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 Espinoza weighed 359 pounds and struggled with sleep apnea. The condition stopped his breathing 60 times a night and caused loud snoring that kept his wife awake. The extra weight and sleep apnea put dangerous strain on his heart, his doctors told him. And that, coupled with a family history of diabetes and heart disease, threatened to shorten his life.
Kim Espinoza 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 my own eating plan. Exercise never really played a big part because I was too tired to even go there," she says.
Then, in 2005, the Espinozas read about gastric bypass surgery and decided to attend Sutter Health classes to learn more. They began learning healthy eating habits and listened to surgery patients describe their successful experiences. Then they heard their own Central Valley Medical Group physician, Patrick Coates, M.D., discuss the ins and outs of gastric bypass. Finally, they decided to take the plunge together, as a major step toward a healthier future.
Kim Espinoza underwent the surgery first at Memorial Medical Center in Modesto, and Arnie Espinoza'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 Espinoza was impressed by Dr. Coates and the surgical staff, particularly with the special precautions they took concerning his sleep apnea. Kim Espinoza appreciated the kind encouragement of the nursing staff.
Since the surgery, Arnie Espinoza has lost 120 pounds and his sleep apnea is gone—allowing both Espinozas a restful night's sleep. Today, Kim Espinoza fits into a size 2, compared to a pre-surgery size 22. And, perhaps most rewarding, the Espinozas have seen their children enthusiastically follow in their footsteps—exercising, ditching junk food and becoming leaner. The family's converted garage now serves as a mini fitness center, helping everyone in the family stay active.
"Now we are energized—and free from restrictions, like being tired and lethargic," Arnie Espinoza says. "Life just seems wide open!"