Weight had never been an issue for Christchurch woman Diana Bates, until her life became extremely busy due to working long shifts while raising three energetic sons.
As Diana became accustomed to putting the needs of others first, her weight climbed to 110kg. Pre-diabetic and struggling to live life to its fullest, Diana hit rock bottom one day in 2013.
“I couldn’t tie my shoe laces, things were not good, and I wasn’t feeling fulfilled,” she says.
Diana set about making some major changes to her life. She worked hard on her health, becoming a regular at her local CrossFit gym while taking part in several healthy eating programmes.
To her frustration these major changes had little effect on her weight.
When a close friend suggested a gastric sleeve procedure, Diana initially disregarded the idea due to the cost, until she heard some good news.
“My friend explained that I could apply for the costs to be covered by the St George’s Hospital Philanthropic Fund. I was blown away to hear about the arrangement. When my application was approved, I cried. I was so unbelievably grateful,” she says.
Diana was referred to Mr Steven Kelly, a general surgeon who performs a wide range of procedures but has a special interest in upper gastrointestinal and obesity surgery.
“I was lucky to have Steven as my surgeon. He’s so passionate, genuine and understanding and he made me feel completely at ease.”
Mr Kelly has been completing weight loss surgeries for 11 years and enjoys the technically challenging nature of the work.
“Gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy procedures have a profound and fabulous effect on a patient’s life. They are a safe and durable tool that works long term.”
The positive impact is wide reaching.
“Patients usually see a swift improvement in, or cessation of, many weight-related ailments such as sleep apnoea, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, infertility problems, joint issues and many more.
It’s rewarding to see patients increased selfesteem and self-image,” Mr Kelly says.
The procedure has transformed Diana’s life and the non-scale victories have been extensive.
“This surgery has opened so many doors for me. Now I will be around for my tamariki and my mokopuna. I am so incredibly grateful to be alive,” she says.
The sleeve gastrectomy reduces the size of the stomach from a two-litre capacity to a 50ml long narrow tube. It is performed laparoscopically, using minimally invasive keyhole surgery.
After surgery the patient has a marked reduction in their hunger, and they eat small meals because they feel full earlier. Remarkably people also experience a change is food preferences after surgery; - they prefer healthy food rather than fatty or sugary foods. The quality of eating after 6 months is very good. People can eat almost any healthy foods in small quantities.
Christchurch Weight Loss Surgery has three surgeons who perform a range of weight loss procedures - Grant Coulter, Richard Flint and Steven Kelly.