نشر يوم 24. July 2019

Half Portion

It was a good decade ago that Michaela R. decided to have bariatric surgery. Even today, she celebrates every anniversary like her second birthday: "It was my last chance, and I took it."

The room is filled to the brim - with good humor. Michaela R., 54 years old, 158 cm tall and weighing 58 kilograms, is a positive, humorous and approachable woman. And you can see right away: she is happy. In the fall of 2009, things were different. The formerly very slim young girl had accumulated a huge amount of frustration in the course of her unhappy marriage, with the scales showing over 116 kilograms. A great burden with health consequences. Outwardly, the early 40-year-old hardly lets herself notice anything, but inside it looks different. Even the countless diets brought only short-term success: "Sometimes I lost 10 kilos, another time even 20 kilos," she recalls. "But I was never able to keep the weight off; on the contrary, after a short time I put it all back on and more." Michaela ends up in the vicious circle of the yo-yo effect, she is desperate.

Help sought and found

After her divorce, she moves from Mecklenburg back to Berlin into a small apartment. A new beginning! And she looks for help. She finds it in the consultation of Professor Dr. Jürgen Ordemann, then a senior physician at the Charité, now head physician at the Center for Obesity and Metabolic Surgery at Vivantes Spandau Hospital. With understanding, empathy and professional competence, he advises and cares for the now 44-year-old. First, Michaela completes a multi-modal therapy, a combination of nutritional counseling, exercise and behavioral therapy. The comprehensive program is the prerequisite for being able to claim health insurance benefits in the event of surgery. The Berlin woman then applies for gastric bypass surgery with the support of Professor Jürgen Ordemann. "The surgeon reduces the size of the stomach, cuts through the small intestine further down and connects it to the remaining mini-stomach. This leaves about 1.5 fewer meters of small intestine available for nutrient absorption and utilization. Because the food also no longer passes through the duodenum, hormone activities in the entire gastrointestinal tract change," says the chief physician, explaining the surgical method. Patients lose a large part of their excess weight quickly and permanently after the operation, secondary diseases improve in a short time and are often even cured.

New eating behavior

After the operation, Michaela is slowly introduced to the new way of eating. "I felt good the whole time, I didn't have any hunger pangs," says Michaela, who receives intensive aftercare in the first few months after the operation and also attends a self-help group over a longer period of time. She is not alone: she shares a hospital room with Simone B. , both of whom are operated on the same day. Since then, they have gone through thick and thin together, in the truest sense of the word, and they also attend the follow-up appointments with Professor Jürgen Ordemann in a double pack. Today, the two women are healthy and fit; one child's portion is enough to fill them up. They don't miss anything: "More just doesn't go in," Michaela describes it vividly. "The opulent goose leg at Christmas is a thing of the past, but there are plenty of delicious alternatives. Family and friends have long since adapted to this." Professor Jürgen Ordemann adds, "It's not just a matter of fitting in less, but of neurophysiological mechanisms changing hunger and satiety, appetite and metabolism. As a result, dieting is no longer perceived as torture, but as a normal state."

Healthy, acitve, alive

Michaela and Simone have been living with a gastric bypass for ten years. Life with their changed eating habits has long since become normal, but the joy and gratitude for the quality of life they have gained are still palpable: both women value their good health, enjoy their mobility in sports and everyday life, and the successful shopping trips they have made together. "I used to have to look for size 58, now I fit into 38. I've cut myself in half - a great feeling!" The excitement about this is still evident in Michaela's face. So she leads a normal life? "Yes, a nice life, and it feels lighter!"

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