My journey to post weight loss surgery
My name is Andrea, and I am 31 years old. A wife to an incredibly supportive husband, Vegas and mum to two kiddies. Elly is 4 and Joshua is 2.
My whole life, I have been active and participated in all types of sport and competed at representative levels, however my entire life I have always been overweight and obese. In school, I was always the fat kid and was horrendously teased as such. I was given nicknames like ‘fat pickle’ and would have cow and pig noises made at me as I walked past my classmates. Even as a young teenager, I tried all of the fad diets and tried everything that I could to be ‘normal’. My mental health suffered a lot because of my weight and the way I was treated. As I grew older I became an overachiever and always went above and beyond in other areas of my life to counteract how I looked and felt about myself. I always hid my shame behind a big personality.
I struggled with everything that came along with diminished mental health, especially not feeling good enough to be loved and therefore put myself in situations that I thought were good for me, only to find out later on that they were not.
Fast forward to 2013 when I met my now-husband. He was different, he looked at me differently and even when I tried to make my weight an issue between us he never did. He always supported me to be the best that I can be and gave me so much more than just a relationship. He helped me to see my self-worth. He enabled me to be honest with myself and others’. Although I had so much support from him, I was still trying all the pills; diet shakes because I wanted not to look like I did anymore.
Then we fell pregnant with our beautiful daughter Elly. I lost an incredible amount of weight during my pregnancy and felt amazing to be a mum and maintained the weight loss after she was born. Then I fell pregnant (very quickly) with our son Joshua. Having a baby and a newborn was HARD. I never left the house and after Josh was born, my weight ballooned out too well over 140kg. 40+kg was put on in the 4-5 months after he was born. Josh was born in the September of 2016, and as my weight ballooned my mental health began to diminish substantially. I was suffering and consumed by depression even though I continued to put on a brave face to my friends and family. I was at breaking point.
I remember in about March 2017 I said to Vegas that it would be better for everyone if I were no longer here. I no longer wanted to be here.
It was at that moment we both knew something drastic had to change so we started to research options and I stumbled across weight loss surgery. I started looking at costing and we don’t have private health insurance it just didn’t seem like it was ever going to be able to happen. Then I saw that you could have early access to superannuation for life-saving surgery, I didn’t know if I was going to fit in to this category so off we went to the GP to see. About a week later I had a referral to a specialist that I had chosen and made the initial appointment to get the ball rolling. On consultation with the surgeon the decision was made to proceed with the Gastric Sleeve surgery and that would be scheduled for July 2017. I joined the Azurite Medical and Wellness forum and other plastic surgery forums about the same time in preparation for the skin removal surgery that I knew that I would eventually need.
After the intial weight loss surgery
I successfully had the surgery and the recovery was great, I lost 30kg in the first 6 months. Then … nothing. I was still over 100kg and I was still unhappy. I thought surely this isn’t it. This is not the perfect weight for my body. So back to the research we went. In September 2018 I went for a consultation with another surgeon who pointed out a few things to me about my circumstances and medical history and why the Gastric Sleeve was NOT the best choice for me, and that I should have had the Gastric Bypass. Surgery to convert my Gastric Sleeve to the Roux-en Y Gastric Bypass and also have my gallbladder removed at the same time was booked for October 2018. The surgeon who performed my second weight loss surgery was Dr V Kuzinkovas and anyone in NSW who wants the best surgeon needs to go to see him for weight loss surgery.
The surgery was a huge success and the weight started falling off straight away. I could see the physical and emotional changes to my body in what should have happened with my first weight loss surgery. I am over the moon with my weight loss after conversion. From October to now I have lost an additional 40kg bringing my total weight loss to 75kg.
Then comes the next lot of head games that go along with extreme weight loss. I was unhappy with my excess skin. It was causing me physical pain and emotional angst. I would be ashamed to take my clothes off in front of my husband because I looked like I was melting. This is when my research for plastic and reconstructive surgery went up a notch. I started searching for the BEST. I had spent all this money on surgery already, and I knew I was going to spend more I wasn’t going to just go with whoever. I had been a member of the Azurite forum for over a year, and I was so impressed with the quality of the work of their chief surgeon. That’s how I picked Azurite. I picked them because the surgeon I wanted only works for them. The bonus is that Trina and Ally are just amazing and the whole Azurite family are great!
