Bariatric surgery kick-starts new journey for the whole whānau

As the whānau navigator support worker for He Awatea Hou, Ora Hohaia has recently had the privilege of meeting and working with Kaye Edwards (Ngā Puhi) and her whānau. She reflects on their collective journey and the impact the health literacy programme has had on both Kaye and her whānau.

The ultimate outcome of our programme is for people to embrace healthier lifestyle changes together and my goal as navigator is to coach and encourage people to reach and sustain these changes. Kaye and her whānau were more than willing to take up the challenge.

From left to right; Kaye’s daughter, Kaye’s mother and father, Kaye, her brother Jonathan and Ora.

Kaye, a South Auckland local, was always determined to make the changes that were needed. She knew her body was breaking down and after trying a range of weight-loss diets, Kaye began to consider the option of surgery. At first she was apprehensive about bariatric surgery as she was well aware of the stigmas attached to it,  but came to recognise its benefits and how it can support people who are overweight and who have medical conditions which can make it nearly impossible to lose weight on their own.

Kaye was nervous and unsure of what was going to happen, but she was happy to be able to check her concerns with me and to share and reflect on what she didn’t understand. During her journey, Kaye asked many questions and took everything she could on board. Seven months after being enrolled in the programme, Kaye was off to surgery.

Both Kaye’s husband and brother both reported health gains and weight-loss as a result of Kaye’s cooking, with an increase of leafy greens being added to every meal. Kaye is the cook in her household so whatever she cooked, everyone had.

Word of Kaye’s success and approach soon made it’s way down the kūmara vine and wider whanau travelled from Tai Tokerau to stay with Kaye and learn the regime.

In the lead up to surgery, Kaye had to demonstrate a regular reduction in weight. She achieved this through small sustainable changes like cutting down on serves of bread at dinner, adding in vegetarian meals twice a week, increasing leafy greens with dinners, and cutting down and eventually cutting out sugary drinks.

The whānau were happy to support Kaye and while they didn’t participate in the final stages of Kaye’s dietary journey to surgery, they were very much with her in the six months prior. Kaye is now three months post-surgery and doing really well.

As the navigator of He Awatea Hou, it has been a wonderful experience working alongside Kaye and her whanau and being able to witness the transformational changes made within a short time frame. It also goes to show that with good information, support and determination, positive change is possible.

Tama Tū, Tama Ora -Through physical wellbeing we thrive.

Nā Ora Hohaia