Center for Obesity and Metabolic Surgery

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Patient Success Stories

Here are just a few examples of the many successful weight loss stories experienced by our patients...

Donald gets his life and his freedom back

A prisoner in my own body, my quality of life was limited. I had difficulty working, suffered from severe sleep apnea and couldn't participate in any activities. My whole experience with UTMB was world-class. Dr. Ekhaese, the nursing team and dietitians coached me through every step. My sleep apnea is gone; I can ride my bike and workout at the gym. Everything in my life changed for the better. It's the best thing I've ever done!

Donna gains the ability to play with her kids and dance again

I had no energy to keep up with my kids. With multiple prescriptions, a family history of diabetes, and a lot of pain from hip dysplasia, my self-esteem suffered as a young, single woman.

The UTMB team was great to work with and gave me all of the information, encouragement and support I needed for success. I have tons more energy at work and at play with my kids – and clothes shopping is fun again!


Phillip gets to chase his grandchildren

I had bariatric surgery and it has turned out to be one of the best decisions in my life. Dr. Ekhaese and his staff at UTMB Center for Obesity and Metabolic Surgery went over and above any expectations that I had. They changed not only my life in so many ways but my overall health and well-being as well as quality of life. If you’re having any doubts about the surgery definitely give it plenty of thought and research but for myself I was afraid of having surgery but when I thought of the alternative without the surgery there was actually no decision to be made. Since having the surgery all medical issues that I had are gone. I’m on a regular exercise program, so much more outgoing, and able to chase my grandchildren. I am eternally grateful to Dr. Ekhaese and his staff and looking forward to a brighter future.

Ruben Found His “Better Half”

At my highest weight I felt much worn out, old and tired all the time, even though I was only 30 yrs old. One of my struggles was a basic every day task as I got winded by just tying my shoes. Going out was also a struggle, walking felt like a chore. My health concerns got scary for my wife and myself as I would stop breathing in my sleep due to severe sleep apnea. My back, knees and ankles were always sore from all the extra weight I was carrying. One day as I tried to visit a friend and needed new pants because I spilled a drink all over them, I walked in to a Wal-Mart and realized they no longer carried my size because I had gained so much weight, this was a wake up call for me. My inspiration was to be able to shop at a regular store for clothing. In October of 2010 I had Roux en Y Gastric Bypass. I started at 335 lbs and I now currently weight 155 lbs (half of my former self- my “better half” you can say). I now look forward to physical activities and I enjoy exercising, something I once hated before. Since the surgery, the only problem I faced was head hunger. My stomach felt no hunger at all but the mental addiction of food seem to almost get the best of me, but thanks to all the support from My wife, the UTMB Staff and My online Weight loss Support groups I was able to overcome it. My advice to anyone struggling with weight issues is to really research this procedure and understand the requirements that you will now have to change for the rest of your life. This is something that you really have to be mentally prepared for. I would do this all over again, it literally has saved my life. You can watch my weight loss journey on YouTube at

Stella is Walking with Confidence

My name is Stella and I am 42 years old. Before I had my surgery I was overweight, had high blood pressure, was on oxygen, had sleep apnea, had asthma, could not walk too good, and had cellulitis. I was almost on the verge of giving up until I found people that cared and helped me to start a new life. When they say that 1 out of 10 will have a leak, I was one of them. But thanks to Dr. Ekhaese and the staff who helped me out through the rough times I feel better today. I can walk and breathe better. I have lost 115 pounds from the start of the program until now, 3 months after surgery. I now enjoy my life as my family sees a new me and I am happier than I was before.

Casey, Before and After weight loss surgery

Casey is Loving Life and Living it to the Fullest

Casey, Before and After weight loss surgeryThrough bariatric surgery, Dr. Ekhaese and his team at UTMB's Center for Obesity and Metabolic Surgery have changed my life for the better in so many ways. I will forever be grateful to them. My mother and cousin had the gastric bypass three years earlier, and at that time I was very afraid of it. I lacked knowledge of the surgery itself and was scared for them. My mom asked me if I would think about or consider it; I thought “No way, I can do this on my own.”

Well, I struggled on my own with numerous diets and exercise. I watched my mother not only become a “Skinny Minny,” but she became healthy, no longer taking blood pressure medications and no longer having diabetes issues. She and my cousin were doing excellent and I became curious.

