Patient Testimonial: Callie Cunningham

patient testimonial

Being overweight can have real consequences not only for your physical health, but also for your quality of life. Just ask Callie Cunningham.

Before meeting Dr. Dirk and undergoing a gastric sleeve procedure in May 2016, Callie, a phlebotomist, had long struggled with weight problems. She was constantly depressed or angry, and she had little desire to go anywhere or do anything. Back then, Callie weighed 333 pounds.

After her mother and her children gave her the motivation to change her life, Callie decided to undergo a weight loss procedure with the help of Dr. Dirk.

Thanks to the gastric sleeve and Callie’s commitment to changing her lifestyle, she was able to lose 81 pounds and counting. She realized how big an accomplishment her weight loss was when she discovered she could wear her teenage daughter’s clothes.

patient testimonial

Now, Callie eats smaller portions and lives a more active lifestyle, including walking and spending more time with her children. “I feel better about myself and my appearance,” Callie says.

She’s also enjoying the responses she gets about her weight loss. “I wasn’t used to receiving compliments!”

Callie says that Dr. Dirk’s guidance and advice was crucial to her weight loss journey. “He was amazing, but also blunt,” Callie says. “He told it like it is, with no sugar-coating.”

Above all, Callie’s experience has taught her that the key to weight loss is being motivated to change yourself and your life. “I tell my friends that the sleeve is a tool to help you, but the real tool is yourself. You have to want to change and to be healthy.”

Find more inspiring success stories from Dr. Dirk’s patients here.


Patient Testimonial: Gabrielle Oliveira

 

patient testimonial

When 16-year-old high school student Gabrielle Oliveira first heard about Dr. Dirk, she had already struggled with the negative effects of obesity for years.

From the age of 12, Gabrielle had high blood sugar and cholesterol levels as a result of being overweight. Her obesity also affected her confidence, causing her to feel depressed and avoid social events.

Following her vertical gastric sleeve procedure in August 2016, Gabrielle is a new person.

She lost 71 pounds, bringing her blood sugar and cholesterol levels under control. She now has the energy for regular exercise — especially hiking, her new favorite activity — as well as the motivation to eat a healthy diet.

Most importantly, Gabrielle enjoys a newfound confidence and security in her body. She has become outgoing and open, and at a trim 139 pounds, she wins compliments from strangers and friends alike.

We talked to Gabrielle about her weight loss journey and her experience with Dr. Dirk.

How was your life before the procedure?

Before the surgery, I struggled a lot with my confidence and health. Eating was a way to comfort myself and relieve stress, but it left me wincing at the sight of my body in mirrors and pictures.

I also struggled with health problems. Every doctor warned me that if I didn’t make changes to my lifestyle, I would become diabetic and have heart problems.

What motivated you to have surgery?

I was on the road to permanently destroying my health at only 16 years old. I also hated my body and was not comfortable going out and meeting people. This put a hold of my social life and led to depression.

After a lot of research and many failed diets, my mom and I came across Dr. Dirk. At my first visit to Dr. Dirk’s office, I learned about the surgery options. Dr. Dirk assured me that the procedure would change my life for the absolute best.

The more I learned about the surgery, the more confident I became that this was what I wanted.

How has your life changed since your procedure?

I feel like a completely different person. As far as my health is concerned, I feel great. I lost 71 pounds, my blood sugar levels are normal and my cholesterol has dropped significantly.

Because of my surgery, I am able to do more now. My confidence soars over my former depression and social anxiety, and I’m able to go out and feel confident and happy about the way I’m living and the way my body looks.

How have you changed your diet and exercise?

Before my surgery, eating healthy felt like a chore. It had no effect of my weight, and I would become discouraged. Now eating healthy feels good. It’s something I want to do.

In terms of exercise, I can take my body to the next level. Before the surgery, I didn’t exercise because I just felt sluggish and had no energy. But now I do a lot of aerobic exercise and weight lifting. I feel like my body can handle it.

What kind of response have you gotten from friends and family?

My family and friends have been very supportive. I even get noticed by strangers who compliment me without even knowing about my journey!

How was your experience with Dr. Dirk?

Dr. Dirk gave me so much information and made me feel like I was more than just a patient.

