The first patients to have weight loss surgery through a new Wagga service will be wheeled into the operating theatre next week.
Veronica Hardy and Rhys Holloway are two of the first three patients who will be having the surgery at Wagga Base Hospital on Tuesday through the publicly funded Metabolic Obesity Service, which was launched in May.
Prior to the launch, weight loss surgery in Wagga was only available to privately funded patients.
For Mrs Hardy, 55, and Mr Holloway, 31, the gastric sleeve surgery is coming after months of working with the health experts at the service.
Since May, Mrs Hardy has shed 25 kilograms and Mr Holloway about 10kg as they work on “a complete lifestyle change”.
“I think everyone tries the diet go-around, but it was just health with me. I was diagnosed with type two diabetes about two years ago and have high blood pressure and a bit of sleep apnoea,” Mrs Hardy said.
“I thought 'I really have to do something so I am around for the long term’.”
Mr Holloway, who has a young son, also wanted to make changes to improve his health.
“I was close to being diabetic and had lots of joint pain, back and knee problems and high blood pressure – all the things that come with the weight,” he said.
“One of the big things we learned is that diets don’t work because eventually, when the diet finishes, you go back to your normal sort of thing.”
Both Mrs Hardy and Mr Holloway are enthusiastic about the program.
“The support has been fantastic,” Mrs Hardy said.
“I have learned a lot of things that have helped me out, and helped the family out at home too,” Mr Holloway said.
“We’re using that knowledge and everyone at home has made some changes, which has been nice.”
Both Mrs Hardy and Mr Holloway are anticipating a recovery period of about two weeks, although Mrs Hardy said every patient is different.
There will also be follow-up physiotherapy, Mr Holloway said, as part of the two-year program.
“The support is just phenomenal. I think having that support to be able to stick with the program has just made it so much easier,” Mrs Hardy said.
“Having known people who haven’t had the support, they've gone backwards after the surgery,” Mr Holloway said.