Operation to lose 20st 'saved my life'
KIERAN Keeling, who has shed an incredible 20st in weight, says he owes his life to the vital surgery which health cutbacks are now denying many other severely-obese patients.
The 44-year-old from Murrintown outside Wexford, tipped the scales at a massive 37st just two years ago before having the "last resort" surgery to remove a large part of his stomach.
"I would now be either dead or bedbound needing 24-hour care if I had not had the surgery," said the father-of-two who had to give up work as a national manager of a pest control company because of his size.
"I was always kind of heavy but my weight ballooned after a car accident when my leg and back were damaged. I was caught in a vicious circle, as the weight increased I become less mobile. I had a big appetite and would have large-portion sizes and a big plate of 10 or 12 potatoes with my dinner."
Kieran developed serious health complications including high blood pressure, psoriasis, pre-diabetes, chronic fatigue and sleep apnoea.
"I had become morbidly obese and it reached the stage that I could not do anything about it. It did not matter what food it was, you end up getting comfort from eating. I tried every diet and could never lose it.
"Weight Watchers is fine for those who want to lose three or four stone. The only way for me was the gastric surgery and the doctor referred me to St Columcille's hospital in Dublin."
Kieran faced an 18-month wait before getting an appointment and getting the expert guidance and advice he needed to go on a weight-loss regime to prepare him for the surgery.
Kieran is now 17st and eats small portions of food three times a day. He walks 15 miles a day and is on a waiting list to have sagging skin removed.
"If treatment for alcoholics or drug addicts was stopped there would be uproar. It is unfair to treat food addicts whose lives are in danger any differently."