In my visits to his office before the surgery, he told me what the surgery would do and what my life would be like after the surgery. He visited with me frequently after the surgery to make sure everything was good.

During my follow-up visits throughout the year, he checked on my progress and he still continues to educate me on weight loss and living a healthy lifestyle.

How has your outlook on life changed?

When living healthy and treating your body right becomes a priority, you begin to realize that you can take your life to different places. You can do so much more without worrying.

The biggest eye-opener has been being able to exercise and feel good about it. I don’t dread spending an hour and a half at the gym anymore. That experience has shown me that the surgery has changed my life.

Would you recommend weight loss surgery and Dr. Dirk?

Absolutely. Dr. Dirk makes you feel 100 percent comfortable and safe in his hands. Without this surgery, I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am today. I am living the happiest and healthiest life I could ever live.


Patient Testimonial: Nicole E. Faber

patient testimonial

December 2015                                                 May 2016

With the holidays approaching, many of us are trying to decide how we’re going to shift our diet and workout plans to accommodate that extra piece of pie. Last Thanksgiving, high school math teacher Nicole Faber decided she was done with overeating and that she needed to make a change.

Dr. Dirk performed Nicole’s gastric sleeve surgery the day before Christmas, and since then, she’s lost 137 pounds!

What was your life like before the procedure? Did you have any health issues, and were they resolved by the surgery?

I lead a very busy life. I work two full-time jobs and I used to eat when and where I could — mostly fast food. I would try working out and eating healthy, but nothing seemed to stick. I had no health issues at the time of my surgery, but knew that if I continued down the path I was on, I would.

What motivated you to get surgery?

It was the week of Thanksgiving when I, like everyone else, filled my stomach past capacity. I decided I didn’t want to do that anymore. I knew that I needed help and I couldn’t do it alone.

How did Dr. Dirk help you throughout the process?

In our first meeting, Dallas bariatric surgeon, Dr. Dirk told me that being overweight wasn’t my fault — it was a disease. He explained everything in detail and answered all of my questions leading up to surgery. His staff is so nice — they treat you like a human being rather than a number.

On Christmas Eve, the day after my surgery, Dr. Dirk personally called to check on me. He also called again a week later. He truly is there day or night to answer any questions that you may have.

July 2016
July 2016

How has your life changed since surgery?

I no longer have to take pain medication for aches, pains or joints. Honestly, I haven’t had a headache since the surgery. I also have so much more energy and want to constantly be on the go. The best part is that now, I believe in myself.

How have you changed your diet and exercise?

The surgery is not a quick fix. It truly is a lifestyle change. If you never change your diet, you will end up in the same place you started. I have not turned into a total health nut, but I do try to eat healthy. I still drink a protein shake a day. I try to only eat beef one to two days a week. I do have days where I eat a hamburger, but always order it without the bun.

For exercise, I joined a women-only gym that keeps a personal trainer on hand for every workout class. It’s place where I can relieve stress and be around like-minded women. I’ve been working on building muscle to fill in and tone the loose skin after weight loss.

Do you have different outlook on life now? Was there a specific moment after the surgery where you knew your life was going to be different?

My outer appearance has changed drastically, and on the inside, I am much happier with my life now. I am able to give more of myself because I am not as tired, my feet don’t hurt and my muscles don’t ache. That means I am able to spend more time on things I like to do, like hiking, hunting, fishing and working in the garden.

August 2016
August 2016

What has been the response from friends and family?

My friends and family have been very supportive throughout the whole journey. My friends love it because I am a cheap date — I either eat off the kid’s menu or eat off their plate. I had my surgery right before Christmas and was only able to consume liquids. My family even offered to not eat in front of me.

What would you tell someone considering weight loss surgery? Would you recommend Dr. Dirk and why?

I’d say, “Why are you waiting?” It is a lifestyle change, but it is the best decision I have ever made in my life. I highly recommend Dr. Dirk not only for his professionalism, but for his lovely staff, from the office to the hospital.

What is your favorite thing to do now that you have lost weight and are living a healthier, happier life?

My favorite thing to do after surgery is simply live life. I live life to the fullest every day and feel great about it. I can’t believe I robbed myself of living my life for so long by being overweight.

Find more inspiring success stories from Dr. Dirk’s patients here.


