I'm a 26 year old mommy of two who traveled solo to Mexico to have VSG by Dr Aceves. I thought I would be really nervous, but I was at ease the entire trip! I was picked up by the driver at the San Diego airport and driven to Mexicali to the hospital. I hate having my blood drawn, and they were able to get my vein the first try! ( I have very small, deep veins) the hospital was VERY clean and the staff was. So friendly! I felt at home! After testing we were driven to a nice hotel a few minutes away. There was a very nice, inexpensive restaurant that I ate at for dinner. It was really good! The hotel room was nice and big! The next morning we were picked up and brought to the hospital for surgery. Dr Aceves came in as well as the other Drs to let me know what would happen and answer any questions. Dr Aceves put all my nerves to rest and I was excited! After surgery my pain was very little! The nurses took great care of me! The Drs all came to check on me several times during my hospital stay! It's now been almost three weeks since surgery and I'm feeling great! My tiny incisions Are almost gone! I would HIGHLY recommend Dr Aceves to Anyone and everyone! He's awesome and his work is impeccable!!!!Nov. 22, 2011
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I don't even know where to start in describing how awesome my experience was with Dr. Aceves and his team. From the moment I arrived in San Diego everyone was warm, kind and professional. The night before surgery every detail of what was going to happen was explained to me. I mean every detail. It helped allay so many of my fears about surgery the following morning. On the evening before surgery I met with four different doctors, including Dr. Aceves and the anesthesiologist. The following morning I met with Dr. Aceves and Dr. Ungson, who assisted with my DS. The surgery went off without a hitch. I woke up when it was done asking when it was starting. They had to tell me a couple of times that it was over. Dr. Aceves is such a skilled surgeon that my recovery has been nothing short of remarkable. I was up and about within a couple of hours of returning to my room, and off pain meds in less than a week. I felt so good that I had to keep reminding myself that I just had surgery. Dr. Aceves and Dr. Campos both checked in on me twice a day, even on Sunday and when they weren't there the nurses were extrememly attentive. When I left Dr. Aceves gave me a big hug and made me promise to keep in touch. I should mention that while I was under Dr. Aceves took an extra half hour and removed some scar tissue from my two C-sections (something no doctor in Canada would do). This was an amazing surprise. Since I had my son I have been urinating every hour. It interered with work and made road trips torture. Now I am normal!!! I could go on and on but suffice it to say that this was the best health care experience that I have ever had.
I guess the only negative I could really say is that I wish they were closer in case things did go wrong in the few weeks after surgery, but I knew this going in and had arranged for aftercare in my home town.
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Tomorrow is the one month anniversary of getting my sleeve with Dr. Aceves at the Mexicali Bariatric Center.
I found Dr. Aceves by way of a couple coworkers who had been his patients and strongly recommended him. I initially sent a couple emails and made a couple phone calls to Nina, all of which were promptly and courteously answered. I was trying to decide if the VSG was the best option for me, and Nina happily answered all my questions. She was very encouraging without any kind of pressure, and they were very accommodating.
Once I made the decision to go ahead, we scheduled the surgery and everything afterward went off exactly as advertised (and as my coworkers had led me to expect). I sent in my deposit, and promptly received several emails with instructions going forward: a dietary plan for the week prior to surgery, the post-op diet, and general information. I had another friend who also scheduled his surgery when I did, though his actual date was a couple weeks prior to mine. His experiences exactly mirrored my own.
When the day arrived (with a friendly pre-date email reminder or two from Nina!), the transfer from San Diego to Mexicali went off exactly as planned; very friendly driver and a nice new Honda van. We were met at the hospital by Yolanda, the Patient Coordinator, and we had sessions with her and Drs. Aceves and Campos plus an anesthesiologist. Everything for surgery day (the next day) was carefully explained to us, and we were encouraged to ask questions. Both Drs. Aceves and Campos spent time emphasizing that the surgery is a tool, not a cure-all, and that good choices going forward are essential for success. (Campos himself is a sleeve patient, so he understands all this firsthand.) Everyone seemed extraordinarily competent and relaxed, and there was a strong sense of being in good hands--exactly the vibe I wanted for such a momentous thing.
The next morning I was #1 (of 3--the usual daily number of surgeries at MBC), and I was in the OR by 9:30 AM. It seemed like I was in the recovery room almost immediately, and I was back in my own room shortly after noon. by 4:30 PM I was up and walking, and there were frequent visits by the Drs. and the nursing staff. (Our particular wing of the hospital is very intimate, with six or seven rooms clustered around the constantly-manned nursing station.)
