‘We said this weight will kill us and we have a young son’

Irish Independent - Weekend Review - - FRONT PAGE - EIL­ISH O’RE­GAN

ADublin cou­ple who each tipped the scales at over 20 stone have told how weight loss surgery has trans­formed their lives. Deirdre and Alan have ended up los­ing a stag­ger­ing 15 stone (95kg) between them in re­cent months.

Deirdre, a pro­ject man­ager weighed 21-anda-half stone while Alan, a phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal tech­ni­cian, was 23 stone at the end of last year.

“We both tried ev­ery diet. We would lose weight but it was a vi­cious cir­cle and the weight would go back on again,” says Deirdre.

Both de­vel­oped a wor­ry­ing range of health com­pli­ca­tions in­clud­ing sleep ap­noea which, if not con­trolled, can lead to stroke or heart at­tack.

They were con­cerned they were on a slip­pery slope, but their main mo­ti­va­tion was their five-year-old son Char­lie.

“We said this weight is go­ing to kill us and we have a child to look af­ter.

“I lost weight breast­feed­ing Char­lie but I ended up putting on six stone in three years.”

The cou­ple de­cided to ex­plore gas­tric by­pass surgery and ended up be­com­ing the first pa­tients to un­dergo a ro­botic gas­tric by­pass cov­ered by health in­sur­ance in the Black­rock Clinic in Dublin. The ro­bot sprouts a num­ber of arms and is con­trolled by sur­geon Wil­liam Robb.

It al­lows the surgery to be more pre­cise and im­proves ac­cess to ar­eas that are dif­fi­cult to get to. The less in­va­sive op­er­a­tions leads to re­duced blood loss, less pain and a quicker re­cov­ery.

“Alan had the surgery in Novem­ber and I fol­lowed three weeks later,” Deirdre says.

Both are now on the road to lose more weight and have adapted to a new life of smaller por­tion food sizes.

Alan has lost nine stone and Deirdre has lost six stone.

They have low-fat, low-sugar foods and take sup­ple­ments to boost cal­cium and other nu­tri­ents.

“We al­ready feel the health and other ben­e­fits. I can run for a train with­out feel­ing I am go­ing to die.

“Your mind­set changes and you don’t want big por­tions. Alan won­ders why he did not do it years ago.”

Gas­tric by­pass op: Deirdre and Alan Mur­phy with sur­geon Wil­liam Robb

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