Patient Testimonial: Alynn Stapp

patient testimonial

 

Public speaking is one of the top fears faced by American adults. 20-year-old student Alynn Stapp was no different — until she received a gastric sleeve. Only a few months Dr. Dirk performed her surgery, she was more than confident enough to volunteer to speak in front of the class.

Alynn realized her obesity could only lead to health problems, so she decided to take the plunge and start a new, healthier lifestyle. Losing 100 pounds in six months has been no easy feat for Alynn, but with Dr. Dirk by her side, she says that’s it’s all worth it.

What was life like for you before the procedure? Did you have any health issues?

Life before surgery was tiring. I always seemed fatigued and stressed out. I had no known health issues, but I was on my way to becoming pre-diabetic.

What motivated you to get surgery?

The knowledge that I was headed down a road that lead to a mountain of health issues and physical limitations led me to get weight loss surgery.

How did Dr. Dirk help you throughout the process?

Dr. Dirk was always near the phone, day or night. No matter how silly my question or concern, he was there to provide support. I ended up having minor complications shortly after surgery and he saw me in the hospital a few days later. He found the problem and was able to treat it. He continued to check up on me every single day I was in the hospital, and his staff continued to check up after I was discharged. 

How has your life changed since?

My life has changed immensely, from my physical abilities to my social interactions. Rather than staying in and doing homework, I ditch it and hit a hot yoga session with a group of friends. It’s so freeing to be able to do whatever you want to do and not have your own body hold you back.

How have you changed your diet and exercise?

It’s not just my social life and my physical body that have changed, but my entire lifestyle, too. I eat whole, clean foods, not the empty carby junk that I used to eat. Being active is now fun — I enjoy doing things that get me moving and it’s hard for me to stand still anymore.

Was there a specific moment after surgery when you knew your life was going to be different?

Four months after surgery, I was down 65-70 pounds and feeling great. I was in my speech class and the professor needed someone to volunteer to go first and make a speech. We all sat there for five minutes before I stood up and confidently gave a speech I had just written and memorized in front of 45 people without any hesitation or nerves. I knew then that I was a completely different person than I was four months prior, and it could only get better.

What has the response from friends and family been like?

I chose not to make my surgery public with friends and only a select few family members know, but the ones who do know have been my biggest support system. They are incredibly proud and I have surpassed their expectations regarding weight loss.

What would you tell someone else considering weight loss surgery?

If I were to talk to someone who is debating weight loss surgery options, I would tell him or her to make sure they’re doing it for the right reasons. They need to do it because they want to improve their life and be in the best possible physical condition for themselves, not for anyone else. Weight loss surgery is not the easy way out, no matter what other people may tell you. It is mentally and physically challenging, but in the end, it’s all worth it.

Would you recommend Dr. Dirk and why?

I would 100 percent recommend Dallas weight loss surgeon, Dr. Dirk, not only because I trust him enough to cut me open, but because he is straightforward. If you’re obese and stuck with no other options, you need someone who will be blunt enough to tell what you’re doing wrong, but kind enough to help you through the process.

What is your favorite thing to do now that you have lost weight and are living a healthier, happier life?

My favorite thing to do since losing the weight is just simply being outside. Kayaking, paddle boarding, sunrise yoga, even taking my dog to the dog park — it’s all so much more enjoyable now that I don’t have an extra 112 pounds to cart around. It’s freeing when the things you once hated doing become the activities you now lose sleep to participate in.


Patient Testimonial: Amanda Graves

patient testimonial

Undergoing obesity surgery is no easy feat. First there’s the procedure itself, and then there’s the process of transforming your entire lifestyle. While the health benefits and self-confidence the surgery brings are worth it, it can be a tough process.

Read on to find out more about Dr. Dirk patient Amanda Graves, a claims processor and musician who went from 280 pounds to 150 pounds after receiving a gastric sleeve. Dr. Dirk stayed by her side through her post-surgery complications, something that Amanda says she will never forget.

What was life like for you before the procedure? Did you have any health issues?

Life was pretty rough for me before I had surgery. I weighed 280 pounds, suffered from extreme hypertension and was in constant pain from my back issues, which I had to have surgery for. I got winded doing almost any activity and was tired all the time.

