My Patients


Personal Stories



ow…where does one even begin to describe their issues with weight? I guess from the beginning. For me growing up I never had a weight issue. I was a skinny little kid with long dark hair. When I grew up there was no such thing as video games or personal computers. We had bikes, skate boards, roller skates, you name it. Life for me growing up was spending hours on end playing outside as well as watching TV.

Jessica After Lap Band Surgery
Jessica Post Lap Band

It wasn't till I started 8th grade that I started to put on weight. Perhaps I was to have a growth spurt later, who knows…but that never happened. I remember my weight going up to 155lbs and being 5'-3" isn’t that heavy but still. I maintained that weight all through high school but it wasn’t till I got my 1 st job that I started to lose weight all on my own. I lost weight by cutting my meals in half, not eating late in the evening and doing a LOT of walking while at work. I remember going from a size 14 to a size 6. I was able to maintain my weight loss for a number of years. It wasn't till I quit my job and later moved to San Diego that the weight started to pile back on. This cycle of gaining, losing and maintaining my weight would go on for years. As you may have read on some of the other profiles I too went on Jenny Craig, Nutri-System, Weight Watchers, etc. However I did lose weight with Jenny Craig and kept it off for a number of years. But it never failed, for me once I stop exercising due to life getting in the way I start gaining.

It wasn't till 2007 that the proverbial 'poop' hit the fan. My weight climbed to over 225lbs and I wound up rupturing the last disc (L5/S1) in my lower back. After spending 2 days in the hospital I swore to myself this was it! I started Weight Watchers and exercising again. Of course the weight was coming off but slowly as I had to be careful of my injury. Almost a year to the date I was at an interior design event at the Hilton Bay Front when I blew the meniscus in my right knee. Not only did I have to walk to the car but I had to drive myself home too. Again, another surgery... 1½ years later I was training our youngest dog and was walking quickly backwards when the left knee went this time. You can see where I’m going with this can’t you?!?! :0)

Needless to say I was on my way into a vicious cycle of diet, exercise, lose weight, injury, surgery then gain weight. So instead "I" took action!! I'd been looking into gastric banding since 2004 but I didn’t qualify for the procedure at the time as I wasn't over 100lbs weight. Over the years the insurance companies eased up on their requirements but it wasn’t till my husband mentioned how successful his cousin was with her banding surgery that I decided to look into it again. So we started doing our research. I had already known about Alvarado Hospital and the quality of care they give to their bariatric patients, but it wasn't till I saw a commercial advertising Dr. Ellner's next seminar that I took that first step and I'm glad I did! January 16th, 2012 will be a day I will remember. It would be the last time I would see ANY number over 200lbs flashing back at me from my digital scale.

Dr. Ellner's seminar answered all my questions, later her private consultation answered even more. Her staff is extremely detailed, informative, caring and helpful. I felt comfortable and secure with them to perform my gastric banding surgery. They gave me everything I needed to take that first step from all the pre-testing to my follow-up care. Even after my surgery the hospital staff made certain my vitals and other functions were normal before releasing me from the hospital. I did have one complication (stomach swelling) the day after surgery. I called Dr. Ellner's office and they knew exactly what to do. It was immediately treated and I've not had any issues since.

Granted I’m not the 'typical' gastric patient as I only needed to lose 60 to 80lbs, I didn't have any co-morbidities outside of my joints and back, nor was my surgery covered by my insurance, but I was falling into a situation of having recurring surgeries on my knees due to being overweight. I needed assistance on getting my life back as the standard methods were no longer working like they used to. I feel this was the BEST thing I'd ever done for myself! It took me just under 6 months to lose 64lbs and I'm now on maintenance. I no longer let 'life take over' as I'm the one in control! I go hiking and walking on a regular basis and am training for my first half marathon next year (2013). I plan on grabbing the Triple Crown. To obtain the Triple Crown you have to do the Carlsbad Half Marathon, the La Jolla Half and the AFC (America's Finest City Half) all in the same year. My 'office' now is the outdoors. I no longer look at it through a window unless I'm driving past it at over 150mph.

I truly want to thank Dr. Ellner and her entire staff, all the assisting physicians, nurses and lab techs throughout Alvarado Hospital that made this procedure so effortless for me. They gave me my life back! Just recently my husband and I wrapped up a video shoot for Motor Trend Magazine and it was during that video shoot that I got the ride of my life! Had I not had this surgery I would have NEVER fit into the seat of a 1965 GT40 race car. Next on my list is riding in the Pace Car or the 2-seater during the upcoming IndyCar Finale Championship Race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA on September 15th 2012. Next year I also start my training to become a course worker for IndyCar sanctioned racing events in Southern California. After that who knows…the sky's the limit!