"The best benefit is being able to walk into a shop and buy normal sized clothes!"
I have always been overweight and can never remember a time when I did not have to wear baggy clothes or felt comfortable. I was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid at 16 years old and knew that although it is not an excuse, weight would be a issue for me for life.
Exercise has always been a passion for me. I completed Bootcamps, Pilates and CrossFit sessions at my heaviest of 22.5 stones! I would try starving myself, shakes, soups and live on chicken and rice all of which would see me lose 2 stone. Feeling like I was doing well I would then ‘treat’ myself to pints of cider and to chocolate. Before I knew it the 2 stone would be back on plus an additional 7lbs. This cycle of bad eating would be a constant battle. I was always starting again on a Monday and by Friday be back to binge eating sweets.
In March 2017 I got a huge shock looking at a photograph of me at an event. I was coming up to 40 in 2019 and decided I had to do something, or my health would start to suffer. I asked my GP surgery if anyone had been successful at obtaining Weight Loss Surgery on the NHS. I was very luck that the practice nurse referred me to the weight and wellbeing sessions held locally.
My journey to Gastric Bypass was a long one. I attended weekly weight and wellbeing sessions to lose the 5% weight needed before I was referred to a surgeon. I did this and then got the magic referral. I was advised that I would need to weight over 4 months for the referral. At this stage I investigated private surgery and attended a talk at The Spire Washington where I met Mr Toumi who explained in detail the different types of surgery available.
Although the journey was long, this gave me lots of time to fully research the surgery, pros/cons and prepare myself with CBT therapy to ensure it was a lifelong change. The surgery is a tool to support long term weight loss, it is not a miracle cure and I know all my time with Mr Toumi and his team made sure I was fully prepared for life post-surgery.
I had my procedure in May 2019, and it was the start of my new life. I had no post-operative complications and to this day I am very lucky to say I have not had any issues at all. I do stick to every rule I was advised by Mr Toumi and the dietician team. I also keep in regular contact with the dieticians to keep myself accountable.
The benefits of this surgery as not just the weight loss. I don’t suffer from joint pain anymore or catch every cough and cold. The best benefit is walking into a shop and buying normal size clothes. Although my bank balance might not agree!
“I am proud of my journey and of the people who helped me achieve it. “
I started my weight loss journey a long time ago. I think in fact from the day I was born I have always been overweight. I tried every diet in the world, none of which helped long term. I had a lot of health issues in later life related to my weight including really high blood pressure. My doctor said this would most likely kill me if not rectified.
In response to this, I requested a chance to see a Weight Loss Surgeon and my doctor helped me. Luckily with that I was introduced the weight loss programme and followed it for a year or more. I met Mr Toumi at some point along this journey and he performed my Sleeve Gastrectomy. He helped me so, so much in any and every way her could. My journey wasn’t easy by any means and still isn’t. Lockdown has given me lots of problems due to my desire to overeat the wrong foods. But once again Mr Toumi and his team are always there to help.
I was around 18 stone when I started the process and I am only five foot. I am not 13 stone and I no longer have any health problems. My blood pressure is normal and I am well. I have recently had Covid-19, but I do not think I would have got through it if I was still that person I was before my operation. I am eternally grateful to Mr Toumi, who is in my opinion a genius in his field. There is none better! The photos I have included still make me proud of my journey and proud of the people who helped me achieve it.
“This operation has truly changed my whole life and I could not have done it without it.”
I have been overweight for most of my life. I always thought with every new diet I would start, was going to be the one that would change my life. My most successful attempts would last around 3 weeks then the weight loss would become less and less to then end up putting all the weight back on plus more.
I began researching weight loss surgery and started to look at my options privately with the Spire. The reason for going private was that I liked the thought of being more in control of choosing my surgery date and choosing my surgeon. I took the leap and gave the Spire a call and decided to book my appointment with Mr Toumi.
During my first appointment Mr Toumi was very easy to speak to and did not rush through. He spoke to me in detail about all the procedure options and then left it up to me to decide without delaying any process. I decided to have a Sleeve Gastrectomy. Mr Toumi went through every step in detail that I would go through with the procedure.
I do not think I slept the night before surgery. I am not the bravest of people to say the least, but the staff could not have been better. I was treated with so much respect and kindness. After surgery, I remember waking up and being wheeled into my room where my mam and husband were waiting for me. My biggest surprise was no pain. The incisions did not take long to heal and I did realise that my appetite had totally gone.
