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Published on January 14, 2020

New Year, Healthy You

Leonidas and Minerva standing together

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In early 2018, Leonidas and Minerva faced every parent’s worst nightmare. Their four-month old son, Leonidas Jr., passed away suddenly. It was devastating, and they felt lost, confused and didn’t know what to do with their lives. Their emotional struggle was overwhelming, and they found themselves at a crossroads.

“Instead of being destroyed, we chose to re-evaluate our lives and do whatever we could to make our lives better,” Leonidas said.
First off, they wanted to be healthier – for themselves and for their children, Adrian and Nila. They each had gained weight over the years; Leonidas found himself weighing 350 pounds, and Minerva 253 pounds. It was difficult for them to play with their kids and climb stairs, and Leonidas’ physician warned him of his high risk of heart disease.

They tried everything: fasting, diets, exercise and calorie counters. Nothing was working for them.

Then, Minerva reached out to the Cottage Center for Weight Loss Surgery, because she’s long trusted the care at Cottage Health. She was impressed with its team approach – with a surgeon, a psychologist and a nutritionist – that would help them not only lose weight, but also provide ongoing support after surgery.

Leonidas had clear motivations to get healthier: He didn’t want to die of a heart attack; he wanted to be strong for his family; and he wanted to honor Leonidas Jr.

At the Cottage Center for Weight Loss Surgery, Farida Bounoua, MD, performed a sleeve gastrectomy on each of them. Sleeve gastrectomy is a minimally invasive laparoscopic procedure using small incisions in the abdomen to remove part of the stomach, helping a person feel satisfied with less food.

Since his bariatric surgery in October 2018, Leonidas has lost 145 pounds, and Minerva has lost over 100 pounds since her surgery in May 2018.

“Beyond the physical change,” Leonidas added, “It’s the mental and emotional aspects of the Cottage program that make all the difference.”

“It was so much more than losing weight,” Minerva said. “It’s about getting a new life.”

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Phone: 805-879-8986

Email: mzate@sbch.org