My Health Experience: Happy to be on a losing streak
Weighing in at 30 stone, I was told I would not see 55 years of age. I knew I had to do something drastic
Martin Foudy: ‘I couldn’t look in a mirror because I did not want to see what was in front of me. ’
I was always heavy, the kind of person who loved food and had a very sweet tooth. My weight was always a bit of an issue but after the break-up of my marriage in 1995, I started to comfort eat.
When I took a career break from work in 2008 to care for my elderly parents, I weighed 27 stone. By that stage, I was finding it difficult to walk, I was getting winded very easily and sweating profusely. Caring for my parents was a way out for me. They were both supple enough so it was really just a matter of keeping them company.
My weight ballooned from there on. Every meal was a three-course meal. Most mornings I had a big fry, the full works. I ate Kimberly, Mikado and Coconut Creams, chocolate digestives, two-pound bags of dry roasted peanuts, big slabs of Dairy Milk and drank litres of coke. The only time I knew I was full was when I had a pain in my stomach from eating so much.
I was nearly broke buying clothes from America on the internet because I couldn’t find anything to fit me in the shops.
It got to the stage that I was so overweight I couldn’t wash or toilet myself properly. I couldn’t pull up my own socks or tie my shoes. I had basically made myself a disabled person. I became very depressed. I couldn’t look in a mirror because I did not want to see what was in front of me.
I had read about gastric banding and knew I couldn’t afford to pay for it privately but I would have sold my soul to have it done. I heard Galway University Hospital was running a pilot scheme for people on medical cards and my GP gave me a letter of referral in 2010. After waiting a year, I was told it could be another two years before I was seen and I nearly lost the plot.
In the meantime, my GP became worried and he referred me to the obesity clinic again. I was called in October, 2012. Even though I knew I had been 27 stone when I left work, I hadn’t weighed myself since. I weighed in at the clinic at 31 stone and nine pounds. I was in a state of shock, how had I come to this?
When I went through what I ate with the dietitian, she told me I was taking 800 calories in sugar in my coffee alone every day – one-third of my daily allowance and that was before the chocolate, cake and biscuits. It went through my mind that suicide would be better than this but I could not do that to my partner and the people I loved. The registrar asked me how long I expected to live. I told him my father had lived until the age of 83 and my mother was going strong in her 80s so I expected to live until my 80s. I was almost 48 and he told me I would not see 55.