Crystal Underwent Gastric Sleeve Surgery in Tijuana, Mexico
On June 1, 2016, I had the gastric sleeve surgery done at Mexico Bariatric Center® by Dr. Louisiana Valenzuela. Dr. Valenzuela was wonderful! Before my surgery, I remember being nervous and feeling scared and she literally took me by the hand and took the time to reassure me and make me feel comfortable. She was very sweet and personable. Because of her, my mind was put at ease and I was a little more relaxed and ready to go!
When I found out I was approved through MBC for the weight loss surgery, it felt surreal! I could not believe I was going to have the chance to change my life the way I had seen so many people before I do. I was on cloud 9!
Before my surgery, I weighed close to 300 pounds. Ouch, that stings, but it’s the truth. Today I weigh 186 pounds (it’s been just over a year since my surgery). I’m happy about my weight loss and I have to do my best to not compare my weight loss journey with others. Many people lose it much faster than me, but that’s okay! This is my journey, and we’re all different. I know I’ll get to my final goal, eventually, and I take it day by day. Here are my stats:
High Weight: 297
Starting Weight: 285
Current Weight: 186
Goal Weight: 140 (ish)
Struggling with Obesity
My unedited, somewhat unpleasant, cold, hard, truth is I have struggled with my weight my whole life. As a kid, especially at puberty, I was overweight. Unfortunately, my insecurities from that led me to a dark, downward spiral, of a pretty serious eating disorder. Needless to say, I was thin after that, until after I had my first child. By that time, my poor body had been through a lot and had been treated very poorly by me and was messed up because of it. As a result, I’ve struggled with my weight ever since.
It seemed that every year, I gained weight. It felt like no matter what I did, I just could not lose it! I seriously think I tried everything!!! I’ve always been pretty active, but nothing seemed to work and the heavier I got, the harder it was to be active. I was sad and depressed. I spent more nights than I’d like to admit, crying myself to sleep. Just praying for a way out of my misery! I was sad. Admitting this is hard and it hurts, but it’s the truth.
I watched many people, who also struggled with their weight, have weight loss surgery and I got to see how successful and happy they were. Oh, how I longed for that kind of happiness! But I thought it would never be possible and I started to just give up. My insurance didn’t cover the weight loss surgery in the states and there was no way I could afford to pay out of pocket. I had a couple of friends who had the surgery at MBC, but I didn’t know much about it and I just assumed it would never be possible.
Do not ever give up! Anything is possible!
Deciding to Get Surgery
One day, things started clicking, something inside of me changed, and I decided I had to FIND a way to love myself, just as I was. I realized I am so beyond blessed and hating myself was no way to live my life. I didn’t deserve that. More importantly, my family, who love me despite my appearance and despite my bad attitude towards myself, deserved to have a happier, even if not healthier, wife and mom.
During that time, I did a lot of soul-searching and praying to try to find inner peace. I reminded myself every day that I was valuable and that there was more to me than what my appearance was. I reminded myself daily of the good things about me. Things like I am a nice person, I am caring, I can make people happy, I enjoy laughter and making people laugh, I am important. I did my very best to keep negative thoughts from my mind. I literally talked to myself every day, forcing me to say good things about myself.
Oddly enough, It seems like when I was finally at a place where I could accept myself, is right around the time my parents surprised me with the most amazing gift! The opportunity to have weight loss surgery! One day, out of the blue, my parents called and said they were paying for me to have the surgery at MBC! A gift I could never repay. Coincidence? I don’t think so. Heavenly Father knows us, He knows me, and He knows what we desire and need. And for that, for His love, I am forever grateful. I am also forever grateful for my loving, supportive, parents, who were inspired to help me, and who made this possible.
Life After Surgery
I’ve made some really big changes in my life to help me get to where I am. (By the way, weight loss surgery is NOT the easy way out. It is a tool, just like any other weight loss tool, there is – low carb, high protein, diet pills, diet programs, etc. Having weight loss surgery does not guarantee weight loss! You have to eat the right way, consistently. You have to exercise, consistently. You have to follow portion control, consistently. Just as with any other program, you have to be committed or you will fail.) I’m in no way perfect, but I try really hard to make sure I fuel my body to live, instead of living to eat. I try to eat good things that make me feel good, like protein and veggies. I try to stay away from junk food, or “slider” foods. Again, I’m not perfect, but I focus on staying positive.
I didn’t feel much like exercising in the beginning, and that scared me, but as time has gone on, and the healthier I get, the more I truly enjoy exercising again! It’s such a wonderful feeling to crave exercise and movement! It helps that I’m no longer in pain like I was before, so exercising is much more enjoyable. I recently, for the first time ever, have started running even! I still can’t even believe it! If you can’t imagine feeling this way or wanting to do these things, that’s okay, I couldn’t imagine it either. But like I said, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!
There are still hard days, and days when I don’t feel good enough, so I try to remind myself every day of how far I’ve come, versus focusing on how far I have to go. When I’m feeling down, I reach out to people who love and support me for help. When I need to talk to someone who’s gone (or is going) through the same thing, I know I can reach out to others on the MBC Facebook page. Both are a big help in reminding me that these feelings are normal. It’s all part of the process! This is both a mental and physical challenge.
Here’s something I’ve learned along the way during my journey. (I’m no expert here, I’m just sharing my feelings from my personal experience.) If you or someone you know faces these same struggles, the most important thing you can do is stay positive! We ALL have value and have so much to offer, despite our appearance. What’s on the inside TRULY is what’s the most important. With that being said, show love, show kindness, and show compassion. We all need that in our lives.
When I step on the scale and see that I’m closer to my goal, I feel on top of the world! I feel like I can achieve anything I put my mind to! It makes me feel so proud to finally be beating something that has held me back my entire adult life – the one thing in my life that I’ve been unhappy with – I’m finally winning!
Due to my weight loss, I am finally at peace with myself. I finally feel free! I am able to enjoy life with my husband and children. I’m not scared to try new things! I fit into chairs more comfortable, I get in and out of vehicles without a problem, I enjoy walks because I’m not in pain, I like clothes shopping for myself because things fit! I own a dance studio and I’m able to dance again, instead of only depending on others, and I’m better than ever! I could go on and on about the way losing weight has changed my life – I.E. I don’t dread going out in public, I’m not terrified of accidentally being in a photo, I don’t hate myself – but losing weight has literally changed EVERY aspect of my life to the point that it would be never-ending to try and explain.
To Those Reading Crystal’s Gastric Sleeve Success Story
If you’re still reading up to this point, thank you! There’s so much I’d like to share. I want to help anyone who might be struggling like me. I want everyone to know just how powerful believing in yourself is! Positivity is key! Just believe! Keep those negative thoughts out of your mind. I still have to remind myself of this every, single, day. We all deserve happiness. We all deserve to be proud.
We all deserve to love ourselves! All I can say is if you have the chance, or can in any way make it happen, don’t pass up the opportunity to go to MBC to have weight loss surgery! Make whatever sacrifice is necessary to make it happen because it will change your life! Don’t let the fear of traveling to Tijuana stop you because there’s nothing to fear – only wonderful things to come!