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Bariatric Surgery - Patient Experience

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Since having my gastric band fitted in February 2007 my life has changed so much - for the better! To date I have lost more than 100lb and I just feel so great. I can now bend to tie my shoe laces, shop in regular shops for clothes and chose clothes that I like rather than just what will fit me, fit into an airplane seat, no longer have to worry about whether chairs have arms when I go to meetings, among so many other things. I am fitter than I have ever been and for the first time in my life I can see a bright and happy future ahead of me, all thanks to my wonderful gastric band and losing all of this weight. I still have a fair way to go to goal but I am certain that I will get there.

Perhaps the biggest change for me has been my approach to food. Immediately after surgery I moved from being totally obsessed with eating vast amounts of food to not wanting to eat at all. Partly because I just did not feel hungry but also because I had realised just what eating so much had done to me. It was at this time in particular that the support I received from the dietician was most valuable to me. Ella was able to work with me on identifying my issues with food. She has continued to give me nutritional advice on the types and volumes of food I am eating and I always know that if things go wrong for a period, for example if I don't lose weight for a couple of weeks that I can talk through my food intake and she will advise me about realistic and liveable changes that I can make and help me decide whether I need a band fill.

I honestly don't believe that I will ever see food in the same way that I used to, but at least I can once again get enjoyment out of my meals and try to make sensible, nutritional choices, which won't harm my weight loss. Without the support I have received from Ella and the rest of the Multi-Disciplinary Team at the Whittington as well as the many friends I have made through the WLS info website I really don't know how I would have managed. The support I have received from the Dietician and Clinical Nurse Specialist in particular had been very flexible. It has rarely been in the format of clinic appointments but instead by phone and e-mail, which is so convenient for me and in my opinion, a great use of hospital resources.

It can be so very lonely at times because unless you have had bariatric surgery or know many people who have, it is so difficult to understand the 'patients' perspective and so I would strongly encourage all who have had or who are thinking of having bariatric surgery to ensure they attend all of their aftercare appointments and utilise existing support structures. It has been a lot of hard work to get to where I am today but I do not regret one minute of it and wake every day looking forward to the challenges ahead and also the long and enjoyable life that I am certain I will now achieve having had my bariatric surgery.

Christopher McDonnell - Gastric Band Patient
Start Weight/BMI (28/01/07): 31 stone 11 pound (202kg) - BMI 69.7
Current Weight/BMI (26/11/07): 23 stone 13 pound (152kg) - BMI 52.5

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