Events leading to weight loss surgery – John Catterall
During my childhood and adolescence, I never had a problem with my weight. I always had a normal weight for my height. Although, on reflection, there may have been some eating issues concerning anxiety at school. At primary school age I started to go to a relatives for lunch.
When I left school, I began an apprenticeship in joinery and was introduced to unhealthy eating, and drinking alcohol, at a young age. That was in the early 70’s, when diets were not the norm, especially in the male population. I never worried about what I was eating or drinking. The job was physical which helped to keep my weight down. I basically ate what I wanted.
In my middle twenties, my weight started to increase, but nothing too drastic. Nonetheless, my drinking habits, and poor diet continued. I married at the age of 29 years. I had the same job, and further developed a taste for spicy food such as curries, and my drinking habits changed to wine and spirits, but I still drank beer. I had a busy social life that included playing in a brass band and snooker, which again usually meant drinking alcohol and eating out after concerts and matches. I never did any exercise.
Later on I left the joinery profession and started work in a factory. The work was near home and paid better money. The work was tedious, and involved long shifts. I was working, sleeping and eating at unsociable times. I was drinking spirits after my night shift ended, and eating far too much. The job included heavy lifting but by the age of 50 I weighed 18 stone. I did nothing about it. Therefore, over the next 5 years, my weight increased to 30 stone.
I struggled to do my job because of my size, and retired on health grounds. Everything in my life was a struggle and there were problems in my marriage. I had type II diabetes, hypertension and arthritis in my joints. I had to take a cocktail of medicines to control all my medical problems. I had to buy my clothes from specialist shops, which were very expensive. I lived in very large jogging pants and t-shirts just for comfort not style.
I went to see my doctor and he referred me to a dietician and a specialist at my local hospital. They carried out some tests; with all my problems and a BMI of 50, I was a candidate for bariatric surgery. I needed funding from my PCT. I waited a long time, but eventually was granted funding. There are only a few hospitals in my area that could perform the surgery. So I decided on the Alexandra Hospital for my first choice. This turned out to be a very good choice. Soon after, an appointment was arranged for me to see Mr. Akhtar. At the consultation, I was informed that I needed to lose some weight before surgery could be considered. I cut out alcohol and counted the calories and did manage to lose the required 15kgs by my next appointment, which was approximately 2 months.
Mr. Akhtar stated that he could now perform the surgery but possibly only a sleeve gastrectomy, depending on my condition on the day of the operation. I received my appointment to go into hospital, which was the 16 August 2011. It was hard to believe my life was at last going to change. I had to go on a special diet designed to shrink the liver, to make the surgery easier. This was not a problem as I was so determined to make it work.
On the day, my family drove me to the hospital. I was taken to my room; it was like a 5 star hotel- very comfortable. Mr. Akhtar and the anaesthetist came to see me and explained everything very well. I was taken to theatre in a couple of hours and the next thing I was recovering from the surgery. I spent the night in ICU and was well looked after. Mr. Akhtar came to see me and explained he had been able to do the full gastric bypass. I could not thank him enough. All the team were fantastic, friendly and helpful.
It is now 18 months since my surgery. I weigh 106 kg; I was previously 190 kg. I joined the local gym, had a personal trainer to help me with an exercise programme and now have the confidence to go alone. I exercise about 4-5 times a week. I love it and have made new friends. I can buy large size clothes instead of 5XL. I can enjoy my grandchildren. My wife and children have been very supportive since day one, and are proud of my achievements.
I still do not drink alcohol and enjoy a healthy diet. If I do eat the wrong foods, it makes me feel nauseous so it is not worth it. My blood pressure and diabetes medication have been stopped as a direct result of the surgery. Diabetes is often resolved following the operation. The surgery has worked for me and turned my life around.
Many thanks to Mr. Akhtar and his team, especially Helen and Louise for the care prior to surgery and the two year follow up. I attended my last appointment this month.
I have now had my gastric band over fours years. The procedure was carried out at the Highfield Hospital Rochdale by Mr Akhtar.
Prior to the procedure I had a consultation meeting with Mr Akhtar who asked about my reasons for wanting the operation and what efforts I had made to try and loose weight. The initial assessment was very thorough and included a further consultation with a dietician before it was determined that I would benefit from the procedure being carried out. To be offered the opportunity to have a gastric band was a huge relief to me as my obesity was impacting on my health and general well being.
