Printed at: 09:37:01 / 12-08-2020
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Patient Journey

Deborah Atkin: My Story
Two and a half years ago I weighed 15.5 stone and was a size 26 in clothes; at only 4ft 10inches in height, that was a pretty whopping size!! I also had very badly controlled type 2 Diabetes and was suffering from many of the side effects associated with this disease. To be blunt I was killing myself!

Life at home was becoming too much. I was working full time, then my mum died and I had to take care of all her affairs. A year later I found myself having a complete mental & physical breakdown!

I had a number of health issues, had to use a walking stick to get around, significant loss of sensation in my feet and hands, rashes on my skin, macular oedema in my eyes (which I needed laser treatment for). I had problems with my brain function which caused my speech to become very slow and reading and writing had become very difficult. Eventually I was no longer able to do my job and had to leave as I was medically unfit to work.

Something had to be done so I went to my GP. She said that a lot of my health problems could be helped if I lost weight. She told me that no treatment would be successful unless I was prepared to put significant effort into making a change to my life. This is when we talked about bariatric surgery. Before I could be referred I had to follow a weight loss programme called MORE LIFE. I followed the programme for a year and it taught me a lot about food, nutrition & portion control. This was the start of my weight loss journey……

I got my referral to the L&D Bariatric clinic and met the team. I soon realised that I had quite a bit more work to do before I could have surgery but that was fine because I knew it wasn’t going to be easy and I was ready to change.

Before I could have the operation I had to follow a weight loss plan (including the milk diet) to lose a certain percentage of my body weight and get my diabetes under better control. I followed all the advice and did everything I was asked to do, without excuses! Then when I had reached my goals I was referred to the surgeons who were absolutely first class.

The date for my operation was set ; all the pre-op preparations started; I was to follow the milk diet for two weeks before the op to help my liver decrease in size, this is so important for the operation to be a success. I had my pre-op assessment and blood tests etc but oh, it was all so worth every step. You can’t take short cuts on something as important as your health!

My operation took place on the date planned and was not as painful or traumatic as I had expected. The care I was given by all the team was second to none and I couldn’t have asked for better treatment. After my operation I followed all the advice and instruction given to me and I had no nasty side effects at all. The healing process went like clockwork but you must follow the post op eating plan to the letter.

I am now 10 months post op and have finally reached my target BMI. Today I was told not to lose any more weight. I have NEVER been told this before, ever!!!!

I cannot speak highly enough of the team at the L&D. At this specialist centre every care is taken to ensure the best for each individual patient. During my time at the clinic I saw a nurse, dietitian, psychologist and a physician before I could be referred to the amazing surgeons. I am so happy with my life now and do not have one single regret about my decision. I feel so good and am able to do much more than before I had my operation.

I am really active now and even actually enjoy being active. I no longer need to take insulin for my diabetes and my medication in general has been reduced significantly. If I can give any advice it would be ‘GO FOR IT’. You only have one life and is food really worth dying for?!

I started off 2 and half years ago weighing 15.5 stone with a dress size of 26 (UK). I am now 8 stone with a dress size of 8 ( I am only 4ft 10”). How amazing is that? I am really really proud of myself but also I am very thankful that my GP referred me to the L&D hospital.