Charmaine Schwenn shares the journey of her incredible transformation and path back to health:
“I was always an overweight child and remember starting my first diet when I was 8 years old. My battle with weight seemed to be a constant cycle of losing weight and then regaining that weight and more. There were periods in my life where I lost significant amounts of weight, but I would always seem to regain that plus about 10 kg more. In 2006 I was tipping the scales at over 137 kg, my BMI was 46 and I had literally tried every available alternative to lose weight. I had tried every weight loss club, every slimming club with electronic machines, gym and exercise, shakes and pills and was utterly miserable. I could not remember a time in my life where I had not been on a diet of some sorts and all I could see was the cycle repeating itself for what remained of my life and getting heavier and heavier.
As an attorney, my natural inclination is to research “problems”. In my search for assistance with losing my weight, I came across the option of bariatric surgery. The more I looked into this option, the more I became convinced that this was the only long lasting option that would give me a real shot to lose the weight and keep it off. I also found in my research that the only way to successfully tackle this kind of surgery, was to find a “bariatric surgery centre of excellence”, that was serviced by a psychologist, dietician, endocrinologist and surgeon. It is the multidisciplinary team approach that ensures that you have all the prequalifying criteria in place to make your surgery as successful as possible.
One of the prerequisites before the surgery was that I had to lose 10 kg, which I have worked very hard to do. Following the surgery, my first notable thought was that I woke from the surgery in no significant pain. My second thought was that I did not “feel hungry” and that the limited portions that I was prescribed to eat more than satisfied me. I had absolutely no complications and followed the surgeon and professional team’s guidelines to the “T”. My weight literally melted away and as soon as I was cleared to do so by the doctors, I started exercising as often as I could to maximize the weight loss. In total I lost 70 kg and I have had various skin removal operations to remove the excess skin left from losing the weight. A total of 5 kg of skin was removed from my stomach alone. My weight loss was complete by early 2008 and I have maintained my weight since then through exercising regularly and watching what I eat.
Without a doubt it is the best thing that I ever could have done for myself. My only regret with my bariatric surgery, was that I did not have the funds to do it earlier in my life. I would without hesitation recommend the surgery to anybody who qualifies for it. I am absolutely healthy, able to lead a full active life, and the weight loss has done my self-confidence and self-esteem the world of good. I am so grateful to the Netcare Bariatric Centre of Excellence for their care and support. “
Surgeon: Dr Gert du Toit