst part was that I was extremely aware of my weight. I would constantly guilt myself over the poor nutritional choices I was making which then became a vicious cycle causing me to eat more.

My highest weight was a few years after my son was born. I worked as a hospital charge nurse and one day I was waiting for a patient to be brought to the room where I had the scale set up. I hadn’t weighed myself in months because I didn’t want to know how out of control I had become. For some reason, I decided to step on the scale. My heart sank as I saw 339 on the display. I went home that night and cried out of anger at myself. I couldn’t believe that I had let it get this bad.

I was a single mom who was raising the most beautiful little boy, and I was terrified that I was not going to be able to be around to watch him grow up if I continued the way I was going.

While I was in nursing school, my final project had been over the comparisons of different weight loss surgeries. I had attended seminars for the learning purposes. For my project, I talked to surgeons about their methods and met their patients to hear their success stories. I was in awe of these people, but in the back of my head, I was also very jealous, thinking of how unlikely I would ever be to afford the surgery for myself.

As fate would have it, a girl I went to high school with had posted on Facebook about her journey with the Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy. She was posting before and after pictures of herself and she looked amazing! She was extremely transparent about her journey, so I reached out to her. She gave me the name of her doctor and told me to message him. I told myself, there is no way I am going to just send this doctor a message, he must be so busy and he doesn’t have the time to talk to me with all my questions. I waited a few days, researched this doctor on the Internet for hours and hours, reading testimonials and success stories and finally got the guts to message him. This is where my life changed forever!

Before & After VSG with Amanda

Total Weight Loss: 150 pounds
Surgery Type: Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy Surgery
Surgery Date: May 4, 2015
Surgeon: Dr. Alejandro Lopez Ortega

My Surgery and Post-Op Life

From the first message I sent to Dr. Alejandro Lopez, I knew I had found the right surgeon for me. His knowledge and compassion are absolutely unrivaled. I felt so cared for and validated in all of my questions and concerns. I was confident in my decision to move forward with my journey.

My father was very angry with me and did not speak with me for days. He did not believe in medical tourism and thought that my choice to have such a major procedure done in Mexico was foolish. I assured him that I had done my research and had complete faith in my decision and asked for his support and his blessing which he and my mother both gave me.

The planning phase went so quickly! They were able to get me booked and within five weeks, I was going to be on my way to a happier, healthier version of myself. I knew I had a grueling pre-op diet ahead of me, my BMI was so high that I required the longest amount of time listed on the spreadsheet to shrink my liver. It was daunting, but I was determined!

When I landed in San Diego to get picked up, I was greeted by the friendliest driver. He could tell I was nervous and reassured me that everything was going to be great. Once we got to the hotel and I met Sandra for the first time, her bubbly personality was so refreshing. I had never had any type of surgery before and did not know what to expect. She put all of my doubts to rest as she walked us through the process. When I finally met Dr. Lopez in person I was so thrilled. This was the man that was going to give me my life back! He was going to give me the tool I needed to see my son grow up and to become the active and fun mother I always wanted to be.

Before & After VSG with Amanda

On the day of surgery, time ticked by so slowly. I was made comfortable, in my gown with my compression socks as they escorted me to a large recliner with the fluffiest brown blanket. The nurses were so sweet and they could tell that I was excited.

The last thing I remember was laying on the operating table and saying to my anesthesiologist; this is it, it’s finally happening! She giggled and said, "It is! I’ll see you when you wake up."

The surgery went smoothly, there was a minimal amount of pain, the most discomfort I had was from the drain. My roommate and I walked as much as we could to ease the gas pains. The first few days adjusting to the new stomach size was challenging, but as Dr.  Lopez assured me, as long as I listened to my body I would do fine, and he was right.

Over the last two years, I have continued to follow my plan. I tell myself daily: water, water, water, protein, protein, protein! It was very difficult for me to get enough calories in at first, but I was ecstatic to watch the pounds melt away. Eventually, I learned my new body and the right combination of foods to meet my intake needs.

My friends and family could see not only the weight coming off but the light coming back to my eyes. I felt like I finally was matching who I was on the inside with how I look on the outside.

Dr. Lopez, Anakaren, Sandra, my family, and my sleeve sisters have been there for me every step of the way. Celebrating my milestones, encouraging me through my stalls, reminding me of how hard I have worked and how far I have come.

Special Milestone / Non-Scale Victory

The biggest victory for me is the amount of interaction I have been able to have with my son. I have helped to coach his baseball teams and rode on rollercoasters with him. We have gone to amusement parks where I have been able to walk all day long that two years ago I would have never had the energy to do.

We take our dog for walks and I can actually race him around the bases now. Before my surgery, I would sit and watch from my lawn chair because I was too tired, winded, and embarrassed to participate. I am forever grateful for these moments with my son, which I know would not be possible without this experience.

One of the best parts of my WLS journey, aside from my own weight loss, is the impact my story has had on others. I have sat and shared my journey with multiple friends and family who have also since made the decision to have the VSG done with Dr. Lopez. I have personally helped change 11 peoples lives (and counting). My sister had her surgery in January of this year and asked me to accompany her on her trip. I was so excited to get to come back and thank the team in person for everything they have done for me. I will continue to use my success and deep gratitude to Dr. Lopez and his team to reach out to others and be there to give them the experience and encouragement to go forward in their own weight loss journey!

Share Your Before & After Success!

Celebrate your own Before & After WLS Success, milestones, non-scale victories, and inspire others! The OH team wants to hear from you to share your weight loss surgery journey. Visit our Before & After Submission page for details.