The procedure was carried out shortly after the initial consultation and only involved an over night stay in hospital. I made a speedy recovery and there were no post operative complications.
The benefits of having the gastric band were soon easy to see as I started to loose weight immediately. However, learning to live with the gastric band did initially cause some problems as I found it difficult to change my old eating habits. I found to my cost that some foods were now more difficult to eat and caused me discomfort. During the early days I relied a lot on the support provided by the dietician who was always there to provide advice, guidance and general encouragement. In addition, I also had further meetings with Mr Akhtar who was very supportive and made adjustments to the gastric band and monitored by weight loss or on one occasion weight gain (the band does not make you loose your sweet tooth).
Overall I have no regrets in having the gastric band. I have regained my confidence and it feels great to be able to go shopping for clothes knowing that I have a lot more choice and look good it what I wear. I recently attended a family wedding and relatives I had not seen since the gastric band was fitted just could not believe how different I looked. I have also started to exercise again and my general health as improved significantly.
Well i have had a different journey the last 18 months.
For 20 years i have battled on yo yo dieting, had depression, and been in pain with knee joints. Doctors told me to loose weight as this would help but I poo pooed them as i was doing loads of exercise
For someone over weight! I was walking dogs 15 miles a week , playing Badminton 6 hours a week.
All this with housework, part time job and 4 children. What I have not said is that even though I did all this I was always in pain and suffered most days of the week. That even when I bought clothes and looked smart i never felt at anytime sexy and attractive. My friend had had a by pass some years before and although i was anxious for her health i could see how she first benefited from this operation. However i felt i could not do this. My opinion changed after i went to good old NHS and asked for help.
This was some what of a joke as they gave me yet another diet to follow(one I had already been on lost and regained even more after a few months of coming off it) Then breakthrough NHS announced they would do Gastric Weight loss surgery! I went along to my appointment thinking "yes finally I get help" Oh how wrong was I . As the scales tipped 18 and half stone (for my 5 foot figure) they said my BMI was one point off being eligible for this op. I did offer to go away and eat Cake, but was told u only get one offer and one chance!!
After a dinner party at my home where a question was asked about "what age does a woman not feel sexy anymore"? I realised that time was catching up and that i could not remember when the last time was that i did feel this way. I plummeted again with depression. I knew I needed help and in fact wanted help DESPERATLEY. My family could see how very unhappy and not like myself I was. I sat down and spoke to my wonderful hubby.
We had put aside funds for work on our house. I asked if i could have some of it for a Gastric Operation. He was fab and agreed this would be ok.
So i got the Solar System money! ( I did offer to sit on the roof on sunny days to radiate the energy we would need. But for some reason he said it would not be necessary lol)
I spent time looking up information on Gastric Surgery. I looked at peoples Blogg and Companies that dealt with this type of Surgery. It can be a mine field and I did get punch drunk on all good and bad information that people shared. Some pictures and photos were Graphic, Horrific, and informative.
There was not much difference in the way of price for this sort of Surgery.
However after care was a different thing. Some did the surgery and referred you to your GP straight after.
Some looked after you for a year but I found a company called Gravitas that looked after you for 2 years.
This part is up to the individual. I wanted as much help and care as possible so I went with Gravitas.
Something inside of me made me diet before i went to my second meeting and found i had lost weight a bit (i was expert at this just not keeping it off)
At no time did i feel i was in the wrong place . People at The Alex in Cheadle were friendly and helpful. I met Mr Akhtar and we discussed all my options and what he thought would be best for me.
Even when he was telling me i would . loose a lot of weight i could not believe it . He made me feel very comfortable and i came away quite excited .
I chose to have my op just before Xmas. Friends and family thought i was mad. I just said it was now or never as a birthday or celebrations would always be there and i would be putting my op off all time.
Time in the Alex was not without a bit or worry as staff kept coming in saying i was having a Gastric Band when in fact i was having a Bypass. I did think they were having a laugh. Even when i went down for my op i was lying on the bed say “this is for a bay pass isn’t it?” They assured me it was and then i got put to sleep.
YIPPEE i got my Bypass!!!!
Yep i was sore and uncomfortable but it was manageable with pain control. I am such a baby Just bring on the Drug’s!!
In some respects this was the easy part the journey was just about to start.