On the way home from eating out at a restaurant---feeling stuffed, miserable and FAT---I looked at my husband and said “I am going to have the gastric bypass surgery.” He in turn looked at me wondering where that statement came from, then asked what do I had to do. I knew that I had to attend a seminar as well as six months of clinical appointments. I was tired of the struggle and not liking myself for whom and what I had become. I made up my mind in a split second and never looked back. I attended the seminar, which is so incredibly informative that I knew I had made the best decision for me. At that time, all my fears went out the window and were replaced with excitement. The six months I went through the program flew by. April 26, 2010 was THE DAY that changed my life! My motto became “Gettin Thin in 2010” and that is what I did. After about 20 lbs of weight loss, I no longer struggled with sleep apnea or hypertension. With continued weight loss I could walk or climb a flight of stairs without almost passing out from being out of breath. I could play outside with my nephew and nieces instead of sitting in a chair and watching. I stopped hurting in my knees and hips as well. The confidence I began to have in myself was unbelievable!

I am now one year post op, 80 lbs HEALTHY, loving life and living it to the fullest. This journey has been beautiful and one of the best rides I have ever been on. I made the BEST choice for ME. As I look at my future, attending the monthly support group meetings at UTMB, using my “gastric by-pass tool,” LIFE looks extremely positive. I know my life will be blessed and healthy always.

Lori Gained More Confidence and Energy

My weight problem began 13 years ago during my first pregnancy. Over the years I managed to put on about 100 pounds. No matter what I did, the weight would not come off. I was miserable and ashamed of how I looked. I was embarrassed when I met new people and hated being in social situations. I had no energy and never really felt “good.” In August of 2009, I had the gastric band procedure done. As of June of 2010 (10 months after surgery) I have lost 90 pounds. It hasn’t been easy. I have had to make some difficult lifestyle changes, but it has been worth it. I’ve made a commitment to never go back to how I was. The monthly support meetings help me stay focused. I get so much positive feedback and my family is very proud of me! I have more confidence and energy, and I feel so much better. I am grateful for the great job Dr. Gomez did and the wonderful support from the staff at the Center for Obesity and Metabolic Surgery.


Michael Said Goodbye to His Health Problems

I have suffered from a weight problem my entire life. I would lose weight just to gain back the weight I lost and more. I had developed sleep apnea, my blood pressure was high as was my cholesterol and triglycerides. The final straw was when my family doctor told me I was on the verge of Type 2 diabetes. This was an awakening for me that I had to do something or I wasn't going to live much longer. My sister-in-law had the gastric bypass done about a year before and had tremendous success with it. My wife and I discussed it and she suggested I at least go to the seminar to see what all it involves.
We decided that this was the answer to my problem. I went through the 6-month preparation program my insurance required, and the entire staff made me very comfortable with the decision I made to have this done. Then the day I had been waiting for came - the day of the surgery. For two weeks after the surgery I couldn't believe I had done this. I couldn't eat because I felt so bad, but after that I started to lose the weight and I was so ecstatic. I was having to buy new clothes and also feeling better than I had felt in years. I am totally off all my cholesterol medicine and my sleep apnea is gone. Would I do it again? Absolutely!
Dr. Gomez and his staff were wonderful. I wouldn't have done it if they had not made me feel so comfortable with this decision. I have lost a total of 110 pounds down to 170 pounds and right now managing to stay at that level. I can't begin to thank everybody who helped me during this time in my life, especially my wife who was with me all through this. It was absolutely the best decision I've made in my life.
I would like to thank Dr. Gomez and the entire staff for their professionalism. I would recommend this to anybody that is suffering from any weight problems that is affecting their health.

Michelle's lost an amazing 230 pounds

















Michelle Got a Second Chance in Life

I cannot describe the elation and happiness I felt when I stepped on the scale today. I’m down 230 pounds! Scales have been delivering bad news my whole life. But not today! My life changed when I walked through the doors for my first appointment at UTMB. I became involved with a wonderful group of people who introduced me to a multi-discipline approach to managing the weight which included surgery (Gastric Bypass).

I’ve been given a second chance in life and I’m so grateful to Dr. Laforte, Dr. Gomez, Kellie, Paul and Victoria for their support and dedication. Best decision I’ve ever made and one that I would do over in a N.Y. minute. Thank you!!

Gloria, Skip and Denise Schaper (below) have found happiness and success with our weight loss program. Together, they’ve lost 346 pounds.

