42-year-old woman Amita Rajani, Resident of Vasai, Palghar district, Maharashtra, who pre-operatively weighed 300 kgs (maximum weight), is the heaviest Asian woman to have successfully undergone a weight loss surgery, and after 4 years, she weighs 86 kgs today! Dr Shashank Shah, a renowned bariatric surgeon and founder of Laparo Obeso Centre, at Lilavati Hospital and Hinduja Healthcare Surgical Hospital, Mumbai, helped her battle the bulge.
Childhood is that golden period of life; however, this wasn’t the same in case of Amita. Back then, she was a normal baby, weighing 3 kgs. But, her life took a turn for the worse, and at the age of 6, she started piling up kilos. At 16, she was massive 126 kgs and couldn’t perform her real-world activities with ease. This took a toll on her self-esteem too. Even leading endocrinologists from India and the UK was unable to find the exact cause of obesity.
Amita’s misery continued as she piled up whooping 300 kgs, and was unable to step out of the house. Her family was worried as she would require constant assistance even to help her walk and carry out other daily activities. Moreover, Amita would need oxygen support intermittently owing to breathing issues. Also, she was given special nursing care with the help of 100’s of towels. For eight years before the surgery, she was confined to bed.
Soon, the tables turned when she visited Shashank Shah, at LaparoObeso Centre, at Lilavati Hospital and Hinduja Healthcare Surgical Hospital, Mumbai, who thoroughly investigated for undergoing bariatric surgery for the weight loss. That was the only time she stepped out of the house after many years. Amita was not just diagnosed with super morbid obesity but also deranged cholesterol, kidney dysfunction, type II diabetes, and breathing problem.
Before surgery, she was prepared for two months. A separate ambulance was arranged where the door was removed, and then a large six-and-a-half-inch sofa was fitted in the ambulance to take her to the hospital. In the hospital, she was put on a tailor-made diet, and a special bed, clothes and a weighing machine was arranged for her. Her weight loss surgery was divided into two stages.
In 2015, she underwent 1st stage metabolic surgery which was a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy at LOC. Later, her condition started improving, and she lost oodles of weight and could walk on her own. In 2017, a second surgery- gastric bypass was performed on Amita at LOC, who weighed 140 kgs then. So with these two metabolic treatments and her efforts, she lost weight.
Dr Shashank Shah, a renowned bariatric surgeon and founder of Laparo Obeso Centre, at Lilavati Hospital and Hinduja Healthcare Surgical Hospital said “Obesity is next to cancer or HIV, and is the mother of all diseases and is more common in women compared to men. This is so because women have physiological reasons for weight gain like pregnancy or menopause while men are subjected to abdominal obesity. Significant abdominal obesity can give rise to chronic, life-threatening disorders like cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease. Also in women, being overweight is emotionally more attacking. Thus, obesity is a root cause in all those who lost their lives due to diabetes, kidney diseases, BP or high cholesterol.”
“Every 5th person in India used to be overweight to some extent. But, over a decade, every third person in India is overweight now. This is due to environmental influence which has affected the metabolism and obesity has now become an epidemic. Lifestyle does boost the baseline tendency to gain weight. It is a disease of metabolism induced by the environment and the substances which disrupt or injure the endocrine system. In some cases like Amita, these disturbances are extremely severe. But today, after four years of surgery, she is free from health issues like diabetes and blood pressure because of weight loss. Her kidney functioning is normal, and she has been asked to stick to her diet as well. Now, we are in a process to get Amita’s case registered in the Limca Book of Records,” he added.
Mamta Rajani, Amita’s mother, said, “I faced a lot of difficulties while taking care of Amita. I can’t even put it in words how much painful and appalling it was to see my daughter in such an unpleasant condition. Amita couldn’t move at all so I used to help her do chores like, changing clothes and serving her food as she couldn’t take it by herself. There was fluid retention as well, which was tackled with the help of towels and bed sheets that soaked the excess fluid discharged from her thighs. Moreover, even to move, she would require my help. But, finally our prayers were heard, and Amita is back in shape now. I want to give all the credit to Dr Shah who is a knight in shining armour for us.”
A joyous Amita Rajani stated, “Earlier, I was bed-ridden, but I am independent now and can move freely after battling the bulge. I can wear clothes of my choice and live life the way I want to. I’m on cloud 9 and would like to thank Dr Shah for helping me cut down those excess kilos, and for weight loss.”