3 days after i went home. With a stomach the size of a squash ball and a network of numbers and names , do’s and don’ts.
At no time was i ever without help .Gravitas Dietician rang me every other day for 2 weeks .
My first month was on food fit for a baby. Every thing went in a liquidiser. Even my xmas dinner!
The advise about not going far from a loo for a few weeks was sound advise believe me. I found this out to my cost. ( this was not good lol )
My brain had a problem with making me feel i could eat loads ( my normal plate full’s ) Meals became normal on a plate but portion sizes were of a minimum. Even the dog ate more than me!!
I did eat more than i could cope with a few times to my downfall. I was sick !
Some foods don’t agree with you for a while for me it was ICE CREAM Grrr !!! But we are all of different make up so this part will be individual to each of us.
People for what ever reasons want to fatten you up when you go on a diet. I got “Just have a bit of this it won’t hurt “ Well sorry but it “ Yes Bloody does”
” you can’t be full on that have some more” Er i can’t get any more down!! I think my nan would have said people were killing me with kindness.
You could stay in behind closed doors and not go out but i decided that i would have gone out for a meal before so why should i stop in now. Does not come without problems i have to say .
You cant eat a lot so i did look at kids menus . Not a good idea unless u want to live on pizza , chicken nuggets’ or sausage and mash.
My advise . Look at starters and have this when others are on their main course. Or think ‘sod it ‘ and go for what you want and eat what amount u can. After all if you had gone out before your op you would have paid for a full meal so eat and enjoy.
If you don’t it can get to you and you begin to feel like not going out. I am of an age where all socialising is done around friends eating , drinking or going out. I want to carry on per norm .
Be prepared for restaurants and pubs to ask if anything is wrong with the meal when you send loads back. I just say i have eaten all i could and it was lovely. However my local pub and cafe i told them i had this op and was on small portions. They were fab and for the passed year have been giving me small portions and are used to me now.
Don’t go shopping every month as weight drops off quickly and in the most strange places at different times.
Instead make charity shops your best friend and embrace the sales in Sainsbury and Tesco. Lol
So far i have now lost 7 stone and my BMI has gone down from 49 to 22.8. Weight is coming off slowly and my body shape has changed a lot . There are so many more advantages . I don’t ache now after exercise, i am quicker and far less out of breath. My joints are now more manageable
Again my brain finds it hard not to look in the mirror and see a thinner me. People notice the massive difference in me but i still see parts of me i feel are fat. I am working on this.
There are down sides it would be unfair not to mention . Being big has left parts of me skin stretched. A bust and thighs like a 25 year old is non negotiable as everything goes Far down south more than usual.
Llook good in clothes but i now turn off the lights when in the nude lol
I am working on feeling sexy as lingerie for my size is now accessible and god how i love those Hold me in Knickers and push me up Bra’s lol
Am i glad i had this done YESSSS Now my future is trying to keep weight steady. I find it hard to over eat as it does feel very uncomfortable. I seem to have picked up the grazing habits of a cow as i cope with eating by grazing every 2 hours . Have to say my pallet has changed and i eat healthier options . A bar of choc will last me a week and not 30 seconds !!
So Mr Akhtar and staff you did a good job . However i think i have the harder job of now keeping that weight at bay . A BIG THANKS FOR HELPING ME .
My advise to you is to take body measurements as well as weight . Some weeks i did not loose on the scales but lost in inches. In the first 3 months i lost over 3 stone and 49 inches !!
Hi Mr Akhtar,
My name is Iris Price. You operated on me on 21/05/11. I had a gastric bypass and if it was not for you and your team I would not be here. It all started in May 2011, I was in poor health with my illness and it did not help me being overweight. I could not do a lot, I could not walk anywhere and was often at the doctors. Now my health has got a bit better but I am still ill. I was just short of 24 stone in 2011 and now on 18/08/13 I am 14 stone. I have got a bit more to go but I have lost 10 stone. I now do not need to go back to Manchester .
The staff at the hospital are so good they put the rest of the health service to shame. There are two nurses who are so nice and kind. The first one is called Helen, what a lovely person she is, and the second, Lousie, she too is lovely. If it was not for them I would not be here, they have helped me throughout the last two years and I can always just pick up the phone to ring them and they will ring back. Mr Akhtar, the best surgeon. Thank you to him, I now have got my life back.