Rowena's Journey

(Rowena lost 56 kg)

Rowena’s story

My name is Rowena and I am aged 60. I had gastric bypass surgery in October 2018.

I worked in the fitness industry until aged 40, and was always fit and trim. In 2004 I started putting on weight. You don’t just wake up one day and are fat all of a sudden and can’t do anything. It just creeps in.

In 2014, my husband Adel and I moved to the Sunshine Coast to retire. At that time I weighed 90 kg. What would usually be a holiday lifestyle – a diet of starchy carbs, and too much alcohol – became an everyday thing. Soon after, one of my knees went. I had an arthroscopy. Both of my hips also had osteoarthritis, and I had a dual hip replacement in 2017. This significantly decreased my mobility and pushed my weight up even further.

In July 2018 my BMI was 42. It was like I’d gotten old. When I’d go to Woolies, I’d say “I’ll wait in the car.”

I knew I had to do something about my health. As a former Clinical Nurse, I chose this surgery after doing a lot of research. I had read a lot of papers, and felt this was the ‘gold standard’ of weight loss surgery.

6 weeks before my operation, I chose to start the Optifast Diet in preparation for surgery, and my husband Adel did the prep diet with me.

Adel’s Story

My name is Adel. I am 63 years old. Although I didn’t have weight loss surgery, the new diet and lifestyle which has come out of Rowena’s surgery has benefited the both of us immensely. I have struggled with health issues for many years. This was partly due to lifestyle, and also to injuries sustained as a veteran in the Australian Army. I have had 4 stents and 5 bypasses in my lifetime, and am a Type 2 Diabetic. My doctor told me the biggest enemy was my diabetes. My HbA1c levels were just over 7.

What is life like now?

Almost twelve months post-surgery, I’m [Rowena] now at 65.4 kg, which is well ahead of where I should be almost 12 months out.

We are active again. We started being active with hydro physio. This allowed us both to build muscle while going easy on the joints. Now, we both do weight training three times a week, and cardio two times a week. I enjoy aqua aerobics! We park as far as possible from the shops now, rather than parking close. Adel has lost 10 kilos and importantly, is off his diabetic medication. He recently helped a friend with some work around the house, and found he can get down on his knees now, which he hadn’t been able to do for years.

Our diet now consists of no sugar, no carbs and healthy fats. We eat a lot of fish. We use big flavours and love to get creative with herbs and spices. I have become a better cook and more creative in the kitchen.

It’s like we’ve got our lives back, we’ve got our mojo back and we feel fantastic!

Rowena’s success tips

Access to psychological support is a big factor, and a good support team is so important. If you can get your partner on board, even better. Also if you are out with your friends you need to be able to have the support of them.

You first need to be mentally capable of carrying this through, or have a muli-disciplinary team so you can get the support of a psychologist to talk about why you’re eating the way you eat. Also talking through ‘buyers remorse’ when complications arise. We also have a support group through the clinic which is just great.

Need some advice?

Have questions for Dr McLeod about whether surgery is right for you? 

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