Angie Hill, 44, lives in Margate with her partner Elaine and their daughter Emily and two foster children. After trying many diets, she decided to have gastric wrap keyhole surgery in Prague, where costs are cheaper than in the UK. The procedure folds and then stitches the stomach to make a tube, restricting the amount of food that can be eaten. Height: 5ft 7in. Total weight loss: 5st 4lb.
January 2013 17st 6lb, size 22-24
I first heard about this surgery in May 2012, when I attended a meeting at Secret Surgery, which arranges procedures overseas. My partner Elaine had a gastric bypass then went to Poland for a tummy tuck in 2010. A gastric wrap is less extreme than a bypass, gives good weight loss and there’s a lower risk of vomiting than with a gastric band.
The only question was how quickly I could save the money for the operation – it cost £4,640 for the surgery, flights and accommodation, plus £350 for Elaine to go with me. My operation is booked for 15 January in Prague and I began my pre-op liquid diet of light yoghurts and soups on New Year’s Day.
My weight dramatically increased when I came out as gay, aged 14. Since then, I’ve yo-yoed. I’m a comfort eater, plus my portion sizes are too big, I snack and I have a habit of eating in the evening. I’ve tried every diet going and asked my GP for support but nothing has worked. My blood pressure is high, I get breathless easily and my joints ache. I also find I get emotional and upset about my weight and I hate wearing frumpy clothes.
April 2013 13st 4lb, size 16-18
I’ve lost 4st 2lb and I’m looking forward to getting even smaller. The surgery was straightforward. I spent two nights in hospital and three in an apartment in Prague. I was on liquid food for two weeks, followed by two weeks of purées, two weeks of mashed food, then soft foods such as porridge and eggs. Now I’m on normal food, but much smaller portions as my stomach is the size of a banana. I’ll have muesli or porridge for breakfast, soup or cheese and crackers for lunch, then dinner on a tea plate – such as haddock with a creamy sauce and vegetables. If I eat even a teaspoon too much I feel sick. I feel so much more alive now – I can actually play with the kids when I take them to the park. My knee doesn’t lock if I kneel. I’ve just been on an all-inclusive holiday and didn’t put on the half stone I usually would.
July 2013 12st 8lb, size 14-16
I only lost 3lb in May and 3lb in June so I’ve had to look at what I’m eating. I need to cut down on carbs and choose chicken and salad instead of a roast dinner. I do get very tired sometimes and I’ve had some hair loss, both of which are problems with gastric surgery. The follow-up to my surgery has been great. I log on to the Secret Surgery forum and I attend a monthly support meeting in Rochester, an hour’s drive away. I can also see my GP if I have any concerns, but I haven’t had to do that. My daughter Emily takes a photo of me every month, so I can see how much my body has changed. She used to call my bum my ‘bookshelf’. It’s gone now.
‘Without the operation, I don’t know what size I would have been by now’
October 2013 12st 5lb, size 14-16
I’m closer to a size 14 now because I’ve lost several inches. Elaine and I joined the gym two weeks ago. My operation has brought us closer as she has helped me learn how to eat post-surgery and we both feel better about ourselves. I used to be an apple but now I’m a pear, and it’s a thrill to be able to wear fitted clothes instead of my old baggy T-shirts and trousers.
December 2013 12st 2lb, size 14
I can walk into the gym with my head held high but there are some bits of my body that exercise can’t touch. My skin was stretched when I was bigger and it hasn’t snapped back so I’m having a tummy tuck in Poland next month, then saving for a breast reduction and to have some skin removed from my upper arms. Another problem is that surgery doesn’t remove the ‘head hunger’ that makes me want to eat when I’m not hungry. But without the operation, I don’t know what size I would have been by now.
I’m really positive about the experience. It was scary going abroad for surgery but I researched the hospital and the doctor, and I chose the procedure I felt would suit me best. I look at the portions being served in restaurants and I think, ‘How could anyone eat all that food?’ But I used to. I’m so glad that’s not my life any more.
Its really exciting news at Secret Surgery and we really couldn’t keep our latest news to ourselves; so here is a sneak preview.
