21st schoolgirl who was 'unhealthier than a 100-a-day smoker' gets new lease of life after 6,000 NHS gastric bypass
Emma Money, 17, had the health of a 100-a-day smoker as so overweightBut claims her weight is due to genetic condition passed down from father
Was 'terrorised' and verbally and physically abused by school bulliesTook two years to find surgeon willing to operate on her
Emma with her mother, Gwen. The teenager maintains her weight was down to a genetic condition passed down from her father
Consultant Surgeon Roger Ackroyd at BMI Thornbury Hospital in Sheffield said PARAPHRASE “As long as patients are post-pubertal there is no age limit for the surgery.
'Leeds Primary Care Trust sent Emma to me because I had experience of performing this surgery on adolescents. The surgeons in Leeds are extremely experienced bariatric surgeons but I don't think they had done any adolescents before.'
The gastric bypass operation was not
performed on under 18s until a recent change in guidelines and is now
only available for patients with a BMI of 40 or more.
The operation comes with a risk of bleeding, internal hernia and deep vein thrombosis.
Emma's stomach was divided and formed
into a small pouch. Her bowel was then divided and brought up to join
the pouch in a complete overhaul of her plumbing system.
new stomach meant her food intake was restricted. She said: 'When I
first woke up, I thought I was dying because of how much pain I was in –
It felt like I was being stretched.'
She spent three days in hospital recovering and it took a further six months for her stomach to get back to normal.
Emma, aged four and three. She says that even at primary school, she never felt accepted – and was instead 'terrorised and singled out'
After two years of visiting specialists who told her she was too young to have the surgery on the NHS, Emma found a surgeon in Sheffield willing to operate
said: 'For months after the surgery, I didn't even notice I was losing
weight but people kept telling me I looked great and a lot healthier.
I started to get a lot of support around school. It was so weird
because the people who had bullied me were now apologising for what they
had done to me and offering to carry my bags.
'I'd never really had a group of friends before. Now, I do feel a lot more accepted.'
She now has a maximum of 1,000 calories a day and sticks to well-balanced healthy meals and tiny portions.
She said: 'Now I don't really think about kebabs or McDonald's because I know it will just make me poorly. I'm happy with a piece of fruit or some salad.'
Emma used to feel exhausted just
leaving the house or going shopping but is happy now she can go out
every weekend without getting tired.
She is still losing weight and hopes to drop another dress size.
Emma now weighs 15 stone. Unlike when she was 12 years old at school (right), she now feels more accepted
seeing a documentary about a plus size pageant, Emma decided to enter
Miss Teen Queen UK to inspire others – and she reached the second heat.
She said: 'it upset me so much when people judged me before they even knew my name.
'I hope that by participating in the beauty pageant will give other teenagers the strength to accept themselves the way they are and to always hold their heads high against bullies.
'I hope to inspire teenagers to always follow their hearts and achieve what they want to achieve and be who they want to be.
'I hope people will see the real me now, and I want them to understand that it's not easy. But above all, I hope to show the bullies that they are wrong. Now, I just feel like I can do anything.'
EMMA'S DIET BEFORE AND AFTER:
Breakfast: Three slices of white toast with full fat butter, whole tin of baked beans, fruit squash]
Lunch: Tuna sandwiches on white bread, can of Coke, crisps, fruit
Snack: Yoghurt or crisps
Dinner: Home-cooked meal such as lasagne or a meat pie
Twice a month: Lamb kebab with chips of 11″ pizza
Breakfast: One slice of brown toast with low fat spread or low fat cream cheese, tea/coffee with no sugar
Lunch: Shredded lettuce, a few few slices of cucumber (measured as one cup)
Dinner: Small piece of baked or grilled chicken breast with broccoli, cauliflower or sweet potato