The rest of that day and the next two days passed quickly, with the second half of Day 2 being the most uncomfortable (though still quite bearable). I avoided pain medication until the evening when I had a pain pill and a sleeping pill for the night. By Day 3 I was quite comfortable, and the mending seemed to happen quickly. Day 4 is a traveling day to get home, and I've had no issues in the subsequent three weeks.
I give the highest recommendation to MBC and Drs. Aceves and Campos and all the staff. My reasons for going outside the US initially were financial, but after doing my research--and especially knowing what I know now--I would have paid more than a US facility to go to Dr. Aceves. I really believe there is no better place to have this done, and he is exactly the person I'd want at my side if there were any complications.
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I was a self pay patient and went to Mexicali by myself. I must say this was the cleanest most professional hospital I have ever been too. Both Dr. Aceves and Dr. Campos were very professional, compassionate, and new their stuff! I have no regrets and they took magnificent care of me from start to finish! I would highly recommend Mexicali Bariatric Center and would go back in a heart beat. They had an excellent nursing staff!April 1, 2012
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I started interacting with Mexicali Bariatric Center in late spring and had my heart set on DS surgery with Dr. Ungson, but things came up at work and I had to delay until fall. When I was ready to actually book, I was told that Dr. Ungson had accepted a prestigious government job and was no longer doing surgery, but that his protege, Dr. Antonio Esquerra, was taking over. None of the DS veterans I knew had heard of Dr. Esquerra and I was a bit hesitant, but knowing that he was trained by Dr. Ungson - a DS surgeon with a stellar reputation - was very reassuring. After a lot of checking, and after checking with someone scheduled just a week before me, I decided to go ahead with the surgery.
My surgery was October 3, 2015. Dr. Esquerra took time to answer all my pre-op questions and was quite informative. He also has a calm, reassuring manner that really put me at ease. Surgery was uneventful and my hospital stay was a good experience - I was never in any serious pain and by day 3 I was only sore but not in pain at all.
From start to end, it was a very good experience. The MBC doctors and staff are wonderful. The hospital facility, Almater Hospital is very clean and the nursing staff is very attentive - moreso than the US hospitals I've been in. I recommend MBC and Dr. Esquerra.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to inbox me.
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Now that my adventures in Sleeve Travel are over, and I'm home and rested I'd like to share my experience with you. I will do my best to stay on topic and give as many details and I can.
LAX: I arrived in LA to visit some friends with my mom and have a mini-preop vaca. Being on a preop diet surrounded by people eating and drinking can make you a little grumpy. I will say though, it allowed me to locate the best Caesar salad within a 50 mile radius. That would be Bubba Gumps, btw, at City Walk in Universal Studios.
San Diego: We went to San Diego a day early to try and sight see and prolong the visit. By this time I was a bit short tempered. The anxiety and stress of what was coming was getting to me, as was hunger, and I opted out of some the "togetherness" in SD for a little alone/down time.
San Diego to Mexicali: We met Ernesto at the airport, Terminal One, and were loaded in the roomy crossover SUV. There were 3 rows so we were two to a row. This is where I met me Sleeve Sister, Rachel, and her stepmom Marlyn. The "moms" hit it off right away, as did Rachel and I, which worked out perfectly for all of us. We cruised on our way. My only pet peeve with the ride had ABSOLUTELY nothing to do MBC. Another patient sort of took over the van, speaking in a manner that gave the impression she was staff and there to coach us along the way. A pep talk/be prepared for a lifestyle change thing. She didn't say she was staff, but it came across that way. I was not the only one who noticed this. Also, some of the advice she gave wasn't the most sound. Once it became apparent she wasn't staff, I altered my listening ear to politely tolerant. I was raised to be respectful to my elders. :D
