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.