Two years ago I visited Memphis with a group of old college pals. It was my first time in the city, and we had a great time visiting music landmarks such as Sun Studios, Stax Records and, of course, Graceland.
But my long weekend was marred by health problems. A few days before departing, my right foot began to swell up. As an extremely overweight guy, I was used to swollen feet, but this was much more serious. I went to the doctor and he was able to alleviate the situation a bit, but “Walking in Memphis,” as the song says, in 90 degree heat was still quite a struggle.
That experience led me to some serious self-examination over the next several months, and ultimately, to my decision to undergo bariatric surgery.
One of my good friends who also traveled to Memphis is a doctor in the Columbus area. Dr. Wally saw me struggling when we were there, and afterwards he would occasionally send me an email asking about my health and encouraging me to look into surgical options. He was never pushy; the emails were often no more than one sentence. But it served as an important nudge to me.
So last September, I attended a seminar on bariatric surgery at Summa Akron City Hospital and it made quite an impression on me. A good deal of the information they shared was hardly new to me, but the statistics regarding the risk factors of obesity coupled with the sobering data on the long-term effectiveness of dieting and other non-surgical options had a big impact.
I weighed nearly 400 pounds, and I felt like I was standing at the precipice. My options were to continue doing what I was doing, in terms of eating and lack of exercise. Or back away, and have a chance at a longer, healthier life.
Over the next several months in this blog, I’ll share my experiences as I learned about surgical options, prepared for my operation and adjusted to life with a new relationship to food. I hope you’ll join me on my journey.