Overall, it’s 1,000% worth it.– Victoria and Angel
Victoria Gomez and Angel Narvaez have done a lot of things together since getting married six years ago – including gaining weight. However, to reverse that trend, they enrolled in St. Luke’s Weight Management Program, which led to another shared experience. They had separate gastric bypass surgeries on the same day.
About six months earlier, Victoria decided to seek help from the St. Luke’s Weight Management Center after a visit with her primary care provider (PCP) nurse practitioner Jessica Lord, CRNP, of St. Luke’s Monroe Family Practice Associates. Victoria, who has struggled with weight her entire life, tipped the scale at just over 300 pounds and was diagnosed with diabetes.
“It was the red flag I needed,” says Victoria, who was only 31 at the time. “I have two teenagers and an active lifestyle. I had tried to lose weight without success. Feeling desperate, I asked Jessica if they could do anything to help me. She referred me to the Weight Management Center, which is in the same building as Jessica’s office.”
Excited that this could be the solution she had searched for, Victoria went home and told her husband all about her visit. At age 34, Angel was also at his highest weight, nearly 400 pounds, and suffered from sleep apnea. A mechanic, he found it increasingly more difficult to fit underneath vehicles to do his work. He made an appointment with Lord, who also referred him to the Weight Management Center. Soon, Victoria and Angel enrolled in the surgical weight loss program and attended weekly classes together to learn more about weight loss surgery.
“I have nothing but good things to say about the staff there,” Victoria says. “They are absolutely amazing. We have grown to love all of them. Many of them have undergone weight loss surgery themselves and are so understanding and supportive.”
Within a few months, their insurance company had approved their gastric bypass surgeries. On Aug. 12, 2019, bariatric and metabolic surgeon T. Javier Birriel, MD performed their surgeries within hours of one another. Everything went smoothly.
“Then we came home to begin the journey,” Victoria says. “That’s when the fun really began. It was so helpful to have someone who understood what I was going through. Angel was my support system.” Together they learned what foods were easiest to digest and in what amounts, as well as how to get enough water and protein. They encouraged one other to stay on track and went to the gym together.
In August, they went to Florida to celebrate six years of marriage and two years of weight loss. They couldn’t help but compare their experience to a trip to Disneyworld two years earlier with their daughters.
“Then, as much as we had a great time with the kids at Disneyworld, it was miserable for both of us. The heat really bothered us, and it was difficult for us to walk. Our feet and legs ached, and we were so tired. Comparing that trip with our trip this year was like night and day. We had lots of energy and did everything we wanted to do. We took a walking tour of Little Havana in Miami and felt great.”
Victoria cautions that weight loss surgery isn’t “the easy way out” rather it requires work and commitment. Even so, Victoria definitely recommends it, adding, “Overall, it’s 1,000% worth it.”