My bikini bod cost

Chat - - Front Page - By Su Hick­man, 44, from Ayles­bury, Bucks

As I sat in the doc­tor’s wait­ing room, I be­gan to feel ner­vous. I’d been feel­ing un­well for nearly a month. ‘Su Hick­man to Room Five please,’ cracked the Tan­noy. I told the GP my symp­toms. I was bloated, tired and felt like I had mild flu all the time.

‘It’s prob­a­bly just the menopause,’ she told me.

I waited a cou­ple of months to see if things got bet­ter.

But by Fe­bru­ary 2014, I felt worse, so I went back to the GP.

She said the same thing.

Maybe it was the menopause, but I’d just turned 40, wasn’t I too young for that?

As an ex­pe­ri­enced nurse, my in­stincts told me some­thing more was go­ing on.

‘I’m wor­ried about you, love,’ my hus­band Ja­son, 50, told me.

I went to a dif­fer­ent doc­tor at the prac­tice for a sec­ond opin­ion.

I told her every­thing that had gone on.

‘I’ll send you for an ul­tra­sound,’ she said.

Just three days later, I had the scan – and, later that day, I was called back in for the re­sults.

‘I’m sorry to tell you that you have stage-2 ovar­ian can­cer,’ the on­col­o­gist ex­plained to me. ‘Right,’ I replied. It was all I could man­age. To sud­denly have the worst-pos­si­ble di­ag­no­sis was a big shock.

But I de­cided there and then that I’d deal with it as pos­i­tively as I could.

‘What’s the plan for beat­ing this?’ I asked.

‘We’ll start you on chemo straight­away and then, in a few weeks time, you’ll need to have a rad­i­cal hys­terec­tomy,’ the on­col­o­gist replied.

I barely had any time to process what was hap­pen­ing be­fore I was hooked up to all sorts of machines and pumped with po­tent chemo.

Then, in May 2014, I had the surgery to re­move all my re­pro­duc­tive or­gans.

When they cut away the tu­mour, they dis­cov­ered that it’d grown to the size of a five-month-old foe­tus.

An­other four months of chemo fol­lowed the surgery, just to make sure that ev­ery last bit of can­cer was killed. It took its toll on my body. Not only did I lose all my beau­ti­ful long, blonde hair, I also started to pile on weight thanks to the steroids that I had to take as part of the treat­ment.

I’d al­ways been a trim size-12, weigh­ing around 10st.

By the end of the treat­ment, I’d piled on about 5st.

I felt dis­gust­ing – and I quickly got trapped in the vi­cious cy­cle of eat­ing for comfort and then feel­ing even worse and then eat­ing again.

I did make some half-hearted at­tempts to diet – but, as I was still feel­ing weak from bat­tling can­cer, I never re­ally stuck to any­thing.

I stopped go­ing out to so­cialise and in­stead would stay in and gorge on greasy take­aways, frozen piz­zas and end­less bars of cho­co­late.

Need­less to say, the weight con­tin­ued to pile on.

Six months af­ter the chemo was over, I went for a checkup and was told that every­thing was look­ing re­ally good. I was pleased, but I felt so aw­ful about my body that I didn’t feel like cel­e­brat­ing.

Then Ja­son started talk­ing about plan­ning what we should do to mark our 20th-wed­ding an­niver­sary. ‘Why don’t we re­new our wed­ding vows?’ he sug­gested. It was such a sweet idea, but the thought of walk­ing down the aisle in my state was re­ally hor­ri­fy­ing. Then, in July 2015, we went away on hol­i­day to Crete. Af­ter a re­ally dif­fi­cult year, it was sup­posed to have been a chance to un­wind and re­lax. In­stead, I spent the whole week in a size-22 swim­suit, feel­ing fat and so un­com­fort­able. When I got back home, I stepped onto the scales and then burst into tears when I saw that I weighed al­most 20st. That meant that I’d gained a huge 10st in not much more than a year. And, at just 5ft, I was as wide as I was tall! I’d had enough! It was time to take some dras­tic ac­tion… So I did some re­search into my op­tions and quickly de­cided that a gas­tric by­pass would be the best op­tion for me. ‘You re­ally don’t need to do this, I love you just as you are,’ Ja­son told me. ‘I know, but I need to do it for me,’ I told him. I un­der­stood his con­cerns – it was a dras­tic and per­ma­nent so­lu­tion – but I was de­ter­mined to go ahead. I tried to get it on the NHS, but I’d need to be 7st heav­ier than I was to qual­ify. So, in Septem­ber 2015, I had the surgery at a cost of £11,000. Just two weeks later, I’d lost 2st. My stom­ach was so tiny that I could

Weak from bat­tling my ill­ness, I never stuck to a diet

only man­age a mouth­ful of food at a time, so the weight fell off.

Just six months af­ter the gas­tric by­pass, I’d lost 8st.

I was a size-14 and start­ing to feel like me again.

But there was still one big prob­lem.

Be­cause I’d gained and lost so much weight so quickly, I was left with a huge sag­ging pouch of ex­cess skin on my belly.

Even though I’d lost loads of weight, I still couldn’t en­joy my new body.

I’d al­ready poured most of our life sav­ings into the gas­tric by­pass, but I’d still got about enough left to fund a £5,000 tummy tuck.

I went ahead with the surgery and had a whole stone of ex­cess skin cut away.

When I woke up from the anaes­thetic, I wasn’t in any pain at all.

I leapt out of the hos­pi­tal bed to look in the mir­ror.

My flabby, saggy belly was gone!

Now I had a flat, slim tummy just like I’d al­ways wanted.

You lit­er­ally couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.

Fi­nally, I had the con­fi­dence to re­new our wed­ding vows.

So, in Au­gust last year, me and Ja­son flew to the Mal­dives with our son, Ed­die, 18, to have a pri­vate cer­e­mony on the beach.

I was wear­ing a stun­ning size-10 wed­ding dress and feel­ing like a mil­lion dol­lars!

I might not have any sav­ings left, but now I’ve beaten can­cer

I’d lost weight but had ex­cess skin Re­new­ing our vows in the Mal­dives

I’d been comfort eat­ing... Now: my new bikini body!

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