The Journey To Better Health: Gastric sleeve surgery

Photo of Pat, while doing the interview.

In this series of case studies, we explore first-hand the experiences of individuals who’ve arrived at Gastric Sleeve surgery. Everyone’s reasons, reactions and path to recovery are vastly different. Through each case study, we aim to bring multiple stories and pathways to light to inform others who are on a journey to better health. This is Pat’s individual journey of gastric sleeve surgery and how it has dramatically changed his health and lifestyle. For Pat, life has begun again in his 50s.

The journey

I was a big child… not big but always on the plumper side. I lost my weight in my 20s and then afterwards I was always on the constant big size. A few years after that, I got really unwell and I needed to do something. I went on a diet but it didn’t matter how hard I worked at it, the weight just wouldn’t come off. I spoke to a friend of mine, she had it (gastric sleeve surgery) done, and then it (my health) really got bad and I was lying in the back of an ambulance and nearly died. I went to the doctor’s, had an appointment, went to see a specialist and within three months had the operation (gastric sleeve surgery).

I had a colonoscopy and the surgeon at the time said ‘There’s something going on in there’. That’s when I had all my tests done and said something needed to be done. That’s how the journey started. It was a good-scary (the gastric sleeve procedure) if that makes sense. It was something that you just wanted to get done. At the time you couldn’t wait for it, you just wanted it then. But you had to wait of course. I had a few people that I took on my journey and went for the operation and just went for it.

You have to go on a small diet 2 weeks before (the surgery). You have to lose a few kilos to cleanse your liver, your stomach and your heart. It’s then easier for the surgeon to get inside and do his work. You’re not eating, you’re just having shakes. The mental side is a bit strange because you’re hungry and you open the fridge and you go ‘no’. You have to close it again. The shakes that they recommend are quite good. You have to put your mind to it. If you don’t put your mind to it, you’re not going to succeed. Through the whole procedure and into the future as well.

Life impact

After the surgery, I felt good. For weeks after the operation, you’re losing almost 1 kg to 1.5 kg so it just plummets off you. And I had time off work so it was quite good. Every morning you get on the scale and it goes a little bit… by little bit… it’s the weight just dropping. I took three weeks off work to focus on my health. I went back to work about 3.5 weeks after the surgery.

It feels amazing now – it’s a life changer. It’s just the simple things that it changes – (prior to the surgery) doing up your shoelace, you had to breathe in just to reach your feet or you had to get into a vehicle and it was a bit of a struggle… just moving around. Even lying in bed, your stomach had to be on one side or the other just to lay properly. Now it’s a completely different ball game.

I enjoy food but it’s in small portions now. It’s not quantity, it’s quality. If you’re there with a partner you can nitpick at their plate or share a plate. It’s actually cheaper too!

Weight loss results after Gastric Sleeve surgery

I’ve lost about 27 kg. I had the procedure on January 9.

It does give you more confidence because you’re healthy. When you wake up you’re not tired, you’re not snoring at night, you’re not sick. You wake up and you feel like bang! You’re in your early 20s again.

I had sore knees as well (before the surgery), when you’re carrying an extra 27 kg it’s a fair bit of weight… getting in and out of vehicles for work and just general walking. And I can run now without any pain. I’ve been pushing bike riding. It’s much easier swimming. When you go to the gym you can see more results as you’re working out as you haven’t got as much body fat. All of a sudden your muscles are popping out and you think ‘Gee that’s different.’

I would’ve been very sick and possibly died if I didn’t do something about my weight. I would’ve been able to work but I would’ve been a diabetic having to have his needles every day and that sort of thing. I didn’t want to go down that path. That was a stop sign when the Dr said if you don’t do anything, you’re going to have to do this procedure that you do for diabetes. I just said no way.

Do your homework and if you’re going to do it, stick to it. That’s what you have to do. And don’t muck it up. People will say just a little bit more and some people just break and start growing again and you’re back to square one. It’s a life commitment.

Gastric sleeve surgery with Winnett Specialist Group

Jason Winnett and the team at Winnett Specialist Group specialise in weight loss surgeries including gastric sleeve. If you would like to know more, get in touch with our team by calling 03 9417 1555 or contact us online.