I lost 23 STONE eating jelly - now I want NHS ops to fix saggy skin

19 December 2013  A MUM lost an incredible 23 stone by eating only JELLY.
But Evridiki Cruikshank, 47, is now battling with the NHS to get her saggy skin removed.
She gobbled down THREE LOAVES of bread day and drank 25 pints of water as she battled illness, anorexia, bulimia, anaemia, diabetes and depression.
Food “became her friend” and she ballooned to 32 stone.  She’d eat nothing but cheese or ham sandwiches plastered with butter and says she became addicted, just like a smoker or a drinker.
“It wouldn’t even touch the sides.  I wasn’t chewing the food, and not swallowing it.”
Then in 2010 she had a £22,000 gastric bypass -  a 12-hour keyhole surgery op - and within a year and a half lost the 23 stone.
During that time Evridiki  -  known as Ev - ate two or three little pots of jelly a day.
“I was told to eat custard and jelly after the bypass.   It was like eating baby food.  But I just couldn’t eat anything.  I could barely take a few sips of water.  I have a rare form of kidney-related diabetes - Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus - that means I have to drink loads.  That’s why I used to drink 25 pints a day”
Now she’s battling with the NHS to remove her saggy skin.  She says her GP isn’t fully supportive.
She’s had a tummy tuck, but wants to remove excess skin from her arms, inner legs and breasts.
“The skin is very sore.  I have problems lifting my arms and I look like an elephant.  It hurts, not just mentally, but physically as well.
She has been refused funding for surgery because it is considered cosmetic rather than clinical.
Evridiki, a mum-of-seven, suffered depression after the death of her husband in 1999 and the stillbirth of her daughter 11 years ago.
She said: “It’s all I could eat. I had malnutrition and ended up in hospital for weeks.”
Last year, Ms Cruikshank was given a tummy tuck at Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford, Essex, an operation lasting four hours.
However, she has now been refused funding for work to remove saggy skin from her arms and breasts even though she says it is causing her discomfort.
She said: “I have gone through hell to get this far. I’m a size 10 but I can’t show my arms and my breasts touch the floor.  It’s like looking at Dot Cotton in the mirror.
“The system isn’t right. I’m suffering and I shouldn’t have to.
“Everyone thinks what I have done is amazing, yet I have to carry on fighting. They won’t fund surgery because they say it has to be done for medical reasons. My tummy was different because it was hanging and causing a lot of pain.”
Ms Cruikshank, of John English Avenue, Braintree, Essex, who now weighs 10 stone, said many overweight people view gastric bypasses as the answer to weight loss.
She said: “You can’t go on a conveyor belt and come out looking like Madonna.”  
She says she was abused as a child and by her first husband, had a stillbirth and numerous medical problems.  
She now has a new partner, Daniel Draper, 32, a bricklayer.  She says she is grateful to her children – Pandora, 21;  Stephanie, 26; Christopher, 24; Siobhan, 23, Sophia, 21, Shannon, 18, and Jozef, seven, for all their support.                      
Lisa Harrod-Rothwell, the chairman of Mid Essex Central Eastern Commissioning Support Unit, said: “I can’t comment on individual cases, but I can say that some procedures are considered of cosmetic value. Making best use of our resources, on behalf of the 390,000 people we serve, means we can only fund procedures and treatments which meet clinical needs.
“As a local GP, I can appreciate some patients will not agree with the decisions we have to make and we are more than happy to discuss our reasons with them.
“In exceptional cases, where a clinical need can be demonstrated, the clinical commissioning group will consider funding on a case-by-case basis.