Three satisfied patients of the UTMB Center for Obesity and Metabolic SurgeryDenise and Skippy are a Healthier Couple

After 31 years of marriage and good eating we were both getting older, facing health issues and couldn’t lose the weight. We made a joint decision to visit the UTMB Center for Obesity and Metabolic Surgery. The weight loss program has been easy to follow. You have to want to lose the weight, but if you put your mind to it and are committed, you can do it. Denise says that for her, the program has been a life saver. At nearly 270 pounds, Denise was dependent on insulin to control her blood sugar and found that she didn’t have much energy. Now she feels great and no longer takes insulin and her blood sugar is perfect. Both Denise and I have a combined weight loss of 233 lbs. This has changed our lives. Thank goodness we made the correct choice to work with the doctors and staff along with the support from other post-op patients that share their experiences.

Morris Has His Life Back Again

10 years! That is how many years it took me to get up the nerve to have gastric bypass surgery. Today I have regrets. I regret waiting 10 years to improve my life. 10 years of wanting to go places and do things with my wife and family but afraid my size would either interfere with my ability to enjoy myself or fear that my size would bother the person sitting next to me. I personally have had nothing but good experiences since my surgery. My health is better than it has been in 20 years. I have suffered for 15 years with my knees (365 lbs, go figure) and now I am down 110 lbs at 4 months post surgery and my knees have dramatically improved and continue to do so with each pound lost. I am off all medicines (blood pressure, cholesterol) and expect to be off my sleep apnea machine within the month.

Patiest Testimonial, before and after

The staff at UTMB has been wonderful and exceeded every expectation I had. I came to the seminar, filled out the paperwork and UTMB does the rest.

I would say the top 3 things I like the most are the following. 1) The support group meetings. At UTMB they have a support group that meets monthly with other surgery patients. Topics will vary from exercise to supplements to nutritional suggestions. It is also a great way to meet and speak with other WLS patients and share experiences. Sukwan is a pleasure to work with and she cares for her patients. 2) The Dr's and staff are all first class and have been of great support. You don't just have surgery and then they forget who you are. Dr. Gomez is as fine and professional of a doctor as you will find. I like the fact that some of his staff have had weight loss surgery themselves and have been a great source to call upon with questions. I like that all applications are handled for you. Program Coordinator Victoria Castro and her Team did all the leg work of my getting approved by my insurance company. Once approved, Victoria was a warrior in seeing that I got registered in the hospital and my surgery scheduled in time to save me paying a new year deductible. They understand and care. 3) Their new offices at Victory Lakes are a first class facility.

My wife, children, co-workers and friends, can not stop telling me how proud they are of me. If I had it to do all over again, I would have the surgery again without giving it a second thought. It has given me my life back!

Mary is Feeling and Looking Younger and Healthier

My life changed on Oct. 16th, 2006. My gastric bypass gave me back my life. I am down 73 lbs at this time, and at 4'10" of height that is astounding. I am still losing of course and enjoying each meal because I am in control now. I am following the guidance of my Center for Obesity and Metabolic Surgery Staff, and they have been there for all the support and encouragement I need. It all began when I noticed the UTMB home page and saw they had a link. Within five minutes I received an email response to mine. I never had to suffer the pains of getting approved, as that was done for me by Victoria Castro. I never suffered at all, in any way, and that includes pre-op, surgery, post-op and recovery. I was in the right place, the right time, the miracle that I had dreamed of came true. I highly recommend this Center for Obesity and Metabolic Surgery at UTMB. I have told everyone that I have the opportunity to about them. My Sister in Virginia also had this surgery. She had spent over 2 yrs. writing letters and going to doctors trying to get the approval from her insurance company. I felt her pain. I saw how difficult it can be, and I didn't know if I had it in me to continue a fight such as that. I didn't feel it work out for me, but all I had to do was email that I am interested in learning more, and Victoria Castro took it from there. The appointments were scheduled, even transportation was provided to get to tests. I was treated as well as a VIP, and I am not one. I was given choices, and information and all the resources and education. Throughout the entire process I did not hurt for or from anything. The receptionist to the psychiatrist to the doctors and nurses, dieticians etc.all were available and still continue to be with just a call. They have given me back my life.

