Here is what it looks like:
And all of this can be reduced significantly or even wiped out completely, IF I can lose weight.
For the first time, I am struggling to do so. I have always been pretty active in spite of having been obese most of my life, but as I am now getting older, and with my ever growing health conditions, it is becoming more and more impossible.
This is what my feet have become. It's like walking on broken glass. My feet constantly split, bleed, itch, burn, and are extremely painful to even stand on. There are long periods I have to take off work because I simply can't walk. And when my hands are affected, I can't drive my car, I can't even wash my own hair because my hair cuts my hands. It hurts. Just the touch of fabric against my skin makes my skin crawl.
But why am I writing this here and revealing something so private in such a public way? Because I need help!
I see two consultants regularly, not to mention my own GP. I see a dermatologist and a cardiologist. My GP monitors my blood tests that I must get every few weeks.
Here's the thing: My GP, my cardiologist, my dermatologist each recommended me for bariatric (weight loss) surgery. They feel very strongly about it and feel that it would "save my life". My name was put forward to the NHS (National Health Service) and I was approved, "having met all the criteria to qualify". However, when the application went to The Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, they said, "no." I didn't meet the criteria as outlined.
At one point, I actually received a letter from a bariatric specialist in Wrexham, confirming a consultation appointment. I excitedly rang to make an appointment only to be told, "oops - this was a mistake", and I "wasn't meant to receive this letter." What a crushing disappointment that was!
Here is the copy of the letter that I sent - which I NEVER received a response from but my GP did.
I have been asked by my GP, Dr Pierce at Berllan Surgery, in Denbigh, to email you regarding your decision for not proceeding with my application for suitability of NHS funded bariatric surgery. She has informed me that she has attempted to contact you on several occasions, and has requested that I try contacting you.
General advice on healthy weight and lifestyle Pathway level 1
Diet and physical activity Pathway level 2
Diet and physical activity; consider drugs Pathway targeted level 2 and level 3
· Diet Centre
· Slim Fast
· Slimming World
· Behavioural Modification (to the extreme of snapping a rubber band on the inside wrist)
· Atkins Diet
· Cabbage soup diet
· Reductil (Sibutramine) pills, under my GP’s care
· Overeaters Anonymous
· Xenical (GP prescription)
· Protein Power Diet
· Smoothie Diet
· Nutritionist/Dietician consult
· Community support (healthy eating) classes
· Many various healthy eating and diet books
· Keeping a daily diary of food intake and exercise
· Fitbit (walking tracker)
Being severely obese puts a strain on everything I do. I cannot walk very far without getting out of breath, I cannot tie my shoes, I now worry about collapsing seats when I am in college, and I am not sure how I could possibly recover if I am teaching a class of learners in their place of employment and I accidentally wet myself. I am embarrassed of what I look like and hardly recognise myself when I look in a mirror.
I am not functioning to my full potential at work. I am always tired to the point of falling asleep at my desk. It takes me twice as long to do many things. I have no energy. I want to be more active and be able to do the things normal sized people do. I do not want to die. I know this surgery will be a life saver for me. I would hope that you would consider me on an individual basis (IPFR) as I really do feel I meet the criteria and demonstrate clinical exceptionality. Please reconsider your decision and save my life. Please.
Yesterday, when I saw my GP, she showed me a number of email correspondences with disapproval, and approval, and going back and forth with the "left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing".
One comment was that I didn't meet the criteria because I haven't participated in two years of:
level 3: specialist multi-disciplinary team weight management services
Dr Pierce told me that they have no, "multi-disciplinary team weight management service". She did refer me to a dietician (which I have seen before).
Regardless, the All Wales Obesity Pathway states that exceptions can be made if there is no multi-disciplinary team weight management services available in our area or through our surgery. But, I was told that, "she should be considered as an exception to general policy on Evidence, Ethical and Economic grounds."
Please, I need some help and support. I am worried for my future and this option gives me hope. Can anyone help me? Please?
Please be aware, I am really opening myself up here and being very vulnerable with a very personal and private conundrum. I don't know what people in social media can do, but I do know that many voices can be heard. Thank you.