Thinking about having weight loss surgery? Read what our patient had to say about their experience...
Spire Gatwick Park speaks to Mary Rochester, who had a gastric band fitted in February 2011, with consultant Mr James Smellie. She underwent a gastric band procedure at Spire Gatwick Park Hospital to help alleviate her severe arthritis. Here she tells the story of her incredible weight loss journey.
Mary before and after surgery
Mary spoke to us this year and said, "I am thrilled with the results of surgery both for my looks and health. After buying my house this is the best investment I have made. I have just bought my first ever pair of jeans and they are in a size 12!"
Mary had struggled with her weight her whole life, having tried numerous diets and slimming groups, the weight she had dropped inevitably returned over time.
Mary’s main drive for undergoing weight loss surgery was for health benefits, rather than personal appearances. Mary suffers from severe arthritis and has undergone two hip replacements and weight loss surgery offered her the potential of increased mobility. Having been on blood pressure and cholesterol tablets for many years, it was hoped that the surgery would reduce Mary’s blood pressure and cholesterol levels, enabling her to come off her medication.
Mary attended the Spire Gatwick Park weight loss surgery patient information evening in December 2009 where she met Mr Smellie, Consultant Bariatric Surgeon. Having attended this open evening Mary made the decision that in the new year she would contact Spire Gatwick Park Hospital to arrange a consultation. However on 6 January 2010 Mary was rushed to hospital with a ruptured appendix. Having just recovered from this in June 2010 Mary had to undergo her second hip replacement operation which meant that she had to postpone any plans to undergo weight loss surgery. One year on, in January 2011 she made the call to Spire Gatwick Park Hospital and booked a consultation with Mr Smellie to discuss the gastric band procedure.
Where did Mary seek help?
Mary initially spoke to her GP about weight loss surgery, having been informed that her age, 65, and weight, 15.5 stone, would mean that she would be less likely to qualify for the surgery on the NHS. As such, Mary took the decision to opt for private treatment at her local Spire hospital, knowing that it would be a good investment.
Why a gastric band?
Mary’s main concern was overeating and portion control, as such having attended the weight loss patient information evening she gained enough information to know that the gastric band would be the most suitable procedure for her. Having undergone invasive surgery previously Mary was also concerned that she did not want to undergo a big operation, the gastric band offered a minimally invasive procedure which is conducted via keyhole surgery.
How long was Mary in hospital?
Mary’s operation took place on 11 February 2011 and she was back home within 24 hours have been visited by Mr Smellie on the morning prior to being discharged.
What was your recovery time?
Within five days Mary was able to drive and resume normal activity in comfort. The bruising from the keyhole surgery lasted a little longer, but without causing any discomfort.
What support / guidance did you receive?
Having attended a consultation Mary was keen to undergo the procedure as soon as possible. Prior to surgery Mary attended a pre-assessment session with the weight loss surgery support team. During this session Mary spent time with the nurse who took her medical history.
She then spent an hour and a half with Kay Wheeler, Bariatric Nurse Specialist, who went through what she could expect after surgery and the affect that it could have on her, ensuring that she was as well prepared as possible. Mary then spent and hour with Gina, the dietician, who introduced her to the liver reduction diet which she would have to stick to for two weeks prior to surgery. Gina also helped Mary to create a post operative diet to incorporate her likes and dislikes so that the diet worked for her. Mary also spent time with the anaesthetist to put her mind at ease about going under general anaesthetic.
What was the overall experience like?
Mary has had a very positive experience having undergone the gastric band procedure at Spire Gatwick Park Hospital. “The key benefit to me has been the support and after care received.” Mary received phone calls from both Kay and Gina one week after the surgery and they are both always at the other end of the phone if needed, something which is of great reassurance to Mary. Since the operation Mary has been back to Spire Gatwick Park hospital to have her band re-adjusted on four occasions, a painless procedure.
What impact has it / will it have on Mary's quality of life?
Prior to surgery Mary weighed 15 and a half stone and had a BMI of 44. At 4ft 11 inches this put Mary into the morbidly obese category. One year after surgery Mary’s weight has decreased to 9 stone 12 pounds and her BMI has also reduced to 29, reducing the risk of heart problems significantly. Mary has lost 81% of her excess body fat, which puts her above the national average.
Mary has also found that she is much more mobile after the operation as it has alleviated the strain on her bones and joints. This time last year Mary admits to having avoided situations where she would need to walk or climb stairs due to the pain that it caused her. By July she enjoyed her summer holiday to Devon enjoying walks along the sea front with significantly less discomfort.
Despite a reduced appetite as a result of the gastric band Mary still enjoys meals out with friends, ensuring that she doesn’t over eat by having a starter size portion when her friends are eating their main meal.
Mary had another hip operation in September, and having lost such a significant amount of weight her recovery time was reduced and the operation has been successful.
As a grandmother Mary enjoys spending time with her 10 year old granddaughter, Beth, with whom she can now be more active; Mary’s granddaughter has noticed the change in her grandmother's mobility noting:
Beth: “I’m nearly as tall as you now Nan”
Mary: “And I’m nearly as slim as you”
Beth: “But you will never be as young as me!”
Mary continues to attend the weight loss support group to meet other patients who have been through the same experiences and help those what are about to undergo the same procedure.
Mrs M Rochester, Surrey
Spire Gatwick Park Hospital would like to thank Mrs Rochester for her interview.