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How bariatric surgery has changed my life

While overeating and wrong choice of foods are fairly common factors in obesity, there are a few overweight people who are cast into the obesity net by a cruel blow of fate. Abu Dhabi resident Marcus Lynock is one among them.

The 44-year-old, who moved to the UAE from the UK back in 2015, began to struggle with his weight after a freak motorbike accident in Kuwait, which nearly left him immobile nine years ago.

And in June 2016 a heavy, 111-kg Lynock took a life-changing but risky decision to undergo weight-loss surgery in Abu Dhabi. He now weighs 85kg and is as fit as ever.

"I was always that fat guy in the corner of a party, but now I am the one dancing on the table."

The 44-year-old said that as a teenager and young adult, he was the picture of health and fitness. A fitness lover and keen outdoorsman, Lynock took pride in his physique and his passion for a nutritious diet.

However, after the accident in 2008, which left him with a weak knee and broken leg, his passion for sport forcefully ended. This put Lynock in an utter emotional state of isolation and depression.

"It was a terrible time. Some things happen in life to some people and all they do is turn to food for comfort, and that's what I did. It was a downward spiral - I couldn't exercise because of my injured leg and I was eating what I thought was normal."

Once lively and sociable, he withdrew into a shell and chose to spend time alone. His rapid weight gain became an excuse to isolate himself.

Enough is enough

In 2016, after a year of researching about weight-loss surgeries and attempting fad diets, Lynock thought enough is enough and decided to take one step forward.

"For months I was thinking of having the surgery because I already tried everything. I went on multiple diets that failed. I realised that it was more about my medical condition than weight."

Lynock suffered from a whopping 10 medical issues due to his weight, including diabetes, which made him fear for his life, and more importantly, fears not seeing his daughter grow up.

"My medical issues were getting worse and worse, I was on the road to deterioration and everything was just going downhill."

He said that the risk of having the surgery was minimal compared to the risk of not witnessing his daughter graduate.

"I used to think to myself: I have a one-year-old, if I don't do something now, I won't see her grow."

Lynock turned to help from Dr Mohammed Al Hadad, Consultant Bariatric Surgeon, Consultant General Surgeon, Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery at Healthpoint. 

Dr Al Hadad discussed with Lynock the last-resort option for obesity treatment - the gastric bypass, a weight-loss procedure, which has become very popular in the UAE recently.

Dr Al Hadad has led almost 200 weight-loss operations since the beginning of this year alone. However, he stressed that choosing to go ahead with weight-loss surgery is not a decision that can be taken quickly. The patient's physical, emotional, mental state, and his lifestyle-related diseases, must be examined.

"It's important to check patients intensively for other medical conditions. The next step is to assemble a multi-disciplinary bariatrics team that will help the patient go through the weight loss journey."

"Patients are made aware that having bariatric surgery is a major decision on their part and requires lifetime commitment," added Dr Al Hadad.

During his medical check-up, Lynock was horrified to find out that he was not just suffering from obesity, but from a host of other serious medical conditions, including diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and sleep apnea.

"I was breathing only 52 per cent of oxygen while I slept and was snoring quite loudly."

Lynock was informed that he needed to shed weight and demonstrate a commitment to drastic lifestyle changes, before the surgery.