When I was 15, I weighed 172kg.
I’d tried dieting and exercising, but nothing worked. I just couldn’t lose the weight.
It got to a point where every time I tried to exercise, my knees would buckle – everything would just ache.
I was bullied a lot at school; there was name calling, and some of it was even physical. It got so bad, I dropped out of school in Year 8 because I just couldn’t handle getting up each morning to face the taunts.
My mental health declined so badly that I didn’t leave my room for four years – except to eat and go to appointments.
I lost motivation or drive for anything, and the only thing that would make me happy was food.
Every time I went to see my doctor, I was 20 to 30kg heavier than the last time. I was having heart problems, and my liver was in bad shape.
He said that at the rate I was going I wouldn’t live to see my early twenties.
The thought terrified me!
I knew I was unhealthy, but I didn’t want to die in the next five years. I had to do something about it and I was relying on the doctors around me to save my life.
I didn’t know much about weight-loss surgery when it was first mentioned to me. I’d seen it on different TV shows, but that was about it. I knew a bit about the gastric bypass surgery, but had never heard of gastric sleeve surgery.
My doctor told me that was going to be the best option – I needed something that was going to start working quickly.
I was nervous on the day of my surgery – because of my size and age there were a lot of risks. I was really worried I wouldn’t wake up.
My surgeon was nervous about operating on me at my age as well. It’s rare that they operate on someone so young, and I don’t think it’s generally accepted as a great option for someone my age. The surgery is irreversible and it was going to be a lot of effort on my part to keep the weight off throughout my life.
But the thought of the life I could have after surgery got us both through that. It was either this or I was going to die anyway. Diets and exercise just weren’t doing to cut it, I was too far gone.
In the first week after surgery, I lost 5kg. The following week I lost another 5kg. And then I was losing 1 to 2kg a week.
Since having gastric-sleeve surgery, I’ve lost over 100kgs. My life has changed in ways I could never have imagined.
I can live an active life. I’m going to the gym, I’m boxing and I’ve started mountain bike riding. Before the surgery I couldn’t even ride an exercise bike because it was too painful.
I feel 50 times as fit as I was.
I missed out on a lot as a teenager because of my weight. It makes me sad that I lived the way I did for so many years, but it’s in the past now. I’m just trying to move forward.
I’ve been at TAFE completing my general education that I missed out on, I’m looking forward to getting a trade and start working, and in the long run, I’d like to join the military.
Weight-loss surgery isn’t a magic bullet. It hasn’t been an easy road for me.
I’ve had to completely overhaul my lifestyle and make some big changes, and I still find it difficult to see myself as someone who’s over 100kgs lighter.
But without it I wouldn’t be where I am today – I might not even be alive.
Tune into Weight Loss Surgeries on Insight on Tuesday, 21 May at 8.30pm.