After having symptoms for nearly 5 years, in July 2015 (aged 24) I was finally diagnosed with Achalasia and advised surgery would be the best option for me. By this point, I had deteriorated to a stage where I was struggling to keep down both food and liquid. Every day would be a battle; choking on my food, numerous trips to the toilet to regurgitate, heartburn (particularly at night) and waking up choking on saliva several times night. As a keen runner, I used to run half marathons several times a year however as I deteriorated I was unable to fuel my body to run longer distances and found myself getting dizzy when exercising. The lack of sleep was affecting my concentration at work and I always felt tired/run down due to not being able to maintain a balanced diet.
As soon as I was diagnosed with Achalasia I did the usual google and find out everything you can! With it being such a rare disease, I also joined an Achalasia support group online to network with others all over the world with Achalasia. Throughout my research and communication with the support group, one name kept being mentioned… Ian Beckingham! Through the support group, I became friends with a number of people who Mr Beckingham has previously operated on and heard how their lives had been completely changed for the better – they couldn’t recommend him enough.
I am based in Chester and originally had appointments with two surgeons in Chester to discuss the Heller Myotomy. I mentioned I had heard of a specialist based in Nottingham and both surgeons knew straight away that it was Ian Beckingham I was referring to. It turns out both of the surgeons in Chester knew Mr Beckingham and had been trained to perform the operation by him. Neither of the surgeons in Chester had much experience with Achalasia and they were both of the opinion the best outcome for me would be to be seen by Mr Beckingham.
Within weeks, I had my first appointment with Mr Beckingham. It was refreshing to finally meet someone who was really interested in Achalasia and was confident he could significantly improve my symptoms. We discussed the operation (Heller Myotomy with Toupet Fundoplication) in detail and booked a date for the procedure to take place.
On the day of my operation Mr Beckingham and his team were fantastic. The operation was a success and I was discharged from Hospital the following day. Straight away I could feel an improvement, liquids we’re going down perfectly without getting stuck. I slept solidly with no heartburn and no choking.I am now three weeks post op so still at an early stage in my recovery and I feel great. I have moved from a soft diet to eating harder sorts of food like chicken, pasta etc (which I haven’t been able to eat in years!) and have not had any difficulties swallowing or keeping the food down. The five incisions on my stomach are almost invisible and have healed perfectly.
I have started running outdoors again and have already signed up for more half marathons this year. I feel like I have got my life back.
I cannot thank Mr Beckingham and his team enough for operating on me. It’s cliché but he really has changed my life. I wouldn’t have trusted anyone else to do the operation.
Rike R. – Chester
I am 60 Years old. I work as a mountain guide at home and abroad.
My summer was booked out when I discovered that I needed a hernia repair.
This was a potential catastrophe as I could not see how I could manage the repair and still continue my guiding activities. Many clients would stand to miss out on their holidays and I could be stranded in the UK without the requisite travel insurance.
Ian Beckingham was quick to reassure me and, together, we worked out how we could fit in the repair, and make time to convalesce between treks.
My next trek was The Tour du Mt Blanc – a challenging trek of around 200km with 10 kms (6.2 miles) of ascent/descent and passes through parts of Switzerland, France and Italy.
The operation went well and I was in and out of hospital in one day. I rested on the following day and took no painkillers throughout. After one week I was moving around comfortably. After two weeks, I was driving my car again. After four weeks I was walking for two hours a day. After six weeks I started my trek. After eight weeks I successfully completed the trek, leading a group of 11 clients, following two weeks of challenging climbing and walking.
Here I am on the summit of L’Aiguillette des Posettes at 2201m with Mont Blanc behind – exactly six weeks after my hernia repair.
Ten weeks later I am training to run in my next half marathon.
My grateful thanks are due to Ian Beckingham and his team. When I was told that I could manage this operation and still honour my summer commitments I was incredulous. However, it is true. Using the Laparoscopic procedure, I was able to get back on my feet and lead a normal life within only a few weeks. Unbelievable!
PS – I subsequently found out that Ian has run the Tour de Mont Blanc Trail non-stop in 34 hours in the famous UTMB race. It took my guided group 8 days to do the same route!
