By Mark McConville
AFTER losing a whopping 33st 9lbs in four years, an Indian woman is awaiting the entry of her name in the Limca Book of World Records.
Amita Rajani, 42, of Vasai, Palghar district of western India’s Maharashtra state, weighed 47st 3lbs before she underwent weight loss surgery for the first time in 2015.
Now, Rajani weighs just 13st 7lbs and is the heaviest Asian woman to have successfully undergone a weight loss surgery.
Dr. Shashank Shah, a renowned bariatric surgeon and founder of LaparoObeso Centre, at Lilavati Hospital and Hinduja Healthcare Surgical Hospital, Mumbai, helped her battle the bulge.
“Earlier, I was bed-ridden but I am independent now, and can move freely after battling the bulge,” said a joyous Amita Rajani.
“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.”
Rajani had a normal birth, weighing 6lbs and 9oz, but, her life took a turn for the worse when at the age of six she started gaining weight.
At 16, she weighed a massive 19st 11lbs and couldn’t perform her daily activities with ease. This took a toll on her self-esteem too. Even leading endocrinologists from India and from the United Kingdom were unable to find the exact cause of her obesity.
Amita’s misery continued as she piled up the kilos and weighed a whopping 47st 3lbs for the next decade, and was unable to step out of the house.
Her family were worried as she would require constant assistance, even to help her walk and carry out other daily activities. Moreover, Rajani would need oxygen support intermittently owing to breathing issues.
She was also given special nursing care with the help of hundreds of towels. For eight years before the surgery, she was confined to bed.
Soon, the tables turned when she visited Shah at his LaparoObeso Centre. After thoroughly investigating her, the doctor suggested bariatric surgery. That was the only time she stepped out of the house in 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 surgery was divided into two stages.
In 2015, she underwent first stage metabolic surgery which was a laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy at LOC.
Later, her condition started improving and she lost a lot of weight and could walk on her own.
In 2017, a second surgery- gastric bypass was performed on Amita at LOC, who weighed 22st then. So, with these two metabolic treatments and her efforts, she lost weight.
“Obesity is next to cancer or HIV, and is the mother of all diseases and is more common in women compared to men,” said Dr. Shashank Shah.
“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 fifth 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.
“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.”
Amita’s mother, Mamta Rajani, spoke of her difficulties in raising her and her joy at Amita’s weight loss.
“I faced a lot of difficulties while taking care of Amita,” said Mamta.
“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 would like to give all the credit to Dr Shah who is a knight in shining armour for us.”