Lori Smith. from Vienna
Dr. Ortiz's success rates and low (non-existent) infection rates.
All my life I've been heavy, always turning to food when I was emotional. I am the youngest of 6 and growing up all my siblings were thin. I felt completely out of place. My nickname growing up was "fat Albert". Just thinking about that now makes me tear up. Anytime I was upset I turned to food and I'll tell you, food never let me down. It was always there. Things really got out of hand in early adulthood. I went through a series of really tragic events-my first husband had a series of affairs. When I asked him what went wrong, he replied "you got fat". A few months later my brother who was a police officer was killed in the line of duty. I spiraled into a deeper depression. I remarried looking for someone to fill the void inside me. Two weeks before our daughter was born, my husband died. I turned to food full-force determined to hide from life and just eat my feelings. It was common place to stop at the grocery store and buy a sheet cake (I kept silverware in my car) and sit in my car and eat cake. All alone. The whole cake. The more weight I gained the more I loathed myself. All the while trying every diet imaginable. Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Medi-fast, low-carb, no-carb, and the list goes on. I tried them all. I binged/I dieted/I binged/I dieted. The whole problem just felt overwhelming. I even went to therapy. I just continued to feel out of control. I read about the gastric sleeve through a google search. I am a nurse and I had seen some scary outcomes occasionally with gastric bypass. I researched the sleeve for over a year and the same name kept popping up - Dr. Ortiz. I made up my mind to do it. I took out a loan and scheduled the procedure. I couldn't believe the reaction of the handful of people I told that I was going to Tijuana for surgery. Comments like "they'll be chickens running through the operating room!" Or "for a nurse you're not very smart". My feelings were destroyed, if I was going to go through with the surgery then I would be doing so alone. So I did just that. Now this next part gets a little hairy. I flew to California and waited for the driver to pick me up. After I got in the van at the airport I panicked. A full-on breakdown. I had the driver pull over and let me out. I told him that I changed my mind and wasn't going to go through with surgery. I got a hotel room in San Diego. I didn't sleep at all that night. I realized that if I didn't go through with surgery then I would spend the rest of my life hating myself, hiding, and watching life pass me by. I called Dr. Ortiz's office and explained the situation to them. I was expecting them to say sorry you're out of luck have a nice life but that's not at all what happened. With open arms Dr. Ortiz told me he was sending someone to my hotel to get me. And he did just that. I had my procedure later that day. His staff treated me like a queen. Before the procedure I met with the nutritionist and she set my goal weight at 139 lbs. I laughed at her, a gigantic belly laugh! "Sure" I said, "tell the Easter bunny and Santa Claus I said hello because you must be crazy to think I will ever weigh that!" One day I got on the scales about 10 months after surgery, and I did weigh that. And I cried. The first time I put on size 7 jeans, I cried. The first time I put on a size small shirt, I cried. I cried because I was so proud of myself, so proud of the person I had become. Not just because I looked a lot better but because for the first time in my life, I was free and I was living! I am forever grateful to Dr. Ortiz and his staff. The man saved my life. And let me tell you, life is pretty awesome.