Case Study – Patients K.J.M & P.M.

Operation – Gastric Bypass

Eighteen months after my Gastric bypass surgery at Spire Hospital, Southampton, I have lost 7 st. 3lbs. On the morning of my operation in May 2009, I weighed in at 21 st. 4lb, at the height of 5 ft 6ins I was classed as morbidly obese.

My GP had suggested over a year before that, after years of unsuccessful dieting and weight related health problems, I had a Gastric Bypass, but I had been unwilling to commit myself to such a potentially dangerous operation (I’m on life-long Warfarin so operations are especially risky for me.) However my sister, Patricia, had decided to go ahead, her weight problems were similar to mine, and she persuaded me to join her. Dr Michael Van den Bossche was the surgeon that would be performing the operation and after a consultation with him we were both put on the waiting list for a Gastric Bypass.

After months of waiting for the Guernsey list to go down we both decided to go to Southampton for the operation and were both booked in for the same day! Patricia went in for the operation first and was still in the theatre when I was taken to the preparation room so it was a relief when the nurse told me just before I went under the anaesthetic that she was fine.

After the operations, which went smoothly for both of us, we were well looked after by the splendid team at Spire Hospital. We trundled around the corridors together on the compulsory walks to keep the circulation going and giggled at the minuscule helpings of food we were eventually offered, but still couldn’t manage to eat it all.

Having someone to talk to about problems with eating and what to cook was great.

On returning to Guernsey several days after the operation we got into a routine of walking and gentle exercise. Having someone to talk to about problems with eating and what to cook was great. We often swapped mini meals so that we didn’t get bored with the things we made. Patricia has a family so was soon cooking for them too and making sure that she could puree and eat whatever they were having. I spent quite a lot of time freezing mini potions so that I wouldn’t waste food.

We were able to return to work after a few weeks of being looked after by our family, and despite being very tired we both managed to cope. Not being able to drive for six weeks was the hardest for me as I live on my own.

When the time came to get off the puree and onto solid food Patricia was fine. I however was not. I couldn’t keep anything down and eventually it got so bad I went to see Dr Van den Bossche again. It turned out that my oesophagus had shrunk after the operation and was blocking up. After a simple operation to stretch it (I was in hospital as a day patient), I found it was much easier to eat solids and progressed through the staged eating plan easily. The weight dropped off and at the end of the year I was pleased to be only a stone and a half from my target weight. Patricia reached her target weight shortly after the year was up.

The weight dropped off and at the end of the year I was pleased to be only a stone and a half from my target weight.

Exercising on a regular basis is my biggest problem now. I do about half an hour on an exercise bike most days (in the fine weather Patricia and I go out on our bikes) but find that without company I give up with visiting the gym as frequently as I should. I have only lost a few pounds in the last six months, and I know that I have to make a more regular commitment of time in order to shift the last stone. Ongoing health problems have restricted my ability to do some forms of exercise and I have had to stop cycling, even on the exercise bike, for over two months as I have had problems with my circulation and general health.

It is still a thrill for me to be able to go into any clothes shop and to be able to buy “normal size” clothes, and meeting people who haven’t seen me for ages is great. They often don’t recognise me until I talk to them. When they ask me how I have lost weight I tell them I have had the operation and most have been really pleased for me.

In all, having a “partner” for the whole process was absolutely great. The mutual support was fantastic and made the difficult times easier and the celebrations much more fun. I would suggest anyone who has a similar operation join a support group or find someone else who is having the operation to talk to. This isn’t an easy way to lose weight and involves lots of life changes, mostly positive. I would advise anyone who has had it suggested to them by their doctor to think it over carefully and talk to other people before they commit, but in the long run it’s your life and body so you must make the decision.

Comments are closed on this post.