vikingbride89 : Hi bee. I got the sleeve done 9 months ago in Mexico. I had a great experience and have lost a total of 70lbs (including 10 in the month pre op) to date, going from 232-163.
It is a huge life changing decision and you must remember it is a TOOL. YOU Are the one who decides what to eat every day, especially once you heal and can eat pretty much everything (in tiny quantities). But it’s a damn good tool to have, and I am happy that I went for it.
And yes, the first few months you will be on a very low caloric intake but now I am up to 1000-1200 a day, which is what i should be taking in for the rest of my life to maintain at this point. The only difference in the vitamins/calcium that I used to take is that now I buy bariatric ones.
This is the review that I wrote for the clinic I used, but it’s mainly tips and advice.
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“First of all, I wanted to start by saying that this is entirely my own review and experience. Everyone will have different experiences and will go through different things according to their own body. This will be a long review, but with it I hope to not only talk about my surgery to reassure people who may be considering it, but also to discuss the AFTER, which is, after all, what concerns anyone considering surgery.
I have been overweight my entire life. Every single diet that came out, every fad, every starvation method…you name it, I have tried it. I just did not get it. I worked out regularly, ate quite healthily most of the time…and yet my body refused to cooperate. Surgery to me was literally my last hope. And, to be honest, one that I was not sure would even work. However, I decided to go for it; trust me when I say that Dr. Ariel was chosen after extensive research when my insurance denied coverage due to a lack of comorbidity associated with obesity (i.e. I was morbidly obese but also too healthy. Go figure.) The US surgeon whom I had seen prior to deciding to head to Mexico and to whom I go to for post-surgery follow-ups even reassured me about my choice, telling me that Dr. A. is a wonderful surgeon. And he was right.
So, here goes:
Transport into Tijuana- The OCC organizes everything for you once you confirm your date and send payment. You only have to show up at the San Diego Airport for pick up. From there, you will be transported to the Marriott Hotel in Tijuana. Transport to the clinic for surgery and the first follow-up and back to the San Diego Airport is included. Super convenient.
Surgery- The only gripe I have is that I did not meet the surgeon or anesthesiologist (though I did meet him in the operating room). I would have appreciated just 5 minutes in my (private, by the way) room because being wheeled into an operating theater and only seeing a couple of masked faces before being put out is a little disconcerting. Otherwise, absolutely no issue. There was a doctor on duty who very nicely stayed and chatted with me for an hour or two at night as I was unable to sleep. The staff is wonderful and all speak English. I had ZERO pain after the surgery and was up and walking down the hallway all night within a couple of hours of my waking up in order to try to get rid of all the gas in my abdomen (it takes about 2 weeks. Discomfort, but not painful.) The day after surgery, I walked 3 miles around Tijuana.
After Surgery- Lucia and the doctors were always available to respond to any questions and showed great concern/provided lots of advice when I developed Acid Reflux about 3 months post op. Luckily, this only lasted a couple of months, and I have since had no issues whatsoever.
Food- It was strange the first few weeks having to take 30 mins to get down a few mouthfuls of broth and walk up and down the hallway waiting for it to go down properly. I had to relearn how to drink and eventually how to eat, how to chew, how fast to swallow. By far the worst part was not being able to chew food for a few weeks.I genuinely missed the act of chewing. Once I was back on solid food, I felt better. I now focus on eating nutritious food but also occasionally will indulge in a couple of bites of something that is a treat. This is a lifestyle change and, as such, has to be sustainable. I have switched to baking goods made out of almond/coconut flour and monk fruit sweetener (keto recipes are excellent for baking healthy sweets) and focus on eating protein first. The downside to all this and the smaller portions is that I am unable to use the toilet regularly. Smooth Move tea will become your best friend (do not steep it for longer than 3 minutes, by the way!) after surgery. TRACK everything that you eat; I recommend MyfitnessPal as it is easy to use.
Scars- Mine faded to almost nothing. I recommend massaging them gently with coconut oil as soon as the wounds heal so that the scar tissue will be broken down.
Weight Loss- In 9 months I reached my doctor’s target, going from 232 (222 day of surgery) to 165lbs and from a size 16-18/XL to a size 8-10/S-M. I assume that I will lose a bit more but am so happy at this size that even if my weight stays, I am okay with it. My weight loss seemed fairly slow at times, especially when hitting several stalls AND only losing 8lbs the first month post-op but it has been steady.
Last bit of advice- start getting healthy foods from now. Work out as much as you can before surgery and eat nutritious food. Stop smoking and drinking. The healthier you are, the better your body will heal. Get used to making healthier choices, too.Take your vitamins religiously. There are many bariatric brands, so don’t be afraid to read reviews and try samples.Take collagen peptides and eat healthy fats to minimize hair loss!”