“I want to go to school,” says eight-year-old Zoya Khan, the youngest patient from Mumbai who has undergone two weight loss surgeries. Even as the medical community stands divided on bariatric surgeries on obese children, the doctor, who carried out the second surgery on Zoya, said on Monday that she has lost 7.6 kg in just 20 days.
“This is the first time that she has walked with the help of a walker. All these years, she has only crawled or stood up with support,” Zoya’s mother Tajkhatun said. She also said she can see a visible difference in her daughter. In November 2011, Zoya underwent the first sleeve gastrectomy, which involved reducing the size of the stomach and stapling it. She was only 11 months old then and weighed 19 kg. After an initial weight loss, she continued to gain weight as her parents could not control her eating.
Last month, she underwent a revision surgery which involved further reducing the size of the stomach and putting a non-adjustable silicon ring around it so that it does not expand. From 39.6 kg, Zoya has come down to 32 kg now.
“She has lost weight rapidly. Her snoring and disturbed sleep pattern have also disappeared,” bariatric surgeon Dr. Mohit Bandhari, who carried out the revision surgery at MPCT Hospital in Navi Mumbai, said. He said it will take nearly six months for Zoya to achieve normal weight as a child of her age and about three years to walk properly on her own.
“Since she has never walked, her muscles are bent. We are making her walk with the use of a push knee brace and a customised walker,” physiotherapist Deepali Rathod said. She said Zoya can stand for 10 minutes at a stretch and walks in the hospital corridor five to six times a day.
Zoya is currently on a liquid diet. She is given juices, soups, milk, and pureed food. Before the revision surgery, her diet consisted of tea and biscuits twice a day, daal, rice, vegetables and chapati four times a day. Her rice consumption during each serving would be like an adult. In between the meals, Zoya would eat chips, biscuits, chocolates and ice cream.
While she will spend another week in the hospital for occupation therapy, doctors are now looking at tying up with a centre near her house in Santacruz where she can continue the therapy. “We will be taking care of her medical expenses,” Dr. Prince Surana, director of Surana Group of Hospitals which manages MPCT Hospital, said.