Maya’s Story

My name is Maya, I have always been a “heavy” child and I grew bigger with age. It became progressively worse when I fell pregnant with my first child and went disastrous on my second pregnancy. From a young age I started trying diets, everything from Weight Watchers to Sure Slim to Cabbage Soup Diet to Weigh Less and Appetite Suppressing Drugs. Nothing worked to help my weight problem, I just kept gaining more weight and became more unhealthy.
One day it hit me that I needed to live in order to raise and be active in my 2 daughters’ lives (aged 4 & 6 years) and see them graduate at University. At that stage I knew that if my weight did not reduce that dream was never going to come though because I felt like my heart would just stop beating and I would die due to obesity related complications. At over 154 Kg with zero exercise I knew it was just a matter of time before something tragic
happened. I began to research weight loss surgery and decided it was the best option for treatment of my obesity.
I used to hate flying because I used to get embarrassed to ask for the extender belt as I did not fit in the normal safety belt. No matter how soft the hostess was, it always felt/sounded like she was screaming for everyone to hear. My colleagues had to help carry my bags across the terminal building as I could not manage carrying my body and my bags. By the time we arrived at the Sandton office I would be feeling so exhausted like I have done a whole day’s work and it was only 08H30 in the morning.
I did Bariatric Surgery on the 28th of January 2013 this is a day I now consider my second birthday because Dr Gert Du Toit performed the surgery and I now have my life back. As a result of the surgery and exercise I lost 50 Kg in 18 months and I am still going strong.
Prior to the surgery and lifestyle change I could not walk across the street without being out of breath. I can now jog around the block many times without a problem and get bored before I get tired. That is the difference that the surgery has made. I have found a whole new person underneath all the layers of fat that I carried every day. For the first time in my 37 years of life I can say I’m happy, healthy, active, and having fun. I can shop at “normal” stores and enjoy dressing up. Oh and I find it amazingly wonderful to finally experience being called “skinny and slim”.
My expectations going into surgery was that I actually had hope to live again and it gave me much more than that. I just feel that now I’m ready to climb that mountain and run my first marathon. I didn’t know that all of this was possible prior to my procedure. I was literally just
trying to exist. Now, I no longer spend my weekends breathless on the couch but I spend them riding horses and/or doing water sports at Inanda Dam. I am quick to tell people this surgery was the start of my new life and I’m never looking back.
Making the decision to have the bariatric surgery was not an easy one for me. I had fears, doubts, reservations and many questions. I researched other bariatric programs but after consultation with Dr Gert Du Toit and attending his seminar where I actually watched him perform the surgery I decided to do the surgery which resulted in a life changing experience.
This was not an easy task, but the constant motivation, strong support and a well-developed program at this centre of excellence by the entire multi-disciplinary team (Physician, Dietician, Psychologist & Surgeon) and the Hospital General Manager Dr Augusta Dorning gave me the positive reinforcement that made it possible for me to reach where I am today.
I am able to perform tasks I never thought I could and I can fit in a normal size seat belt when flying. I am now enjoying a much better quality of life and will forever be grateful for the great care rendered to me by Dr DuToit and the staff at Netcare St Augustine’s Hospital and especially the support from the Hospital General Manager – Dr Augusta Dorning and her Exco Team.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to have a better healthier life.

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