After more than a year of indecisiveness I finally decided to give myself a second chance at life. Six weeks shy of fifty years old and I decided to have Gastric Sleeve Surgery. Why? I'm tired. I'm tired of people not looking at me when they speak to me. I'm tired of being out of breath all the time. I'm tired of always sitting on the sidelines watching everyone else have fun. I want to play with my grandchildren. I want to be able to sing, even off key, without losing my breath. I want to be able to shop again!
I did my homework and found an amazing clinic in Tijuana, Mexico that specialized in obesity. Booked my appointment, filled out all the forms, started the pre-op diet and on Monday, August 22nd of 2011, I flew to San Diego with my two daughters along for support. We were picked up at the airport by a driver sent by the clinic and driven to the Marriott Hotel in Tijuana. At midnight my 12 hour fast began; had a good night's sleep and the driver picked us up at 7am and drove us to the clinic. Cleanest, most beautiful clinic I have ever experienced! And everyone spoke English. My surgery was first out of five scheduled for that day. I was a little scared of the unknown but more excited to be given an opportunity to start over. Starting weight on the day of surgery - 237.5lbs. Already down 10 lbs. since I booked the surgery!
A few hours later, upon awakening in my private room, my daughter informs me that the doctor had to repair a Hiatal Hernia before he could do the sleeve. I had no idea about the hernia, or that it was more than likely the cause of my sleep apnea and shortness of breath. I was up and walking as soon as I could. The more you walk, the faster you get rid of the gas and the better you get.
By Wednesday at noon, I was released and taken back to our hotel where we started looking things up to see and do. We went to a local shopping center, the Hippodromo and just window shopped. Eventually bought a few colours of nail polish and went back to the hotel for Mani's and Pedi's.
Every day we returned to the clinic for a check up. I still had a drain on my side so they could tell if anything changed on the inside. It was cleaned and dressing changed each day b y the sweetest and most gentle nurse ever.
Thursday, we went to the beach - Playas de Tijuana and the taxi driver refused to leave us there. He stayed and watched over us as we played in the surf and sand taking lots of pictures and videos. We had never seen the Pacific Ocean before! So strong! And the smell was marvelous! How we missed living close to the ocean. Further down the beach we came to the border and saw the double fence that started in the ocean and crawled out and up and across to the Gulf of Mexico. With cameras and lights, border patrols and helicopters swooping overhead, it sure looked surreal. First time ever seeing a Bull Fighting Ring, too. Huge stadium! And round! The locals make fruit popsicles at home and sell them on the beach the next day to make money. Very tasty! Thank goodness it is on my clear diet! Our kind driver gave us a tour of the area, answering our questions and taking us through a different part of Tijuana.
Friday the drain comes out! Yea! Had to drink a barium solution and got to see my new stomach on the screen. It did hurt coming out but felt so much better after it was gone! Got a clean bill of health and the okay to return back home. Given strict rules on taking care of myself and how to learn to eat all over again. And a big hug from the nurse and the clinic director. I am going to miss them.
We traveled to another part of the city - Revolucion Ave. to check out the shops and hopefully pick up some trinkets. That was not fun. No trinkets to be found and every shop keeper followed us wherever we went trying to convince us to buy their products. After making it only one block, we jumped in the first cab we saw and scooted back to our hotel! Never doing that again. We then wandered off to our favorite mall a couple short blocks away. Much more relaxing. A band playing upstairs filled the air with a taste of Mexican music then an old Eagles song and more Spanish songs!
Saturday, we started our trip back home. Took awhile to cross back into the States but no problems crossing. At the San Diego airport the only hiccup we encountered was my youngest daughter had her peanut butter taken away. It couldn't go on the plane as part of her carry on. Oh well. Guess it was a lethal weapon?
Home shortly after midnight, safe and sound and on my way with the beginning of my new life!