Weight Loss - My Weight Loss Journey

Preparing to Have Bariatric Surgery

PREPARING FOR BARIATRIC SURGERY

Preparing to Have Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric Surgery is something I’ve been planning for some time and today I’m announcing my plans to have a Gastric Bypass.

Since I was 18 I have struggled with my weight. I first became overweight or what Doctors like to term obese after marrying an abusive man. I was in a terrible relationship where I was controlled and made to feel rubbish and bad about myself constantly.

The more I was verbally and at times physically abused, the more unhappy I became and the more I ate.

Eventually after 2 years of violence I gained the courage to leave and found myself single and overweight. I joined weight watches and exercised hard to get down to a reasonable size. I managed to get down to a 16 which was great. I felt confident and although I still had curves, I was no longer massive.

PREPARING FOR A GASTRIC BYPASS

Preparing to Have Bariatric Surgery

I then went on to marry my daughter’s biological father and once again found myself in an abusive marriage. There was a lot of abuse around food. I was not allowed to eat, then I was given comfort food as an apology. I was forced to exercise at times and constantly told I was fat and ugly.

I was a size 18 and my husband would call me an “Animal”. He refused to look at me or be in the same room as I apparently disgusted him. Later on he admitted to an affair and his reason for doing so was, “if you were not ugly and fat, then I wouldn’t have to cheat”.  I was heart broken and my self esteem was at an all time low.

I struggled to get rid of any extra weight from my pregnancy and I was a size 20 when I separated and took out a protection order against my husband. I again joined weight watchers and yo yo’d losing weight and then gaining again for the next 3 years.

Finally in 2012, I began to lose weight for good. I swam 4 times a week, walked when my child was in school and ate healthy. All was going great. I was back to the size 16 which made me happy. I met John my now wonderful husband and we married in 2013.

The week after my wedding, I collapsed and was diagnosed with Adrenal Insufficiency. I was put on steroids and within five months I was the heaviest I had ever been in my life. I had gained six stone and was a size 24.

I could not believe it. I felt disgusting and fat. I still do. Being stuck in bed for the next two years did not help. I was hungry and unable to exercise. My weight continued to climb.

I talked to my husband about weight loss. I joined weight watchers for the 6th time but I was too physically ill to attend and failed miserably.

In 2014 my Endocrinologist suggested I consider bariatric surgery. It could help reduce my daily steroid dosage requirements and benefit me in other ways. I read and studied and researched and decided this might be the only way to lose my excess weight.


Getting A Referral For Bariatric Surgery

A letter was sent to my GP and we spoke about my weight issues. I was referred to Royal Salford in Manchester to see a Endocrinologist who specialised in helping patients on steroids lose weight.

At this point I had become pre-diabetic and my health was not getting any better. I was told if I wanted medical support to lose weight, such as bariatric surgery, I would have to go on a diet for one year.

People are not given bariatric surgery lightly in the UK. Its an expensive and life changing operation and if your health is poor and doctors believe surgery is the best option for you, then you have to do your part to earn the treatment.

I was told to lose 10% of my body weight and diet for one year and then I would be able to see the Bariatric team again. This is the norm and anyone wanting treatment has to go through a one year program to make sure surgery is something they really want.

Even though I am dependent on steroids to get through each day, I would have to find a way to lose weight.

I was able to see a Dietician every 3 months to advise me and had to attend a support group each month to learn all about life with weight loss surgery. It was a huge decision but I decided to do my best to lose the weight and attended the meetings once a month on a Wednesday night.

I was put on a weight loss plan and for one year I ate healthy and was only allowed 1,200 calories a day.

The Diet was really hard. I lost weight slowly often 1/2 a pound a week. Then each time I went into hospital and got pumped with steroids, I’d regain some weight, but the scales were going down slowly but surely and I really tried hard.

 

gastric bypass weight loss quote

After my year of hard work, in October 2015, I had my final weigh in.

I had lost 30 pounds but had gotten to the point where no matter what I did I could no longer lose. I had been stuck in a rut for months and was at the point where I usually start to regain weight. I was still eating healthy and some people assumed I’d come off my diet but I had not, It simply wasn’t working anymore.

After my final weigh in, in October 2015, I was discharged from the Dietician team and referred back to the Bariatric team. I then received a letter a few weeks later stating I met the criteria for bariatric surgery.

I was asked to go to Liverpool Hospital on the 19th of December. I had to try for another 3 months to not regain weight. Unfortunately I had another Adrenal crisis and more steroids and my weight went up by two pounds. I had to work hard and try to lose it but I couldn’t.

