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Sister fails to recognise Spencer Green after he loses 17 stone
A MAN who has lost so much weight his sister did not recognise him has told of how he lost 17 stone following a gastric band operation at York Hospital .
In 2009, Spencer Green weighed almost 33 stone and had been diagnosed with type-two diabetes and high blood pressure.
Due to severe sleep apnoea, he had to wear an oxygen mask in bed and could not drive for more than half an hour without resting.
Mr Green, now 45, said he had spent years trying to lose weight through dieting and exercise to no avail before undergoing the operation in April 2010, which has seen him drop to about 15st 7lbs and halve his body mass index.
The weight loss has completely transformed his appearance, leaving his sister Toni unable to recognise him when friends pointed him out at a party.
Mr Green said: “My friends couldn’t believe it. When I have been to see them, they have walked past me.
“I didn’t see my sister for about four years but a year after the operation it was her 50th birthday. I went down and she was walking around, disappointed her brother wasn’t there.
“Even when she turned around and saw me she asked: ‘Who is this, are you trying to pair me off with somebody?’ When she realised it was me she said she couldn’t believe it.”
Mr Green, who works in IT at Clifton Moor in York and lives in Pickering, said he has long had a problem with food, but said the weight began to pile on when he took a sedentary job in logistics and began relying on takeaways.
He had been convinced he could deal with his weight problem himself until the onset of health problems linked to his weight made him believe surgery was his only option.
“People say you have cost all this money on the NHS, all you had to do was go on a diet. If I thought it was that easy I would not have gone for surgery.”
He said he thinks the cost of the operation is less than paying for the cost of associated health problems, adding that he no longer needs medication for his diabetes, his sleep apnoea has cleared as a result of surgery and his improved health is likely to mean he will work longer. Mr Green said: “It’s transformed my life.”
Earlier this year, The Press reported how York Hospital has spent almost £1 million over two years on gastric surgery to help morbidly obese people lose weight.
Ninety-one people from the York and North Yorkshire area had weight loss surgery at the hospital in 2010/11 and 89 people in 2011/12 at a cost of £958,702 to the NHS.
The number of bariatric operations – which reduce the size of the stomach or bypass it so that patients consume fewer calories – has become far more prevalent in recent years, rising from 42 patients undergoing surgery in 2008/09 by 145 per cent to 103 people in 2009/10.