Patient Stories

Kathryn Coleman

My journey started with a meeting with the surgeon who then referred me to Cathy Harbury my dietician. I was 62 years old and had tried every diet on the planet. Some were successful however I always regained the weight! I discussed surgery with my GP and she agreed that medical intervention was required.

To prepare for surgery I started on the weight loss programme with my dietician two weeks prior to surgery. I lost a few kilos so that my liver would lose some fatty tissue as per my surgeon’s instructions.

If you are someone who is thinking about having surgery my advice is GO FOR IT ….it is the best not second best but the BEST thing I have every done. However you must listen to the surgeon and dietician and follow their instructions. Make sure your head is in the right space and you have mentally prepared yourself for the experience. It’s not an easy fix as it does take a little work but it’s the easiest weight loss I have ever experienced.

Claudia Tolhurst

I have been overweight, actually morbidly obese, for most of my adult life. I have yo-yo dieted for most of that time and had tried every possible weight loss option without success – Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Sure Slim amongst others. And even when I had success with some of those, the weight always came back.

I know of people over the years that had a lap band, but to be honest, everyone I knew that had that weight loss option had success initially but either regained their weight or had complications so that wasn’t something I wanted to consider.

Then I met someone who had had gastric sleeve surgery and had success. Then I met another person, and another, and another. It appeared that this was a successful option and it sparked my interest. I started to think that this might be a positive solution for me.

A secret story by Nicole’s patient

I have struggled with excess weight since I was a young child. I have been on diets all my life. I have had good success during key points, but as my life got busier, children came along, my career got more complex and I was getting older, I could not sustain commercial diets. I knew I was getting bigger and bigger and risks to my health were getting higher each day. I felt I needed a “kick” start and something that would help me sustain my commitment to a new lifestyle. My obstetrician suggested I consider surgery after the birth of my first child. It took me 10 years to make the decision to have the surgery at the time I had it.

To prepare for surgery I was determined to lose as much weight as possible to make the surgery as safe as I could. That was my focus. For anyone who is thinking about having surgery know that it’s worth it. I wish I had done it sooner. I love my smaller stomach – it is a physical barrier for over-eating and I really appreciate the flavours of food so much more now.

A secret story by Nicole’s patient

My weight loss journey started many years ago, however perusing the idea of surgery started last year after speaking with a friend who was knowledgeable in the area. I asked what her thoughts were, and she said that it was a reasonably safe operation and the research on long term outcomes was looking very favourable.

So I started to do my research, and found a good surgeon. I spoke to my GP and although she did not object to referring me told me that all I needed to do was to eat more vegetables “that grow above the ground” and practice intermittent fasting. That would cure my weight issue. Although I appreciate that my GP thought she was being helpful, I found it patronising. If it was as easy as she said, then why had I struggled for so many years? I didn’t feel like my GP was up to date on the advances in WLS, or the long term results that it was getting.

A patient’s experience of thiamine deficiency

My weight loss journey started with a conversation with my GP. I asked for recommendation for a surgeon in the area/region I was looking to have the surgery in (not my home town).

The advice I was given to prepare for surgery was around a pre-op diet (i.e. meal replacement shakes) – advice was extremely limited and did not take into account my allergies despite dietician/surgeon being made aware of mine. There were no pre-operative discussions by my team about the need for bloods tests and multivitamins. I was given a blood test form to have done but there was no conversation around what was being tested for or why and no conversation about the results.


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