It’s now been about three weeks since I started to blog on a daily basis and I still haven’t talked about anyone else and their experience of the Bariatric journey, so today I aim to put that right.
I shall not name the person in question but suffice to say she is a lady I have known for a few years now and have never known her small until now. I shall refer to her as K
I received a text from K congratulating me on my decision to go with the Bariatric option, telling me it had changed her life completely and she was no longer the person she once was. She also told me that the surgery wasn’t a cure although it was an enormous help. The fact that she said what I believed about it not curing the mind and that bad habits, even though manageable, could easily creep back in resonated with my own thought process and it made me wonder if all of us fat folk deep down are really the same.
We just insist on making bad choices.
K, never struck me as someone who over ate or over drank even though she was a large lady. You never saw her downing pints of beer in the pub, eating a bag of chips or stuffing doughnuts down with gay abandon.
Just like me.
But then we had a chat and we quickly revealed the reason why she was such a large lady. It was the same reason I am a large man. She could pack away the calories through the day and burn of so few there was an excess that had to go somewhere. Just like me she was never a glutton but could eat a nice big bowl or plate of food and then usually be able to stop. However, it was only a matter of a couple of hours or so and she was back out at the kitchen making further bad dietary choices in the shape of bacon rolls. Just like me she loved her bread but instead of a sensible breakfast in the morning, it would be a quick visit to the garage on her way to work that would set her up for the day. A nice fresh breakfast sandwich, a big bag of crinkle crisps and then some chocolate candy shell covered peanuts. All neatly disappeared along with her guilt by the time her car pulled into the works car park.
Working in a place that catered for customers, she was always able to eat whenever she liked. The food was good and plentiful. Being a bit of a spice freak, lunch was often chilli and rice or chilli wraps. The bowl size was one that would have fed a family of four back in the day, but here in the land of all you can eat it was just for the one diner and that was a diner with a clean plate brain. Nothing was wasted. Then the afternoon would progress and with time being spent working it wasn’t long till she was soon once again heading back home via the garage forecourt in order to pick up a family bag of the crispy shelled chocolate peanuts. These would again be gone and truly forgotten by the time she returned home as like me, she was able to eat mindlessly as she drove, popping one sweetie in after another. Arrival home would mean going straight into the kitchen to prepare dinner of cheesy pasta piled double height in a 10″ bowl, but just in case she got hungry whilst that cooked, she had a cheese sandwich for good measure. The evening would mean a night of sitting in front of the TV and relaxing with a drink and a smoke until sleep began to set in although that wouldn’t be the end of the day’s eating, there would always be room for a 3am feast when she woke due to hunger pangs, after all it had been over 6 hours since her last meal. Then finally sated once again, she would go back to bed and drift off to sleep for a couple more hours before waking to do it all over again.
So we can see a pattern here. Yes there are some of us with medical conditions that make us put on weight. Under active thyroid, specific gene’s in your make up that put you at a greater risk of weight gain. K, probably suffered from all of these as maybe I might, but the real reason for the weight was a brain that wouldn’t say no to more food and as I said before, more in than is used means storage. Especially on the hips.
Eventually just as I did, she realised her situation was untenable.
She needed help.
So K went to the Doctors in early April of 2012. She was made aware that she did not meet the criteria of NHS funded Bariatric Surgery so decided to “bite the bullet” and get the money together and go private. After all, her life depended on it.
Meeting the surgeons at 19 1/2 stone she was given a surgery date of the 28th of May and told to get dieting. She hit the operating table at 18 stone 12 lbs and under the charge of Mr Bruno Sgromo was duly given the life saving operation – a gastric sleeve. Coming round on the ward on her own a couple of hours later, she found herself to be in terrific pain from acid reflux. The surgery had been a complete success but the after care medical team had been remiss in not administering an intravenous antacid. She was in tremendous pain and thinking she was going to die, called the nurse.
This was just the start of the problems. The nurse administered an antacid tablet (wrong) the size of a horse tranquilizer and wondered why the patient couldn’t: a, swallow it and b, when she did, was unable to keep it down. Something began to tell K that these people didn’t appear to know what they were doing. Fortunately for her, a friend stopped by and being a medical professional herself immediately saw there was an issue and raised the alarm.
Without going into all of the details, the after care was deemed such a mess that her invoice for nearly £10,000 was almost half refunded (the surgery had after all been a success) and K was eventually allowed home 5 days later than planned. Her poor medical care putting her back many weeks behind her recovery schedule.
Recovery complete, K had to get onto the big business of deciding what to eat and how much to have. At first it was tough as not being a fan of milkshakes she found a large part of her staple to be high protein yogurt (and fruit pastilles, but that’s another story) Eventually she moved onto solid food and even though she was aware of the food choices being in her mind all day long, it didn’t seem to bother her or make her want to eat or make a bad dietary choices. The portion size was so incredibly reduced that now she struggled to eat a ramekins sized bowl of cottage pie. Breakfast was no longer crap from the garage, it was a yogurt and blue berries. Snacks were no longer chocolate bars, they were satsuma’s or grapes or berries or pulses and beans.
She had never eaten so healthily.
Admittedly her newly acquired sweet tooth arrived with a great deal of force, but it was now sated after one or two little pieces of confectionary instead of one or two bars. Living like this, the weight started to fall off of her. Today she is just over 9 1/2 stone in weight and looking great on it. She has lost over 6 feet in dimensions alone and has so much more energy, her life feels like it has just been restarted after 20 years of being on pause.
Hearing K’s story has made me so glad that I have been lucky enough to be taken on and funded by the NHS. I am absolutely positive this is most definitely the procedure for me and if the results are half as good as hers, I will be a happy boy. Even after hearing her terrible tale of treatment you would expect me to show some trepidation, but I have absolutely no worries because I have met most of my post care staff and am so at ease at the thought of being looked after by them, K’s bad ordeal does not faze me. I am mostly glad however, that she cannot sing high enough, the praises of Mr Sgromo, whom I am led to believe will be my surgeon.
Stay out of the fridge.