Senior Benefits Officer, Angela Armstrong lives in Stevenage with her husband David. At 21 stone and a BMI of 46, Angela comes from a family with a history of weight problems and she never saw it as a health issue. She lived a normal life with her partner and they were very happy together. “We never felt there was anything missing and we were content. I put the thought of having children to the back of my mind as I didn’t think it was possible due to my size” said Angela.
Having my gastric band fitted is the best thing I have ever done.
At the age of 37, Angela had a health scare and this was to be the turning point for her: “I had never been worried about my weight before, I had always known I was big but so were my family. I didn’t realise my weight was so damaging to my body and overall health. I became frightened when I had the health scare and learned that my blood pressure was horrendously high (220/180). I knew I had to do something about it. Previously I had always been able to temporarily shed a few stone by dieting and various weight loss classes, but this time I was determined to get rid of the weight permanently.”
Spurred on by her health scare, Angela began to research into weight loss surgery. After much research, she felt that having a gastric band fitted would be the right choice for her. She also extensively researched into weight loss surgeons and came across Mr Michael van den Bossche, consultant general surgeon specialising in obesity surgery at Spire Southampton Hospital and she booked herself in for a consultation.
In October 2004, just two weeks after her consultation, Angela had her gastric band fitted during an overnight stay at Spire Southampton. Once home, she was back to work after just over a week. She began losing weight soon after the operation, and she felt her confidence soar through the roof.
“I was so determined to make a change in my life so I did everything I was told to by Mr van den Bossche. With every visit I made to him, I saw a dietician, who checked my BMI, the fat to muscle ratio and she gave me very helpful dietary advice to follow. Despite it being hard, I quickly adjusted to the change in lifestyle. It took me 18 months to reach my ideal weight, but since I had my operation I feel so much fitter – I now have the confidence to go to the gym and swimming. I no longer feel like the fat person in the corner, I’m far more independent as I have the confidence to exercise.”
Since having her gastric band fitted, Angela’s blood pressure is now at a healthy level and with a family history of heart problems, it was important that the pressure was taken off her heart: “I feel so much healthier now, I walk everywhere instead of taking the car and I am not afraid to exercise. I feel relieved that my blood pressure is back down to normal as I was so frightened before my operation.”
Delighted with her figure, Angela continued her healthier lifestyle until January 2008 when she discovered she was pregnant. “I discovered I was pregnant after a period of feeling dizzy, going off alcohol and occasionally feeling sick. My sister begged me to take a test which I eventually did and was amazed to find I was pregnant. My periods had never really been that regular and I had even recently had tests to see if I was going through the menopause! It was the most amazing feeling, I never imagined I would ever get pregnant. I feel like I have been blessed. I had my gastric band loosened during the pregnancy so that I could eat healthily and make sure my baby was given all the nutrients it needed.”
After a successful pregnancy Angela gave birth to a baby boy in September 2008 and has since had her band refilled, and now weighs an amazing 12st 10lb, making her total weight loss to 8st 4lb.
Angela concludes: “Having my gastric band fitted is the best thing I have ever done. It changed my life, making me more confident, fitter and healthier and it gave me the chance to have a baby. All this would not have been possible for me without the surgery. However it is so important to find out which weight loss operation is right for you and to research into choosing the right hospital and surgeon. My stay at Spire Southampton was fabulous and I was ecstatic with the treatment from Mr van den Bossche, I found him ever so approachable and helpful, even after my surgery.”