A man from Carshalton was “bed bound” for months, but life-changing surgery means he’s now “in a better place than he could ever imagine.”

Liam Silvester was diagnosed with an inflammatory bowel disease, called ulcerative colitis, when he was just 17. 

The condition had a huge impact on Liam’s physical and mental health, escalating in 2022 when he lost six stone in less than a year.

Liam was so unwell and in such unbearable pain, that he could not stand and did not leave his house the entire time. 

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However, six months on from having surgery at Epsom Hospital, the now-23-year-old has returned to full health, has regained his confidence – and is also about to realise his dream of launching his own business. 

Next month, he will open his own tattoo parlour in West Norwood – a feat he has wanted to set in motion since university but couldn’t have imagined until now. 

Liam said: “Before my surgery I was stuck in bed for months, and it seemed like the world was passing me by and I was missing out on everything.

“There was no light at the end of the tunnel.

“I had no plan. 

“But thanks to the team at Epsom Hospital, I have gained weight, and have my work and social life back – along with my smile.

“I cannot thank the staff that helped me through my procedure enough.” 

The road to beating the condition started when Liam had his first appointment with Mr Ashish Gupta, a consultant general and laparoscopic colorectal surgeon. 

Three months later Liam was taken into theatre for the seven-hour keyhole surgery, which he describes as removing a “bag for life-size" section of his digestive system.

Five days after that he was back home, “with a colostomy bag and a new life".

Liam added: "I just remember really enjoying eating during those first few days – it must be one of the only times it’s OK to eat so much unhealthy food.

“I also started going on lots of dog walks. Since then, I’ve put on four stone. I feel comfortable, and in better health than I have ever felt. 

“From the moment I saw Mr Gupta, I felt like I was taken seriously.

“I felt like I was really listened to.

“He was so professional, and he knew exactly what I needed.  

 “When I was going into surgery, he was so reassuring. Afterwards, he visited daily and checked up on me.

“Now, my scars are pretty much gone – everything was flawless.  

“My stoma nurse, Lindsay Trevarthen, was also incredible.

“She has the answers before you’ve even thought of the questions.

“She always has the answer and is able to reassure me.” 

Liam says he will never forget the huge impact his illness had – from forcing him to drop out of university, to affecting his social life.

But now he has his sights set firmly on the future.  

“When I was younger, I was always anxious when I went out, especially with friends,” he added, “none of that needs to be thought about now.

“I don’t have any worries. I don’t have to think about anything when I leave the house. I just throw some clothes on and go out.” 

Mr Gupta said: “When Liam came to my clinic he was so weak that he could not even walk, and it was obvious he had low quality of life.

“He was very clear he wanted this surgery, and I couldn’t be happier with how smoothly it went.

“It is a long operation, but I was pleased to see how quickly Liam recovered without any complications. 

“It has always given me immense pleasure treating my patients with the respect and quality care they all deserve, and I feel privileged to be in this position.

“At the end of a day, a smile on a patient is what drives us to continue to work hard.

“I feel passionate in treating each patient the way I would like to be treated myself.

“I believe it is these core values and qualities that define a good doctor: they are timeless and long may they remain so.”