I have struggled with morbid obesity all my life. I was probably nearly 250 pounds when I graduated high school in 1981. When I fell out with cellulitis in 2004 I weighed in about 365 pounds.
When I finally recovered from this half a year later, I was adamant about trying to moderate my diet and get exercise. Anyone who knows me at all will testify to the several miles a day I walked the next decade, pounding away at beleaguered ankles and feet trying to do what I could. My best efforts got me down to maintaining around 310 Ė 320 pounds.
But folks, if youíre 100+ pounds overweight, you are likely fighting a losing battle. If youíre 50 pounds overweight, you might reasonably just push back from the table and cut down on the carbs and get some exercise. Much more than that though, you are probably not going to get anywhere near the job done Ė though of course there are exceptions.
Some 14 months ago on 4-4-2014, I had roux & Y gastric bypass surgery at St Vincentís in Carmel. This has done the job. After a lifetime of misery with this, Iíve lost pretty nearly all that horrible weight Ė and still losing a little bit slowly. Iím clocking about 175 pounds. One way of putting it, Iím short now about 3 full 50 pound bags of dog food that I donít have to pick up and carry with me even just to get up and walk a few steps down the hall to the bathroom in the night.
Of course the health benefits of losing a bunch of excess weight are tremendous. Diabetic symptoms disappeared the day of surgery before Iíd even lost weight. Blood pressure was down quite a bit within days, again even before losing much weight. My head doesnít feel like itís ready to explode from the pressure. My primary care physician emphasized the idea of 5 miles of blood vessels being required to service every pound of body weight. That indicates something like 700 miles less vessels for my heart to service. My kidneys thank me. I breathe better. I sleep better.
The mental differences are hard to really explain even to people similarly afflicted. You donít see it all from the inside, and your mental coping mechanisms naturally try to discount and disregard a lot of the pure shame. You may try to put on a positive mental attitude and say that people should love you for who you really are, but that only goes so far when you look in the mirror and see a gross fat disgusting troll looking back at you. Just the crippling shame of thinking a girl might notice me looking at her with desire is indescribable. A lot of nice girls might really like olí Al, but no amount of good will makes the thought of all that body rooting around on you desirable. It just doesnít.
Many people look at me differently and respond differently. You may judge that they shouldnít and be indignant and all, but itís just human nature on multiple levels Ė even for nice people with good intent. Also though, thatís partly because I project myself differently. I dress much better because I am if not entirely impressed with my looks at least not grossly ashamed to be looked at. Also, I can buy lots of nice clothes cheap at Goodwill, which you canít do very well with a 50 inch waist.
So I would urge any of you similarly afflicted with weight to consider seeking bariatric surgery. It may sound scary, but I have actually had minimal problems from it. Even besides the actual weight loss, the surgery was almost worth it just because it immediately nearly completely eliminated the horrible unceasing carb cravings of a lifetime. The main dietary point is not eating carbohydrates. ďProtein and produceĒ is my mantra. But 99% of that is not self-discipline. Breadsticks and pasta and biscuits mostly just donít much appeal to me anymore. I cannot express in words what an emotional relief that is. Carb cravings are my closest way of understanding the feeling of a drug addiction. Itís not just a monkey, but really a huge fat gorilla off my back.
I would urge you to check out St Vincentís, the premiere bariatric unit in Indiana, and particularly my surgeon Dr Christopher Evanson. That old man gutted me like a fish, and praise the Lord for that, cause I sure needed gutting. You can look them up on the web, or call 317 582-7088.
If you want, look me up perhaps on Facebook or gadfly at gmail.com Ė or just talk to me, but be warned that I could go on about this stuff for days.
Albert Barger June 2015
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