"The Sleeve Gastrectomy has given me a new lease of life"*
* All patient reviews on our website are based on that individual's experience and may vary from person to person.
I have struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember. At the age of 21, I joined my first diet group and over many years I’ve attempted more diets than I care to remember. My weight has gone up and down all of my adult life. Before this procedure, the most I ever lost was 3 stone. My weight was constantly on my mind.
Before having my Sleeve Gastrectomy, I had very low self-esteem. My weight impacted on my confidence and how I thought people looked at me. I felt judged and ashamed to have allowed myself to get to the point I was at. I had given up trying to lose weight as nothing worked. I no longer enjoyed going out with friends. I looked horrible in all clothing. I avoided doing certain activities and visiting certain places. I evaluated chairs and always worried if I would fit or if they would take my weight.
I worried about going on holiday and that the seatbelt wouldn’t fit or I’d splurge out of my seat on the plane or the bus. I would ensure I sat with my children so that a stranger wouldn’t have to endure my obesity. My activity levels had declined and my back and knees caused me a lot of pain. For many years I had been unable to run or do heavy impact exercise, this was very hard to accept as someone who was always very fit and into exercise in her younger years. Being a nurse, I felt I was setting the wrong example to my patients and was also ashamed of the image I portrayed.
I promised myself I wouldn’t be overweight at 40 or graduate in my current situation. But unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened. I had thought of having weight loss surgery for many years but was too afraid. I listened to people who told me I didn’t need it. I listened to them when they said you would never be able to eat normally again. In the end, I decided enough was enough. I knew if at 44 I didn’t act, that my health would seriously start to decline.
I had two consultations with two different companies but it didn’t feel right for me. I chose the NOSC because of their aftercare package as I felt this was important. The surgeon from the other company informed me that I would most likely be looking at achieving a size 16 when I told him I wanted to reach a 14. I am now between size 8-10 after losing almost 12 stone!
The hospital experience was pleasant, I had my own room and TV. I felt cared for and they didn’t rush me out the door when I was in pain so I stayed another night. I had some discomfort from trapped gas which was tough but I walked a lot to ease it. I started with a liquid diet which quickly got my digestive system working and helped ease some of the gas. With just a two night stay I was ready to go home.
By the end of the first week, I felt good, two weeks and I returned to work. Watching the weight melt off me was such a good feeling.
The NOSC helped me move through the food stages with their advice. I found it difficult to adjust in the beginning. Difficult to know when I was full as it didn’t feel the same as my normal feeling of fullness. I found it hard cooking for the family and then sitting down with them, watching them eat while I struggled to get a few teaspoons of puréed food down.
In reality you move through the food stages so quickly that these phases soon pass and become a distant memory. I was soon able to sit with my family and enjoy the same foods as them with the only difference being a smaller portion. I was always very mindful to listen to what my body was telling me and try to stop eating when I had enough. I still try to do this 16 months past my procedure.
I do not calorie count, I do not watch my protein intake. If I want something I will have it, but in moderation. I always try to eat my protein first and I try to ensure my meals include a good source of protein. I believe diets should be healthy and balanced so I try to accomplish this as best I can. I wanted to live a normal life and not be obsessed about food. I wanted to develop a healthy relationship with food, I now feel like I can have a sensible amount of what I want and not obsess about it.
I still plate my food up using a side plate. My mindset doesn’t question this anymore. I know that portion is enough for me. I know I do not need to eat excessive amounts of food to survive. I can still go out and socialise, and frequently do. The only thing to be mindful of is that I can no longer eat and drink at the same time. This does take a little bit of adjustment. I just make a choice now, eat or drink? My friends and family accept this and are very supportive.
My main goals were to get back out running which I had not been able to do since being in my twenties. I wanted to be in a size 14. I have achieved this and more. I am running a fast paced 6 miles once a week with 2 times in the gym. I am now a size 8-10 and I continue to lose weight. From my heaviest weight, I have lost 11st 13.8lb to date! My excess skin is not horrendous, I have some but not that much.
Having the Sleeve Gastrectomy has given me a new lease of life. I can wear any clothes and look good in them. It has given me the confidence to be me again. I wish I had done it sooner, when I first thought about it.
Maria Poelvoorde – Operation date 15 October 2020 – Sleeve Gastrectomy