Mexicali - Preop testing: We arrived at Almater Hospital and were greeted very warmly by Yolanda. We went in to get our blood drawn right away. One stick and all done. After that we were taken to a vacant patient room to wait to meet the team. In comes Dr. Campos. First I need to get this out of the way... Dr. Campos is very easy on the eyes. They ALL are. Dr. Campos and Ernesto are also sleeve patients. Dr. Campos is also a great speaker who keeps it real. He gave a great analogy about how weight loss is a like a table with four legs. The Sleeve surgery makes up two of the legs. The 3rd leg is fueling our body with the right foods. The fourth leg is exercise. Take out any other legs and the table loses its stability. He let us know that by the second day we should feel up to finding ourselves a couple of Mexican boyfriends. Then he backtracked and asked if we ladies were married. We said yes, but I pointed out that what happens in Mexico, stays in Mexico. ;-) He let us know that once we were done with pre-testing and at the hotel we were free ti indulge in a final big meal with a two margarita max. He addressed any questions we had at that moment. Then I went to get my chest X-Ray and back to the room... Next came the anesthesiologist. Now, anesthesia, for those familiar with my previous posts, is my phobia. BIG time. We were seating on a comf couch and chairs. The anesthesiologist sat at the edge of the bed, directly in front of us. I liked that. He was there. With us. Taking care of us. He outlined the process of anesthetizing us. He reiterated the final big meal and 2 margarita max. Then he asked for questions. My hand shot straight up. You know I had questions. I explained my phobia and fear of never waking up. He didn't laugh or mock me (which a coordinator for another surgeon did). He did not make light of it. He outlined exactly how they go about making sure that doesn't happen. So my next question was as to whether it had every happened to him. He gave a very direct and honest answer. He said that in 25 years of being an anesthesiologist it had happened 5 times. Each of the 5 times were patients suffering from violent trauma like gun shot wounds or some such. It had never happened during an elective surgery. Next came Dr. Aceves. Now, I caught a glimpse of Dr. Aceves while getting ready to do my chest X-Ray and I won't lie. I was like seeing a celebrity. It may sound silly, but that's what it felt like. Dr. Aceves gave a very similar reality check talk about how to properly use your sleeve. He outlined our surgery day and recovery. Stressed the importance of following the postop diet. He fielded any questions and was very patient and did not rush us. He confirmed, along with Yolanda, the final big meal and 2 margarita max. I thought they were teasing, and I was hungry but terrified to deviate from the rules. We had our EKG's done next. The EKG machine was older, but they use the state of the art EKG machine during surgery. We were given an oral antibiotic and an Ativan and were instructed to take it at bedtime or b4 10PM Whichever came first.
Mexicali-Hotel Lucerna: Ernesto got us all checked into our rooms. The Hotel Lucerna is lovely. Set up like a villa. We went to our rooms and settled in and then met up with our Sleeve companions to talk important business. Food. The restaurants were not open yet in the hotel so we chatted with the concierge about what was good. He said there was some tasty Chinese a couple of blocks down. So we went walking. We found the Chinese restaurant but then saw a steakhouse. You cannot go wrong with a steakhouse, right? Ha! It was not bad, but it was different, and I would not have preferred my last big meal to be a buffalo steak. Just sayin'. I limited myself to one margarita and trekked back to the hotel. We stopped at the casino and Rachel and her mom lingered. I changed into my swimsuit and coverup and went to relax and lounge at the pool. The water was brisk so I sat on the edge with my feet and legs in the water. Rachel and her mom came back and we visited some more. The general consensus is that were all tuckered out. Went back to our rooms. Showered and continued to unwind. I am not much a of a "pill" person and the Ativan was elective. I did, however, decide to take it.
Monday - Surgery Day: We were up early and met Ernesto in the lobby at 7AM. He took us back to Almater Hospital, which is a full service hospital running 24/7, 365 days a year. It has an ICU and ER. Babies are born there. This was a very big deal for me. I was 1st surgery. Dr. Aceves only does 2-3 a day. Rachel and were it. I was given my IV, my relaxing medicine, and taken away. The last thing I remember was them securing my right arm. Then I was gone. Then I was back. In recovery I sat up and communicated that I was going to vomit. Then I did vomit. It was a bloody mess. I expected that so it did not freak me out. I was given anti-nausea meds and then taken to my room. I vomited some more. Anesthesia effects me this way. I was not surprised. My BP was a bit high so I got meds for that too. I was visited by Dr. Campos and Dr. Aceves several times. I walked a bit. The nausea wore off for the most part that day.The most pain I had was my back and shoulders from the force of vomiting. Dr. Aceves came in to check on me and even massaged my back, shoulders, and neck.