Since the gastric sleeve surgery, I have gotten off my blood pressure meds, which is amazing because my hypertension was out of control. I can walk and get around so much easier. I still need to undergo another back surgery, but my back surgeon says my health is in a much better place now and that the risks for surgery are greatly reduced.

What motivated you to get surgery?

I have struggled with my weight all my life. I have tried every diet, every pill, every workout video and every cleanse. My health really started to decline after I had my daughter. That’s when I really started to consider having weight loss surgery to take control of my weight once and for all — not only for me, but for her.

I originally visited one of Dr. Dirk’s competitors — a name I saw all over Dallas for weight loss surgery — and I was so disappointed with their practice. I felt like I was nothing but a number to them. I had a family member who worked for Dr. Dirk at the time, and she suggested I make an appointment. After one visit with Dr. Dirk, I knew he was the surgeon for me.

How did Dr. Dirk help you through the process of weight loss surgery?

Dr. Dirk saved my life in more ways than one. In the beginning he was honest, caring and understanding, but he was very blunt and didn’t sugarcoat anything. He just genuinely seemed to care about me and my health.

I had some complications after surgery and hadn’t even been home from the hospital one day before I wound up in the back of an ambulance due to a blood clot. Dr. Dirk immediately rushed me back to Dallas, and after a few days in the ICU with Dr. Dirk by my side, I got to go home and everything was fine.

Dr. Dirk’s compassion and sincerity toward me and my family during this very scary time is something I will never forget. He was always there when we needed him and never left me in the dark.patient testimonial

How has your life changed since surgery?

Life is amazing. I can walk without getting winded and can run and jog a little, which was almost impossible for me before. Even little things are exciting: not having to shop in the plus-size section, being able to cross my legs, sitting in a chair and not feeling like I’m pouring out of it. I can play with my daughter and enjoy her, and that is priceless to me!

Despite those victories, it’s still a struggle. This is an ongoing process, and I’m learning more and more every day.

How have you changed your diet and exercise habits?

It was hard to learn how to eat again! I never really had a huge appetite before, but I didn’t make healthy food choices. Now I try to make sure that everything I eat has a healthy purpose — no empty calories or junk. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t always make the healthiest choices, but my body usually lets me know that those choices have consequences and they aren’t always pretty or comfortable!

For exercise, I play with daughter outside and try to walk, but exercise has been a little more difficult due to my back issues. However, I try to get in some kind of stretching or yoga exercise a few times a week, and that helps tremendously.

Do you have different outlook on life? Was there a specific moment after surgery that you knew your life was going to be different?

It didn’t really hit me that I had lost as much as I had until I put on a pair of size large pajama pants one night and they literally fell off of me. I also remember running up some stairs quickly one day and I got to the top and was barely even winded. That blew my mind! That’s when I knew some big things were happening for my health.

What has been the response from friends and family?

I have had the most amazing support system through all of this. I’ve made some amazing friends through my music career and I was always open and honest with them and everyone else about my surgery. They all were so supportive and gave me so much encouragement! They will never know how much that meant to me. And my family was simply incredible! I am very lucky to have them in my corner.

patient testimonialWhat would you tell someone else considering weight loss surgery? Would you recommend Dr. Dirk, and if so, why?

First, having this surgery is not a quick fix. It’s a complete lifestyle change, and you have to really be mentally prepared for it. But it is the best decision I have ever made. The reward is worth every single bit of it. And there is no other doctor I trust as much as I do Dr. Dirk. He doesn’t treat you like a number, he cares about your health and he will be there for you the whole way.

What is your favorite thing to do now that you have lost weight and are living a healthier, happier life?

Shopping is something I hated to do before bariatric surgery because I could never find the clothes I liked in my size. Now, I love to shop for clothes! I think the biggest thing now is the time I spend with my daughter, Hattie. Playing with her outside and running around with her is the joy of my life. This surgery and Dallas Bariatric Surgeon, Dr. Dirk,  gave me that, and I’ll be forever grateful!

Find more inspiring success stories from Dr. Dirk’s patients here.


