When I underwent a mini gastric bypass I had little knowledge about bariatric surgery.
For over 20 years type 2 diabetes drained my health and wellbeing.
Leading up to my decision to have surgery I was tired and struggling to muster the energy to continue with life. I had never felt so depressed and in need of change.
As I researched the benefits and effects of bariatric surgery for diabetes, I began learning how it could change my life: I saw that a healthy future was possible and I could grow old for my daughter and husband. Looking back, having surgery was the best thing I've ever done for myself. Just after my surgery, I was diagnosed with NAFLD (non alcoholic fatty liver disease). This had been caused by long term use of my medication for my diabetes. I am now learning to adjust my lifestyle to help my condition and with my diabetes now classed as a type 1 and 1/2, I am taking back control and learning to love life once again.
At the start of my weight loss journey there were so many questions I needed answered. Initially I couldn't find anyone to share my experiences with. It wasn’t until I started a Facebook support group that I realised I was not alone: I learned how thousands of other people were also anxious to learn how to harness the benefits of weight loss surgery.
After surgery it is necessary to retrain our eating habits and adapt to a vastly different lifestyle. It takes strength, knowledge and courage to make better food choices and maintain long term weight loss and improvements to lifestyle.
My own weight loss journey has shaped the core values underpinning The Gastric Guru:
Care, Support, Inform & Trust.
As the support group founder, I was asked questions on a daily basis about how to reach goals and overcome setbacks to weight loss. So I created The Gastric Guru as a place where people can turn to when they need support and guidance. I don't claim we have all the answers but we promote social sharing and create reliable content as a way to connect patients with experts and learn from each other's stories and experiences.
In 2018 I was asked to write an article for The Guardian, I have also been interviewed on BBC Asian Network, LBC and BBC West Midland and I continue to speak as a Patient Advocate wherever possible.
Paul Nicholas has now taken over the support and strength within the groups. Paul had a RNY in January 2018 through the NHS. Paul has become a life long friend and now devotes his time to the groups.