I’m seeking out bariatric surgery to improve my life. I want to feel better and do more. I want to live longer and healthier, which is important not only to me, but to my family. I want to break the downward spiral of ongoing weight gain and falling self esteem.
But there is one more reason. I need to set a better example for my children. My daughter is in 3rd grade – the same age I was when my weight problems started. Sometimes I watch her eat and I see myself. She eats more than she should, and often when she’s not hungry. She gravitates toward processed carbs and junk over whole grains and vegetables. My wife is a trim, healthy eater who exercises regularly. Together we try to teach our daughter better habits. But I have no credibility. If I’m not living a healthy lifestyle, how can I possibly teach my daughter? And I fear that my son isn’t far behind, despite being just three-years-old and quite slim. As parents, we have always worked hard to be on the ‘same page.’ From one perspective, going ‘under the knife’ offers me the chance to become a better parent.
The desire to solve my weight issue is huge. I think about it every day. How would my life be different if I lost 100 pounds? How much easier would it be to find a new job? How much more could I accomplish if I felt better physically and emotionally? I’m committed to weight loss through bariatric surgery because at age 40 I’m quickly reaching a incontrovertible decision point – do this and live well, or don’t, and live a sickly and shortened life.
Still, I’m terrified.
The idea of my body being cut open and replumbed scares the living daylights out of me. What if there are complications? Anesthesia scares me. What if I don’t wake up? Change scares me. What kind of person will I be without this 100 pound truck tire around my middle? Inertia scares me. Sometimes it is easier to do nothing than it is to hit the brakes and turn around. What if I can’t stick to the prescribed diet and exercise program after the surgery? I’ve never been successful before, so why should this time be any different? I know some of my fears are unfounded and silly, but they are my fears nonetheless.
I’m lucky to be surrounded by a loving, strong family and many wonderful friends. My friend and Rabbi, Joel, says I owe it to myself – and to them –not to leave this life any earlier than I’m supposed to. My longtime therapist, Don, has offered similar comments many times over the years. I think they are both right. I know in my heart that the benefits of bariatric surgery and the weight loss that follows far outweigh the risks of the procedure, and of doing nothing. I have a great life – except for my obesity. It is time for me to leave that burden behind and live the rest of my days to the fullest.