“Amazing lifechanging story of our dear patient from Canada. She prefers not to publish her name but she really wants share her experience with Medical Tourism in Mexico and with My Medical Vacations.”
Well, it has been quite a year for me as a result of meeting you all and the deep changes you have helped to make in my life, both physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
My journey to this point actually began on March 25th, 2011. At that time, I was a very broken woman… I just came out of a 9 year marriage which had turned physically abusive and became a night mare instead of the promised, and hoped-for, wedded harmony we all sign up for on our happy wedding day.
I waited until I was 42 to get married after travelling and living in various different countries, including Japan, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. I have also lived in different areas of Canada including British Columbia, Ontario, and of course my home Province of Prince Edward Island.
By the time I had left the UK and my destructive marriage, I was suffering from the ravages of end stage alcoholism. This is something I rarely discuss, and then only on a private basis, or one where there it can be of benefit to an individual or individuals in my line of work or private life. It is a serious and deadly disease and it very nearly killed me by 2011.
Through a lot of family and addiction intervention resources,and in the help of a certain world-wide organization, which I cannot mention due to anonymity , I have been alcohol free now for going on 9 years. I am one of the fortunate ones.
So many others lose their lives, or their jobs, or get so sick, they can never work again or function normally in society. I was able to maintain my social status and was able to get back to work fairly quickly after I got sober. I have been blessed with rather robust health, so to look at me today, you would probably not recognize me from back then. I am often told how healthy I look, but it has not always been the case.
What remained after that ordeal,was a steadily increasing weight gain up to a high point of 360 pounds. Even though I was now sober, my health was still bad, and the worries of the numerous obesity related issues now worried me. I work in the medical field as a Registered Medical Laborotory Technologist, and am also a former nurse, so I am well aware of these health issues and I know exactly what lies ahead for most in my condition.
After 2 years of sobriety, I decided to undergo gastric bypass surgery in November of 2013.I underwent the procedure under the expert care of Dr Emelio Ortiz in Tijuana, Mexico. My Canadian health care provider was of such little help, I decided to do self pay and have the procedure done as quickly as possible. My Family Dr told told me here in Canada it could be up to a 10 year wait !
The result was a weight loss of 130 pounds, down to around 230 pounds. I was so happy to get rid of the weight, I really did not take much notice of the aftermath. But as time wore on ,and I was approaching my late 50’s, I decided if I was going to have any skin removal surgery, I had better think about getting it done before much more time had passed.
So I contacted My Medical Vacations in Cancun Mexico. It was early 2018. One physician, who is no longer with the company, actually approved me for extended tummy tuck and bilateral breast reduction surgery, even though my BMI was still high. I knew I was probably about as thin as I might ever get, and even though I am still a bigger woman, I am more than happy with my current clothing size, with the exception of wanting to lose about another 30 pounds in order to be even healthier. All in good time.
I am 5 feet 7 inches tall and have always been a statuesque female. The problem was the sagging abdominal skin and very large breasts which were both starting to cause other health problems, like a sore back and a bit of arthritis starting to set in in my mid spine due to years of carrying too much weight on the front of my body.
When Dr Arturo Valdez was presented with my case, his initial reaction, in his great medical expertise and experience, was not to approve me due to my BMI. Once he interviewed me personally and realized my expectations were realistic, he felt he could help me.
My main objective here was not to return to the physique of my youth, but rather more for the purpose of improving my physical health.He labelled my case as more “reconstructive” as opposed to “cosmetic”.
I had also gained several pounds back, so once I got approved, the first thing I did was hire a personal trainer for a solid six months in the gym to get me to optimum physical health. I knew at my age, these surgeries were not to be taken lightly, so I wanted to make sure I prepared and did my part pre-operatively as best I could.
One thing people must learn. Our health should be a partnership with our medical care team. We ourselves have a responsibility to be at optimum health when engaging in these endeavours. Dr’s and medical care professionals are not miracle workers.
And often times, patients expect medical teams to perform magic on them ,and expect to have no complications when they practice unhealthy living habits. There are very good reasons why they tell us not to smoke, not to drink alcohol, and to exercise and eat nutritionally before these procedures.
Betty Corona and the rest of the team, including Nurse Anna Lopez ,Lab professionals, other Doctors and nurses, and other staff members from My Medical Vactions and Playa Med Hospital, were not only professional, but trustworthy from the begging. The pricing seemed fair.