Trevor Riddiough (Mountain Guide)
Dear Mr Beckingham
I would like to thank you for giving me my life back. I’ve always been active in my 60 years and I was amazed how quickly living with a hernia affected my confidence and restricted my movements – even making sitting down uncomfortable. My recovery from the operation has been straightforward and in addition to walking a couple of miles a day, I have now restarted yoga and swimming, I can’t wait to get back on my bike!
Please thank the staff at Woodthorpe Hospital, in particular the anaesthetist – the last time I had a general anaesthetic I felt very disorientated when I came around; on this occasion I simply opened my eyes and felt completely at ease. I would recommend the keyhole surgery to anyone – my husband had a similar operation a few years ago with a different surgeon using traditional (open) surgery and even though his operation was a success, his recovery took far longer.
SJ – Nottingham
It is Jane Day, do you remember me?
Well, it has been a long and interesting journey since my band was fitted on 8th March 2010. Today, with great celebrations, which did not include food, I reached the weight loss target I had set for myself. I weighed in at 150 lbs (10 st 10 lbs)! At my heaviest I hovered between 21 st 7 lbs and 22 st. I feel so much healthier now. I am so grateful that you helped me to get a foot on the ladder and acted as my dietician, inspiring me to commit to this weight loss programme. I feel you were vitally important in helping me by motivating and encouraging me. I have never forgotten the sessions you led at the Park Hospital and hope these are still on going. If you ever need anyone to speak about recovering from obesity, I would be only to pleased to come along, with a positive report of how it can work, if you work it!
Would you please pass a copy of this email to Mr Beckingham, with my sincerest thanks and then he will be aware that I will make an appointment to see him in the new year. Currently, my band is doing its job really well. I should advise that I have used the Slimming World group programme to lose the final 40 lbs in just over 6 months. A steady but consistent loss. I shall continue to attend weekly. I have to maintain this healthy weight now and this seems to be a wise method of keeping a check on it.
Thanks to you and Mr B – Today I am living!
Free from the prison of fat!
Merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous 2016
Jane D. xx
Mr Beckingham has recently operated using keyhole surgery and mesh to repair a femoral hernia in my left groin. Prior to the operation I had been quite poorly as the hernia was in the crease of the leg/groin making even sitting difficult and I was feeling very tired. The operation was short – I was coming round from the anaesthetic in around an hour. I had some bruising but the 3 small incisions were very neat and within a couple of hours of the operation I was up and about and had a meal. I stayed overnight as the op was not until early evening and the next morning I was better than I had been for months. I rested a bit for 3 days but was very able to walk around the house and short distances and get my meals etc. On day 4 I started walking around the village increasing distances each day, by day 11 I was walking 7-8 km a day and on day 19 I started swimming again, although I had to be careful with the leg kick! The day after the op I noticed a numb area at the top of the inner thigh but from 3 weeks (when I started swimming) the feeling gradually returned and with no pain and is almost back to normal now. I avoided lifting too the first few weeks but by 3-4 weeks found that felt OK and did not pull, and was driving again after 8 days.
I have just visited Mr Beckingham for my 8 week check. I am as good as new now, and actually feel better than I have done for a couple of years. I think maybe I had the hernia for a long while before I found a lump in April this year. So if you are feeling nervous about your operation – please don’t be. I was, but I felt as soon as I met Mr Beckingham I was in good hands and had complete confidence in him. I am very pleased with the outcome and can only thank him for being such a good surgeon and a very nice person too.
Helen R. – Consultant, Coach, Trainer
Dear Mr Beckingham
My personal thank you to you and the anesthetist and to all your team for looking after me so well before during and after my operation earlier this week (Laparoscopic Hernia repair).
There are many varied events and places which we would vote for in the seven wonders of the world. Very high on my list would be the wonder of modern medicine and surgery.
Well done to you for learning and displaying your own skills so well to my personal benefit.
You won’t recall but in the adjacent room to the Operating Theatre and immediately prior to me going off to sleep and to being wheeled into Theatre the Theatre doors swung open mistakenly at the same time as you were all enjoying some humorous interlude which led to your team laughing spontaneously. It certainly had the effect of relaxing me even more so.
