Make or Break Weight
Modesto woman’s bariatric surgery unlocks potential to live healthier life
MODESTO, Calif.–It all came to a head during a girls’ trip to Reno. What could have been fun escape with friends and family ended up making Lorena Horta feel more like a prisoner of her own body. She was short of breath. She had a hard time keeping pace with the group—all because of her weight.
Horta knew something had to give and that her health was at stake. Her weight gain—which increased after her mother passed away—was starting to have more serious consequences. She was diabetic, she had sleep apnea and plantar fasciitis. The cumulative effect of these conditions—the pain, the fatigue, the anxiety—was debilitating at times. And yet, no diet or weight loss program seemed to work for Horta. So she turned to minimally invasive bariatric surgery.
“I finally decided, you know, enough was enough. I needed to do something for myself,” she said. “Being a wife and a mom, you are always providing for everybody else. I needed to be around for my daughter and for my family.”
Bariatric surgery, or simply weight loss surgery, is not new, but the potential positive health effects continue to surface. Recent studies indicate teenagers undergoing bariatric surgery are more likely to not have a reoccurrence of high blood pressure or Type 2 diabetes. Adults who have had bariatric surgery are also less likely to die of a heart attack or stroke. Women who undergo weight loss surgery may have a decreased chance of developing breast cancer.
Horta had her surgery at Sutter’s Memorial Medical Center in Modesto under the skillful hands of Antonio Coirin, M.D., through the daVinci surgical robotic system. Using tiny cuts and robotic-assisted video technology, a surgeon’s finger movements at a computerized workstation direct the robotic surgical tools, improving precision and access to the surgical site.
“You know, at first I hadn’t heard much about the robot, but I had full faith in Dr. Coirin,” Horta said. “I said, ‘If you have faith in it, I have faith in you, so let’s go ahead.’”
Touted for its minimally invasive approach, Dr. Coirin explained patients who underwent robotic surgeries have experienced faster recovery times, shorter hospital stays, less discomfort and blood loss, and smaller scars.
Memorial Medical Center recently earned a Center of Excellence designation from Surgical Review Corporation for robotic surgery and is the first hospital in the Central Valley to do so. The program was developed to recognize surgeons and facilities worldwide performing robotic procedures and achieving defined standards for patient safety and care quality.
“Every member of our robotic surgery team, from our master surgeons to our coordinators of robotic surgery to our surgical nurses to our surgical techs have the highest training in robotic surgery,” said Gino Patrizio, CEO of Memorial Medical Center. “The accreditation recognizes that we have the operational rigor so that every single patient receives that.”
Since her surgery, Horta feels like she has truly honored the promise she made to herself two years ago. Her health has dramatically improved. Her diabetes is gone, she has more restful sleep and her mobility has improved. She also is channeling her inner child again—riding roller coasters at amusement parks with her daughters. She says she finally feels free.
“Until the weight is gone, that’s when you truly realize what it does to you. I literally became a hermit. I didn’t want to go anywhere. I went from work to home, work to home. I wasn’t comfortable with myself, I wasn’t comfortable in my own body until I lost the weight. I used to walk always with my head down low feeling embarrassed, and I don’t do that anymore. It’s life-changing to see what the weight does to you and the difference now that it is finally gone, you feel like a totally new person.”