A typical work day required Idrees to spend 14-16 hours at the desk
“I already weighed 115 kg at that point, but after starting this new job 4-5 years ago, I started gaining weight drastically. I used to be a site engineer, and would move around a lot for work. But after becoming the operations manager, I was tied to my desk most of the time. I hardly left my desk even for food, and whenever I felt hungry, I would order delivery over the phone and eat it at my desk. I’ve gained a whopping 55 kgs,” Idrees said.
A typical work day required Idrees to spend 14-16 hours at the desk. “I could never eat on time, and once at work, there were no fixed mealtimes. One day I would eat at 8am, the next day at 10 am, and on the third, at 2pm!”
Once, after a severe stomach ache, Idrees was taken to the emergency ward of the Thumbay Hospital in Ajman. He weighed 170kgs by then and stones were found in his gall bladder.
Dr. Tamer Saafan, bariatric and laparoscopic surgeon at Thumbay Hospital, who was handling Idrees’ case, said that he found Idrees very dejected and without hope of ever getting back into shape.
“The patient has been obese for the last 15 years and although he tried hard to reduce weight by following various diets, he failed. He was also on the verge of developing diabetes and was hypertensive, due to his obesity. He just could not move around much. That’s when we decided to go in for a weight-loss procedure called Sleeve Gastrectomy (involving reducing the size of the stomach only, without any intestinal bypass or artificial device),” Dr Saafan told Khaleej Times.
“Since his bladder was also full of stones, we decided to do two procedures simultaneously – Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy (LSG) and Laparoscopic cholecystectomy (a procedure in which the gall bladder is removed by laparoscopic techniques) in the same session.”
Although it was a complex case, they had to do both the procedures from the same openings on the patient’s body, and were able to complete both surgeries successfully in 2.5 hours, the doctor added.
What added to the complexity was the patient’s size. “Since he was extremely obese, the instrument was not reaching his abdomen, but we managed it.” The patient lost 14kgs in just a week after the surgery and aims to lose around 50kgs in a month.
Talking about the new diet that Dr Saafan set for the patient, he said: “He has to follow a week by week diet with fluids in the first week; mashed or grated food in the second week; the third week can include a soft diet (not hard to digest) and in the last week he can resume a normal diet.”
The patient was asked to follow a few other instructions. “He must drink lot of water during the day, cannot eat and drink at the same time, has to avoid sweets and high calorie food, and has to increase his intake of proteins now that his stomach is small; we don’t want him to lose muscle but lose fat,” the doctor pointed out.
The next important tip from Dr Saafan is not just for his patient, but for all of us: stop eating just before you feel completely full. “Do not eat a full stomach, was my advice to Idrees. You must never overeat, as it burdens your stomach beyond its capacity.”
Idrees’ sons – aged 20 and 15 – said their father’s surgery was a big lesson for them. “We definitely don’t ever want to go through what our father did. We will ensure to keep fit and active,” they said.