"I had all the necessary support in the doctor who operated on me"
At the age of 35, Marilena decided that she had to do something. The excessive kilograms had become a burden that she could no longer carry. She missed the one she was at the age of 22 when she had finished college.
Supple, mobile, capable of effort, with full control over her life. She was aware of the completely abnormal lifestyle she had and of the fact that a radical change was needed. On December 17, 2018, she got on the surgery table for a stomach reduction surgery and became a different person. Or more correctly said, she became again the person she actually was.
Addiction to junk food
“I gained weight beyond any limit after college, gradually, year after year. Every year I added a few kilograms. Sometimes seven, sometimes 10. I had a static job, at the office, I sat for hours on the chair and I became addicted to fast food, pizza, and carbonated drinks. I used to live only with this food. I used to eat once a day, but only carbohydrates. At one point I tried a diet and gave up after a few days, because obviously I couldn't follow a food plan correctly", this is how Marilena begins her story.
Today, she weighs 47 kilograms, she has a healthy and balanced diet, she is happy with the way she looks and she has rediscovered the supple young woman she used to be. In December 2018, she weighed 95 kilograms, she was 160 centimeters tall and she had a body mass index of 35.5 kg/m2, a fact that led to the diagnosis of second-degree obesity. Another effect of the excessive kilograms was chronic back and knee pain, and also fatty degeneration of the liver, and excruciating chronic gastritis.
"I decided that I had to do something, suddenly. A friend had gone through bariatric surgery and her transformation was incredible. It was the moment when I understood that I had a solution and that I mustn’t let a single day pass without doing, in turn, something radical for my health and appearance. And I did. I think no more than 10 days passed between the decision and the surgery itself", recalls Marilena.
The goal of bariatrics: improving health
For a patient who has indications for bariatric surgery, as Marilena was, the decision to undergo the surgery is the essential step. The protocols applied in the Center of Excellence in Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery in Ponderas Academic Hospital are strictly followed and they are in accordance with European and American guidelines in the field. The Center has all the required resources for the complete treatment of obesity and its associated problems, and the team, with multiple specializations, can provide all the required investigations before the surgery, the surgical (laparoscopic) treatment, and the post-operative monitoring program. In addition, as it’s natural, the approach to each case is customized for maximum efficiency of the surgical intervention. Special attention is paid to the direct communication between the patient and the doctor, as was the case of Marilena who became the patient of Dr. Ionut Hutopila, primary general surgeon and Surgeon of Excellence in Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery.
"I have to make an important confession for me that could be useful to other persons in more or less similar situations to mine. I was not supported by my family at all. On the contrary, their idea was that the surgery was not necessary and that it would put me in danger. Fake! I am living proof of the fact that the surgery is simply lifesaving! If the family wasn’t close to me, I found the necessary support in the empathy and professionalism of Doctor Ionut Hutopila, in the other doctors and nurses, who were simply fantastic! Persons dedicated to the profession, consummate professionals, so the gastric sleeve surgery was a success", confesses Marilena.
The goal of bariatric surgery is to improve the health of patients by controlling weight and associated diseases. Weight loss results in a change in the appearance of the body, which also brings an aesthetic benefit to bariatric surgery. "The purpose of bariatric surgery is to improve the health of patients by controlling weight and associated diseases. Weight loss results in a change in the appearance of the body, which can also attribute an aesthetic character to bariatric surgery. However, this is a side effect by which the energy stored in the excessive adipose tissue on the abdomen and thighs is reduced by unbalancing the energy balance. In the case of bariatric surgeries this result is maintained for a long period of time through reduced energy intake", explains Doctor Ionut Hutopila.
Referring to gastric sleeve surgery, one of the most used bariatric surgeries, Dr. Ionut Hutopila explains: "The surgical treatment of obesity is indicated when the patient fails to achieve weight loss through diet, physical activity and/or medication, and the bariatric surgeries themselves are performed through a laparoscopic, minimally invasive procedure, with small incisions (3-12 mm) in the abdomen. This type of surgery offers a very fast post-operative recovery, it has an extremely low risk of complications and leaves behind minimal scars".
