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    Well where do I start , I suspect my story is not very different to many other over weight people who have had this surgery or are contemplating it
    I have been severely overweight since the age of 12 and always large as a child. I learnt quickly to be the jolly, good fun one as that made you popular but deep inside dying and hiding that from myself for a very long time.
    After three horrific pregnancies all riddled with serious complications associated with overweight girls – ending up in three premature births which has resulted in all three of my fantastic boys being diagnosed with special needs – I have always cariied a terrible guilt and responsibility for this.
    After a long bout of depression and now weighing my heaviest of 21 stone 8 lbs, having very high blood pressure which medication struggled to control, heavily medicated type two diabetes on the verge of needing insulin and a BMI of 46.6 at the age of 30 was a recipe for disaster.
    Diet club after diet club, weight lost and more regained the vicious cycle we are so familiar with.
    I was rock bottom and didn’t know what to do.
    Then I discovered a programme called The Fat Doctor ! I sat mesmorized and watched every episode I could find, they were normal people like me taking control and their lives were being given back to them.
    I researched for a year, spoke to my GP who was very supportive and then my family who although showed a lot of reservation could see I was determined and stood behind me.
    I made an appointment to see Guy Slater and for the first time met a professional who didn’t treat me like an idiot, didn’t see me as a failure and didn’t make me feel ashamed, he truly understood and I I knew I had made the right decision.
    He very carefully explained the procedure , what is involved, the recovery, the changes and commitment I would need to make, to ensure this was a success and he also felt if I was in agreement I would be a good candidate.
    This was still an extremely hard decision for me, what is in my opinion a life saving operation but I was very aware I had 3 young boys and I was putting myself at risk of major surgery , but I knew I was making the right choice ,it was an informed researched decision and I was at peace with it
    This was the best present I could now give my boys – their Mum back.
    My guilt over them started lifting and we cant look back only forward – this will work and I will change I just needed help – I wasn’t a bad person because I couldn’t lose a substantial amount of weight on a diet alone and keep it off , I was taking charge and control of my life at long last.
    I had 3 months to surgery, I bought a rower and cross trainer – I was determined to be as fit and strong as possible for this operation .
    I lost 18lbs prior to surgery and was much fitter. I knew I had done all I could for myself beforehand .

    The day arrived and there is no getting away from it I was terrified and all those thoughts rush about in your head.
    Shaw Somers did my surgery and I met him that morning and you just know you are in very safe hands , he completely puts you at ease and again doesn’t behave like you are an invisible fat person !! still – I nearly didn’t do it ! But my husband and Andrea the most amazing nurse you will ever have the pleasure of meeting were there for me and I was off to theatre.
    Still many tears in theatre but Mr Somers and the surgery team being utterly amazing and supportive helped tremendously and the next thing I remember was waking up and thinking – thank god its over and I have woken up !! completely irrational I know !!
    The next 12 hours were a blur really but I do remember being amazed at the little pain I felt – my only surgery to compare with was a c section and this was a walk in the park compared to that.
    I was mobile very quickly and up and about , amazed at how tiny the keyhole scars were– I was so excited the new chapter in my life had begun.
    The next day I still felt physically fine but I was very emotional and having doubts over what I had done – this is where the lovely Andrea stepped in – she too has had a gastric bypass and is the most inspiring person you will meet on this adventure. After many chats I was feeling better and knew I had to take this one day at a time.
    I was soon home and still emotional – i have never been good with the unknown and new routines so this was going to be hard.
    Now I can truly say to anyone you must not be hard on yourself , take it one day at a time , you need to re educate yourself on how to eat, to eat slow and chew well, how to guage when you are full and what it feels like , it takes time, I ate too fast threw up a lot and didn’t chew enough so things hurt a bit, I got dumping syndrome at almost anything and I wondered what I had done but slowly and surely it comes, things ease up, the swelling goes, eating becomes easier and you can start eating more variety and textures.
    Most importantly as the weight came off and it did ! my blood pressure was dropping, my diabetes vanished almost immediately and it was WORKING !!!!
    People were noticing and paying me compliments, my neck didn’t hurt anymore , my hip wasn’t stiff went I got up, I could play with my boys and not get puffed out and I didn’t get soaked in sweat at the slightest movement !!
    About 4 months in I was losing hair at quite an alarming rate I had been told this possibly could happen and it doesn’t happen to everyone – but unfortunately it did to me !
    I did find this distressing but I had lost about 5 stone by now and people noticed my weight loss much more than my hair and after a great cut that hid it I felt much better about it as I knew it would grow back soon and it wasn’t permanent – and to be honest if this was the price I was going to pay it was so worth it .
    For the first time in my adult life my friends took me shopping in a normal trendy clothes shop and they fitted me I wasn’t plus size anymore !!
    So 9 months on I weigh 12 stone 10 lbs and am a size 14 ! I have no blood pressure problems, no diabetes and no aches or pains any my hair is growing back thick and fast ! and most important of all my boys have a fit, healthy, active Mum who now joins in !
    I can now eat everything and at a much more normal pace and I know when I am full. Although the last stone I have got off by careful eating and good choices and I want to lose another stone. This weight loss tool does get rid of most of the weight but you will need to work with it and get the last bit off and keep it off.
    I can eat out with friends – just not three courses !
    The most alien thing of all is I am addicted to running ! I started slow and now I run four times a week and cover 14 miles ! I have done a 5K race, a 10 K race and have just run a half marathon in March in 2 hour 31 mins !!!
    We are about to try for baby number 4 – Hopefully this time it will go much more smoothly !!!
    This is no easy option but you know when and if this is the right choice for you. I am so pleased I chose St Richards and Mr Somers’ team for the support, advice, professionalism and genuine kindness I have received from every single person I was involved with at every stage –it is truly amazing and THANK YOU you have given me my life back.

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