Gordon G. – Mapperley Park
I just wanted to say a massive thank you for making my life normal again. I came to see you at the Park Hospital in November 2014 feeling dreadful and in pain . I had been so ill on and off for nearly three years with acid, feeling sick all the time, vomiting, raging back pain and excruciating stomach pain . You diagnosed me instantly and said that I needed my gallbladder removing and that I would then feel normal again. You performed the operation 2 weeks later on 1st December at the Park Hospital . You and the other staff took excellent care of me. You were very professional but extremely approachable and pleasant which put me at ease. I felt better immediately after the operation (save for the pain from recovering – which painkillers took care of) and I started to feel so good after about 3 weeks. I was back to the gym and my exercise routine after 4 weeks . I am left with only tiny scars which I know will disappear. This has changed my life. I feel so good now; it’s wonderful. When friends ask me how I am, I tell them that I am a new woman – because I am !
Thank you again
J C – Nottingham
I apologize for the delay in sending over my thanks to you, it definitely has no bearing on my treatment which has been absolutely fantastic. I have been working away for the past few weeks and have had very limited access to the internet. I am back in the gym training, continuing to take things steady and only focusing on my bench at the moment. If I am able to make it to the World Championships at the end of May, or any future international competitions, then I will owe a huge part of my success to you. My employers have also been very understanding and have sent me on away work which is much less physically demanding in comparison to digging in either very wet or very dry clay, which is allowing me to become fitter again. I hope all is well with your work, research and weightlifting career!
“Having always been involved with weight training and regular exercise and sport, I took up competitive powerlifting and soon after I won the 2014 GBPF North Midlands Powerlifting Championship and 2015 GBPF Equipped Bench Press Championship, but was unfortunately experiencing bad groin pain whilst training. I was later told that this was due to an inguinal hernia, and at the age of 24, I was slightly concerned about the effects this would have on my training and my overall physical health.
From the initial consultation Mr Beckingham was very friendly and showed a genuine interest, and was very reassuring regarding the procedure and a return into weight training, even visiting on the morning of my surgery to give further advice. Throughout my visits he made sure I was completely aware of the healing process, and the correct steps to get back into the gym at a time that would ensure I would not cause any further damage. The procedure itself went very well, and my wounds healed exceptionally fast, with the two lower entry wounds only just visible at nine weeks after surgery. The discomfort in the area of my hernia has been minimal, and I was able to be up and about very soon after surgery. The only issue I had was wanting to be able to return to exercise sooner, but again Mr. Beckingham gave me great advice and put things into perspective. If I am ever to require another hernia repair, or any other laparoscopic procedure, Ian Beckingham will be at the top of my list.”
Jesse Johnson (UK Powerlifting Champion 2015)
At 66 years of age and never been in hospital for any operation I was feeling very apprehensive, after having a period of debilitating pain with an hernia, but after a consultation with Mr Beckingham at the BMI Park Hospital, any feeling of worry quickly disappeared, I was informed in a straight talking way of what an hernia repair would entail.
My operation was planed for 4 weeks later in April 2015 a bilateral hernia repair with key-hole surgery. I had 3 small cuts which were very tiny; no stitches/staples, just glue which was not any problem, and no more medical attention was needed, and I still find it hard to believe that I had NO PAIN at all.
I was duly told to take 2 paracetamol and 2 ibuprofen for when the pain arrived…. which it never did.
Mr Beckingham came to tell me all had gone well and I could go home if I wanted to…. needless to say I was booked for an overnight stay so I did take the opportunity to be superbly looked after by the staff at the Park and left for 9.30am the next day.
The only discomfort which that’s all it was: still no pain, was a very slight soreness in the repair area, and for 3/4 days I needed a push from husband to get out of bed only because one pulls oneself up with stomach muscles so needed a little push, but I have had much worse muscle ache when doing sit-up in the process of trying to retain a flat stomach!
Within 5/6 days I was back to normal with no fear of being gripped with the hernia pain, and if ever the situation arises that I need to have surgery again I do hope that its in Mr Beckingham remit.
My very special thanks to Mr Beckingham & his team for making my 1st hospital experience “special” and I feel very lucky to have had such a skilled and compassionate surgeon for my 1st time in hospital & I cannot recommend him highly enough… Many, many thanks.
