EASO Patient Council: August 2015
Please tell us who you are:
My name is Angelika Peter, I’m 49 years old. I was born in Bonn (Germany), but I am Austrian. I work as a sales representative for a pharmaceutical company. I am not married and have no children. I studied French and English as a translator but never worked in this job and so I am not accustomed to speaking these languages anymore.
Describe your county and where you live:
I live in beautiful Austria, in Vienna.
Please share some of your favourite activities, hobbies and interests:
In addition to my job as a sales representative, I work as a stylist and an astrologer! This work keeps me very busy and I have little time left for other hobbies.
Please describe what your experience of obesity has been like:
My weight started to go up when I was in my twenties (due to use of the contraceptive pill) and it never stopped going up. Obesity is a problem that also affects my sisters. One of my sisters has had a gastric bypass; another plans to have a gastrectomy next year- I am her role model. I have not had particularly bad experiences with my weight. As a stylist I was able to look good, even with a lot of weight, but I didn’t feel good anymore and I was very concerned about developing serious health problems in my future. My blood pressure was already too high and my blood sugar was already approaching diabetic levels. I tried a lot of diets in my life and began to understand that I needed help – this was perhaps in retrospect the most difficult step for me – understanding and accepting that I needed help to manage my weight.
In 2011 I decided to have a gastrectomy and I have no regrets.
What are your hopes for the EASO Patient Council at the 2016 European Obesity Summit?
From my sister in Germany who plans to have a gastrectomy, I know that German patients have a longer course of nutrional counseling, both before and after the surgery, and it would be great to hear protocols from other countries and discover how other European nations manage their patients. I could then use this information perhaps, to work towards ameliorating challenges in the Austrian system and improving the protocol for patients in my country.
How do you currently advocate for patients and how do you intend to advocate for patients in the future?
Before this time, I only have experience advocating for my German sister, but believe it is crucial to support patients before during and after gastric surgery and look forward to working toward improving support for persons with obesity nationally.