I was a skinny child but in my teens the weight started to climb. I would be constantly on diets trying hard to keep it under control. While I worked at it the weight would fall but the second I took my eyes of the game it would creep back on…FAST!
I always felt a sense of achievement every time I had managed to get my weight back down to normal but over the years I would spend less and less time at a comfortable weight. I tried all of the diets all with excellent levels of success but nothing I seemed to do would change the way that I would eat for ever.
“As my weight increased the destructive nature of my eating would get worse”.
It eventually got to the point where I was planning binges days before I knew that I would be in a position to have one.
I gained the strength to talk to my GP about my problems. I knew what I was doing to myself was harmful, I could see and feel the effects every single day but for some reason I couldn’t stop. My GP referred me to a psychiatrist who assessed me and referred me to an eating disorder clinic at a large psychiatric hospital in London.
I was enrolled in a group therapy course which I completed and found very beneficial. I came to terms with the shame I had always felt when eating and realised that there was no need for me to be hiding what I eat. This really helped me to feel comfortable eating in front of other people and as a result my urges to eat in private dropped significantly. Not having this need to hide what I ate really was like a massive burden off my shoulders and I never returned completely to my old ways.
Having tackled this part of my eating problems I then started thinking what would be the best way for me to approach weight loss. I was finding it more difficult to sleep with my CPAP machine, something that had transformed my life years earlier was now becoming less and less effective.
Surgery had always been an option for me. My mother had a gastric band fitted about 15 years earlier and had lost a lot of weight thanks to it. However I was reluctant to put myself through the same thing because she hadn’t lost an appropriate amount for me to feel as though it was the best solution out there.
It was when a friend of mine published on Facebook for his whole world to see that he had just had a gastric sleeve operation that I started looking into this myself. I loved the idea that it was permanent, that there was practically no after care required to make sure that you were gaining the best results. And mostly the dietary rules you are expected to follow post surgery were rules that I knew were achievable. Limit your carbs and maximise your protein. Being a nurse working in the NHS I researched the hell out of the operation and what I would have to do to get this through the NHS. Saying you have to jump through hoops is an understatement.
There are different tiers to work through just to get to the point of being referred to a surgeon and then the waiting game begins. I had previously worked my way through the tiers. I had addressed my eating problems, had attended the weight loss program, lost the required amount of weight and kept it off for the appropriate amount of time. I asked my GP to refer to me the surgeon in December and received a letter in the mail saying that my appointment had been booked for July. July??? That’s almost 8 months away. That appointment was only going to put me onto another waiting list. I had to do this now and that’s when I started looking down the private route. I was absolutely amazed at the price of having the surgery here in London.
It was when I started considering going up north to save myself £3000 that I started thinking why not go to an EU country to get it done. If my aftercare was going to be looked after by my own GP anyway I might as well look at all of the options. I researched all of the companies I could find. I sent through all of my information to loads of different clinics and immediately realised the mistake I had made. I was being inundated with emails and phone calls trying to confirm bookings. It became very obvious that these companies were more interested in my money than they were in letting me have the time to think this through. I can’t really remember how exactly I came across New Leaf but they had something that none of the other companies had. This Facebook support group of people that all used the same surgeon and all had their surgery in the same hospital.
I joined the support group and watched it for a few months. The longer I watched the more I realised this was the company for me. It was when I finally saw in the group that a patient had come back where things hadn’t gone quite as planned and they were encouraged to speak openly about it on the group that I realised that New Leaf were not trying to hide anything. Things can go wrong with this surgery and they wanted us to hear about that too. I read review after review of patients experiences having had the surgery done by Dr Hruby that I found on sites at that nothing to do with New Leaf and all of the comments about him and the hospital and nurses were amazing. There was no other option for me. New Leaf offered the best service AND the safety of me being kept in a state run hospital with an Intensive Care Unit in case things went wrong. I wanted to make sure that I made the most of this experience as possible. Knowing the major difference between having this surgery privately in the UK and having it in the EU is the support that is included for the head stuff. When I saw that Amanda had completed a load of training to help with the head stuff I immediately signed up.
“I found the support Amanda gave me invaluable”.
We called them light bulb moments, and there were a lot. Those moments when I would say something that as soon as the words were out of my mouth it was like a massive boom! I honestly went into these sessions thinking there was nothing in my past that had contributed to my eating behaviours but there was. I learnt that my sub conscious was trying to recreate positive feelings from my past and this enabled me to find things other than food that would feed my subconscious those same feelings. It’s not just negative things from our past that make us do the strangest things, positive things from our past can make us do just as strange things too. Arriving in Turnov there were no surprises to me at all.
The hospital was exactly as described on the New Leaf website and the hospitals own website. In fact, compared to some of the hospitals I’ve worked at in London it was very open, well light, brightly coloured and in good working order. And clean! The rooms were set up very well with every comfort you would expect being a private patient. The money I spent on having my gastric sleeve surgery in Turnov I truly believe has been the best value I will ever receive from that same amount of money ever again in my life. I started this journey at 26 stone just 8 months ago and have lost a whopping 10 stone already. The weight loss has slowed down now but the last 2 stone I hope to have off by the time I reach my 1st surgeriversay.
“To say my life has improved is very much an understatement”.
EVERYTHING is easier, I feel so much more confident in myself, gone are the days where I would hide away not wanting people to see how big I have gotten or not wanting to impede on others because of my size. I have been given a freedom that I could never have imagined. When I was asked to join the admin group on here I felt really honoured to be honest. This group and the admins with all of their knowledge have proven to be a great help to me. I hope my nursing experience will prove to be of benefit to the members of this group too. Just keep in mind that any advice I offer is my own opinion and is the advice I would offer to members of my own family. If I am not there being able to see what you’re talking about its very difficult to make real decisions. I will always edge on the side of caution with the advice I offer you. As I continue on my journey I look forward to joining you on yours.