A Northwood pensioner has said she is eternally grateful to the surgeon who gave her life back after previously suffering from two failed operations.
Diane Wassing, 71, couldn’t eat solid food for two years after suffering from a rare condition which saw her stomach move up into her chest which was pressing against her lungs.
The condition known as a paraoesophageal hernia meant that Diane was eating a mix of pureed foods and mashed vegetables, something which she had been told would only last for weeks.
Diane opened up about her battle with depression that sparked from her condition which “felt like it was never going to end”.
Speaking to Northwood&RuislipNews, she said: “When I was first told, I was shocked because I wasn’t suffering to any great extent, I thought the doctor was joking when he told me my stomach had gone walkabouts, but he wasn’t.
“I was told after the operation I wouldn’t be able to eat solids which I didn’t think about. But after two years and two operations I was still on the pureed food which I can only describe as hell.
“Whatever I would eat would be followed by an intense ache in my chest and would result in me having to throw up what I have just ate. I was getting more and more depressed and would burst into tears most nights and would think to myself, what’s the point of going on anymore?”
Diane, who is a widow, has lived in her Northwood home for 40 years which she was “isolated in” for two years.
She explained: “I just felt so lonely. I wasn’t socialising with anyone and my life had changed for the worse. After my first operation which had clearly not worked, I went to see a consultant at a different hospital because it was really upsetting me. After a scan and some tests, the doctor told me my stomach had moved to my chest again – I just felt defeated.”
After a second failed operation, Diane booked a holiday in 2018 in an attempt to lift her spirits and eventually stumbled across a lady who would change her life.
She explained: “I decided to go on holiday because I hadn’t been abroad since I was told about my stomach. I had previously cancelled a holiday because I was worried about how my body would react to different foods and the plane journey.
“To no surprise and to more agony and tears, my advised diet of mashed foods and vegetables was thrown up after every time. I was at a point where I didn’t know what to do until my friend introduced me to someone who had the same problem as me but had an operation which had worked.
“After speaking to this lady, she recommended me to go and see Dr Isla at Northwick Park Hospital who changed my life.”
After going to see Dr Isla late last year, he agreed that he would operate on Diane despite the high level of risks which she described as “life changing”.
The three hour operation was a major success for Diane which has made her feel 40 again.
She added: “He (Dr Isla) has changed my life and given me my mojo back. I know I am no youngster but I still like to enjoy myself. I will always remember the first time I tried proper food after my operation, it was just a massive weight off my shoulders.
“After I ate the chicken with my daughter and granddaughter, I was waiting for the intense pain and it didn’t come. It felt amazing – I was smiling from ear to ear and have been ever since. I now walk around supermarkets subconsciously avoiding the meat isles and then realise I can now eat what I want.
“I am eternally grateful towards Dr Isla. He took the risk against his colleagues’ advice and I honestly can’t express my gratitude to him – he is an amazing man.”
Diane still suffers from mild heartburn and reflux but is happy with the results.