Anora Santiago, paralegal, Miami, FL.
There were times when I would eat a whole chocolate cake by myself. Other times, I ate emotionally when I felt a little depressed. My body mass index (BMI) was 44, which is morbidly obese. All of my life, I struggled to lose weight. I tried the mainstream diets you see on TV. If it was the newest diet, I was on it. I tried weight loss boot camps, eating right, and even took the drug phentermine, which decreases appetite. My weight went up and down, like a yo-yo, between a high of 275 pounds and a low of 240 pounds.
My obesity caused unwanted health conditions. Because of the excess weight I developed sleep apnea. During my lunch break at work, I would go out to my car and take a nap in the middle of the day. I was winded. Always out of breathe…
I actually went to see two different doctors before I met Dr. Werner Andrade at Hialeah Hospital. I went to see Dr. Andrade after a young lady told me about him. I’m blessed to have Dr. Andrade as my physician. He actually changed my whole decision. Before meeting him, I was scared. Dr. Andrade took the time to walk me through each procedure. We talked about the gastric band, bypass and sleeve, weight loss surgeries. He let me know whichever option I decided on would be my choice.
We talked at length about the gastric sleeve and the gastric bypass. I chose the sleeve. I was inspired after talking to Dr. Andrade and went on my own diet combination of salads and a daily running regimen. I lost 40 pounds from that diet and exercise, and another 20 pounds after we talked seriously about the sleeve surgery.
I had gastric sleeve surgery about a year ago and since then have lost almost 100 pounds. The first things I noticed after losing all that weight was being able to buckle my pants, touch my toes and paint my toe nails. These are things a lot of people take for granted but were things I couldn’t do. Today, my legs don’t rub together and I’m able to sleep through the night. I have a BMI of 25, which is in the healthy range.
I have two kids, my sons William, 17, and Joshua, 9. Now, they’re like, “Mom you look so skinny!” My 17-year-old doesn’t like it because all of his friends say to him, “Hey, is that your mom?” He’s like, “Yeah that’s my mom! What are you looking at?”
I attend the bariatric surgery support group at Hialeah Hospital. To me, it helps to know what other people are going through. While I was in the hospital, Dr. Andrade came to see me every day. He has always been very pleasant to be around. I was walking around the hospital within a few hours of waking up in the recovery room and I worked out a couple of weeks after my surgery.
I would tell someone considering weight loss surgery to go for it. Do it with your eyes shut, don’t listen to anyone else, because everyone’s going to tell you not to do it.
The best thing about having sleeve surgery is that today I enjoy going running, taking my kids to the pool and the beach, and having an abundance of energy. I can eat anything I want just in smaller portions. In the beginning, it was more difficult. It’s something you have to get accustomed to. Now, I try to eat every three to four hours and when I’m hungry, it’s ok to eat something.
• This testimonial reflects results achieved by this patient. As each case must be independently evaluated and managed, actual weight loss will vary.
• This surgery is designed for those with a body mass index equal to or greater than 40, or equal to or greater than 35 with serious co-morbidities.