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“I remember walking out of the doctor’s office when I was 12 years old, laughing and shouting out, “I weigh 200 pounds!” I don’t know why that was my reaction because it wasn’t funny at all. I was teased relentlessly at school. At home, when my uncles made up nicknames to mock my size, I just walked away laughing again. I guess it was my way of coping with the pain. Eventually when family came to visit, I just stayed in my room.

As my self-esteem continued to drop, I didn’t even care what I looked like anymore. I grew up with loving parents but my father was ill and my mother was always taking care of him. There wasn’t anyone else around to help me understand what was happening or how to take better care of myself.

Ericka

I tried so many different diets. Protein shakes, Herbalife, green tea, Garcinia Cambogia pills and diet clinics, but none ever worked for very long. I’d get frustrated that I wasn’t seeing any results, then give up and go back to my old habits.

After I became a mom the weight became more of an issue. My knees and back hurt so much and I was so tired after work, all I could do was make it back to the couch at the end of the day. My kids missed out on visits to the park and anything else that required more energy than I could give. As my weight increased to 327 pounds I hated the way I looked and hid from friends and family. I became and expert at making excuses about why I couldn’t be at special events. I was just too embarrassed to see anyone.

I continued trying to lose weight on my own, and those closest to me tried to be encouraging and supportive, but still nothing worked. My physician never offered me any help or direction, in fact he never said a word about my weight. And then my coworker had the Sleeve Gastrectomy. I saw his incredible results and knew I had to find out more.

From the moment I met Dr. John Yadegar and his staff, I knew I was in the best place and in the right hands. I felt so happy and comfortable with him, and he gave me a new hope I don’t remember ever having before. I knew that day Dr. Yadegar could help me change my life and I could actually live again. And even though it takes a little while to drive from my home in Pico Rivera to see him in Palmdale, he’s worth every mile.

I had the Sleeve Gastrectomy in January, 2016 at Palmdale Regional Medical Center. After having four kids, the pain wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle and I was up walking around soon after surgery, about an hour after I reached my room. The nurses were so friendly, caring and attentive, showing up within a few minutes anytime I needed them.

All was going well until about 2-3 weeks after surgery when I ate some homemade Menudo. My family told me not to do it, but I reasoned that I was all healed and feeling pretty good. I really believed I could handle it. I wish I would have followed Dr. Yadegar’s directions and listened to my family because I ended up in the Emergency Room. It turns out eating the Menudo wasn’t the only thing that landed me there. I was dehydrated and my blood pressure and heart rate were low. It’s easy to forget to drink and eat (liquid diet) when you’re not thirsty or hungry. I eventually started using a timer to remind myself, determined to take better care of my health. Once I was doing better, feeling full on only two bites of food and knowing the surgery was really working, I was so grateful. I don’t think I had felt that happy since my son Jacob was born. I knew I was on my way to a happy and healthy life!

Six months later, I’m not hiding out from my family and friends anymore. In fact, I love seeing the expressions on their faces when they see me now. I’m hearing comments like, “Wow! You look amazing! What did you do?” I tell everyone what I did to improve my health, that I had the Gastric Sleeve and the only thing I regret about it is that I didn’t do it sooner!

ericka-before-after

I want to thank all the loving people in my life; Ray, Ashly, Jason, Kaitlynn, Jacob, Jesse, Gabby, Aracely, my mom, and my best friends Yeni, Aracely and Yolanda.

And thank you to Adrienne, Joann and Linda who answered all of my questions no matter how many I had. But especially to Dr. Yadegar for his kindness and knowledge. I appreciate everything he’s done for me.

Having weight loss surgery is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.”