A woman who has received £23,000 worth of weight loss surgery on the NHS wants another taxpayer-funded procedure to reshape her breasts.
Beckie Lawton, 44, who at her heaviest weighed 30 stone, had struggled with weight gain since childhood.
After years of failed dieting and exercising, a desperate Miss Lawton turned to her GP for help and in 2012 was approved for a £9,000 NHS operation to fit a gastric band.
Thanks to the surgery, and dieting and exercising, the mother-of-two lost a dramatic 18 stone, leaving her with unsightly and uncomfortable excess skin.
Last month Miss Lawton, of Rugby, went under the knife again and had a tummy tuck on the NHS to the tune of £14,000.
Miss Lawton said: “I know it is controversial to get weight loss surgery on the NHS, but people have to understand that patients who need a gastric band have usually struggled with their weight all their lives.
“Some people who struggle with their weight try to commit suicide, or turn to alcohol and drugs. If gastric surgery on the NHS helps these people, then no-one has the right to criticise.
“If I had stayed at the weight I was, I would have had a heart attack and died in a matter of years. I have two kids and they need their mother.”
Miss Lawton, a supermarket warehouse worker, is now recovering from her tummy tuck surgery which required nearly 200 stitches.
She is currently applying to the NHS for funding for an operation to raise and reshape her breasts which have sagged since her dramatic weight loss.
Such an operation would cost around £4,000 at a private surgery.
Miss Lawton said: “I have to wait to recover from my tummy tuck surgery so it will probably be around eight months before I can have any more surgery.
“I’ve lost the weight I wanted to, but now I need more procedures to deal with the way my body has changed.
“I have worked since I was 15, paying tax and national insurance, so I have a right to have these operations.”
Miss Lawton, who has two children Sophie, 21, and Jessica, 16, always struggled with her weight but she her weight increase further as her marriage began to break down in 2007.
Years of comfort eating meant she felt she had to hide her hulking frame under size 32 clothing.
She said: “I found it hard to leave the house. I struggled to breathing and was constantly anxious. I was hard to get out of bed in the morning. I did not want to face the world.
“Going up the stairs left me exhausted. I couldn’t go to the shops and I was tired all the time. I was sick of the way things were going and I decided I couldn’t wallow in self-pity for the rest of my life. I needed a change.”
In February 2012 Miss Lawton was fitted with a gastric band. Over the course of 18 months she dropped to the 10st 7lb, size 12 she is today.
She said: “People think a gastric band is an easy fix, but it is not.
“You can’t sit there and eat McDonalds all day and hope to lose weight. You need to work hard and change your lifestyle. You need to exercise and watch what you eat.
“You have to be focussed, you have to be in the right frame of mind. You need to commit to the weight loss 100 per cent.”
As soon as she recovered from her gastric band surgery Miss Lawton began a gruelling exercise regime which included daily floor exercises, power-walking, and using an exercise bike at home.
She kept her diet in check by swapping crisps, sweets and spaghetti bolognese for lean meat, fresh vegetables and fruit.
She said: “I feel much more confident now. I can wear clothes from nice shops and for the first time I can wear a dress without feeling embarrassed. Even my teenage daughter has started borrowing clothes off me.
“I have had an amazing transformation and my life is better in every respect. Once I have my next procedure then I will feel like a brand new woman.”
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