I’ve got this amazing wife. She’s brilliant, totally attractive in the ‘hot Jewish chick’ way I love, warm, kind, caring, hilarious. She’s my best friend. But on a cold, rainy night about 15 years ago, when I called from a payphone at 2 a.m. to say I was absolutely nuts about her, I also did something terrible. I caused her biggest fear – that I’m going to suddenly drop dead, long before my time, leaving her alone to raise our two incredible kids.
My wife’s a doc, actually. She knows better than anyone the negative effects of obesity. Intellectually, she knows about the high blood pressure, the diabetes, the cardiac disease and all the other ills the obese suffer (luckily at 40, I’ve got none of these just yet). She also knows about all the horrible things that can go wrong in surgery. She knows that the complications of obesity far outweigh the risks of surgery, and of living with WLS. Still, she’s terrified about the procedure. And terrified about what could – will – happen if I don’t have it.
My point is that, like smoking, drinking and drugs, obesity affects not only the victim, but the victim’s family as well. If I have a brain-blowing stroke and end up pushing daisies, my kids won’t have their father. They won’t have me to help with their homework and to tuck them in every night. My shoulder won’t be there for them to cry on, and they won’t know of my utter excitement over all their achievements. My wife will lie alone in our bed every night, wondering if she’ll ever find a way to be happy again. My dog will pine for me.
The trap of obesity – of all eating disorders – is that the drug addicts crave is the same one needed to fuel and sustain their life. I’ve tried for at least 30 years to stop eating the way I eat. But I can’t. Even the knowledge that with every bite I’m hurting those I love most doesn’t slow me down. That’s why I need radical (read: surgical) intervention.