The Pre-Op Assessment Before Bariatric Surgery

On the 19th of December I attended my Pre-Op. This was a full day of assessments and tests. I had to see a dietician, surgeon, anaesthetist and psychologist. I’ll be writing blog posts about these appointments in the coming weeks.

I had swabs, blood tests, an ECG and other tests completed. At the end of the day I met someone who regularly works with bariatric patients with Adrenal Insufficiency. We discussed the extra medication I would need for an operation and changing my medications from tablets to liquid and or steroid injections after my surgery.

I was given my date and information on what I need to do in the lead up to my operation. I was given a Liver Shrinking Diet guide and all the information to help me prepare. My day started at 9am and ended at 8pm. I was burnt out and exhausted and I had a few days to rest and let everything sink in.

Finally after all this time, I am going to have surgery. It’s not an easy option. It’s going to be hard, painful and life changing. the operation is not without risks. One in two hundred people who have the operation die on the operating table.

It’s a risk I’m willing to take because if I don’t have surgery I’m likely to regain my weight plus more and become diabetic. The heavier I get, the higher my steroid dose and the more steroids I take the more serious side affects I suffer.

I’ve been seriously thinking about a Gastric Bypass for two years now and I’m not interested in whether people think I should or should not have bariatric surgery. The reality is if I don’t have surgery, I’ll probably die a lot younger than I need to. This procedure is what medical staff believe  is best for me long term and I agree.

Bariatric Surgery Is A Tool To Support Weight Loss

Bariatric Surgery is not a quick fix. It’s a tool to help you make healthier choices and helps you to eat much less and much more slowly due to uncomfortable consequences if you don’t.

I had the choice between a Sleeve or a Gastric Bypass. (The NHS are not doing bands anymore as there are so many complications and things going wrong). Although the sleeve helps people, it has the ability to stretch and you can eat any food, in small amounts. I decided to go with the Gastric Bypass.


The Bypass does exactly that, it bypasses the large stomach and so, I will not only have to eat small amounts and chew for 20 seconds each mouthful. I will also not be able to eat food with more than 3g of fat or 5g of sugar per 100g.

This is going to be a life changer. I wont be able to drink hot chocolate or sparkling grape juice on special occasions. There will be no cheating. No more chocolate in moderation, no naughty food, or drinking liquids at the same time as eating. my whole world and relationship with food is about to change.

People have looked at me and judged me. I’ve had plenty of emails and messages from well intentioned “slimmer friends” assuming I eat like a pig and that I’m huge because I indulge in fatty foods all the time. It’s not true.

I come from a family of people who struggle with weight issues. I do believe there is a genetic factor involved as well as the fact I comfort ate during abusive relationships and gained weight once i started steroids.

I have friends who eat takeaways and chocolate way more than I ever have and they stay slim. I’ve also had people interfere in my life and tell me what I should do because it works for them….but…every body is different and what works for some does not always work for others.

I am at the point where my body wont lose any more unless I put myself into starvation mode or Ketosis but that would cause stress and potentially affect my Adrenal Insufficiency in a negative way. I tried it.

I started the Exante Diet but after two days I got very ill and (I did not like the food…it was gross). So I’m left with two options, do nothing and risk gaining more health problems or do something now in my early thirties. This could help me increase my energy levels.

I want to have a healthy BMI but I’m too unwell to swim or walk. I want to make sure I don’t get diabetes and other obesity related diseases. most importantly if I cut my weight down, then the amount of steroids I need on a daily basis to stay alive will reduce and that means when I get the Adrenal Pump, the cost of liquid steroid will be much less than if I remained as I am.

Having this operation could cut the amount I need to fundraise down by one or two thousand pounds. It will be so worth it to have a better quality of life.

Bariatric Surgery is Scary

I’m not going to lie, having a Gastric Bypass is scary business. I have started my Liver Shrinking Diet and it’s not easy. I’ve done a lot of meditating and thinking. I made the most of Christmas and went to Frankie and Benny’s for my last Steak meal. We went to McDonalds and I ate all my favourite chocolate for the last time before the New Year.

I could choose to keep my experience having a Gastric Bypass to myself but I know there are lots of people out there in the world who are interested in this life changing procedure. I think that sharing my experience as it happens will and can help others to make informed choices and it can help me to have support from those who choose to follow my weight loss journey and support me.

I wont be a skinny size 8 after the operation. It takes two years of hard work and then healthy choices for life and I have been told to not expect to lose more than 75% of my excess weight.