I started my communication with Trina in January 2019 and started discussing surgical options. I gave a list of what I thought I needed, and she was honest with saying what I did and did not need. Here is what was agreed on for my surgery and what I had done:
Post Weight Loss Surgery package
- Extended Tummy Tuck with Liposuction to the lower abdomen/flank area
- Breast Augmentation with nipple lift
- Thigh lift
- Pubis Mons Lift with Liposuction
- Labiaplasty (labia majora only)
I had scheduled this surgery for November 2019.
My loving husband supported every aspect of my weight loss journey but this is where his support kicked up a notch. Vegas agreed to access his superannuation to pay for my reconstructive surgery! So with the assistance of Trina and the team and the support of my GP we applied and were approved for early access of Vegas’ super for my surgery. Once I received approval, we moved up my surgery to June 2019.
It was not going to be a journey that I wanted to take by myself and having two small children it wasn’t going to be an option for Vegas to come with me. As a part of the Azurite package you can take a companion for free (just pay flights) so I asked my mum, Erika, if she would be my support person. There was absolutely no hesitation from her and I am SO lucky that she said yes. She was and is the best support/friend that I could ever ask for. So if you can, take someone with you.
The moment that I received approval I started religiously studying the Azurite surgery guide to ensure that I gave myself the BEST chance of recovery using their tried and true methods. Trina and Azurite are a very holistic company and that aligns with my heart so I knew I was in the right place.
On the 23rd June 2019 my mum and I boarded a plane bound for Bangkok Thailand to complete my transformation. The morning of the 24th we were picked up from the hotel by the amazing personal assistant Natt to commence the day in preparation for my surgery the evening of the 24th. You’re taken to the hospital to do your pre-op testing and get the all-clear for surgery. Then you’re off to the Clinic to meet the fantastic surgeon Dr Thee. You have your consultation, and you are drawn all over in permanent skin marker and have lots of photos taken. If having implants, you get to choose your size and try them on. It’s a big and busy day, but it’s all in perfect timing for what would be the most significant emotional shifter of my life – my surgery.
I woke up in recovery, and it was all done. My post weight loss surgery was finally done. I felt surprisingly good, which shocked me as every other time I have had general anaesthetic I have had horrible nausea. Then I was taken back to my room and what a relief it was to see my mum! I think she was pretty relieved as well. The first day I was sleeping on and off but felt really good. I was surprised that I wasn’t in more pain. The next morning I was excited to be told that I would be able to try to get up out of bed and walk to the toilet. That means that I could get the catheter out! I was able to with little assistance to walk to the bathroom. I was then informed that I could go back to the hotel early – this was the best news I could have gotten. So about 30 mins later we were discharged and on our way back to the hotel. I was able to move around pretty quickly and pain-free for the most part. Five days post op I was taken to the surgeon for a post-op follow up, and as I had been healing so fast, they were able to take out all but six stitches. The final six came out on day nine post-op.
I am now two weeks post-op, and I am healing wonderfully. I have very minimal pain and what pain I do have is because my nerves are reconnecting, and that comes with some pain.
I am delighted with how my body has handled the surgery, and I do put it down to following the surgery guide religiously and doing as you’re told. Taking ownership of your healing and following the instructions of tried and true healing methods. Taking the supplements and medications as prescribed and keeping on top of your wounds. However, most of all, it is listening to your body. If you can, move! Often. It will help blood flow and promote healing. This is my biggest tip!
I have had the most significant experience using Azurite for my plastic, and reconstructive surgery and my results speak volumes, more than anything I could ever put into words.
“It’s impossible”, said pride
“It’s risky”, said experience
“It’s pointless”, said the reason
“Give it a try”, whispered the heart…
All it takes is just one day …
Thank you, Trina, Ally and Azurite for giving me the body on the outside that I have always dreamed of.