Life was going downwards... like my boobs!

When I hit an all-time low, I needed something drastic...

Published by: Jemma Gillard and Matthew Barbour
Published on: 6 December 2012

Sometimes, you have to hit rock bottom to get the wake-up call you need to make changes in your life. Right now, I felt like the dark cloud hanging over me had gone.
Walking outside the doctor's surgery, I was so overcome with relief that I punched my arm in the air... wheezing from the effort.
‘I can't believe it,' I cried, tears rolling down my chubby cheeks.
‘I'm so glad,' my hubby Les, 53, grinned.
For the past month, I'd been convinced I was dying from cancer. After piling on the pounds for years, I'd started having trouble breathing. Walking up the stairs left me gasping for breath. Then my fingers started to swell so badly that
I'd been diagnosed with club fingers - something that was often found in people with lung disease. I was then sent for an X-ray.
‘We've found an orange-sized mass on your right lung,' the doctor had explained once the results came back. ‘There is a chance it could be cancerous.'
I'd been petrified. I'd only just become a doting granny to my one-year-old grandson Alfie. The thought of leaving him, Les, and my kids shook me up. I wasn't ready to die yet.
Now, after an agonising wait, I'd been told that the mass was actually a bronchitis infection. Thank god for that!
Back at home, my relief turned into anger. How had I
let myself get into this state?
I was disgusted with myself. It was only now that I began to realise just how unhealthy I was. It was no wonder, either. A 40-a-day smoker, I weighed over 18st
and lived off unhealthy Indian takeaways. I thought nothing of reaching for the chocolate fingers every night.
‘I've got to adjust my lifestyle,' I moaned to my daughter Stacy, 29, the next day as I was clearing out my wardrobe. Just looking at my size 24 clothes hanging up like tents made me feel ashamed of myself.
‘If you give up smoking, I'll do it, too,' Stacy said.
Cutting out a nasty habit was one thing, but I needed to shift the flab as well!
Soon, I was swapping burgers and chips for healthy vegetable curries. I started going to the gym twice a week, too.
Needing inspiration, I bought a size 14 dress as my target. And it worked! Within nine months, I lost over 8st.
‘I can't believe it,' Stacy whooped. ‘You've lost so much weight!'
‘I just wish I could tone up a bit more,' I replied.
To be honest, my weight loss had been bittersweet. I should have been feeling great, but I still felt ashamed. As, under my clothes, I hid layers of excess skin.
‘I don't know how to get rid of this,' I moaned, lifting my top to show Stacy the huge folds of flabby flesh. She tried not to show it, but I knew she was shocked. There was enough skin there to make a coat!
And the thought of getting naked, well, that was too much.
‘I'm just changing into my pyjamas,' I said one night, heading to the bathroom.
‘Why don't you get dressed here?' Les replied, worriedly.
In 32 years of marriage, I'd never thought twice about him seeing me naked, but not any more...
Strangely enough, I'd had more confidence undressing myself when I was bigger!
Stumbling into the bathroom, I looked at my reflection. Gross! My boobs now hung saggy, nearly reaching down to my belly button. My tummy and bottom were just as bad, too. It was as if my skin had melted!
Soon, I'd started wearing my old clothes again, as I tried to hide my figure in baggy outfits. Instead of feeling sexy and carefree, like I should, I felt saggy and frumpy.
‘I just can't carry on like this,' I'd sigh to Les. ‘I've lost weight but I look disgusting.'
I felt desperately low. To the outside world I now looked great, but inside, I'd hit rock bottom.
Desperate, I went online for help. I then stumbled across an article about cosmetic surgery. Could this be the solution to my problem? Except it would cost me a bomb...
‘Whatever makes you happy, love,' Les said, desperate to help. ‘I can see you're not happy at the moment.' But it was around £8,000 for a boob lift and tummy tuck! We had our retirement to think of.
‘You can't take money to the grave,' Les reasoned. ‘You need to start living life to the full...remember that bucket list you put together?'
I giggled then, as I knew he was right. A couple of years before, I'd put a list together of the things that I wanted to achieve - from scuba diving to learning to ski. I hadn't been able to do them because of my weight. And I still wouldn't be able to now if I didn't get rid of this saggy skin.
Knowing I had Les' support, I took the plunge and got a tummy tuck and boob lift.
When I woke up from the seven-hour op, there were so many bandages, I looked like an Egyptian mummy!
Two weeks on, the nurses were slowly peeling them off to reveal my new body. Looking into the mirror, I couldn't believe the tight and toned stomach that reflected back was actually mine. Although I had a couple of scars, the sagginess had completely gone.
‘The surgeon took 6lb of skin from your stomach,' the nurse said to me afterwards.
‘I look like a new woman!' I gasped.
Soon, I was able to wear small, sexy clothes again.
‘It's great to see you so happy,' Les grinned one night, pulling me in for a hug.
The surgery was so successful that I decided to go further and have a complete makeover.
Along with a facelift, I've now had an upper bum lift, and I'm currently saving up for a lower buttock reshaping. I reckon I'll have splashed £20,000 of our retirement money on all the operations, but both of us agree it was definitely the best investment I could have made.
Not only have my saggy boobs got perkier, my life has, too! My new glam figure has given me the belief that I can achieve anything if I put my mind to it. I've also started to tick things off my bucket list and actually managed to go scuba diving in July this year! I suppose you could say both my mind, and body, are now looking upwards, instead
of downwards!
Jackie Brown, 55, North Killingholme, North Lincolnshire