This means after two years, I could be down to 14 stone and I should not expect to get any lighter than that. I might even be well enough to one day have a second child. That would be amazing. If not it’s okay but it’s a possibility.

I think I’d be very happy at 14 stone. I’m hoping the weight loss may help me with my body pains and fatigue levels too. There are going to be so many benefits. It is not an easy choice and theirs also some really not so nice experiences I will have to go through but I believe it will be worth it and I’m not about to listen to people try and tell me otherwise.

I’ll be taking a week or two off from blogging after my operation, probably until February  although I’ve prewritten a few posts, in advance and I still hope to pop onto social media. I’ll need some time to recover for me.

Then I plan to jump back into blogging and also Vlogging and I will be making youtube videos about my experiences each week and writing a weekly blog post.

Wish me luck, an excited and nervous

Angela

To Read more on My Weight loss Journey here are a few earlier posts

Bed Blocking Putting my Health at risk 

Gastric Bypass A Life changing and Scary Thing 

What to Eat After Gastric Bypass Surgery 

Gastric Bypass Journey Part One

Toxic Messages About my Gastric Bypass Surgery

Liver Shrinking Diet For Gastric Bypass

Preparing to Have a Gastric Bypass The Announcement 

My 2016 Health Goals 

One Year of Healthy Eating 


 

74 Comments

  1. Congratulations on being offered the operation, I’m really glad the Doctors agree! Good for you for working so hard on trying to lose the weight,it’s not always a clear cut excuse of overindulging, such as yours. there are too many people who are overweight and don’t acknowledge the danger they are putting themselves in. I’m sorry to hear about the abusive relationships, but I’m glad that you are in a loving and supportive one now! Xxx

    1. Thanks. I’m sure if I did not have al these additional health issues I would have gone back to swimming and exercising etc but its been so impossible. I hope with the op and improved health i may be able to do that agains some time.

  2. Awesome & good for you !!! Who cares about the others it will make you feel so much better Congrats and good luck !!! Laci

  3. i know that surgery can be scary but this is something that will be great for you and i am so happy that you are getting to have it. i really hope it helps you

  4. That was a tough ordeal to go through. Especially when you have your so-called friends messaging you. I’m sorry about that. I hope everything works well for you this year!

  5. Aw hun wishing you the best of luck for your operation I really hope it goes well. Those friends are ignorant and have no idea what you are going through. You have tried so hard to do good by your body, it is not your fault if you are ill. I am the opposite, I get called anorexic a lot because you can see my bones but that is due to illnesses that I can’t keep food down which sucks for me as I love food. People judge me and when they see me being sick think I am doing it deliberately. x

    1. Thanks Ana. It’s not an easy thing to go through for either of us. I thought long and hard about writing this post and sharing my story and i think it will help others in similar situations. I could have kept it to myself and that would help get less judgement and critique but I’m going to share and tell my story.

  6. Wishing you all the very best for your surgery, Angela! It really does sound as though it will make a huge difference to your health. I had no idea how much of a huge undertaking gastric bypass surgery is, what a very brave decision. Xx

  7. Good luck with it Angela. I think the way it’s handled by doctors, preparing those having the op and the work done up front to try and lose the weight is the best way to make it work. It’s also a last resort, and does save lives and give people a better future.

    One of my online mum friends had surgery 2 years ago – she ended up as a size 10-12, looks great, and loves life again. Even after getting to a maintainable healthy weight it’s hard work with eating and planning, but worth it for those it works for.

    Hope it all goes well, and you see the results you want.

    1. Thanks Emma It’s true, it’s hard work and something you have to stick at just like any diet. It is a last resort and something I’m ready to do for my health. I agree.

  8. Gastric bypass is a Journey and a decision ….Ones personal choice. Loosing weight is difficult the sweets call out my name everyday it’s a fight. I understand your struggles. Keep us posted

  9. Wow what an interesting read!

    Sadly there are a lot of judgemental people out there and there always will be and all you can do is make the right decision for you. It sounds like you have done your research and havnot made the decision lightly and I think it also sounds like you haveade the best decision for you. Good luck with it all.

    #bestandworst

  10. Oh me, too. I keep trying to lose the pounds, but they keep finding me. Good luck to you. I am sending prayers your way.

    1. Thanks so much. I think everyone is always trying to lose weight unless they are super skinny and then they are struggling to gain. One or the other

  11. Wish you luck! I know someone who had it done and she lost a lot of weight and it helped her gain her confidence back. Everyone is different, but I think with your mindset you will reach you weight goal.

