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Meet Our Patients

At Baptist, your story matters. That’s why we’re honored to be able to share our patients’ journeys in weight loss and becoming their healthiest selves.


Meet Dora

Dora Serna gained weight gradually over the years after having her children. She didn't realize how heavy she had become until she saw her description on a medical chart. Watch her story.

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Meet Marina – Lost 230 Pounds

Marina Gilsson was 5’4 and seriously overweight. She was going through life ignoring the problem until a series of eye opening events made her decide to take her life back by having bariatric surgery. 


The first wake up call came when Marina’s son started playing baseball. She was asked to play in a mother-son baseball game, but was physically unable to participate. It was the first time Marina began to see the negative effects her weight was having not only on herself, but also on those around her. 

Soon after, during a routine visit to the doctor, Marina stepped on a scale and for the first time in her life weighed over 400 pounds. She called the wish center to explore her options – something she had done before. When she realized that four years had slipped by since she called, Marina decided she wasn’t going to waste anymore of her life. 

“I was watching life and not living life,” Marina said. Since the surgery, Marina has lost 230 pounds. Her BMI has dropped from 67% to 31%, which will save her from a lifetime of weight related health conditions. She’s doing things she never could before… everything from bending over to tie her shoe, to playing catch and chase with her son. “I feel like I can go anywhere and do anything. I have a new rule: turn down no invitations.”

Share Your Story

At the Northeast Baptist Bariatric Center we care about your post-operative progress. Please provide us with an update on your success so far or e-mail a quick note and tell us how you’re doing. You may also update your name and address through email. We’d love to hear from you. 

Please include your name, date of birth, and provide information on the following:

  • Date of surgery
  • Any co-morbidities or problems that you got rid of as a result of surgery and how long it took for them to go away
  • Your current height and weight

Thank you, and feel free to contact us anytime with questions or concerns.

Meet Toby – Lost 113 Pounds

Toby Avalos’ doctor recommended he have bariatric surgery to deal with his weight problem, but it would take Avalos three years to make the life changing decision.

Living with diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, he knew he needed to make a change, but was skeptical of weight loss surgery. Avalos tried diet and exercise but was hampered by chronic knee pain that required a series of surgeries. After surgery his weight increased, he became less inclined to workout and his condition worsened. With his diabetes now out of control, Avalos was taking insulin shots before each meal and at night. He knew it was time to take a bigger step in improving his health and quality of life. 

Following the recommendation of his doctor, Avalos began attending seminars to learn more about bariatric surgery, but he was not impressed with the doctors he met or the presentations they gave on the procedure. Avalos began to do his own research and came across Dr. Sonny Cavazos and the Northeast Baptist Bariatric Center. After attending Dr. Cavazos’ seminar, Avalos became convinced that the surgery would be worthwhile. “Dr. Cavazos’ seminar was not like the others I had attended,” said Avalos. “He was not contradictory, and he had a much more personal approach.” 

One month after Avalos had surgery he was off of all diabetes medications. Prior to surgery he was scheduled to have knee replacements. He no longer needs that procedure and his knees are pain-free. Avalos has not been at his current size since middle school and has lost 113 pounds since his surgery. He now gets to enjoy playing with his grandkids, doing yard work and working on cars. “It feels like I can do anything,” says Avalos. “I have been going to the gym for the past year and have discovered muscles that I didn’t know I had.” 





Meet Catherine – Lost 179 Pounds

Catherine Carruthers was borderline diabetic and had difficulty walking because of chronic ankle and knee pain. After trying to battle her weight problem alone, Carruthers decided that she needed help if she was going to see results..

Bariatric surgery was the help she needed. Since her surgery Carruthers has lost 179 pounds.  She is no longer at risk for diabetes and her ankle and knee pain has subsided. “I can easily walk a mile without stopping now,” said Carruthers. “I have the energy levels I had in high school.” Carruthers now enjoys spending time outdoors with her family - fishing, hiking and biking. She can even go shopping, which was a task before her surgery. Carruthers’ only regret is that she should have had the procedure done sooner.

Meet Claudia – Lost 90 Pounds

Claudia Silva had no energy. She suffered from joint pain every morning. At only 35 years old, Silva was told by her doctor that she was on track to develop diabetes.

Silva had watched her mother suffer with weight-related health problems and she didn’t want that for her own 2 daughters.

Scared of her constant fatigue and discomfort, Silva realized she had to do something. The decision to have bariatric surgery changed her life. Silva has now lost 90 pounds, her joint pain is gone and her energy levels have returned to normal. She now enjoys playing with her kids and participating in their activities. “I can swing on swings with my kids and even go down slides, whereas before I couldn’t even get up if I sat down on the floor.” 

Silva feels comfortable exercising and has discovered a new life with her children. Her only regret? “Not having the procedure sooner!” says Silva.  With a new body and a new attitude, Silva has started living life again.