For the last 13 years, Cara Aliotta struggled with losing weight, trying different medications, supplements and programs. She would lose a little bit of weight, but then gain it all back.
When her employer’s insurance changed, she noticed bariatric surgery was covered. She started doing research and saw the success others had, and was referred to Bariatric and Robotic Surgeon, Stelios Rekkas, MD.
“I knew I made the right decision after my first appointment,” says Aliotta. “Dr. Rekkas’ staff helped guide me through their process of tests and appointments with a nutritionist and bariatric coordinator. I also attended the support group before the surgery so I could learn more about the procedure and what I would have to do after the surgery to be successful.”
Aliotta had her sleeve gastrectomy procedure at Manatee Memorial Hospital on October 12, 2016, and went home the next night. Following a post-surgery liquid diet that gradually transitioned to regular food, Aliotta noticed positive changes. “I lost about 18 pounds pretty quickly, but the biggest change was that I no longer craved bread or sweets. I followed a high protein, low carb diet and stayed away from sugar. My goal was to lose 110 pounds, and I have reached that goal,” she says. “I exercise three to four times a week, and I feel so much better. I no longer have knee or foot pain, and I have so much more energy!”
Dr. Rekkas says weight-loss surgery is a tool, but it’s up to the patient what they do with it. “Cara has done really well and was determined to make this work for her. She followed our guidelines, went to the support groups and worked with our nutritionist and bariatric coordinator. We really focus on educating our patients so they can be successful after surgery and manage their weight for the rest of their life,” he says.
Aliotta says the care she received from Dr. Rekkas, the bariatric coordinators and nurses at the hospital was second to none, and she would recommend them to anyone. “I had a great experience with the whole process. I felt supported the whole time and it was the best decision I ever made!” she says.