22 August 2019
From the age of 10 years old, Jana Melody Appleby struggled with her weight. Following a difficult time at elementary school, Jana began to research weight loss surgery within the UK. Hearing of Spire Healthcare and specialist bariatric surgeon Mr Shlok Balupuri, Jana visited the hospital with her mum Anja to see what options were available and has never once doubted her decision. She kindly shares her story with us:
“From a very young age I tried every diet on the market, as well as numerous gym memberships. I lost a little weight during this time but ended up gaining more. Entering secondary school at around 14/15 the bullying really intensified. I have a condition in one of my eyes meaning my vision is limited; this certainly did not help matters. After one serious incident at school I decided to leave and go back to Germany to stay with my grandparents – my mum’s side of the family are originally from Germany.
Whilst staying with my grandparents they encouraged me to join a women’s only gym which helped for a while and after around 12 months I had lost 5kg. I decided to return to the UK, but after only two weeks back at home I had gained 15kg. At this point I was just under 100kg (approx. 15st).
My family situation was not active at this point and I felt depression setting in and I think I was always comfort eating. I had an exercise bike at home that I would spend a lot of time on, but due to my eating this wasn’t helping.
In August of 2017 my grandparents came over to visit us, it was at this point that we started discussing weight loss surgery as I was now up to 135.4kg (approx. 21st). With the help of my family we began to look into the surgery and prices, we spoke to a lot of people to try and get as much information as we could.
Eventually we spoke to a practice in the South that recommended Mr. Shlok Balupuri who practiced at Spire Washington Hospital and was renowned for his work in bariatric surgery. As we live in Hexham, the hospital was ideally located so we decided to call to see about an appointment.
As soon as we called the hospital we spoke to Lorraine Davies in Customer Service, and Lorraine really listened to me. She made me feel at ease straight away and good about my decision to come in and have a consultation. From the moment I met Mr Balupuri he didn’t see the shape or the image that everyone else did, he saw the person and made me feel like a respected human being for the first time. He was so kind and I felt very calm about the operation all the way through – I knew I was in good hands.
The 10 day diet before my surgery, which was in order to shrink my liver prior to surgery, I will admit I found difficult. All I could have was soup, fruit and yoghurt and it seemed like longer than it was. When the day of my surgery came, I honestly thought I was going to be in much more pain after the operation than what I was. I had four days of painkillers and felt in discomfort, but it was a lot less than what I had prepared myself to expect.
When I left the hospital I had a queue of staff at my door to say goodbye. From Mr Balupuri, Lorraine, the housekeeping staff, nurse, and catering staff – everyone was so kind and it was strange that nobody judged me here at all.
Three months after my operation I had a very special moment when my t-shirt no longer fit and I felt so proud. After six months none of my clothes fit at all. Nine months later I went to Tesco with my mum to try on some new clothes, and for the first time ever she told me, “Jana that is too big, we need to get you a smaller size.” This was a very emotional moment for us both.
Seventeen months after my surgery I have lost 7 ½ stone and now weigh 88.1kg. Due to my eye condition I experience quite severe migraines and am not always able to stick to my exercise routine, but Mr. Balupuri helped me to tailor my exercise to take this into consideration.
Around four months after my surgery I was completely free from depression and slowly began to gain back my confidence. I feel happy, more comfortable in myself and I’m looking to get some interviews and into a new role.
For the first time in a long time, I felt like life was worth living.
For further information on weight loss surgery and upcoming bariatric events, please complete our enquiry form https://www.spirehealthcare.com/spire-washington-hospital/enquire/