My family members all say I look healthier, younger, and happier than I have in years. I get compliments from my coworkers and friends, and I feel that this has been a gift to me, I will continue to appreciate and honor the gift and those that made it possible. I not only recommend the Center for Obesity and Metabolic Surgery, I insist it is the very best place to be if you have a weight problem. I have heard of so many and none have compared to this one. My life has changed incredibly in just a few months. I no longer suffer from sleep apnea and sleep deprivation. I no longer have to take blood pressure pills, or for that matter to even have to check my B/P because it is perfect. I am not hungry and have no cravings so I am able to think before I eat. I make sure (the way I was taught) to eat protein and vitamins and then I can have an occasional indulgence, but I find now that instead of large quantity, the quality of one or two bites satisfies my desire for any sweets. I find now that my favorite desserts are the ones that are made with Splenda and I don't feel bad afterwards. I am proud of my new life and I have the energy to give to others and to enjoy my life now. I will not forget the struggles of being overweight. I remember the lack of energy and motivation. I remember the large clothes with no style that made me feel older and less attractive. I never wanted to go anywhere because even walking made me short of breath. I am so very grateful for Center for Obesity and Metabolic Surgery.

Ronald and Monica are Looking Like Movie Stars

When Monica and I first met and fell in love, we were both very heavy. She wore a size 20, and I was wearing a size 46 pants. Since Dr. Gomez and his team performed bariatric surgery on us the gastric bypass procedure has transformed our lives, giving us a second chance. Losing more than 100 lbs and keeping it off changed us from looking like the Campbell Soup Kids to Al Pachino and Farrah Fawcett!

But the most important results obtained were relief from pain to Monica’s back injury and protecting my enlarged heart from exertion. Our self confidence is back, health restored and we feel so blessed to have had this operation.
No regrets would do it all over again without hesitation. After struggling with a being a prisoner in a fat body, we have been set free from our former obese selves. Received excellent pre-op & post op care at all stages of procedure.

We placed our lives in the caring hands of the staff of UTMB Center for Obesity and Metabolic Surgery knowing the risks involved. The results were worth it. We remain most grateful, loyal and appreciative for their Bariatric Surgical Skills and follow up treatment we received.

Cheryl is Off Her Meds

Since my gastric bypass surgery on February 20, 2005, I have lost over 50 pounds and no longer take medication for hypertension and high cholesterol. I feel absolutely wonderful and often get comments on how much younger I look. The surgical and nutritional teams were great, and I will continue to follow the plan and my future appointments. I highly recommend weight loss surgery to all who would benefit from it!

Kim is Shopping Again

When I first came to the Center for Obesity and Metabolic Surgery in 2005, I weighed close to 350 lbs. and I was miserable! Simple things like playing with my children, doing chores, or walking to my car became a nightmare. In July of 2005, I had gastric bypass surgery, and since then I have lost a total of 170 lbs. Shopping has become a joy and I can walk anywhere I want to go and not have to worry about fainting from exhaustion. My husband, children, friends, and extended family are so proud of me. If I had it to do all over again, I would have the surgery again in a heartbeat. It has changed my life!

Vicki Has a Whole New Wardrobe

September 11 was a day that changed my life - it’s the day I had adjustable gastric band surgery – and life as I knew it before would never be the same (thankfully)! In 8 months, I’ve lost 42 pounds, and while that doesn’t sound like a lot compared to other weight losses, it’s made a profound difference to me! I’ve fought with my weight for over 30 years. I’d lose a few pounds only to gain a few more back, over and over! My closet had four different sizes of clothes in it! Now, not only are the clothes smaller, there are a lot fewer of them – one size or maybe two! It’s amazing the changes that have happened since I lost the weight. People I haven’t seen for a while don’t even recognize me! I LOVE shopping for clothes! It’s so much fun trying on outfits and seeing how they fit – even if I have no intention of buying them! I have so much more confidence. I feel so much better physically (of course) and can even cross my legs now!!! (Don’t laugh – if you’re 50 pounds overweight, those legs are just too big to cross over each other!!) I still have about 25 more pounds to lose, and I’m going to have to really work at it with exercise and diet, but now I know I really can do this! The support I get at the weight loss center is more than enough to help me achieve my goal. They are an awesome group! I hate surgery, but this is one I wish I had done a long time ago! Would I do it again? Absolutely YES! In a heartbeat!

Cynthia Feels Healthier - Mind and Body

This has been one of the best decisions I have ever made! I was off all my meds (high blood pressure, diabetes and reflux) within 4 weeks. I not only feel so much better physically, but mentally too…it is unbelievable! I have the utmost respect and trust for the entire team of professionals at the UTMB Center for Obesity and Metabolic Surgery. I never hesitate to let others know where and why I had this procedure done and what a wonderful difference it has made in my life.


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