A MUM-OF-FIVE who has lost 12 stones in a year after having a gastric band operation has praised the surgeon who changed her life.
Louise Thomas, 41, spoke out following an inquest into the death of 28-stone Jarrod Lee Fahey, who died after having the same gastric bypass three days before her.
The Dalton woman’s procedure was carried out by the same surgeon Philip Lyndon at Dewsbury District Hospital last March.
Tragically, dad-of-three Jarrod died from septic shock days following his operation.
But for 27-stone Louise it was a complete success and she is urging others not to be deterred.
She said: “What happened to him was tragic but you know the risks when you go in.
“I had about eight months of seeing hospital psychologists to prepare me for the risks. It is all done very well.
“It was worrying but I knew if I didn’t have it done, I’d die of a heart attack or stroke anyway.
“I just want people to hear the plus side and know he is a wonderful surgeon. He has changed my life. That man is my hero.”
Before the surgery picture on next page.
Life before the eight-hour NHS operation – which removed 75% of her stomach and 50% of her bowel – was grim.
Louise – who is separated – was housebound and relied on her children to help wash and get her dressed.
She said: “It was horrendous. I couldn’t even get up the stairs for two years and didn’t go out because I couldn’t get my shoes on.
“I was a size 32 so clothes were a nightmare. People would stare at me and say comments like ‘who ate all the pies’.
“I stayed away from parents’ evenings because I didn’t want my kids’ friends to see me and bully them.
“Having the operation was worth all the risks.”
Louise – who has lost a stone a month since having the surgery – has always struggled with her weight.
She had previously shed 10 stones on diets, only to put it back on again – and more.
She said: “This was the only thing left for me to try.
“I used to do running but then injured my knee on the treadmill and the weight just piled on.
“This has been magic, completely life-changing.
“I can now eat what I want and somehow I burn off the calories because my body doesn’t absorb them.
“But I eat better now and feel so much better. I can run up the stairs and have even bought myself a horse.
The mum – whose children are aged between three and 24 – said her decision was worrying for her kids.
But the family has never looked back.
She added: “After the misery I put up with for years, I would tell anyone to do it.
“My only regret is that I didn't do it before I was 40.”