From Chronic Health Issues to Fit and Healthy

May 03, 2018
Nancy Weist, 62

"I did this for myself and nobody else!" - Nancy Weist

Ask Nancy Weist, 62, what a difference a year makes and she may tell you 112 pounds. That’s how much she lost in one year following laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery. Prior to weight-loss surgery, Weist had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, arthritis, two knee replacements, a shoulder replacement, and was taking many medications for her arthritis and pain.

“I was in a lot pain and it was difficult to get around. I had no energy and I finally decided that I was going to get as healthy as I could,” says Weist. “So I started gathering information on bariatric surgery and learned about Valley Care Clinics Weight Loss Surgery Center. I thought this could help me achieve my goal.”

Weist says education is part of the program and makes a big difference. “Do your homework and don’t be afraid to ask questions. There was great support from office staff - they always had time for me,” she says.

Bariatric and General Surgeon Luis Reyes, MD, FASMBS, FACS

Bariatric and General Surgeon Luis Reyes, MD, FASMBS, FACS, performed Weist’s procedure at McAllen Heart Hospital. One week after her surgery, she went off all prescriptions except for her thyroid medication. “I have more energy and am able to care for my mother. I can bend down and do my gardening, and no longer have days with pain where I can’t move,” says Weist. “I had to do this for me – not my children, my husband or anyone else. When you’re doing it for you, you’re more inclined to stay with it because you want it. Many people make light of bariatric surgery because they think it is an easy fix, but it’s not. It was an aid for me, and I had to work hard at it and learn a new way of healthy eating.”

Weist takes advantage of the monthly support groups and finds them extremely valuable. “This is a journey and it is great to be supported by others on the same journey. We all help each other along the way,” she says. “And Dr. Reyes is never too busy to speak with me. He takes the time to be with his patients. If you are considering bariatric surgery, I highly recommend him and the program here at VCC. Before I had surgery, my mind would say, ‘Yes, I want to go to the mall,’ but my body said ‘No.’ Now, my body says ‘Go!,’ and I go!”

Karen Gonzalez

"Before weight-loss surgery, I wasn't as pleasant a person. This was the best decision I ever made — I am always happy now." - Karen Gonzalez

Karen Gonzalez, 36, had struggled with her weight for years, and then developed sleep apnea and borderline diabetes. She had no energy, her knees bothered her and she could not fit into some amusement park rides. The turning point came while she was at a concert. Gonzalez was invited up on the stage, but could not get over the barrier. She was mortified. “It was then that I knew I had to do something about my weight,” says Gonzalez.

Her primary doctor recommended Valley Care Clinics Weight Loss Surgery Center (VCC), and Gonzalez made an appointment. She also evaluated other weight-loss surgery programs in the area, but really liked what VCC offered, especially the support before, during and after the procedure.

Ernesto Garza, Jr., MD, FACS

Bariatric and General Surgeon Ernesto Garza, Jr., MD, FACS, performed a laparoscopic gastric bypass on Gonzalez at McAllen Heart Hospital. “I had minimal pain and scarring, and I was excited to start the next phase of getting healthy. I followed the program exactly, lost 90 pounds, and my BMI went from 40 percent to 22 percent,” says Gonzalez. “I focused on good, positive things. Paula Kilgore ran the support group at VCC and she went above and beyond to be there for me and helped me stay positive. This was a big life change, and I am so glad I did it!”

For those considering weight-loss surgery, Gonzalez says to approach it with an open mind and positive mental attitude. “If you’re not ready, don’t do it. Surround yourself with people who will build you up. This is a new lifestyle, not a fad, and it will work if you work it,” she says. Now free of the excess weight, sleep apnea, snoring and pre-diabetes, Gonzalez is active all day and she has lots of energy to keep up with her son. She also recently ran a 5K race, something she couldn’t do before.

Gonzalez is forever grateful for Dr. Garza and the weight-loss support staff. “They were there for me and helped me get my life back!” she says. “I recommend them to anyone who is considering weight-loss surgery.”

Individual results may vary. There are risks associated with any surgical procedure. Talk with your doctor about these risks to find out if bariatric surgery is right for you.