Real Life

Real life story: “Being overweight caused swelling on my brain”

Kirby was told she was a 'ticking time bomb' and could have a brain aneurysm at any time.
Kirby McGregor

Kirby McGregor, 29, shares her true life story:

Wedged tight in the passenger seat, 
I felt the armrest dig painfully into my thigh.

“Ouch!” I groaned, turning red with embarrassment.

My boyfriend, Ricky, and 
I were passionate about travelling, but 
I wondered 
how I’d get through the 14-hour flight to Abu Dhabi 
in such discomfort.

I’d always been chubby, and over the years I’d tried every type of diet and gym workout possible, but none of it worked.

At least I had a man who loved me and assured me 
I was beautiful.

But weighing in at 148kg, I worried Ricky might one day leave me for a girl who was healthy and active like him.

When we finally arrived in Abu Dhabi, we signed up for 
a desert tour.

“Isn’t it amazing?” Ricky said, admiring the crimson sunset falling over the sandy dunes.

I nodded weakly.

All I could think of were the camels waiting to take us tourists for a ride.

Although trekking through the desert on a camel with Ricky would have been incredibly romantic, 
I knew I was far too heavy to 
be allowed on them.

So I added it to my long list of magical moments I’d missed out on because of my hefty frame.

My unhealthy eating habits made me balloon to 148kg.

Back home, 
I fell back into my usual routine of eating to excess.

Instead of just one helping of pasta 
and salad, I’d 
have three.

When I visited 
a laser eye surgeon to help with my short-sightedness, he took one look at my pupils and turned grim.

“I suspect there’s swelling on your brain,” he said.

A specialist confirmed this.

“It could develop into an aneurysm 
and burst at any time, possibly causing death,” he said. “Losing weight will ease the pressure.”

I was stunned.

My size had made me a ticking time bomb.

The words chilled me, but 
I kept the warning a secret from Ricky and my mum.

I calculated that I’d need to lose at least 60kg to get to a healthy weight.

That could take years! I didn’t have that kind of time.

Surely there was 
a quicker way to 
get my life back?

After doing 
some research, 
I discovered gastric sleeve surgery.

“I want to do it,” I told Mum.

She and Ricky just assumed I’d had enough of being fat.

I’m so much happier now.

Going into surgery, sweat ran down my forehead.

I was petrified I’d never wake up.

If you don’t go through with it, you’ll die anyway, I told myself.

Me and Ricky in Zanzibar.

The operation, which removed half of my stomach, was excruciating.

For two weeks I could hardly eat anything.

But the weight fell off and 
I soon got down to 79kg!

Ricky and Mum cried when 
I finally revealed exactly why I’d gone under the knife.

Now, Ricky and I are planning to head off to South Africa where we’ll go hiking and camping in the wild.

I’ll slip comfortably into the aeroplane’s seat and thank my lucky stars I’m alive.

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