Making the right decision for me - This is just the beginning
Tuesday 21 March 2017

In our series of articles from Danielle Tofts, Choose and Book NHS Co-ordinator at Duchy Hospital, she tells us all about her weight loss surgery experience. Part one covered her life pre surgery, part two about Dani's preparation for surgery and part three her experience waking up from surgery.

It's funny how your new life becomes second nature after having surgery. I had prepared myself for so long before that I really dealt well with all the massive changes. Taking a long time to chew each mouthful, taking breaks in between mouthfuls and being really sensible with food choices.

Ramsays post-op schedule is very strict, and rightly so. Your tummy is so swollen and sensitive after surgery that you have to be so careful what you put in there. For the first 2 weeks it's fluids only. I was able to have some cream of tomato soup, thinned down with boiling water and basically anything that could run off a spoon easily. At first I could only manage about 4 teaspoons of soup before I was so full, a strange sensation after so little food! The next two weeks are soft foods, the things you would feed a baby when they are weaning for example runny mashed potatoes and thicker soup. Then finally getting onto more solid types of food like homemade cottage pie or bolognaise etc. All this sounds very dramatic and difficult, but because I was not hungry, it didn’t bother me. A lot of the time I was making myself eat to keep up my strength, not because I was really hungry and fancied eating.

After 6 weeks I was finally weaning myself onto a normal diet of fresh fruit, salad, veg & meat. A key structure of your diet post-op is to get in lots of protein, this should be your priority when eating meals to enable tor body to remain strong and be able to repair itself. Bit by bit I was introducing foods into my diet, meals that I used to love, different types of vegetables and healthy homemade meals. Some things went down better than others and I did experience some pretty bad post gastric-bypass dumping syndrome episodes (something that happens when you have too much sugar in you system – causes nausea, fast heart rate & dizziness etc). But it was all a learning curve and I was surprised to find that even though my appetite was nothing like it used to be, I was still enjoying food and really taking notice of all the different flavours and textures. Also, contrary to common belief, I enjoy going out for meals and socialising with friends around food & drink still, which is great as it’s a very important part of life.

Fast forward to now, 11 months post op and I eat a very normal diet. A typical meal for me would be eggs & avocado or porridge for breakfast, chicken salad for lunch and some kind of meat or fish with salad or veg for tea. I still have to make healthy choices and be careful of my eating habits and be sure to nip any bad habits in the bud! I am currently working on increasing my exercise, something which I find so much easier and enjoyable these days! I take a few different vitamin supplements a day and have b12 injections every three months but none of this is an inconvenience at all, just part of my daily routine. The one downside of my surgery?!.......having to spend so much money on new clothes! Now, this is not something I am complaining about at all, I have very much enjoyed purchasing a new wardrobe. I literally can’t wear anything from pre-op, everything swamps me now. I have gone from a dress size 22/24 to 12/14, I feel very happy and confident now and really enjoy wearing clothes that I feel comfortable in. To date I have lost 7 stone 12 lbs/50kg/111 lbs. I have gone from a BMI of 49.6 to BMI 28. I have lost 85% of my excess body weight.

I cannot believe how different my life is now from only 11 months ago. I remember getting ready for surgery, being such an anxious person, unhealthy, miserable and generally unhappy. What this surgery has done for me has given me a new view of life, I now have such respect for my body and health and will do everything in my power to keep that respect. I now believe that the hard work begins now – to lose the little bit of extra weight, keep it all off and continue to improve my fitness.

I would like to thank all the staff that have been involved in my care, from day one I was certain I had made the best decision of my life, and I think the same every day.