More than a year ago I set out on a public quest to shed 205 pounds. It wasn’t the first time I’d tried to lose weight for Heaven’s sake. I just went blaringly public with this effort. A year later I’m down about 15 pounds from where I started.
That’s not enough.
I hope I’m not disappointing anyone when I tell you that when I had my physical this week my doctor asked if I was willing to consider weight loss surgery, and I answered that I was. But if it is disappointing to you, on some level it was to me, too. I got over it. The prospect of getting my life back is what cinched it.
When I first launched into the public revelation about my weight I had a conversation with a friend who asked why I had nixed the idea of surgery. I told him, “If I believed I needed it to save my life, I would do it.”
At the time when I said “save my life,” I meant it as a choice between living and dying. I still mean “save my life,” but in a different way. I want to go back to Chile for a book project, but won’t consider it at this weight. I used to look forward to flying. My last experience showed me just how challenging it is to be this big and travel on a full airplane. To fly for 24 hours just to get there doesn’t seem worth it. That is just one example of how being this heavy doesn’t necessarily kill me, but removes a part of life I could be living.
So on Nov. 14 I go to a seminar at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle to, I hope, begin the process. And it will be a process. I am well aware that surgery is no magic pill. Typically patients lose about a fourth of the weight they need to during the first year. That is not as far as I want to go. That marathon goal is still real.
I suppose something could influence me between now and then to reconsider. I could continue doing what I have been doing, but the risk is continuing to struggle until real health consequences arise. The other risk is missing out on so many good parts of life while I wait to get a handle on it. I don’t want to wait for me to figure it out. I’m 50 years old and missing out on so much to delay this any longer.