Case 3: Lily
Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy
Since young, I have always been a chubby girl. I loved food and would always reward myself with it, be it roast goose, suckling pig, salted egg yolks or cheesecakes. As time went by, my weight hiked higher and higher. At my heaviest, I was up to 97Kg, which is 213lbs. My heavy body took a great toll on my knee joints. I had to take a taxi to work everyday as I could not walk to the bus stop. Even taking a 10-minute shower was a real chore as it would send sharp pains to my poor knee joints.
Everyone would think that being at this weight would cause great damage to my self-confidence. In reality, it’s just the opposite. Although I’ve always been overweight and have had high blood pressure, I have always been confident and a hard-worker. It was not until 2008 when I had been diagnosed with diabetes that brought me down to the lowest point of my life.
Being only thirty-something, I got worried whenever I thought about the risk of suffering from the complications that come with diabetes. Thinking about the fact that I might have to live a life being blind, amputated, and having to go through daily dialysis, I got so worried that I had lost all will to live. I also felt like all the effort I had put into my studies and career had all been wasted. In 2011, I met Dr. Dennis Wong who performed laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy on me. This was truly the turning point in my life. As everyone knows, diabetes is a chronic illness with low chances of recovery. Around a year after my surgery, apart from successfully losing weight and getting to 62Kg, I have also fully recovered from diabetes and no longer need medication. I am overjoyed that I am finally free from this chronic illness.
What made me seek surgery which helped me beat diabetes was a programme about gastric bypass surgery on the Discovery Channel which I had most fortunately watched one day. The programme showed how the surgery can help them control their weight. To be honest, I have a huge appetite. Together with my difficulty in being active, it was very difficult for me to lose weight through traditional diet and exercise. This made me seriously consider the idea of receiving gastric bypass surgery. After I told a female doctor about my thoughts, she was very supportive and referred me to Dr. Wong Chung Tak.
Dr. Wong explained to me the differences between each kind of bariatric surgery with great detail and patience. He was of the opinion that gastric bypass had a higher risk of complications, and therefore laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy was more suitable for me. Dr. Wong also told me that removing parts of the stomach would reduce my food intake, which not only causes weight loss but can also effectively treat diabetes and control blood sugar levels. This surgery could also reduce the secretion of Ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite.
Finally, I underwent surgery in July 2011 which involved the removal of 80% of my stomach. The part of my stomach remaining is around the size of 2 bottles of Yakult. Shortly after the surgery, I wasn’t used to it as I would throw up whenever I ate too quickly or too much. However, as I was determined to lose weight after surgery, I have completely changed my eating habits, having more meals and smaller portions while slowing down my speed of eating. For lunch and dinner, I would normally have half a cup of rice with some meat and vegetables. I would also exercise in the morning and night to give my muscles the training they need.
At the beginning, I had to go to the hospital every month to follow up on my condition. The checkups gradually reduced to once every 3 months, to every half a year, and finally once a year. Up until now, I have successfully lost nearly 70lbs. I can wear size medium clothes again, and I finally have a waist again. However, the change in appearances is not the biggest achievement in this experience. The most important thing is that I have finally recovered from diabetes that has haunted me my whole life. After the surgery, I have purchased a 4000 sq. ft. piece of farmland for planting fruit trees, so that I enjoy my new life and reap the fruits of joy.