Patient Testimonial: Charles Martinez

patient testimonial

Before, 488 lbs                                  13 Months after surgery, 255 lbs

Meet Charles Martinez, a 44-year-old freelance makeup artist and stylist who weighed 488 pounds when he walked into Dr. Dirk’s office for the first time. On December 23, 2014, Dr. Dirk performed gastric sleeve surgery on Charles. Now it’s been 13 months since his surgery, and Charles has lost a total of 233 pounds—but he’s not done yet.

We asked Charles a few questions about life before weight loss surgery and why he chose Dr. Dirk to help start his journey to a happier, healthier lifestyle.

What was life like for you before the procedure? Did you have any health issues?

Life was difficult before the procedure. Getting out of bed alone was a chore, and walking my dogs was grueling. Coming to work and putting on a happy face wasn’t always easy, especially in my line of work. I had heel spurs in both feet that made it difficult to walk or perform duties that entailed standing for long periods of time or walking long distances.

I also had many health issues. I had low testosterone (I’m very thankful I don’t have to inject myself anymore), arthritis in both knees (which has diminished substantially), severe high blood pressure (I’m extremely proud to say I no longer need medications) and was diagnosed with prediabetes and borderline high cholesterol, both of which are gone now.

What motivated you to get surgery?

Many years ago, my aunt had bariatric surgery. Due to many complications, she wasn’t able to complete her weight loss journey. After her passing, I vowed that I would not be another victim of death due to obesity. Though she’s not with us anymore, I take great strength from my aunt’s memory and her determination to better herself.

A year after her death, my best friend confided to me that she had sleeve surgery and lost over 100 pounds. After my primary care physician informed me I was pre-diabetic and had borderline high cholesterol, I knew it was time for a major life change. We discussed my weight loss options at length, and after several months, he referred me to Dallas bariatric surgeon, Dr. Dirk Rodriguez.

How did Dr. Dirk help you throughout the process?

I have to admit that when I first met Dr. Dirk, I was extremely nervous. From my first visit, he put me at complete ease. He has been extremely supportive through every office visit and phone call. If I had a problem and he wasn’t available, he would always take time out of his day to return my call. Without his help and support, I truly don’t know where I would be today. He never treated me like just another patient, but like I was the most important person in the room.

How has your life changed since your surgery?

It’s been 13 months since my surgery, and life has become a whole new adventure. I guess the biggest thrill so far is being able to walk several miles without getting winded. Or actually being able to run—it’s been several years since I’ve been able to do that. It’s funny: When I look at myself in the mirror, I still see the big man. When I go to put clothes on, I have to remind myself that these new smaller clothes will fit me. Though I know that I’m literally half the man I used to be, sometimes I find it hard to believe. I went from a size 66-68 to a size 38-40 in pants and a size 6X-7X shirt to an XL. In my eyes, my journey has just begun—I have a ways to go.patient testimonial

How have you changed your diet and exercise?

At first, it was extremely difficult to change my diet. After years of abusing food and using it as a crutch, it was hard to view food solely as fuel for my body. Now I still stick with a basic schedule: a meal every two hours with my liquid intake between. Everything I eat is geared toward my sleeve: high protein, low sugar, low carb everything.

I was never one for exercising or joining the gym. Now I go to the gym five days a week, Monday through Friday. I never would’ve imagined that I would actually enjoy working out. Getting into a daily routine, waking up every morning, going to the gym and doing what I have to do to maintain what I have accomplished is its own reward.

Do you have different outlook on life? Is there a specific moment that you remember after the surgery when you knew your life was going to be different? 

Life has taken on joy, and every day is a new adventure for me. It’s thrilling to see what life has in store for me. I knew the first day after surgery my life had changed. It was more than the weight loss—it was everything about me. The way I perceive myself now is eye-opening. My confidence is stronger, and my way of thinking has been transformed. This is the new me, and there’s no looking back now. I’m proud of the new me.

What has been the response from friends and family?

Before I had my surgery, I decided that I wouldn’t tell any of my family. I wanted it to be a big surprise, and I didn’t want anyone to try to talk me out of it. So you can imagine the reaction I get when family members I haven’t seen in years see me for the first time. Even my friends and coworkers are amazed at what I’ve been able to accomplish in such a short time. It gives me great pride when people tell me that I’m an inspiration.

What would you tell someone else considering weight loss surgery? Would you recommend Dr. Dirk and why?

