James is a Streamline gastric sleeve surgery patient who has lost over 13 stone. “Every aspect of my life has changed, I’m not on a sleep apnoea machine anymore and I’m active, I go to the gym.”
“I had years of being overweight and pretty much throw the kitchen sink at it. I sold a business and went to a weight loss camp, lost weight and put it back on. It was a whole lifetime of probably living 60% of what I felt would have been my potential and weight loss surgery was always my last option.
“I was with the NHS for three years and I put on eight stone while waiting to get the surgery. So, I suppose it was life or death for me really in that instance because I was on a sleep apnoea machine, I was 32 stone and I wasn’t living I was existing. So, it was make or break for me.
“I had originally scheduled my surgery for February the 26th and I was given an itinerary of what I had to do by my surgeon which was walking, not smoking, milk diet, etc. My whole attitude and way of life was I didn’t really care what happened and I didn’t stick to it. I came up to the day of surgery and the anaesthetist said you can’t have surgery because there’s more chance you won’t wake up than you will. I was obviously gutted.
“After that I moved in with my mum for five weeks, had nothing around me and had a lot of therapy and went back for the surgery.
“I remember the first drive to the hospital, my mum said to me, ‘how do you feel? ‘I said, I wasn’t really bothered, you know, if it doesn’t work and I die it doesn’t really matter. That was my whole sort of attitude.
“Then five weeks later after doing a lot of therapy and actually working on me. My mum asked me how I felt again on the way to surgery and this time I said I was really worried as I knew it was about starting to love myself.
“The sleeve is fantastic because you can’t go to those levels of overeating that you could before, it’s just impossible. Every aspect of my life has changed, I’m not on a sleep apnoea machine anymore. I’m active, I go to the gym and I don’t really have ups and downs I had before. I just don’t think I could have carried on another two years living the way I was.
“It’s nice to be able to go out with my mum, for her not to look at me and worry about me. I used to get angry at people for worrying. I can only imagine how heart-breaking it was for my mum, to see her son killing himself effectively.
“My life’s totally different to where it was, in an amazing way. I went on holiday and I took my top off the first time I’ve done it in my adult life. There is something quite exhilarating about that. I don’t think someone who’s not been overweight will understand it.
“I had so many comments and people saying that I just scream happiness now. I’ve only had good feedback.
“I’m driven by my own happiness now, which is something I’ve never had self-belief and a bit of self-worth is amazing what it can do.
“I have no regrets. I’ve got more freedom now than I’ve ever had mentally and physically. Should have done it sooner, perhaps but I’m living in the moment.
“When I started this, my therapist told me to do gratitudes. I had to do three things that I was grateful for every day. At first it was pretty hard, but it’s another one of those snowball affects; you find yourself saying you’re grateful for everything.
“Before I couldn’t even think about fitting in an aeroplane, not having to go to supersize clothes shops, snoring less, seeing people happy around me and not that worry in their eyes. You know, there’s so many layers to the benefits surgery has given me. The physical weight gone is great, but the mental weight gone is even bigger. I’m creating my own happiness now, and I’ve never done that. So that’s great.”