Lose Yourself


You might look at the number in that scale up there, and want to say to me, “Buddy, it’s time to start thinking about your weight. I mean, you do want to be around to watch your daughter grow up, graduate college, and maybe walk her down the aisle, right?” And I would get it. Really, I would. That number looks kind of scary. But it’s nowhere near as scary as it was before I undertook the biggest “me” thing I’ve ever really done in my entire life. With New Year’s on the way, and its plethora of “new you” fad diets, exercise equipment ads, and weird nutritional aids, it seems like a good time to talk about how 2018 was the year I finally lost part of myself.

I’ve always been that person who struggled with their weight. I’ve been fat for longer than I can almost remember. My mom was shopping in the “husky” section of the kids clothes for me fairly early on is what I’m trying to say here. Sure, I had moments where I lost a bunch of weight. Every fat person does. That one time when I was 15. That other time when I was in college and I even saw a nutritionist and everything. But, inevitbly, I let go, and not only gained it all back, but more. I let one “scary number” on the scale after another pass by. First 200, then 300. For a while now, that number on the scale was getting close to 400, and that’s kind of beyond “scary” territory, if you think about it.

There’s also the fact that with this whole weight mess, there came all the expected health side effects. All of my existing ailments, the asthma and the acid reflux, got worse with time. There was the inevitable Type 2 Diabetes, which was not being managed well at all, because, let’s face it, I didn’t like to really manage it. Food was more enjoyable. You know, typical fat kid uses food as an emotional crutch kind of thing. No need to rehash it all, I know the routine better than anyone else out there.

So let’s fast forward to this year, and I’m practically bursting the scale near the 400 mark. Then there’s the part where my girlfriend decided to get weightloss surgery herself back in February. And how she’s done super great with it. There’s also the part where basically every doctor I have, from my primary care doctor, to my GI doctor, my endocrinologist, even my damn allergist, telling me to get the surgery. And, like I started with, there’s the whole maybe I should try to stay healthy for the sake of having being around for all of the important stuff in my kid’s life. Finally, I made the decision to get the damn surgery done.

It’s kind of amazing how if you have the right insurance, this business is smooth. My previous job had a specific rider built in that it completely denied bariatric surgery. Period. End of story. No way, no how. I will admit this held me back for a while. But then came the part where I lost that job, and have been stuck consulting ever since, and I got on the Obamacare train. Here’s the silver lining, even with all my anger expressed in that post (which still exists, because this insurance is good, but goddamn expensive): ACA plans have to cover bariatric surgery. And, thanks to various other health reasons, I had already met my out of pocket max for the year, and this surgery was not going to cost a penny. The craziest part of all of this? It only took about six weeks from going to the first seminar to my acutal surgery date. Like, being strapped onto the table in the OR at the hospital and getting cut the fuck open.

Now, here’s the part where you’re probably expecting the happy ending. I’m not sure there is one. Don’t get me wrong, though. There have been a lot of positives. The weight loss progress has been great. I’m finally getting down to a point where I can start to shop in some regular stores again, not just the big and tall place. The diabetes is pretty much gone. I even ate a bunch of crap at our annual holiday party, and drank a bunch of soda, and checked my blood sugar the next day, and it was friggin’ normal. No more insulin needles, no more diabetes pills. I’m not complaining about any of that. It’s just that this whole exercise has been a lot harder than I expected or hoped it would be. Recovery and return to a mostly normal existance has been slow. I’ve been hospitalized twice due to complications from this procedure. I throw up. All. The. Goddamn. Time. Things that won’t upset my stomach one day will have me feeling terrible in a flash the next. My energy levels are not what they once were. And the hunger, it isn’t gone. I just want to eat all of the things all of the time. My mental state has really gone up and down in these past few months as a result of all of this.

Still, at the end of the day, stepping on the scale has stopped being a scary experience. It’s starting to be an exciting one. I get numbers like that one up there, and I don’t cringe. I rejoice. I’ve lost a part of myself, and that may be the best news I’ve ever gotten in my life.