Stomach surgery offers obese woman chance at life's wish list

A Saskatchewan woman is revisiting a list of life goals after undergoing surgery recently to reduce the size of her stomach in hopes of shedding pounds.
Kim Rumball is one of hundreds of people in Saskatchewan who have turned to surgical procedures on their stomachs, to aid in weight loss. (CBC)

A Saskatchewan woman is revisiting a list of life goals after undergoing surgery recently to reduce the size of her stomach in hopes of shedding pounds.

Kim Rumball, from Weyburn, is one of hundreds of people in Saskatchewan who have turned to surgical methods to address obesity.

'I want to lose a person basically."- Kim Rumball

Currently there are almost 600 people waiting for bariatric surgery in Saskatchewan.

Rumball had a sleeve introduced into her stomach to reduce its volume.

In a recent interview with CBC's Merelda Fiddler, she said the surgery was her last hope.

"Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem with the meals, the diet centre, the cabbage soup diet, Dexatrim ... that's from the 80's because I've been on a diet since I was 12 years old," Rumball said. "I've been hypnotized, the liquid kind of shake diets, raspberry ketones, green coffee extract, the California diet, the Atkins diet ... and exercise."

But none of it worked and her cravings for food remained.  

Two years ago, Rumball, who declined to reveal her starting weight, was added to Saskatchewan's waiting list for weight-loss surgery.

Dr. Gordie Kaban says there are many misconceptions about obesity and weight loss is not always as simple as exercise and diet. (CBC)

Dr. Gordie Kaban's specialized clinic has been seeing severely overweight patients for six years and has already treated about 400 people using surgical options. He says there are many assumptions about obesity that make it difficult to advocate for the overweight. Kaban says many people think obesity is a choice and the solution is simply to exercise and eat a healthy diet.

"It's often seen as a lifestyle disease ... I think its more complicated than that," Kaban said. "And I don't think we have a good handle on that."

Kaban is hoping more resources will be available to meet the waiting list for surgery.

Rumball says her recovery from the procedure has gone well, so far.

Just prior to the surgery, in preparation, Rumball was on a special diet and lost 60 pounds. She hopes to lose another 130 pounds.

"At least a 120, 130 pounds — a person," she said. "I want to lose a person basically."  

Rumball's goals also include things like going for long walks in town.

"To go all the way across town without thinking where's a park bench? Can I sit down?" she said, adding hikes in Hawaii are also on the list. "We could climb Diamond Head.  No, not right now. But ... actually I have a list of things that I want to do."

With files from CBC's Merelda Fiddler

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