Gastric bypass surgery : Gillian's Story

Leeds mum, Gillian Carbine lost an astonishing 50% of her body weight after having gastric bypass surgery at Spire Leeds Hospital under the care of consultant general surgeon Mr Abeezar Sarela.

At her heaviest Gillian Carbine weighed 23.5 stone, with a BMI of 51. She now weighs 11.5 stone and has dropped an amazing six dress sizes. “My life has changed completely,” she said.  “I have lost the weight and gained an enormous amount of confidence.”

Gillian, 39, who is married and lives in Bramley, Leeds, now enjoys a more active lifestyle, including horse riding with her nine-year-old son Ryan.

 She had been overweight for most of her life.

“I grew up on a diet of chips with everything. We had big portions and in my family we were taught to clear our plate before leaving the table. I was under the care of a dietitian at the age of eight but found it hard to keep to a diet that was different to what the rest of the family was eating” said Gillian. After leaving home, Gillian continued to eat her favourite foods such as fish and chips and Chinese take-away meals and the weight piled on.

Gillian suffered from a vertebral fracture during the delivery of her son nine years ago. Since then she has struggled with back problems and taken medications to manage the pain. “I felt tired all the time and didn’t want to move” she said. “I was also suffering from various weight-related health issues, plus depression and lack of confidence which meant that I rarely left the house.”

Then a visit to her doctor in November 2010 put her on the path to success. She decided to find out more about the weight loss options available to her and attended a talk on weight loss surgery and a weight loss forum at Spire Leeds Hospital.

In July 2011, she underwent a Laparoscopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypass at Spire Leeds Hospital, which is often considered as the “gold-standard” bariatric operation. Mr. Abeezar Sarela, consultant Upper GI and Bariatric Surgeon, performed the surgery. He said. “Gill was an ideal candidate for this surgery. She attended one of my talks and was well-informed and willing to make changes to her lifestyle. She had tried to lose weight with the aid of various diets, slimming clubs and medications. We discussed all of the surgical options and she decided to go ahead with a gastric bypass.”

Mr Sarela explains that the weight loss procedure works by restricting the capacity of the stomach and bypassing part of the digestive system. It is also thought to help you to feel full after eating smaller meals by changing the levels of hormones that control the senses of appetite and fullness.

Today Gillian is delighted with the results. “I had keyhole surgery so I don’t have a massive scar. Now I’ve lost weight I can do more activities with my son that I couldn’t do before. For the first time in twenty years I feel more confident, going swimming and trying new activities like horse riding. The pressure on my back was excruciating before but now I can manage the pain better. I feel healthier and a lot better than I have done for years.”

In June last year she celebrated her fourth wedding anniversary and her husband Kevin was able to carry her over the threshold for the first time -something that would not have been possible at the time of their wedding.

She aims to lose another half stone to reach her target weight of 11 stone. “I now know what to eat and what not to eat so I can make the right choices. It’s funny but I now cannot stand the smell of fried food. My eating has become a lifestyle change and not a diet. It’s taken years off my appearance and hopefully added some more years to my life.”

Mr Sarela added, “Gillian has done exceptionally well to lose one-half of her actual weight or about 90% of her excess weight and this reflects her firm commitment to modify her diet and life-style. The most important aspect of her case-study is the illustration that with motivation and dedication, excellent outcomes are achievable.”