If you have landed on this page the chances are high that you are in the same frame of mind I was in approximately 18 months ago.

You are desperately unhappy with your physical appearance, you feel a total disconnect between who you are and who the world thinks you are based on your physical appearance. You have tried everything to get your weight under control, you have attended every slimming class, joined every gym and despite all other areas in your life being what you may determine a success and happy, this is one area that you can’t address. This was me.

I was never a slim child or teenager but I am tall, so somewhere down the line I had accepted that I was “big boned”, broad, large framed, but that’s ok as I was confident, happy, funny but inwardly I loathed how I looked. I felt that everyone made judgements on me, my work ethic, based on my appearance – “She is overweight because she is lazy”. Roughly about 3 years ago I developed lymphedema in my legs, no reason, just overnight my legs started retaining fluid, so any chance of being able to shift the weight on my own was now nearly impossible!. I can remember being on holidays with my husband and children and looking down at my legs – one was swollen, one not so much, and realising that somewhere along the line I had given up!. Given up on eating healthy, given up on exercise, none of it mattered, as the weight wasn’t going to drop. But I had forgotten that while it may not go down, by the actions of ignoring it, it was only going to go up!. So I was there, at my laptop late at night googling what options were open to me. I needed help, I needed help quickly. I knew I was becoming more and more withdrawn in myself, no longer socialising with friends. I have a wonderful supportive husband who told me daily how beautiful I looked but all I heard was pity. I was ashamed and I desperately hated who my physical self had become.

Weight loss surgery was always something that chronically obese people undertook – right?. Like my 600lb life – those programmes I watched when the kids were in bed, secretly gloating well at least I am not as big as them! The first step for me was to visit a dietitian. Under her guidance and “straight talking care” we tackled portion sizes. She confirmed what I already knew, my diet was varied and balanced and yes in parts I could make better decisions, but I wasn’t grossly overweight because of my diet of the day. I was overweight from lack of exercise, years of not monitoring my food intake and somewhat genetically being predisposed to easily putting on weight. I can remember sitting in her office when after 8 weeks she asked me had I ever considered weight loss surgery, as she saw I was committed to the plan but my lymphedema added a complication that minimised my success of weight loss. My response – is that not drastic? Is that not for people who are obese? But the answer was simple at 23 .5 stone I was obese and not only that, for a 39 year old mother of 3, if I didn’t address this quickly I was open to a whole array of serious medical complications.

I was referred to Mayilone Arumugasamy; Mr Mayilone. The one thing I noticed straight away is that no matter who you speak to in Blackrock from porter, secretary, nurses to other doctors they all give glowing references of Mr Mayilone and his expertise and caring manner, so straight away I was put at ease. From my initial meeting to every subsequent session on my own and with my husband, Mayilone explained all options in great detail. This is not a quick fix. There are a number of qualifying steps you have to satisfy as a patient before he will consider you a viable candidate for this surgery. He spends a lot of time pre surgery assessing your expectations – he is a brilliant surgeon, a fantastic doctor but a magician he is not! He took time emphasizing that this is merely a tool, to assist in bringing my weight under control - how successful I will be will be 100% down to me and how hard I work this tool – diet and exercise will be the only thing to tackle my weight, but weight loss surgery gives me a mechanism to get results.

My life before surgery, not to be too dramatic, I merely existed. I had 3 beautiful children, a wonderful happy marriage and a successful career but I was desperately unhappy. Every family event, every moment of celebration was ruined in my mind because of how I looked. Travelling with my children became a nightmare as I lived in fear of having to ask for a seatbelt extension on the airplane – and I did twice. I was 39 this was not supposed to be how my life was! Physically, I was in pain! My legs hurt, my feet hurt, my back hurt! Clothes didn’t fit, fashion wasn’t for me, everything was black and functional, there to cover me.

I can remember the day of my surgery 5 th of February 2017. I was nervous. This was a serious operation and until that point all I had considered was my life before and my life after. I had kind of forgotten about my recovery in between but I knew my decision was the right decision for me, so all nerves evaporated and I was ready to go. I did find the first few days physically tough, but I was reassured by daily visits from Mr Mayilone that all was going according to plan and I was doing well.

Before the surgery I can recall thinking and asking on multiple occasions what can I eat after, or my job is one that is so social how will I manage work events etc. Simply put, life after surgery goes on and no one cares what you are eating or not eating as long as they are being fed!

It is November now, 9 months post-surgery and I am 96.8lbs down from my heaviest weight. How do I feel? AMAZING! The biggest lesson in all of this I have learnt is that of self-acceptance. Self-acceptance for the body and physical appearance I have today. Is it the body I want forever? I am full of lumps and bumps, do I need to continue to work hard to lose more and tone? YES YES YES! But can I do it, yes.

I have no sense of deprivation. I have a new wardrobe of clothes. I have more energy and therefore am either at the gym weight lifting or out walking with my children and …… no more seat belt extensions on airplanes ….. not to brag but I have even space in the seat!!! I just don’t think of food anymore. When friends ask me - what can you eat, where can we go?

I am happy and confident to answer “anything and anywhere” as I know how to eat now for my new self.

If you are still reading this and are considering that this could be the option for you – make contact with Mr Mayilone’s surgery. You will be greeted by his secret ingredient of success in his team – his private secretary Mary! Mary is like the straight talking mother of all patients - she will keep you grounded and check in with you in between appointments. This has been one of the best decisions of my life and has afforded me a new lease of life

Delighted Working Mum of 3, Kildare