"This surgery saved my life."
By the time Jose Minaya was 56 years old, he weighed 313 pounds.
Because of his weight, "I couldn't take a shower by myself or dress myself," he admits. "And I was having a lot of health problems."
These problems included high blood pressure, high cholesterol, acid reflux and sleep apnea.
"I also had varicose veins and had five surgeries in my left leg," he says. "I couldn't walk very much, and I got out of breath when I did. It got so that I didn't like to be around people."
Notably, Minaya's wife Elena also had been suffering from weight-related health problems and underwent gastric bypass surgery at Lowell General's Center for Weight Management and Bariatric Surgery in October 2012. After attending an introductory session at the Center on his own, Jose made the commitment to undergo gastric bypass surgery himself. His surgery took place on January 29, 2013.
When we spoke to him in late July, he had lost 100 pounds. He is already a changed man.
"My life is very different today," he says. "The energy I have now is the same as when I was 20 years old. I walk a lot, and I exercise four days a week for an hour, lifting weights. And I no longer eat greasy foods; I eat a lot of salads now.
"My mother just told me a month ago that it's amazing, she can't believe that I look like I did when I was younger," he continues.
"And my three children are very proud," he adds. "My youngest one said, 'Oh, Dad, the surgery saved your life.' And I agree."
Minaya has become a real champion of the Center's approach to weight loss.
"I think they have the best team, the best program to prepare you [for surgery] and post-op," he says. "They have great doctors and nurses, nutritionists, interpreters... the whole thing is great."
"I've talked to people who have had their surgery someplace else, and they just weren't taught as much as I was about how to eat, the different stages after surgery and what to expect," he continues. "So I recommend Lowell General to everyone. They have classes, support groups... they'll follow each patient for life, and they really help you to be successful."