I actually have recommended Dr. Dirk to several friends and family. My cousin Ruby Adame followed in my footsteps and had her sleeve surgery done a couple of months after me. She’s done an unbelievable job and lost a great deal of weight. I even have a coworker that just met with Dr. Dirk. I’m so excited for her to start her new journey. It’s like I told her: It’s time to get healthy. Do it for you and your children. Do it for a better you, because you deserve to live a longer, healthier life. Dr. Dirk provides the tools we need to succeed, but it’s up to us to learn how to use those tools to meet our needs.

What is your favorite thing to do now that you’ve lost weight and live a healthier, happier life?

Walking. It’s one thing we all take for granted—the power of using your own body to get around and experience new things in life. As an extremely large man, I never was able to fully experience my own surroundings. I’d get winded just going to the curb. Until now, exploring my neighborhood on long walks with my two dogs was out of the question. Going on vacation knowing that I can go sightseeing without getting tired is an amazing feeling.


Patient Testimonial: Donnie Jeter

To truly understand the impact weight loss surgery can have on someone’s life, you need to hear from someone who’s gone through it. Meet Donnie Jeter, a 40-year-old plumber and construction project manager. He received a gastric sleeve from Dr. Dirk in October 2015, and he’s since lost 102 pounds.

“Donnie is a great example of someone who listens to his doctor,” Dr. Dirk Rodriguez says. “He saw his health and his obesity as a threat to his ability to provide for his children and watch them grow up. After surgery, he did everything he needed to do: he ate small, frequent meals, he went high-protein and low-carb, and he committed to daily aerobic exercise. The result is that he has his life back, he can fully enjoy his children and his job and he feels like he is on top of the world. Donnie’s story proves that surgery is not a drastic measure—it’s the solution to the medical condition of obesity.”

We asked Donnie about his experience working with Dr. Dirk and learned more how weight loss surgery changed his life.

What was life for you before the procedure? Did you have any health issues?

Life was rough. I was constantly tired and depressed due to my weight and I had little self-confidence. I was borderline diabetic and struggled with high blood pressure. I worked out daily already, which was extremely hard due to my size.

What motivated you to get surgery? 

My kids! I wanted to be there for them when they are older. I am a single dad and I’ve been raising them alone for last five years. Also, single life is hard when you weigh almost 400 pounds and you’ve lost your self-confidence! I’ve tried to lose weight with different diets for years and normally just gained weight. My ex-wife had success with gastric bypass 12 years ago, so I figured I would try!

How did Dr. Dirk help you throughout the process?

I was honestly very skeptical when I first walked in and met Dr. Dirk. His poise, confidence and straightforwardness blew me away and gave me confidence. He didn’t sugarcoat anything. He told me what I had to do and what to expect. He was correct in every way!

How has your life changed since? 

First, I can shop in normal clothing stores! That’s a big deal for overweight people! I do an hour of cardio every single day and don’t feel like I’m dying when I’m done. People notice me! I’ve started getting my confidence back and I’m not so shy. I can walk upstairs to my office and not be out of breath or feel my knees hurt.

How have you changed your diet and exercise?

I eat multiple times a day beyond the basic three meals, and instead of 45 minutes a day of weightlifting I now do that along with an hour of cardio each day.

Do you have different outlook on life? Is there a specific moment after the surgery when you knew your life was going to be different? 

Yes, I do have a new outlook on life. Now, I live to be healthy and for the first time in my life, I take care of me first. Yes, the first week after surgery was painful, but then I went and bought a scale… I had lost 20 pounds in the first week. I teared up. I promised myself I would exceed any goal, I would put in all the time in the gym, I would follow every instruction from Dr. Dirk and I would be his best patient.

What has been the response from friends and family? 

Uplifting and very supportive. They have cheered me every step of the way. My kids voluntarily follow my meal plans (small portions several times a day and no sugar!).

What would you tell someone else considering weight-loss surgery? Would you recommend Dr. Dirk and why? 

Don’t think about it, just do it! No one will live forever, and if you are overweight, you definitely won’t live as long as you should! Dr. Dirk and his staff will give you the tools and knowledge to extend your life and make you healthier than ever!

What is your favorite thing to do now that you have lost weight and are living a healthier, happier life? 

Play catch with my son. Wrestle around with my kids. Shop for clothes!