Gastric band op saves Burnley man’s life

Steve Pulford who says he has got his life back after undergoing gastric bypass surgery (s)
Steve Pulford who says he has got his life back after undergoing gastric bypass surgery (s)

A BURNLEY man has told of his joy and hopes for the future after he underwent a life-changing gastric bypass operation – seven months after health bosses pulled the plug on funding for the surgery.

Since haemophiliac Steve Pulford (32) had the op on May 9th he has shed four stones and said he has never felt better. His new-found zest for life has even prompted him to travel the length and breadth of the country to raise money for a soldiers’ charity. On Friday June 10thhe set off with a group of friends who are cycling from John O’ Groats to Land’s End in aid of Help For Heroes. And although he will be driving the support van rather than riding a bike, Steve, who weighed 32 stones at his heaviest, is immensely proud of the achievement.

“The operation was life-changing. I would never have dreamed of doing this. I am so grateful for the chance to have the operation. It has given me my life back.”

The Express revealed in October how funding for Steve’s operation was withdrawn by NHS East Lancashire at the 11th hour.

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But after a review by the Trust just weeks later Steve’s surgery was approved and he had the operation at Salford Royal Hospital.

The procedure divides the stomach into a small upper pouch and a much larger lower “remnant” pouch and then re-arranges the small intestine to allow both pouches to stay connected to it, allowing patients to feel full after eating very small amounts of food.

“Since the operation I am walking a lot better, my joints are better and my clothes are falling off me. I feel so much better,” said Steve, of Standen Hall Drive.

Unfortunately after the operation Steve suffered a slight setback due to a complication with his haemophilia medication and had to spend a few days in hospital.

Now fighting fit and looking forward to the future, Steve is losing between half-a-stone and a stone in weight each week.

He spent the first few weeks after surgery on a liquid diet and has now moved on to pureed food and soup.

As recommended by his doctors he has six small meals a day and is careful not to overeat.

“My stomach is now the size of a large egg and so half a cup of soup fills me up.”

Steve was just 11 months old when he was diagnosed with haemophilia – a blood disorder which affects its ability to clot –

and has battled the condition all his life. But 10 years ago it became more severe and reduced his mobility.

As a result, he gained weight and, after several unsuccessful and expensive attempts to shed the pounds himself leading to bouts of depression, he went to see his GP who suggested gastric surgery.

He has found a new DJing job at a nightclub and is excited at what the future holds for him, girlfriend Allison and her young daughter. Once he has completely recovered he is even planning to raise funds to help other people who need weight-loss surgery.

“I feel so much better I can’t describe it and my mum and dad are over the moon. I had to go to the Manchester Royal Infirmary for a check up. It’s the first time I’ve been to a hospital appointment on my own for years. Losing the weight has already made such a big difference and it’s still coming off.”

To find out more about the bike ride or to sponsor the group visit www.bmycharity.com/joglers or www.facebook.com/home.php?sk-group_127452847332820.