Hi, my name is Joanne. I just wanted to share my story about my experience with the Gastric Sleeve. I had my surgery on December 27, 2010. The first two weeks were really hard. I didn’t think I was going to make it! I did. My family supported me by reminding me of the end results. Slowly, I lost the weight. The more I lost the more excited I became! I have gone down three pant sizes. I started at a size 22 and have gone down to a size 14. At one point I had back and knee problems, and high blood pressure. Now I feel great! I’ve lost 45 pounds in the past 3 ½ months and look forward to losing the rest.
This is my diet routine so far:
Breakfast (at work): 1 egg with beans or a slice of turkey bacon.
Snack: Strawberries or apple
Lunch and Dinner: small healthy meals (including a protein and a vegetable)
Snack: Wheat crackers and cheese
Things that I drink: Slenderize Fuze, Special K Protein water, Crystal Light, Tea, Water
This is my exercise routine:
I exercise every other day. I joined the YMCA and do 1 hr of cardio on a machine and then do 1hr of Zumba. The days I stay home, I either bike ride for 30 minutes or walk for 1 hour.
I want to thank Dr. Rincon and his staff for all the hard work it took to help me have this surgery.
Dr. Rincon, A New Life Of Hope
It was a week before Thanksgiving in 2010. I had just left my family doctor with disheartening news. I sat in the wheelchair that I had lived in for the past 3 years (I could not walk more then 10 feet) looking at the leaves falling and feeling the late fall breeze in my face. I had arthritis in my knees and one hip. I had high blood pressure. I was a diabetic. I had a chronic cough where I could not talk. I weighed over 440 pounds. Now my doctor told me that I would lose both legs if I didn’t do something fast. He suggested gastric bypass surgery.
I contacted my insurance company about what I needed and was promptly told that gastric bypass surgery was not covered. I called around and talked to several doctors and friends that had this done and was told that with the hospital stay the cost would run as low as $35,000.00 and as high as $50,000.00. This was beyond my means. I began to think and plan on living what life I had left, without legs. My wife and I asked God for help.
My married daughter looked on line for a surgeon in South Texas that I could afford. The internet named Dr. Jorge L. Rincon, M.D. as the most successful bariatric surgeon in Texas and that Dr. Rincon offered a program that was affordable.
Armed with new hope, my wife called Dr. Rincon’s office. She talked to Monica about our needs. Monica explained the program and set an appointment for us to meet with Dr. Rincon. Two days later, we met with Dr. Rincon. The doctor explained what would happen, time in the hospital, recovery time, and what to expect for the next year. He laid out the total cost for the pre-operation visits, the operation, hospital stay, medications, and follow ups. Dr. Rincon also required that I meet with Lucy Villarreal, RD (registered dietitian) and Dr. Larry Etter, Licensed Professional Counselor for pre and post bariatric patients.
Lucy explained what foods I needed to eat to help promote weight loss, what foods would be harmful to me, how much I could eat, the time frame it took for me to eat, and how often I would eat. She explained that I should eat a lot of protein, such as meat, chicken, pork, beans, etc. She also said that I could have veggies and even some potatoes. We went over all can-haves and the better-leave alones. By the end of our session, Lucy took the fear away of not having a normal life after the operation and replaced it with me getting excited about setting new and real goals for eating and drinking. I started seeing hope for a real life. I felt God leading me.
Next I proceeded to Dr. Etter’s office where he would determine if I was capable of handling what was facing me or would I need counseling or even go a completely different way besides surgery. Dr. Etter was both extremely pleasant and encouraging. He made me look at what I wanted for my life and helped me to face what it would take to achieve those goals.
After talking with Lucy and Dr. Etter, I felt a weight lifted off of me. I felt real hope for the first time in years. I could make plans about my future because I would soon have a future.
The next step took us back to Dr. Rincon where we talked over when we would do the operation. I wanted to wait until after the Christmas and New Year holidays. Dr. Rincon thought that was a good idea.
The day before the surgery, Dr. Rincon’s staff called with encouragement. The next day I checked into the hospital and was given the royal treatment. Dr. Rincon was there telling me everything was ok. I remembered hearing his reassuring voice as I went under. I awoke in recovery to see the smiling face of my beautiful wife. She told me Dr. Rincon had just left after checking me out and gave directives on how I was to be treated. For the next 3 days Dr. Rincon checked on me at least 2 to 3 times a day. On the third day, I was released to go home for my continued recovery as laid out by Dr. Rincon and his staff. It was very simple to follow and even easier to do.
I have people ask me “Was it worth all that you have gone through?” First of all God brought Dr. Rincon and his wonderful staff of caring professionals together with my wife and me. This alone has made it the right thing to do. But just knowing this man was enough to change my life for the better and bring hope where there was despair. Dr. Rincon reminds me of the family doctor that I grew up with, caring, an open heart, and also a friend.
