Jo-Anne Campbell – My weight loss transformation

Jo-Anne Campbell shares how a major weight loss transformation has given her new-found confidence, motivation and a love for running.


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Jo-Anne Campbell (46) lives in Grassy Park, Cape Town with her husband, Wayne. They have four children, aged 29, 21, 16 and nine years old.

For most of my life, I have struggled with my weight, but the weight really started piling on during my teenage years. Nonetheless, I lived my life, got married and had children.

It was only after a health scare in January 2011 that it finally dawned on me that I needed to somehow lose weight. Severe pain in my abdomen led me to the hospital and after several tests, forty-three adenomas (non-cancerous tumours) were found on my liver. Each tumour had a three percent chance of becoming cancerous while one tumour had bled and became hard, measuring 5 x 7cm in size.

During all the tests, it was also found that I had Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

To treat these tumours, surgery was needed. However, before surgery could take place, the doctor gave me a month to lose at least 7kg and to lower my glucose levels. Thankfully, I achieved this but not in the healthiest of ways: I was too afraid to eat so didn’t and took high doses of metformin.

I underwent surgery though only four tumours could be surgically removed; the rest were inoperable as they were meshed in my liver. It was discovered that my hormones were the cause of the tumours hence why a liver transplant wasn’t viable as my body would only make more tumours. I was told I had to follow a healthier diet and exercise to improve the condition of my liver.

The surgery was successful, and I managed to lose 20kg straight afterwards but a year later, the weight once again piled back on.

During this time, a span of five years, I was prescribed various diabetic medication and was then lastly prescribed insulin. Every time I consulted with my diabetes nurse educator, she advised me to increase my insulin dose. Eventually, I was injecting myself with 120 units of insulin per day at the age of 38.

Choosing the gastric bypass route

At this stage, my diabetes was out of control and I realised that I was not going to live until the age of 50; my youngest child was only three years old at the time.

I told my endocrinologist that I feel like I am dying and so he gave me my last option and recommended I undergo a gastric bypass, a type of weight loss surgery. For eight months, I was seen by a panel of doctors, dietitians and psychologists who monitored my health and mental state until I could lose at least 6kg and was fit enough to go through with the operation.

The dietitian recommended a meal replacement shake at least once a day or have it for supper. I only managed to lose 4kg before the surgery but could still go ahead with the planned surgery. A check-up of my liver was needed before the surgery and thankfully no tumours were seen anymore.

“I have regained my humanness through this transformation.”

No quick fix

The surgery was a success and a complete life saver: my diabetes is non-existent, and my blood pressure and cholesterol all came down to normal levels. The recovery period of the surgery went very well, and the doctors were constantly monitoring me during this time.

I started taking LIFEGAIN® Advanced Nutritional Supplement, after the dietitian discovered that the meal replacement she suggested contained milk and I was lactose intolerant. Hence, I wasn’t losing any weight. So, she opted for this nutritional supplement rather.

As soon as I started using LIFEGAIN, having it in between meals, I began to lose the weight. Every day since my gastric bypass, I drink LIFEGAIN, especially for its extra vitamins as my body now struggles to absorb vitamins from the small portions of food I eat.

Life as I knew it changed drastically for me, especially after losing 35kg in 10 months. But, it’s no quick fix. In order to keep my weight constant, which has been for four years now, I have to eat clean (foods with no preservatives) and exercise. I never in my life thought I would become a runner but now I am; I’m loving it. I do weight-lifting and many other physical activities I never thought I would attempt.

The fruits of weight loss transformation

Before the weight loss, I was extremely self-conscience and insecure about my body and that had placed a huge strain on my marriage. Now, with all the new-found confidence, my husband and I have a better understanding between us and even communication with each other has improved. Though, the only negative aspect is because of being so confident I have much more responsibilities at work and personal projects, which has impacted on family time.

This weight loss transformation had a major impact on how I see myself as a person; from bordering on depression, zero confidence, self-loathing and totally demotivated, I’m the total opposite of these traits now. I have regained my humanness through this transformation.

Memoirs of a diabetic survivor

After going through this whole experience, my husband, Wayne, who supported me during my journey, inspired me to write a book, Memoirs of a diabetic survivor, about my transformation and how it has totally changed my life. I would like to share my journey with others to let them know determination and the will to live is very strong in all of us, and we should make the decision to move forward in spite of what is happening in our lives or with our health and have no regrets after.

The book will be available on E-books Amazon and on other platforms by the end of July 2024.


This article is sponsored by LIFEGAIN® Advanced Nutritional Supplement in the interest of education, awareness and support. The content and opinions expressed are entirely the patient’s own work and not influenced by LIFEGAIN in any way.


Laurelle Williams is the Editor at Word for Word Media. She graduated from AFDA with a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Live Performance. She has a love for storytelling and sharing emotions through the power of words. Her aim is to educate, encourage and most of all show there is always hope. Feel free to email Laurelle on editor@diabetesfocus.co.za

MEET OUR EDITOR


Laurelle Williams is the Editor at Word for Word Media. She graduated from AFDA with a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Live Performance. She has a love for storytelling and sharing emotions through the power of words. Her aim is to educate, encourage and most of all show there is always hope. Feel free to email Laurelle on [email protected]


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