BARIATRICS PATIENT STORIES:
ARNIE & KIM
“Life is Wide Open Now”
Gastric bypass surgery gives
couple new lease on life
Arnie and Kim Espinoza of Patterson share a happy marriage and a close bond with their four children. Until a few years ago, the couple shared something else—a struggle with obesity—that took a toll on their daily lives. At age 38, Arnie weighed 359 pounds and suffered from sleep apnea. The condition stopped his breathing 60 times a night and caused loud snoring that kept Kim awake. The extra weight and sleep apnea put dangerous strain on his heart, his doctors told him. And that, coupled with his family history of diabetes and heart disease, could shorten his life.
Kim not only worried about losing her husband, but at age 32 and 225 pounds, she faced her own health worries. “I’d tried many different diets, including low carb and just doing it on my own. Exercise never really played a big part because I was too tired to even go there,” she says. Then, in 2005, Arnie and Kim heard about gastric bypass surgery and decided to attend Sutter Health classes to learn more. They began learning healthy eating habits and listened to weight-loss surgery patients describe their successful experiences. Then they heard their Central Valley Medical Group physician Patrick Coates, M.D., discuss the ins and outs of gastric bypass, and how patients prepare for it. Finally, they decided to take the plunge together, as a major step toward a healthier future.
Kim underwent the surgery first at Memorial Medical Center in Modesto. Arnie’s surgery followed a month later. Both praise their Sutter Health caregivers for going the extra mile to provide the personalized care and attention they needed. Arnie was impressed by Dr. Coates and the surgical staff—especially with the special precautions they took concerning his sleep apnea. Kim was impressed with the kind encouragement of the nursing staff at Memorial.
Since the surgery, Arnie has lost 120 pounds and his sleep apnea is gone, allowing both Espinozas a restful night’s sleep. Today, Kim fits into a size 2, compared to a size 22. And, perhaps most rewarding, the Espinozas have seen their children enthusiastically follow in their footsteps—exercising, ditching junk food, and becoming fitter and leaner. The family’s converted garage now serves as a mini fitness center, helping everyone stay active.
“We are energized—and free from restrictions like being tired and lethargic,” says Arnie. “Life just seems wide open now!” “We are Kim and Arnie Espinoza, and that’s our story.”
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