A couple of months later I was starting to really feel the benefits of what I had gone through, which was just making me feel more and more positive every day. My friends were full of compliments and couldn’t believe the difference in me. I could relax and totally enjoy myself. I knew this was the start of me experiencing things I hadn’t been able to in ages!
Three months after surgery I had now lost 7 stone. I decided to treat myself to a new outfit and instead of trying to cover my body up, I went for a clingy dress, I felt a million dollars at a birthday party. Some people didn’t even know it was me until I got right up to them. It was the feeling I had been waiting for. I am not at the end of my journey yet, but I do not have far to go. It’s 10 months since my surgery and I’m just under 11 and a half stone down. I have found a new love of cooking and love creating healthy meals to eat. I am at a point now where I don’t even feel like I am on a diet, it is just my way of life. At least once every day, I take a minute after doing something and think, 10 months ago I couldn’t have even imagined doing that. This operation has truly changed my whole life and I could not have done it without it.
“I feel part of life instead of someone watching life from the side-lines.”
I have battled with my weight since I was around 14 years old. My best friend became food and this feeling continued throughout my life, never having any self-worth, and not liking anything about myself. I was lucky enough to meet an amazing man at 18 years old who is still by my side today and we have celebrated 26 years of marriage, however, this wasn’t enough to break me away from the food abuse. Looking back, I think I medicated with food. If I kept myself busy eating, I wasn’t thinking and that was powerful.
I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia at around 40 years old and I was devastated. This diagnosis gave me some answers to the excruciating pain, fatigue and lack of sleep. I knew it would be even harder for me to lose the weight as I wasn’t able to exercise to the same extent. I ballooned to 124kg (19 ½ stone) and was struggling to move comfortably. I was working full time and struggling with my whole day. I had previously been to my GP multiple times and was prescribed Orlistat, Slimming World etc but that did not deal with why I was overeating, so never had any great long-term successes. I would lose 4 stone put 5 on, lose 3 stone put 4 on etc. I think because at the back of my mind I never felt worthy so what was the point.
I began the weight management programme and for the first time ever, Mr Toumi and his team stood at the front and told me and others this was not our fault and we can get help, proper help. I began the the talking changes programme in earnest, this was weekly CBT which really made me look at my behaviours and how I had been using food to cope. I then went to a psychologist who helped me to process what was a very difficult past and for the first time ever I began to feel some self-worth.
I had an appointment with Mr Toumi who explained the options to me and my husband including surgery. There were milestones to meet and processes to follow but I was up for it. Over the coming months I lost enough weight to be able to be considered for surgery and completed the emotional programmes in order to prepare. Not easy but so worth it.
I had a Gastric Bypass. I had keyhole surgery with 5 scars left. I have never been looked after so well in my life, the care from Mr Toumi and his team was incredible and I felt safe throughout. I went home after 3 days to recover at home and within 2 weeks I was up and about. The after care has been amazing, you’re never alone, advice is just a phone call away and regular reviews help you feel in control and feel safe you are supported.
Surgery was perfect for me and exactly what I needed. It has provided me with a physical tool to aid the loss of weight and maintenance as my relationship with food is so different now. However, equally important is the psychological support given before during and after. Your mind is your most powerful tool. The surgery helped me massively put the mind tools into practice.
I now have a future surrounded by love, confidence and grandchildren which I would never have had without Mr Toumi and his team. I can do more, join in with the family and feel part of life instead of someone watching life from the side-lines.
“I am living life to the full. Second chances do happen.”
I started the weight loss programme with Mr Toumi when I weighed 23st 11lb and decided to have a Gastric Bypass. I followed the programme, lost weight and I felt really positive that I could do this. I really enjoyed listening to people’s stories on the way and meeting new friends. Personally, getting fatter makes you quite lonely, it helped me meeting people with same problems who didn’t judge you.
After the surgery, the staff were asking me to get out of bed and walk around. The funniest thing happened, as soon as my feet hit floor all pain went, and I have never looked back.
As a big girl I would walk in a room with my head held high. However, my life after surgery has changed now forever and I have no regrets. I wish I had done it sooner. I can now do stuff I never thought I could. I can sit in any chair and not worry it will collapse under my weight. I can walk round shops, not just one shop. I can buy clothes off normal rails and not only plus size. I am living life to the full. Second chances do happen.
Thank you to the bariatric team and of course Mr Z Toumi who is a hero in my eyes, for seeing the person behind the obesity.