  12. Wow, that’s incredibly brave. Thinking of you and hoping everything goes well. Looking forward to reading the post-op blog posts. #BestandWorst

  13. Wishing you well with your weight loss journey. I have struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember and seem to rejoin a slimming class at least twice a year without much success. I’m hoping 2016 will be the year I finally get my act together! Will be following your story through your blog, lots of luck to you xx #bestandworst

  14. You have been through so much! I pray for a successful surgery for you that leads to an improved state of health!

  15. Angela I am sorry you have had such a crap experience with men in the past and that they were so horrible to you. I cannot even imagine what that was like to have someone you love and have given your life to, to turn out to be like that 🙁 Im glad you found John and are having a better marriage experience.

    I hope the surgery goes well and accomplishes what the Drs hope for you xx

  16. My cousin had this done many years ago and she still looks and feels great many years later. She’ll tell you it was the best decision she ever made. I know there is another blogger who got it, Robyn’s World, I think? In case you wanted to head on over there and make a new bloggy friend and get some info on what happens after. 🙂

  17. Good for you Angela. It is a massive, life changing experience but you have certainly tried and weighed everything up. YOu are right, ultimately your health is the most important thing. I am so sorry you had such abusive relationships in the past but you are free of them and taking control. Good luck and keep us posted how you get on. Thanks for sharing with #bestandworst xx

  18. I’m just reading this after clicking through from your recent post, I had no idea you were having this surgery – It must be both an exciting and terrifying prospect all at once, I can’t imagine the emotions you must be going through right now.

    I know someone who had the surgery after her year of dieting too, she also managed to lose around 30 lbs before hand – she was severely diabetic but her main reason for the surgery was that her weight problems were contributing to her infertility and at 40 years old she felt her time was fast running out to be able to have children. Her surgery was a success and she is now down from a size 28 to a size 16, and finally able to try to have a baby!

    I hope your surgery goes well and that you get the results you want and deserve.

    I know exactly how you feel with peoples comments and assumptions, I also have gained a massive amount of weight thanks to steroid based medication (I was a natural size 8 at 18 when my treatment started, and am now a size 20 and no amount of dieting or exercise shifts the weight…I lose maybe half a pound here or there, and it always goes right back on!) – it’s so demoralising and demeaning. And people just don’t understand it…one of my biggest pet peeves is all of the “Moritvational” images you see stating “I did this so anyone can!”….Actually no….not everyone can because there can be many other factors!!!

    Anyway…sorry to rant!….All I really wanted to say was that I wish you all the very best on this journey and I`ll be following it with great interest. xx

    1. Oh thanks Hayley. I enjoyed reading your comments and I agree not everyone have the same conditions. So many of my friends have PCOS and it makes them gain weight and then their are others with other illnesses. I have a ot of motivations but I also do want to be well enough to have a second child if i am lucky enough and so I am sacrificing and doing what i have to to get to that point. I’m 33 so by the time I get to a healthy weight range and am potentially more able to do things physically and have my AI under control i WILL BE 35 OR 36 and may just get a baby but we shall see.

    1. Thanks. I hope too. It will take a few years to get well enough to be able to carry and most importantly care for a baby and if not maybe we can adopt.

  19. Good luck, Angela! I can imagine you would be nervous & excited preparing for surgery. It’s a big choice & a life changing one at that, as you said. It must be so tough to have weight come back on every time you are ill & need steroids. No one can understand that unless they are in the same situation as you. You certainly had a lot of tests & clearance to go through before being a candidate for surgery. Best of luck to you x

    1. yep… I’m really feeling a mix of emotions and its a crazy week. It is tough having the weight issues but will be worth losing it no matter how hard it gets

  20. Angela, thinking of you and wishing you the best. I hope that this is a solution for you and your health, and that from here on out this quote will not be one you will ever have to think about again!!!!xxxxx

  21. 10 years ago I had a gastric band. It worked brilliantly and I lost 4 stone. I’ve since had to have it disabled (because of lots of side effects and complications which is why, as you said, they don’t offer them anymore) I ended up hating it and being really resentful of what j had done to myself. I wish I’d just had a bypass as the results seem more reliable and more long term. Any bariatric decision is enormous and not to be taken lightly. I made my decision in a hurry but it sounds like you gave really thought about it. There is no magic fix. I wish I hadn’t had the band, however it stopped me from being morbidly obese so I am grateful for that. The only relevant opinions in this process are yours and the healthcare professionals. You must do what you think is right with the information you have. Good luck with your journey, I’d be interested to see how you get on. I’m sure you’ll do brilliantly. Xxx

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