The question still remains, Was It Worth It? Before the 2nd day in the hospital, I went from taking 9 different pills to ½ a pill for blood pressure (and that was for only 2 days). My diabetes was gone, my high blood pressure was soon (2 more days) to be no more, my knees and hips no longer were filled with pain, I could talk again without the chronic coughing, and I even lost the desire for all tobacco after 30 years of use. I am no longer in a wheelchair or even use a cane. But most of all, I still have both my legs.
During the next 6 weeks I lost 53 pounds and 5 inches. At the end of 9 weeks, I am down 8 inches in the waist and 65 pounds. I love my check-ups and keep looking forward to the next one because Dr. Rincon and staff get so excited when I come in. I can now get on and off my motorcycle by myself, swinging a golf club again, and play with my grandkids. My wife and I smile and laugh everyday.
Yes this is worth it. We also give thanks to Dr. Rincon and his staff and to God for putting us in Dr. Rincon’s hands. What a true blessing this has been. I wish to tell all who would hear me that Dr. Rincon I trust completely with my life and my health. I will honor him for the rest of my life because his skills and commitment to me has saved my life and through him, God has been honored.
When I was younger my parents took me to numerous physicians because I was underweight. But that all changed around the age of ten when I developed immune problems and had to take steroids on and off through adolescence. Steroids and poor eating habits contributed to my fast weight gain. By the age of nineteen, I had allowed my weight to balloon to 298 lbs. This was simply unacceptable on my small 5’4″ frame. I was wearing a tight size 24 and uncomfortable in almost everything I did. I couldn’t go to amusement parks or concerts, and even the desks in my college classrooms were a tight squeeze. I have always enjoyed sports and dancing so I tried adopting different diets- Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Dr. Phil. None of them worked. I even lost about 90 lbs on the Adkins diet in 2004, only to gain back 75 lbs in 2005. By the end of 2005 I was back up to 274 lb and was completely miserable. I was having severe reflux, asthma, back and joint problems. Then I heard about the Lap Gastric Band procedure and contacted Dr. Rincon. I needed help in losing the weight, but the radical gastric bypass procedure just wasn’t for me. I immediately liked Dr. Rincon because he was very direct about his expectations of me and he was very candid about complications, risks, and lifestyle changes that I would have with the Lap Gastric Band procedure. I had Lap Gastric Band surgery in March 2006 and lost 80 lbs in the next 6 months. As of September 2006 I have about 50 more lbs to go but I have no doubt that I will meet my goal with Dr. Rincon’s help. I’m not going to lie; it hasn’t been entirely easy with the Lap Gastric Band. The Lap Gastric Band really is only a tool. I have had to fight to change poor eating habits and have doubled the amount of time that I used to exercise. But the Lap Gastric Band has alleviated the feelings of deprivation and hunger that came with dieting in the past. I’m not always hungry so I can take the time to make good food choices. I finally got the help that I needed and have decided now that nothing tastes as good as being thin.
After getting past 40 years old, I started developing conditions caused by my morbid obesity, things like diabetes, sleep apnea, high blood pressure and joint pains. I couldn’t go up a flight of stairs without losing my breath, my life was miserable and I had tried all the popular diets and programs available, Atkins, low calories, low fat, Weight Watchers, T.O.P.S., Overeaters Anonymous, even acupuncture, to name a few. All of these went well for a few months, but I gained all the weight back plus more. I had always been interested in weight loss surgery but also, I was scared. After a lot of research, I decided that the Lap Gastric Band was the best solution for my existing condition. It was not an easy decision, because I knew I had to make major changes in my lifestyle but it was now or never. At least I can live the other half of my life as a healthy person. When I got to meet Dr. Rincon, I was very down and out, weighing a whooping 369 pounds and having a BMI of 63.3, but I was determined to give the best of my effort to make this work. He was very thorough in explaining all the pros and the cons and the risks involved with this type of surgery. At first I was kind of upset because he told me he wouldn’t perform the operation on me unless I lost 50 pounds.. I couldn’t understand why.. so I asked him! He explained to me that this was for my own benefit and to lower the risks during surgery. In that very moment I understood that Dr. Rincon was a very responsible doctor that really cared for his patients and not someone that would do the surgery just because I wanted to have it right away. Thanks Dr. Rincon!! Those 8 weeks pre-op were hard, I learned a new way of eating, measured everything, learned the basics of Lap Gastric Band rules, and did a lot of exercise, which by the way, I dislike but is soo important in this whole process. I did lose my required weight and had my surgery. I considered myself lucky! I have had no pain or nausea, just a bit of discomfort, which is very common in any kind of surgery. In three months I had lost 60 pounds, this includes the weight I’ve lost pre-op. One thing I have very clear in my head is that the Lap Gastric Band in only a tool… not a magic wand, you still need to do your part and believe me when I tell you that whoever says ” Weight loss surgery is the easy way out”, does not know what they are talking about! We are the only ones responsible for the success or fail of the band, Dr. Rincon was the angel that gave me that tool. I still have a long journey ahead of me, but with Dr. Rincon’s help, my effort and motivation, I will make it to the end. My only regret???…..Not taking this decision earlier in my life.