Mary Casey, 48, felt like she had been overweight and dieting for most of her life. She had tried every diet possible and was even prescribed appetite suppressants by a diet clinic. Mary found that even if she lost some weight, she could not maintain it. At one stage, she lost over 4 stone when she attended her local slimming club class, but subsequently regained it - and more besides.
"When I had my gastric bypass, it was the first day of the rest of my life."
It was a vicious circle and very disheartening. By the start of 2009, Mary’s BMI had reached 46.5; her weight was just over 20 stone and her dress size 28 -30.
The fact that Mary was an experienced Senior Nurse and had worked at Spire Roding Hospital in Redbridge for 23 years meant that she was well aware of the medical implications of being so overweight.
Mary said: “I was becoming unwell. My blood pressure was raised, as was my cholesterol. I was prescribed medication for both of these problems. I was tired all the time and had no inclination to do anything. I didn’t walk anywhere, it was easier to drive and I disliked socialising as I never felt comfortable with what I was wearing. Everything was an effort and I was becoming depressed.”
It was suggested by colleagues at Spire Roding Hospital that Mary should have a gastric bypass. The prime reason was to address the increasing problems caused by her weight. In addition, Mary was also working as the Bariatric Nurse and seeing patients who were coming in to Spire Roding for weight loss surgery. She would talk to the patients about her own weight loss struggles, and they would ask why she hadn’t had the surgery. Mary’s answer was that given her past difficulties with maintaining weight loss, she would have trouble adhering to the diet and the regime that is so crucial to the success of weight loss surgery.
Mary says: “Weight loss surgery is not the easy option that many people seem to think. I knew from the experience of patients that surgery would only be successful if you ‘worked with it’ by making life style changes and exercising.”
However, after giving the option of surgery some serious thought and seeing how successful many patients had been in achieving their weight loss goals, Mary finally decided to go ahead with having a gastric bypass. The procedure was performed at Spire Roding Hospital by Mr Kesava Mannur in February 2009.
Mary remembers: “I wasn’t nervous at all and felt sure that this was the first day of the rest of my life. After surgery, I recovered well and was discharged after 48 hours. There was little pain after the surgery, and I was up and about quite quickly. I had a headache and felt a little ‘distended’ for 7- 10 days after the surgery, which is normal. After ten days, I returned to work and have never looked back.”
Mary’s weight reduced rapidly in the first 3 - 6 months following surgery. She began an exercise regime involving walking, and subsequently began to feel more energetic that ever before.
Mary did not have a specific target weight in mind, but did want to get down to a size 16. Just over a year after her surgery, she has gone one better than that goal – she is now a size 14- 16 and her weight has ‘plateaued’ at 11 ½ stone (a loss of 8 ½ stone). Her BMI is now a much healthier 27.
A year since surgery Mary openly admits that it has not been easy, as she has needed to adopt a whole new outlook on life – particularly her eating habits. She said: “I need to make different food choices to ensure that I have a well balanced diet. Before my surgery, I was a ‘grazer’ and would eat chocolates and biscuits in preference to a healthy meal. Eating and drinking together is not recommended following surgery, and that is something that I have had to adapt to.” Indeed, Mary has adapted to her new eating regime so well that she can now tolerate most foods, albeit in smaller portions. She has learned to make different food choices .
It’s easy to see why Mary considers that the day she had surgery was ‘the first day of the rest of her life’. Everyone tells her that she looks ten years younger and for the first time since 1986, she is wearing jeans and trousers.
Mary said: “Having weight-loss surgery has allowed me to start living again. It’s so nice to be able go in to an ‘ordinary’ clothes shop and buy regular sizes rather than having to go to ‘out-size’ shops. I don’t have to ask for an extension belt when I am on a plane any more and I can cross my legs for the first time in years! I’m so happy that I made the choice to go ahead with the gastric bypass…..my only regret is that I didn’t do it years ago.“