For 25 years, father-of-three Wayne Talbot faced the daily struggle of living with Type 2 diabetes, before making a life-changing decision in 2015 that would free him of the health issues that had dominated his existence.
Weighing 167 kilograms at his heaviest, the 59-year-old Biggera Waters local battled with weight all his life, with obesity the underlying cause of his health struggles.
After decades of daily insulin injections, medications, blood sugar testing, doctors visits and blood tests .Wayne is now literally ‘half the man’ he used to be and is free from the restraints of the disease, self-managing his condition with minimal oral medication.
In June 2015, in a bid to control his diabetes, which was spiraling out of control, Wayne underwent weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery with Dr Jorrie Jordaan at the Surgical Weight Loss Centre. Since the operation he has lost an incredible 85 kilograms, no longer needs insulin, his medications have been reduced substantially and his blood pressure is now at a manageable level.
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GOLD COAST GRANDFATHER UNDERGOES THE SCALPEL TO TACKLE DIABETES AND OBESITY – AND LOSES 80KGS
One would have weighed more than 150kg. The other about 140kg. It was stinking hot and as they watched their children having fun, they were not enjoying themselves one little bi8t.
“And I said to them ‘Well, I used to be exactly the same’,” said Talbot, who has lost more than half his body weight since having weight loss surgery almost 18 months ago.
“You can kid yourself as much as you like but I was just fat.”
Talbot wasn’t just fat. He was also sick. Type 2 diabetes. High blood pressure. Daily insulin injections. A blocked ventricle in his heart. Medication galore.
Approaching 60 and weighing 168kg, he was headed to an early grave. Then, in June 2015, he took drastic action.
“Weight loss surgery was something I was never going to consider,” Talbot said at his Biggera Waters home.
“For about two years, my GP would mention it every time I’d see her but I had a very negative view of obesity surgery. It’s a full-on thing to let a surgeon tamper with your body but eventually I started to take stock and one day I just said ‘I’ve been doing a lot of reading and I’m ready to go to a seminar’.”
That seminar led to an appointment with Dr Jorrie Jordaan at The Surgical Weight Loss Centre, which to Talbot having gastric bypass surgery.
“It cost about $5500 with private health insurance, but I’ve spent three times that on diet products over the years,” he said.
The father-of-three now weighs less than 80kg. More importantly, he is healthier than he has been in decades.
“My diabetes is now in a really good range, the need for insulin is totally gone and my medication for obesity-related conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure has drastically reduced,” he said.
“Not all my medical conditions have been completely cured but my health is no longer dominating my very existence.”
Talbot is sharing his story to coincide with World Diabetes Day, which will be held on Monday [14 Nov.] to raise awareness of a disease that is considered one of the biggest challenges confronting Australia’s health system.
With Type 2 diabetes associated with lifestyle risk factors, the straight-shooting Talbot is an ideal spokesman.
“If you’re obese and don’t have something like a thyroid problem, you’ve got to admit you’re abusing your body,” he said after a lifetime of eating huge portions and indulging in sweets.
“My (adult) sons never said anything during their youth but you’d have to be silly not to realise I’ve missed out. I was the fat dad. My mates would be out there kicking a ball with their sons but I never had the energy.
“You knew exercise had to be done but I couldn’t walk the hills where we lived. I’d have to get in the car and drive to the Broadwater but you just don’t do it.
“My wife wouldn’t travel with me and I understand that. I’d take up a seat and a half. You go overseas to explore but I could barely walk… we were expecting our first grandchild this year but I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy her because my body wouldn’t allow me.”
That is no longer the case.
Now Talbot’s the one providing the obese with food for thought. Speaking of which, how did the fat blokes at Wet’n’Wild take his surgery revelation?
“They said it wasn’t for them – but I also said that for years,” he smiled.