Marilena stayed in the hospital for only three days, two of which were post-operative. "I didn't have any unpleasant reactions after the surgery. Not even pain. All I remember is the feeling of liberation and happiness. Two and a half years have passed since the surgery and my transformation for the better is radical. I weigh 47 kilograms, I have completely changed my lifestyle and I feel in my best shape", Marilena continues her personal story.
"Metabolic surgery aims for patient’s return to a weight as close as possible to the ideal one, but also for them to adopt a healthier lifestyle. The gastric sleeve bariatric surgery is the first step, where the doctor intervenes directly, but what follows depends to a great extent on their total participation. The surgery will help them control their appetite and hunger very easily, so they’ll eat little, but it also depends on the patient to choose to follow a healthy way of eating and living, and this includes giving up smoking, having physical activity, and a diversified diet. Regarding smoking, in particular, the recommendation, after bariatric surgery, is to give it up, because the risk of complications caused exclusively by continuing this habit is eliminated", adds Doctor Ionut Hutopila.
After the surgery, Marilena completely changed her eating style. The transition from a diet based exclusively on carbohydrates and carbonated drinks, which the patient defined as "addictive" to a balanced, varied diet, where the emphasis was placed on quality proteins, vegetables, and fruits, supplemented with correct water intake was easy and natural. Quitting the 10-15 daily cigarettes was just as easy.
"I would do the surgery again, just as confident!"
"I told you that I didn't have the support I wanted from my family. The psychological support, which it’s natural to be needed, came, however, practically by itself, and overwhelmingly in a beneficial way, from the multidisciplinary team at Ponderas Academic Hospital. Starting with the nurses, continuing with the anesthesiologists, the entire Ponderas personnel, and of course ending with my doctor Dr. Ionut Hutopila, they all surrounded me with so much attention, care, and empathy that I felt permanently, during the days of hospitalization, but also after the monthly checkups completely safely. I must say that Doctor Ionut Hutopila was my greatest support. From total, open communication, to the possibility of calling him, after the surgery, at any time, for anything. I had COVID, a few months after the surgery, a mild form of infection, but I needed medication. Dr. Hutopila called me to ask how I was and he helped me overcome the infection easily", concludes Marilena.
Metabolic surgery at Ponderas Academic Hospital
At the Center of Excellence in Bariatric Surgery, the care and attention for patients starts from the first contact with them and continues after discharge.
The complete assessment before the surgery, the dedicated circuit, and the safety of the surgical intervention, used by the entire medical team, as part of the bariatric patient protocol, ensure the excellent results of the above 13,000 patients operated on at Ponderas.
The program for monitoring the evolution of each patient, in the multidisciplinary team, was developed by Ponderas Academic Hospital, so that each patient can enjoy the best long-term results and be in permanent contact with the medical personnel, both for periodic checkups, as well as every time they need it.
Plans for the future: a healthy child
There is one more aspect, which in the context of Marilena's evolution deserves to be mentioned. One of the young woman's big future projects is to have a family. If before the bariatric surgery pregnancy was not possible, after recovery and returning to a healthy life, all she wants is to give birth to a child. "For us to fulfill this dream, we also came to the doctors of Ponderas Academic Hospital... And it seems that we’re on the right track", whispered Marilena.
It’s good to know that obesity is associated with reduced fertility and spontaneous conception can often be a challenge, as a result of the hormonal imbalance that occurs and causes the lack of ovulation (anovulation) or the significant decrease in ovulation (oligoovulation). Obesity is associated with polycystic ovary syndrome, which is the leading cause of anovulatory infertility, it affecting one in five infertile women.
After bariatric surgery, pregnancy can progress safely and without complications for the mother or the fetus.
Doctors recommend postponing pregnancy until the weight loss process has ended, which means 12-18 months after the surgery, to prevent possible nutritional deficits associated with fast weight loss as an effect of bariatric surgery.