Tell us where it all began. My story started in March 2007 when I had a RNY Gastric Bypass surgery for super morbid obesity. At my heaviest I weighed 26st 10lb or 180 kg. I struggled to walk, move around in general and my life had come to a stand still at 38 years of age.
And where does Brett come into it? I have two children and I noted my son Brett was also starting to put weight on and I blamed myself as a parent for poor food choices resulting in my son ballooning to 17st 10lb and a size 44 waist at 16 years of age. When my son saw the weight dropping off me following my surgery, he too took drastic action and started dieting and exercising. In 6 weeks he dropped to 10 stone 12lb and a size 28 waist. Within a year of my surgery I had dropped 84kg but both my son and I were left with a large apron of skin. We both applied for funding in 2008 to our local PCT for cosmetic surgery but were refused funding.
How did you find Secret Surgery? Six appeals and four years later I came across Angela Chouiab, the managing director of Secret Surgery, via a discussion group on Facebook. Angela had experienced weight loss surgery and funding issues herself in the UK and had gone to Poland for her own surgery in 2009. From the onset of talking to Angela you knew she was a genuinely caring, empathetic person who was eager to help.
What convinced you to go with us? I initially got a quote from Angela for myself in 2012 but was anxious about going abroad for surgery because of the media portrayal of surgeries abroad. However after further discussions with people on the secret surgery group and the outstanding support Angela offered to patients, I decided to book for my son and I go to to Poland on the 6th February 2013.
Was it difficult making all the arrangements? Angela arranged everything for us down to the last detail and was available night and day for any questions or anxieties I had. My son and I flew to Wroclaw on the 6th February and was met by our driver Jack who spoke perfect English. He took us to our apartment that Angela arranged for us. Having somebody to sort out every detail for you takes the stress and pressure out of trip.
How did everything go once you had arrived here? The apartment was lovely, clean and tidy. We received a call from Aga who was the translator and support for us in Poland and arranged for us to cone into hospital on the 7th Februrary 2013 for our surgeries. Obviously I was doubly anxious because my son was having surgery too and I wanted everything to go well for him. Aga was lovely and beautiful with it and introduced us to DR Waclawawowicz who looked at our tummies and gave a realistic and honest account of what was achievable through the procedure. He advised that my son would also benefit from vaser liposuction to his hips to achieve an amazing result.
What did you think of the hospital? The hospital was AMAZINGLY clean to a standard I have never seen in the UK. I was shown my room and Dr Waclawawowicz agreed to come and visit us later to answer any questions. Aga Poprawska and the staff all made us very welcome including the lovely Hanna Gregorowicz who booked us in and made us both feel welcome.
Did you feel supported during your stay? Yes! Angela also put me in touch with other ladies from the UK prior to flying out so that we could all meet up and support each other. This was really useful for me as both ladies Cara and Carolynn were at different stages post op which helped me see what my son and I would be experiencing very soon. Our room was 120% clean and beautifully welcoming.
How did the surgery itself go? We spent the day settling in and were told every step of the way what would happen. My son opted to go for surgery first and he was told when, how long this would take, that he would be put in recovery next to me which reassured him. I was also reassured by Dr Waclawawowicz prior to my surgery that Brett’s surgery had gone well, which reassured me prior to going into surgery. I woke in recovery next to my son and we were both cared for overnight by a lovely nurse overnight who came hourly to change dressings, empty drains and administer pain killers.
And after the op? We then returned to our room the following day to recover. Throughout this time Aga continued to visit and support us night and day and Angela rang daily to check how we were and to update the support group of our progress. On day two post surgery Jack collected us and took us back to the apartment collecting medication from the pharmacy for a small fee.
How are you doing now? We are now on day 4 post op. we have had a trip back to the hospital for dressing changes and met by Aga and Dr Waclawawowicz who were pleased with our progress. We are overjoyed at the results so far and are so thankful to everyone at Secret surgery for everything they have done for us.
Oh, lovely! Anything else you’d like to tell our readers? Dr Waclawawowicz and Aga even came and sat with us in the patients lounge for 30 minutes just talking about our experiences, where would you get that service in the UK? Although our journey is still ongoing I can honestly say that I would not hesitate coming back to Poland through Secret Surgery for any future surgery. Angela, Aga, Hanna and Dr Waclawawowicz are now my friends and I hope to remain in touch once back in the UK. You have all contributed to positively changing my son and my lives and feel overwhelmed at the life changes this surgery will bring to our lives. Thank you so much!