Tuesday: My IV came out because it went through my vein and had infiltrated making my hand swell. No worries per Dr. Campos b/c they were doing my blue dye leak test and I would be on clear liquids after that, provided no leaks. That blue sh*t is foul!!! It tastes like chewing aspirin. But, no leaks. Onto herbal tea, apple juice, water, and gatorade. It was a struggle to drink. Lots of gurgling and burp attempts. We walked outside more often than not. The weather was almost offensively beautiful to an Ohioan in March. Mid 80's to low 90's and a clear blue sky. There was a slight language barier with some of the nurses but it was easy to overcome. They helped me improve my Spanish and I helped them improve their English. We always got our messages across.
FYI: I did not have too much gas pains so I gave away most of my GasX strips to some very appreciative patients. We were encouraged to walk, sip, burp, and fart. Repeat. Rachel farted 1st. I was jealous. So, I pooped first. B)
Wednesday: Next came the barium swallow leak test. It was much better than the blue stuff. I saw my stomach which looked to be smaller than my esophagus. Dr. Aceves uses a 36 Bougie to those who are concerned about that detail. Wednesday we decided to walk to the mall. This may have been a mistake for me. It was about 2 miles and the heat of the day. We made it there an back but that night around 11PM my heart acted up. I went into SVT and then landed in A-Fib. The staff was all over it, even though I was starting to panic. They got me on the EKG and then the heart monitor. The ER doc came in. They notified Dr. Campos, who also came in from home.
Thursday: They got me back into sinus rhythm but did not discharge on Thursday like planned. I cried. This bummed me out a bit because I was pretty homesick but I appreciated their thoroughness. I walked and sipped. Burped and sharted. Rachel and her mom left and I made friend w/ a lapband patient, Jessica and her mom Dixie, another Sleeve patient I had chatted with, Canada (not her name, but her home. I kept forgetting her name.) She said she didn't mind being called Canada.
Friday: We left early Friday morning for San Diego. Crossing the border does take some time. Our flight to Denver was delayed. We walked around and waited. Then away we went. We landed in Denver during heavy winds, ahead of the blizzard. Waited for on final flight home to Ohio. Boarded and was ready to go. Then my heart started acting up. SVT. I couldn't get it to convert and was terrified of being in the air and it getting really bad. Right before take off I made them stop the plane. They taxied back to the runway and handed me off to the airprort medics. They got me converted w/ an IV heart med, the plane and our luggage left without us, and I was transported to the hospital. I cried. The blizzard had arrived. We spent the night in the hospital and was release early Saturday morning.
Saturday: I was deemed healthy and cleared to fly home. We arrived at the airport around 7AM with a flight scheduled for 11:15AM. Then came the delay. Due to the blizzard we were delayed until 1PM. Then came the cancellation. I cried. We had no clothes. My CPAP was in my luggage with flew on to Ohio the day before. The hotels were fully booked already. We stood in line forever in the terminal and were able to secure a flight to Pittsburgh, about 2 hours from home, that night at 8PM. The waiting allowed me to work myself into a panic, along with the help of well meaning medic, about flying with my heart acting up previously. I had decided to fly my hubby and daughter to Denver and drive home, the whole 21 hours. My mom, and a well placed call to my cardiologist talked me down and we left Denver around 9:45PM Mountain Time (another delay).
Sunday: We landed in Pittsburgh around 2:30AM EDT to see my hubby, my dad, and my middlest sister. We dropped my folks off, went home, I showered (1st time since Thursday nighy, and crashed into be around 5AM. I slept until 2PM.
Side note: The SVT and Afib are not new to me. I have SVT from time to time and can usually convert myself. I had Afib once b4 and converted at the hospital. I do not want anyone to worry this had anything to do with the care I received. Also, Almater Hospital was clean and very functional. The staff was kind and friendly. They cleaned my room a few times a day and even switched my bedding twice a day. They were prompt with call lights. I saw Dr. Aceves and Dr. Campos 3 - 4 times a day. I don't mean just in passing. I mean face to face touching base. If I added in passing it would be more like 6 - 7 times a day and they stopped to chat then too. They remembered all of our names and the names of our Plus 1s too. I was a great experience that I would recommend to anyone looking to take this step. My mother the Mexico skeptic, 2nd only to my vocal father, said she was extremely impressed and if she was ever looking into WLS she would totally consider Dr. Aceves and the MBC crew.
