“I had laparoscopic gastric banding surgery in October 2003. When I went to see Dr Sofianos, I weighed 129kg at only 5’2”. I was at the end of my tether and felt that if I picked up one more kilo I’d jump off a bridge.For the last 20 years I’ve been on every diet ever invented. Eventually, I only gained the lost weight AND some more after 6 months to a year.
I went home the day after the surgery and spent the next week vomiting every 4-6 hours. The band was slightly released via the balloon (needle aspiration) and I was on my way.
Six months after the surgery I developed a gastric outlet obstruction and lived on high protein drinks for the following 3 months. This eventually cleared up slowly and everything was perky.
The only “food limit” Dr Sofianos gave me was sugar. I never touched sweets, cake, chocolates for the first 2 years and also checked all food labels for carbohydrate content.
Now, 2 and a half years later I have lost 52kg and it’s been worth the whole first year of hell. I found post-operatively, the first year AWFUL. I desperately wanted to eat proper amounts of food. I never went to restaurants as I was sick of being forever asked why I’m eating so little. My head wanted to eat larger meals even though my body and stomach didn’t want it.
But I’ve learned that vomiting is much worse than the psychological lust for food. Of course it would be easy to eat what I want and as much as I want. But I have beautiful teeth and I’m not having them melting away because of stomach acid. Also, being a nursing sister, there are more serious complications of induced vomiting that are just not worth it.
With everything that happened since the surgery, including a gall-bladder operation, I would have the surgery again. The way I feel and look now is worth every cent and every time I thought this band is going to kill me. My blood pressure is back to normal. The knee pain, hip pain, back pain and all sort of continuous aches and pains are completely gone. I can dance till 4am, work 12 hour shifts and then go shopping. I love walking into ordinary stores and buying any clothes I want. Previously, I could only get my size from those “giant stores”.
Before the surgery I had no social life. I refused to go anywhere because I felt so awful. Suddenly now I have to force myself to sleep more than 4 hours a night. I just feel there is so much to do and so little time.
I would never tell anyone that life after bariatric surgery is easy. It’s difficult. Everyday. But it’s quality. It’s healthy. It’s fun. It’s life. No one that has never been obese has a clue that obesity kills your mind long before it kills your body bit by bit.
My surgeon was always sympathetic, always available, always supportive and understanding. This makes a huge difference in a long post-operative recovery time; which to me is from the moment after surgery until the day you’ve lost all the weight you want to lose.
I’ve just started on one of a few plastic reconstructive procedures because of the weight loss, I don’t look too great without clothes – YET!!”