Sheila H – Ravenshead
In July 2009, I had an endoscopy and biopsy carried out by IJB and was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Knowing the statistics about the disease, my wife and I feared the worst, but IJB was optimistic that I was suitable for surgery and he spent some time explaining fully and clearly the surgery he planned to perform. We appreciated his concern and courtesy and were even able to share a sense of humour about my condition. Like IJB, I am a runner and through his encouragement I felt able to promise that when I resumed my running, I would run to fund-raise for his charity, Pancreatic Cancer UK.
Two weeks later, I had my Whipples Procedure, when IJB re-organised my insides during eight hours on his operating table. Thoughtfully, he ‘phoned my wife on completion of the operation to reassure her that it seemed that all had gone well. Recovery from such major surgery is slow and, at times, difficult, but all went well and with his approval and encouragement I resumed my running just ten weeks after surgery. My next charity run in April 2010 raised around £2,000. I also went back to my part-time work at the end of the year.
I have since been in regular contact with IJB for routine check-ups and to share news about each others running form. His continuing interest in and after-care for this patient could not be more appreciated. Every contact I have with IJB begins or ends with a well-deserved “Thank you for my Whipples”.
I am a lucky man; lucky to have the surgery and to recover so well, and lucky to have had the right surgeon to make it all possible.
CP – Radcliffe-on-Trent – March 2013
At 22 stone aged 22 it soon became apparent that if I didn’t take drastic action I’d probably end up extremely ill by the time I hit my 30’s if not dead. I’d always been a chunky baby and going into my teens it was obvious my weight was an issue. After leaving school, meeting the man of my dreams and venturing into the working world I became content and my weight spiralled out of control.
After joining numerous Weight Watchers or Slimming World groups & failing at this I decided to try the much more ‘hardcore’ very low calorie diets. I followed The Cambridge Diet and Lighter Life.
I failed at every diet I had ever tried to follow and had to resign to the fact I had an obsession with food and needed some serious help. The Gastric Band was really my last resort to live a healthier longer life.
My life has completely changed, I attend the gym 4/5 times a week and enjoy doing so. My social life is amazing. I’d always been a recluse because of my weight and would have never been seen out with friends enjoying myself. My confidence is booming & I couldn’t be any happier.
The after care team were fantastic especially Dietician Marc, I had his full support throughout my journey and even beyond my aftercare we still catch up. He helped make the hard times easier & having a monthly appointment with him certainly helped me stay on track.
It was a huge decision to make with the cost and surgery involved but the best one I’ve made in my life. It definitely hasn’t been a miracle cure and I’ve had to work at it but I’m now 9 stone lighter & healthier.
RH – Nottingham
The decision to go through weight loss surgery was not easy one to make; I have struggled with my weight all through my adult life. Trying one diet after another – always managing to loose a couple of stone then putting it back on with an extra few pounds each time. I never had a balanced view of food – I would either be feeling on top of the world when losing weight or the total depression and anxiety when it was going back on.
I needed to stop the vicious circle and take control over food and the hold it had over my life. I’m not sure which the turning point was……….. Not fitting in an aeroplane seat, ordering a take away and pretending it was to feed a family, not being able to walk up one set of stairs without resting or just not wanting to feel I wished I was invisible anymore.
I did some research and felt like the gastric band procedure would really help me learn control over food by restricting the amount I could eat in one go. My first appointment was with Marc to talk through the effects of a band in more detail, I found the meeting a really use full starting point, giving me lots of facts around weight loss surgery and the support I would receive from the team at the Parc. Marc also made it very clear that the band is a tool to aid weight loss – not a miracle cure! The band doesn’t stop you craving or even eating chocolate/drinking wine but it does restrict the amount of food you choose to eat by making you feel fuller quicker and for longer.
I booked my surgery for September 2010, weighing just over 19 and half stone. I’m 5ft 8 and was 37 at the time of surgery. I felt very nervous in the lead up to the surgery but the information provided by the team was excellent and all my questions answered.
The procedure its self was very straight forward, with a one night stay in hospital and very little pain. After getting over the first few days I started to feel excited that this actually could be it – finally getting in control.
I chose to take the one year after care package, in the first few months I had several meetings with Marc and Mr Beckingham to take me though the steps of building up to a good balanced diet, monitor my weight losses and to fill my band to the right level of restriction I needed. Once I got the hang of good band food I found that I was actually eating a much healthier choice of food and certainly not feeling I was depriving myself. I ate what I wanted to but kept my portion size to the band guidelines of fist size portions bulking up with veg and always served up on a smaller plate.