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I had the Gastric Sleeve procedure done Sept.26th 2012,by Dr. Aceves and I have to tell you,it was an amazing experience! Dr.Aceves and his Asst.(Dr. Compos)where both so kind and caring,they made my sister and I so comfortable with my choice to have surgery done in Mexico.I have to admit,I was a little scared to have it done out of country but the treatment at the facility(Hospital)was much better than the treatment that I would have received here in the U.S.,here they send you home the same day,I don't think that's a good idea at all!!The second day after surgery was a tough day for me,I felt so sick and actually threw up when i drank some juice but the staff was right there comforting me and Dr. Compos came in right away and assured me I would feel much better the next day.I had my doubts but he was right,I did feel better and have had no trouble since then but boy am I glad I was still in the hospital and not at home when I got sick,I would have been scared out of my witts!!Yes I would do my surgery again with Dr. Aceves and I have recommended it to some of my friends.I have lost 31 lbs. in just over a month and already I feel the ease of moving my body again.Thank you for reading my little blog and I hope this helps someone out there that has questions or concerns.Please feel free to contact me with any questions you have(I was there at one time too)Oct. 30, 2012
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I had met Dr. Aceves last year when I accompanied my daughter. At that time I was a little apprehensive in not knowing what to expect. When we arrived, all of my fears were put to rest. Therefore, I knew what to expect and was not disappointed. Everyone on Dr. Aceves' staff is extremely professional from the driver who picked us up at our hotel, to the nurses who went out of their way to address any questions that I had. When you commit to the surgery with Dr. Aceves, you are immediately sent a packet of materials with detailed pre-op instructions as well as an extensive health profile that you must complete. Nina, works with you to make sure that every question you have gets a timely response. When you arrive, certain lab tests are completed and I spent time with Dr. Campos who works with Dr. Aceves to discuss what was going to happen and to discuss what you will need to do afterward. We went over a lot of information, most of which had been previously provided in the packet of information Nina sent. I did get to ask specific questions about my lifestyle and how this would be impacted. There is really nothing negative that I can say. Every aspect of the surgery was explained including the risks. Dr. Aceves has a gentle bedside manner and I felt completely confident in my decision to go with him as my surgeon. Since, I have had the surgery, they have been there to repond to every question I have had. They have made me feel like I can ask anything, no metter how trivial it might seem. I can't thank all of his staff enough.Sept. 7, 2012
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I was totally well taken care of from start to finish. I had only a moderate amount of post surgical pain on day 2, and that was it! Dr. Aceves & his colleague Dr.Campos are a great team. They are compulsively careful surgeons. The nursing staff is quickly responsive. The hospital is very clean and up to date. He charges more than Mexican surgeons, but it was SO WORTH it! I had a full 3 nights & 4 days in a real hospital. Three separate leak tests were done to make sure the sleeve was tight. Dr. Aceves limits himself to 2 to 3 surgeries daily, while other surgeons do up to 5. I feel much better knowing my surgeon is not fatigued! Plus the coordinators were very helpful & responded quickly to my many questions. The hospital is right over the border, & totally safe.July 19, 2012, Updated: July 30, 2012
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If anyone told me going to Mexicali for gastric sleeve surgery would be one of the best decisions I ever made, I would have told them they were crazy. But Dr. Aceves, and his team including Dr. Campos, Yolanda, Nina, Lucy, Sergio, ALL OF THEM, Everyone at Almater Hospital is ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL! Dr. Aceves checks on his patients continually throughout the time they are there and has a genuine concern for their well being and heath. This was really more like a hotel/spa experience than surgery. The hotel they put you in the first night of arrival is beautiful, the Almater hospital is also beautiful and clean, clean, CLEAN! Surgery for me was the day after arrival, I had a gastric sleeve and spent 3 nights. There is room for a friend or support person who can sleep on a little pull out bed chair or sofa and there is no charge for this. There is a cafeteria on site and a mall about 9 blocks away. The pharmacy is right across the street from the hospital so you can pick up all your meds while there. They give you plenty of meds for pain, and sleep while you are staying at the hospital. The floor I stayed on was nice and quiet even though the hospital was pretty full. I cannot say enough about Dr. Aceves, his staff, and his high level of care. I could never have imagined a stay in a hospital could be so pleasant! Most importantly, I did not feel sick at all after the surgery, some minor discomfort, but it was totally doable. They will pick you up at San Diego airport in a van and return you there in plenty of time for your flight home, This transportation, the hotel stay, the surgery, 2 weeks worth of meds, tests and x ray, 4 leak tests while you are there ALL OF THIS is included in the price!Feb. 2, 2011
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