Please take a look at our new purpose built 60 bedroom private KWS hospital in Wroclaw. We will be officially launching this medical facility in December with a view to sending patients here in the New Year.
Our MD & Founder Angela Chouaib personally was an Inpatient in this facility in August 2013 where she had a thigh lift; as she stands by only recommending services she has personally experienced herself first hand.
“Due to the continued success of Secret Surgery Ltd and positive feedback from our patients under the care of Dr Wacławowicz, KWS hospital will be used in addition to EMC Instytut Medyczny (which is reaching full capacity) and will be run by the wonderfully talented Dr. Wojciech Wacławowicz, Head of the Plastic Surgery. “
All the UK firms treated me like some meat on a conveyor belt and a mobile cash machine! It was only after a friend mentioned looking at having surgery abroad that I stumbled upon secret surgery.
The difference in care, support, price, friendships etc since discovering Secret Surgery has changed my life. As for the lipo, I wanted to get rid of my muffin top and marsupial pouch (as I called it) after having 2 kids in quick succession. So, much to the shock of all my friends (thanks mainly to the shock horror stories from the media) I headed out to Poland alone for the procedure.
I was so confident in Angela and Secret Surgery, I knew there was nothing to fear. The apartment was amazing, gr8 location and right in the city centre to venture round. Jack & Aga were fabulous and always contactable as was Angela. The hospital was jaw dropping amazing. Not all the nurses speak English so could sometimes be difficult in communicating but there was always an English speaking nurse somewhere on duty.
Dr W is a man of few words…. But a surgeon genius. He removed 2.5litres of fat and the results were immediate. I must admit for me there was considerable discomfort immediately after surgery and for 2wks after and the corset they tell you to wear, I wore for much longer (day & night) for probably 4-6wks but that was just a personal thing.
I used arnica salve every day to reduce bruising. I also massage my abdo every day and do regular exercises specifically in that area. When I first looked into this, I kind of ignored everyone who said this procedure isn’t a quick fix… It is and it isn’t, I still invest my time and energy into looking after the gr8 work of Dr W (the scars have virtually disappeared unless u look really close!) and 8mths on the results are as good as the day after surgery.
You’ll experience highs and lows after surgery as there are points during early recovery where you go a bit lumpy and you think to yourself ‘what the hell have I done’ but again, for me Angela was there throughout my journey giving insight, advice, reassurance etc… and still is; the care doesn’t just stop once the surgery is complete and the plane back on UK soil.
I hope this brief introduction of my experience helps others reach the right decision as to whether this procedure is for you or not. I cannot fault the company, team, hospital, clinicians (and anyone else involved behind the scenes.
MS J IN DEVON (NHS PARAMEDIC)
Two weeks ago I had my arm lift with Secret Surgery (the forth surgery with them) I trust and feel very comfortable with Angela , Dr Waclawowicz , Aga and Jack.
Everything is perfect with them ,from airport collecting me , to my operation and recovery. They treat me and look after me really well. Angela is the angel of secret surgery, she spoke every day with my children to update them with the operation.
I enjoy the time i spend in Poland, and i want to thank them all for this fantastic experience.
Mrs A, LONDON
I am feeling fantastic stiches are all out and I have had complete rest since Monday. I feel like a new woman. I looked in the mirror last night and for the first time I smiled.
I thank you Patricia Doc W Aga Jack what a team you are thank you for giving me Me back eternally grateful XXXXX
“The service was good in the UK, but not as good as in Poland, the little things like pain management, anti sickness, aftercare, and attention and care from the surgeon make a huge difference. One little example…. after my last op in the UK, I saw the surgeon very briefly the morning after my op, then it was 2 months before I met with him again. In Poland I seen him daily!”
HELEN FROM BLACKPOOL
Latest Feedback from our Yummy Mummy
Everything is great thank you healing brilliantly in no pain after my tummy tuck and vaser lipo, been mooching around the square already – Everyone has been great all the doctors nurses Aga and Jack are so attentive and nice, I’m very glad I come!
I had a little peek at my tummy tuck scar and although still swollen my scar is perfect, so neat I couldn’t believe it, I was worried before but now I’m not so much for my second op (breast Augmentation) just excited!
MRS B FROM BIRMINGHAM