There were no surprise fees, and the care delivered was EXACTLY was promised., then some. Furthermore, above and beyond that professionalism, people like Betty also have degrees in Psychology and are very helpful in aiding the patient in visualizing realistically what the outcomes of these surgeries will look like. They do not sugar coat the truth, and they do not take your case unless you are a good candidate, both emotionally and physically.
During the first face to face consultation with the good Dr Valdez and Betty after arriving in Cancun in May of 2019, I was put at ease by a number of things.
Firstly, Dr Valdez himself. He is a quiet man who does not need to impress anybody with anything. He does not have an inflated ego despite the fact that he is one of the most highly qualified surgeons in the country. He does not have to prove anything. He is who he is, a genuine and warm Dr ,who really does care about every person he meets and every case he undertakes.Not only an outstanding Physicain and Surgeon, but a true Gentleman.
Secondly, the pre-operative work up was extensive and careful. I had a Cardilogy work up as well as a Vascular work up due to my age and family history. I had to pass a number of tests before Dr Valdez would operate. The risks were explained in detail and I felt in good hands.
Because I work in our healthcare system here in Canada as well as had experience in other countries, ( United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates), I consider myself a pretty astute judge of medical practices. There was nothing during any of my surgeries performed in Mexico that ever led me to believe this country had medical practices with standards at any level inferior to any country I have worked in, including Canada.
There are good stories and bad stories where ever you go… there are medical accidents which can occur anywhere and any time in any country. We in the health sciences use a standard system throughout most of the world, for things such as Blood Transfusion regulation, policies and procedures in order to keep the practice of medicine as safe as possible.
From what I have encountered in Mexico the only thing different was the language spoken and culture of its wonderful people, known world wide for their friendliness and cheerful ways.
I underwent the tummy tuck in may 2019 and the surgery went well.There was a set back of contracting a wound infection somehow.I will never know how I contracted it, but I did
Dr Valdez and the team were on it immediately once I let them know from Canada. There were video calls and close follow up. Dr Valdez wanted to be informed every step of the way until the infection healed, which it did. He checked all the protocols at Playa Med Hospital where the surgery was performed.
I felt all safety checks had been met. I could have contracted in on the plane on the way home…or in any other of the numerous ways one can contract wound infection. I eventually healed, and took the time to recuperate for six months in order to build myself back up after such a big procedure.
I have just returned home on November 12th, 2019 ,after my second surgery performed by Dr Valdez, the Team at Playa Med Hospital, and My Medical Vacations.
My bilateral breast reduction was another long procedure requiring 5.5 hrs under a general anaesthetic. The anesthetist I had, also performed during the tummy tuck and that was done under deep sedation and local anaesthetic. She was fabulous too…another expert in her field. I was so scared of being awake during that tummy tuck, and she made the whole situation anxiety and pain free.
Dr Veldez’s results are pretty spectacular given what he had to work with in my particular case.
In conclusion, maybe you will all never quite understand the immense impact you have on people’s lives. The scales of justice are unbalanced in my opinion. A football player, a famous entertainer, they all make millions, upon millions of dollars… yet the tireless and endless work of physicians and health care teams is severely under celebrated and underpaid.
It is work that often goes unseen, yet the results change people’s lives so profoundly, it is difficult to explain. These gifted, intelligent people toil endlessly to make the world a healthier and better place for us on our journey through life.
This older woman, entering her later years in life, has just been given a ticket to freedom. Freedom from embarrassment and shame, endured since her early life as a teenager because of being on the bigger side and having an inherited tendency toward extremely large breasts. Freedom to wear clothes that now fit as they should after having an 11 pound redundant skin flap removed from her abdomen after extreme weight loss.
I now have freedom and optimism on a scale I really never thought possible. (It really is never too late), Something that has been very hard earned after falling victim to severe alcoholism, and the trauma of physical abuse. My light shines on for all the women in the world who have endured for whatever reason, yet have overcome thanks to modern medicine and the people who excel in it.
Was it worth it? A resounding YES is the answer. The price I paid is minuscule compared to the results I am experiencing. A co-worker told me I looked “sexy”… she asked if I felt sexy. I had to think about it and my answer was “no”. I never went into this endeavour to be “sexy”… that would have been my answer 25 years ago. My answer is and always will be… ” I at long last feel NORMAL”!!!
I waited too long for this. But it has come at the time when it was supposed to come. Not a minute before. Not a minute after… but at the right time for me.
A simple Thank You just seems so trivial. When in my heart I am BURSTING with GRATITUDE at each and every one of you.
I can only hope, one day our paths may meet again.Until then, I will continue on my journey down the road to happy destiny.
Sincerely and Gratefully,
Your patient from Canada