A student nurse who lost nearly seven stone following gastric bypass surgery said she has been left with painful excess skin – and hopes to raise £6,000 to have it removed. Fiona MacDonald, 30, tipped the scales at 17st 7lbs after putting on five stone during lockdown, and in May 2021 took out a loan to have the £5,400 gastric op in Lithuania.
Mum-of-two Fiona flew out on July 6, 2021, and had the surgery two days later – slimming down to 10st 11lbs. She went from a size 20 to a 10 and her boobs shrunk from a DD to an A – but Fiona said she has been left with excess skin which rubs together and can create tears.
Fiona has to wear a tight corset to hold the excess skin in place and said it can often start to smell when she sweats. She now hopes to get surgery to remove the overhang on her stomach as well as have breast implants and an uplift, as she doesn’t feel feminine in her flat chest.
Fiona is trying to raise £6,000 for the breast surgeries and a 360 Fler De Lis operation, which will remove the excess skin – and has raised £675 so far. Fiona said: “In May 2021 I decided to take a loan out and go to Lithuania to have the surgery after speaking with a doctor there who talked me through it all.
“I still have to eat healthy and work out, it’s not a quick fix that meant I automatically lost weight, I still have to make good decisions. I got down to 10st 11lbs but my boobs are like midge bites now, I went from a DD to an A so they are very saggy and flat – I feel less feminine.
“The excess skin is really painful, the overhang on my stomach rubs badly and it can feel like it’s burning. With the nice weather coming it can be hard because the skin can start to smell when I sweat and I have to wear a lot of talc to stop it rubbing.
“When I run or go to the gym now I have to wear a corset belt to keep everything in place which is uncomfortable.”
Fiona said she has always struggled in her relationship with food and was constantly consumed by thinking about what she would eat every day. In 2017 she lost 5st following Weight Watchers but put it all back while at home during the pandemic with husband Andrew, 30 and kids Harris, six, and Marnie, four.
She hopes to get the surgery to remove the skin this year if she can raise the £6,000 needed. Fiona said: “I have always had a problem with my weight, I even remember my mum taking me to a dietician when I was seven.
“I have tried Weight Watchers, Slimming World, diet pills, and lost some weight but I always just gain it back. In 2017 I did Weight Watchers after I had my second child and lost five stone in a year.
“But I become obsessed with working out and watching what I was eating, it wasn’t healthy. During lockdown we were at home together all the time just eating and drinking and I gained back the five stone I had lost.
“I was at the lowest I had ever been, I was so physically and mentally unhappy. I didn’t recognize myself anymore.
“I realized I had tried everything, and I knew my relationship with food was never going to change. In January 2021 I started to look on Instagram at people who had lost weight through surgeries.
“I contacted my GP who said I wouldn’t be eligible to get it done on the NHS and that even if I was I would have to wait years. Then I approached costs but some surgeons in the UK said it would between 10,500 and £11,000 which I knew I couldn’t afford.
“Before the surgery I used to be obsessed with thinking about food all the time, as soon as I woke up I was thinking about what I was eating that day. It’s so sad because you are just stuck in that mindset and food controls your whole life.
“I used to love Italian food, pizza and pastas, but now I wouldn’t thank you for that stuff. I love lean food and can eat smaller portions and stay fuller for longer.
“I am not sure if I will go back to Lithuania or go Turkey to have the surgery but if I can raise the money I’d like to have it done this year.”