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Testimonial: S R – Sleeve Gastrectomy

“They say that life begins at forty but as I approached that special birthday in August 2009, my future appeared very bleak indeed.”

“After a lifetime of dieting, losing weight and then re-gaining it in spades, I’d somehow ended up at 5ft 2” weighing in at an all time high of 31 stone. Like many, I covered up my desperate unhappiness with a bubbly personality and a beaming smile but there was no hiding from the ever-growing list of problems my weight was causing. Terrible pain in my back and knees meant that I was no longer able to stand for more than a few minutes and walking had become so painful and difficult that I rarely ever left the safety of my own home. Climbing the stairs had become impossible and I was reduced to sleeping downstairs on the sofa. Well, I say ‘sleeping’ but in reality I was lucky if I managed to get more than 2 hours sleep a night – breathing difficulties and snoring so embarrassingly loud it woke me up meant that I was permanently exhausted. Too fat to fit behind the wheel of my car, I was unable to drive. Housebound, tired and miserable, I wasn’t living any kind of life at all – I was merely existing.

I’d seen TV shows about weight loss surgery and I’d spent hours clicking through the internet to learn more about the various different kinds available. I read enviously about people who had lost huge amounts of weight and even better, had managed to keep it off. I was very tempted. If I’m honest though, I was also a bit scared. I knew that any kind of operation at my size would have its risks, but that wasn’t really what was worrying me. How on earth would I be able to live the rest of my life never being able to eat a proper sized meal again? For all the horrible things my love of food had done to me, the thought of having to say goodbye to generous portions for good was difficult to imagine. Food was my comfort and my friend – but it was also my biggest enemy and my downfall. And so it was on that milestone birthday that I made a big decision. I needed to lose the weight permanently and get back to living a normal life and so the special present I was going to mark my birthday with was a Sleeve Gastrectomy.

After a lot of online research, and recommendations from friends in the medical profession, we reassuringly arrived at the same answer. Mr Ahmed had a stellar reputation and was the perfect choice for my op. I was very nervous about meeting him for my first consultation and I was concerned that I might be too overweight to have the surgery. I needn’t have worried though as he put me at ease right away and two months later I’d had the operation, spent only two nights in hospital and everything had gone very smoothly.

So five months on, what is life like when you can eat only small portions of food? Well although this was my major concern, it’s been the biggest revelation of the whole experience. I no longer have much appetite and I frequently have to remind myself to eat! I never would have thought that would be me in a million years – it’s only skinny people that forget to eat isn’t it? Food never used to be far from my mind before I had the surgery, but now it’s just not something I think about. It’s like a huge burden has been lifted from my shoulders. There are no types of food that I can’t manage and it takes such a small amount to make me feel totally full up that I never feel deprived or even hungry. As a consequence the weight has just been falling off. I’m already ten and a half stone lighter and still losing. Better still, I can now walk and climb the stairs again, drive my car, sleep in my own bed and actually get a straight seven hours rest for the first time in years. I’ve got so much more bounce and energy that everyone around me is astounded by the change. I can even now do some exercise and I’m getting fitter and stronger by the day. It was the best birthday present I could ever have wished for and thanks to Mr Ahmed and his team, it really is true what they say – life has begun at forty and bar a massive lottery win, I couldn’t be happier!”