I recently joined a few Facebook support groups for people who have had or are considering having gastric sleeve surgery. I’m one of those people who likes to be informed before making a decision…I need to know all the ins and outs, the benefits, the side effects, and most importantly the experiences of others. Every day since then I’ve been inspired by so many people who have taken the brave step to improve their health and to live their best life possible. They make me believe that I can do this. I can lose weight. I can be healthy again. Once such person is Nichole. I was really inspired by her, and asked if she’d share her story.
I’m 32 years old and have battled with my weight my whole life…it’s been a constant up and down on the scales. After have my kids I struggled with PND and weight started piling on faster than ever, however I always told myself I didn’t care how big I was it didn’t matter to me.
The tipping point…I went on an amazing holiday overseas and it was this trip that made me realize how unhappy I was. It made me notice how much my weight was affecting my life, my ability to do things, and to participate. Instead of wanting to go walking and explore the beautiful cities, I opted to stay in our hotel.
When we arrived home, my husband mentioned the idea of surgery and asked if I had considered it. I hadn’t because I was under the view I wouldn’t be supported.
The first step…After many conversations, and lots of research, I decided I want to have gastric sleeve surgery. I went to my GP and got a referral to my surgeon at Greenslopes Private. My first appointment was on 30 September 2014. He went through the pros and cons, and answered the questions I had. I decided that I wanted to proceed with the surgery, and was given an operation date of 23 October 2014…less than 1 month away!
I was advised to call my private health insurer, and let them know my plans. I also made an appointment with the dietitian to talk about the pre-operation diet I would need to go on to reduce the size of my liver ready for surgery.
The next day I rang my private health insurer to get the paperwork rolling. It was at this time I was advised I wasn’t actually covered due to a change in coverage! I burst into tears and rang my hubby who suggested I ring back and fight, as the coverage change happened days before and we had not been advised. I followed his advice and asked for previous calls to be listened to, and requested that my cover be upgraded to cover surgery without having to redo the waiting period. After a stressful 24 hours, my private health insurer decided they would accommodate my request and cover my surgery!
Before surgery…I met with the dietitian, who advised that I would need to complete two weeks of an Optifast VLCD diet. The dietician also provided me with a list of fruit and vegetables I was able to have and the amounts I could eat. The first three days of the Optifast diet was hard. I was starving the whole time! It was the hardest thing I’d ever done. By the third day, it got a lot easier as my stomach had shrunk and I was in Ketosis* 😀. Over the Optifast period, I lost approximately 5-6 kgs (11-13 lbs).
The beginning of the new me…Surgery day arrived and I was first up on the listI arrived at the hospital at 6:30am. My husband stayed with me while I checked in, spoke to the surgeon and anesthetist, and waited to be taken into surgery. At approximately 8:30am, I was taken from my room to theatre, said goodbye to my husband, and the old unhappy sad me.
I remember going into the operating room and that’s it. Next thing I was awake in horrible pain (I’m a sook and don’t have a great pain tolerance). The nurses quickly showed me how to work my self-medicating pain killers and that’s pretty much all I remember that day.
I’m proud of how far I have come. I’m almost at my goal weight and can’t wait for that day to arrive!
Thank you for sharing your story Nichole! I’m sure a lot of us can sympathise with not wanting to participate in certain activities, and being held back by our weight. It’s fantastic to see your progress.
If you’d like to share your story, drop me an email.
*Ketosis is a process whereby your body breaks down fat to use for energy.
I had always dismissed weightloss surgery, despite the fact that several doctors have recommended it to me over the years....