Over the year I had many meetings with Marc who was a constant support and gave great encouragement, I felt I could talk through anything with him, either on a practical level or emotional.
It took me just under a year to reach my goal of 11 stone. I achieved it by august 2011 and to date (5 months) have managed to stay at the same weight – give or take a few pounds going on over holidays and Christmas but they soon come off again.
To say my life has changed is an understatement – I am fitter and healthier than I have ever been in my life. I certainly don’t feel like I am on a ‘diet’ and enjoy eating a meal more than I ever have done. I’m eating slowly and enjoying flavours not just shoving it all down as quickly as possible whilst thinking about what I’ll be eating next. My bank balance is lighter too …… being able to shop anywhere on the high street is amazing but also to know that in 6 months time it will all still fit as I won’t be putting all the weight back on again.
The days of sitting in the car before a social arrangement worrying if I’m going to be the fattest person there or whether I’ll fit in the chairs/make it up the stairs are gone – I now just get out there and get on with all the great things life has to offer.
I can’t thank Mr Beckingham and Marc and their team enough, I honestly feel they have given me my life back. Neither said that a gastric band was an easy fix and it’s not but using their guidelines and advice, their support and my determination it has been a great success story.
Please excuse the lack of proper terminology. I’m a mechanical engineer, not a doctor.
My name is Nicholas Pike and I am 63 years old.
I have had both sides now repaired because of hernia problems. The first done in 2006 by the NHS in Cornwall. The second, in June this year by Mr Ian Beckingham at the BMI Park Hospital near Nottingham.
I felt obliged to write about my experiences, as both operations used two different methods, and the recovery from both was totally different, with a far superior recovery following the key-hole procedure performed by Mr Beckingham.
The first, not performed by Mr Beckingham, was quite an intrusive affair. I had a wound some 6 inches long, stapled together. The staples had to be removed after a few days. The worst was the muscle pain I suffered for about 3 months after the operation. I could not use my stomach muscles properly, and had to roll on my side to get out of bed, for example. Also, the skin around the wound was numb, which always felt odd. It took more than a year for the feeing to come back, and about the same time period for the general discomfiture to totally disappear.
The more recent procedure, performed by Mr Beckingham, involved the use of key-hole surgery. The 3 wounds were tiny, with no stitches or staples required, so further medical attention was unnecessary. I felt a light soreness in the repair area for a week and a slight discomfiture for 3 or 4 weeks afterwards. I noticed if I did absolutely nothing, there really was nothing to report, but if I did a job around the house, there was a slight discomfiture for a few minutes afterwards. There was certainly no numbness around the wounds, and no muscle pain. For example, I was able to get out of bed without even thing about it (slight twinges did occur during the first week, so I had to be a little careful). There was some light bruising which disappeared after a week or so.
The difference between the 2 methods is quite staggering. The key-hole surgery performed by Mr Beckingham was by far the best method, with no pain afterwards and only short term, light discomfiture. There is just no comparison. The recovery from the key-hole procedure was far superior.
I was informed that the more intrusive method is still used in the majority of hernia repairs. There is something wrong with British medical care, when a much better procedure is available, well practised, yet not the universal method used.
I’m not sure if this is relevant, but after my first procedure in 2006, it seemed to take an age to recover from the anaesthetic, and to become fully conscious, feeling ‘groggy’ for about 20 minutes, and I felt a bit ‘distant’ all the following day as well.
Following this most recent procedure, I just seemed to wake up straight away, with no after affects at all.
There were also other, non medical significant benefits of using the BMI hospital, rather than an NHS hospital, but I wanted this communication to just concentrate on my experience of the procedural differences.
Anyway, my very special thanks to Mr Beckinham and his team at the BMI hospital for looking after me so well, and using a procedure that minimises so greatly the after affects of a hernia repair.
Ian – Having had an open repair of my left hernia a few years ago by another surgeon I was somewhat hesitant to undergo an operation on a hernia which appeared on my right side. What a difference! – With your keyhole technique I was in and out in a day and back to work within a week with virtually no pain at all. I only wish I had known about the Laparoscopic technique sooner as I would not have put off having surgery for so long. Thanks to you and your excellent team. I can’t recommend you enough.
