Obesity is one of the risk factors for heart disease. In order to avoid developing such disease, many obese people will endeavor to trim their weights. But, not many of them will have the same experience as what a "super-fat" lady have had.
A social worker, Janet (not her real name), age 31 has been a 'big girl' most of her life. Her heavier weight was 133 kg, back in 2001. When her doctor warned her that her weight would kill her before her 40th birthday, she decided to do something about it.
Lapband surgery had helped her to trim her weight from 133 kg to 70 kg. However, when Janet recalled her journey of weight losing, she could still feel the pain, malnourishment, dehydration and vomiting that she had experienced. She tells herself that she will never let herself gain weight again.
She described herself as an easy-going person who enjoyed life to the fullest. She did not mind or not depressed of being fat because it gave her an identity. The only problem for her was too heavy in moving around. She needed to take taxis everywhere, even if the location was only one traffic light junction away.
Because of obesity, she was severely diabetic and required insulin jabs 6 times a day. She also had chronic skin abscesses, sleep apnoea and borderline high blood pressure. 70 percent of her liver was fat and if she did not do anything about her weight, she will be dead before her 40th birthday, according to what her doctor had warned her.
Janet was advised to go for an operation known as gastric lapbanding because the obesity she had could not be handled just by diet and exercise. During the surgery, a silicon band was inserted into the body through keyhole surgery and wrapped around the top part of the stomach. A port was placed on the muscle of the belly and connected to the band by a tube. The band was then tightened or loosened by adding or taking away fluid through adjustment port.
She had never been thin. She ate a lot because she was swimming competitively for a swimming club and for her school. Her weight ballooned when she scaled back on swimming but continued eating the same amount of food.
At 16, she tipped the scales of 90 kg and diagnosed with diabetes but she believed that she had the condition long before this. The boils that kept sprouting on her legs were one symptom. The condition came to light in a medical check-up in 1991.
She was not really afraid of dying but she was concerned about her inability of taking care of her grandmother who was diagnosed with dementia. She had difficulty looking after her. For example, she could no longer fit into the bedside chair that she spent the nights in whenever the old woman was hospitalized. She could not lift or change her grandmother as she would tire easily and could not really hug her as the fat around her would be in the way.
If you want to know how she experienced after the operation, do watch out for Part II!
To be continued...
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