Peter C., West Bridgeford
Dear Mr Beckingham – Thanks so much for removing my gallbladder with keyhole surgery – it was very comfortable and the whole experience at the Woodthorpe was excellent – I had a few paracetamol for the first week and was back at work within 2 weeks. I can hardly see the scars already.
Mrs. Elizabeth H., Wollaton
Mr Beckingham – You were recommended to me by a friend after I had been turned down for surgery in Edinburgh. Thank you so much for removing my gallstones when others were scared to take me on. You explained the risks which I fully understood but with your consummate skill and expertise we had no issues and I am so much healthier now as I can eat without fear of pain. God bless you
Dororty M, Edinburgh
Ian – thanks for getting me back to fitness so quickly. I was able to get back on the bike and win the next round of the Cyclo-Cross only 3 weeks after the Laparoscopic hernia repair. I’ll get you signed up for this sport eventually!
Andy H, Risley
(Andy went on to win the NDCXL and I took up Cyclo-Cross!)
Following your keyhole repair to my groin hernia I have been able to get back to Cricket within a few weeks and was back playing with the team in no time at all. I have no twinges and hopefully the averages will improve now I don’t have any excuses
Graham S, West Bridgeford
As a colleague of Ian’s at QMC I followed a long list of colleagues who seek him out in the NHS or Privately to have their Surgery. My gallbladder surgery went very well and I was out the next day Christmas shopping (for which I was dutifully told off!). I was back at work within two weeks. I can’t recommend him enough. Thanks again.
I was diagnosed with cancer in my pancreas and advised I would need an operation which would keep me in hospital a week or more and take 2-3 months to recover. After seeking a second opinion with you, you informed me that you could remove the tumour using keyhole surgery. The operation took place at the Park Hospital and I was home in 3 days and back to work within a few weeks. I have had my chemo there too now and things are going well. Thanks again for your skills and expertise – I feel lucky to have found you.
DL – Birmingham
How do you get a 1 kg spleen out though a 12mm hole? Ask Mr Beckingham – he’s a magician as well as a surgeon ( – apparently he puts it in a bag and morcellates it). Having been diagnosed with Lymphoma of the spleen my haematologist Dr Dolan told me that following his chemotherapy treatment I needed surgery to remove the residual disease. He said there was only one man for the job – Ian Beckingham. He was right, Ian supported me through the process and the surgery itself went well with only a night in hospital and then a week or so to recover back to normal. It was effortless really – at least from my point of view! I would be delighted to recommend him to anyone who needs a splenectomy or any other organ removing!
This is me in aug 2011, i am 5ft 5inches tall and I weigh 19 st 12lb. My body mass index is 46.2 which is classified as morbid obesity.
Being a person on the large size I have also received my fair share of discrimination and verbal abuse, both from childhood through to present day. All attempts have only been short lived and over the years I must have lost and gained over 30 stones. My weight has fluctuated constantly over 40 years and has steadily increased. that I’m not a typical “couch potato” and have always lead a very active life but the weight situation is getting increasingly worst.
In June 2011 I won two silver medals in the world karate championships for my style at my heaviest weight. At 45 I was too heavy to ride my horse and the decision was made to place her on loan.
My doctor has tried Xenicol and Reductil but have these attempted had failed the process of gastic banding with the NHS was suggested. The only problem was I wasn’t large enough and any funding from the NHS was refused. It seemed that another battle with my weight was being lost and I felt that no one was out there to support my a healthier life.
This has been a long journey since childhood and I have experienced a lot of prejudice of being pigeon holed into a particular category due to other people’s perception. You have freed me from all this.
It is an extremely difficult and emotional time for anyone who has taken this decision. More often than not they have had to undergo many years of careful deliberation and research to ensure that the life changing discussion is the correct one. To make that phone call takes a lot of guts and strength of character. On the 14th November 2011 at the Park Hospital, Brunt Stump Park, Arnold, Nottingham I underwent my gastric banding with Mr Ian Beckingham. I would just like to thank you for your exemplary support network that I am currently experiencing with yourself and your team.
This is me at Christmas 2012 weighing in at 11st 12lb and feeling that my life is finally starting. I am due to get married in May 2014 so would like to lose another stone but if I don’t I’m not going to beat myself up about it.