Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

April 2, 2013

Hoping for a game-changer

By Mike Redmond
CNHI

— Kind of a big-deal week going on for me right now. I'm having bariatric surgery.

(Note: I hereby promise not to write extensively about the experience. These days, any time a reporter - or worse, one of the pestiferous host of bloggers - has a major medical procedure, it becomes a series of deeply personal essays invariably titled "My (Name Of Procedure Goes Here) Journey."

Well, I won't do that. Unless, of course, it means I can write something off on my income taxes. In that case, get ready for My Weight-Loss Surgery Travelogue.

I have noticed that announcing my surgery to family and friends elicits one of two responses: "Wow, that's great!" or "What? Are you sure?" Right now, the "Whats" are leading the "Wows" by about five to one.

I guess it's because I'm not as grossly overweight as the people we see on those weight loss programs on TV, either the contest ones or the health documentaries.

True, I don't weigh 400, 500, or 600 pounds. But I can recall a time in my adult life when it would have taken two of me to equal my present weight. This is a hard realization for someone once described as a beanpole.

To be fair, my beanpole period was brief. Most of my life I have been more "bean" than "pole," and a plump and juicy bean at that. My childhood nickname was "Lard Butt." That ought to give you some idea of my general magnus corpus for most of my life.

I'm tired of it, and I do mean tired. A body mass index like mine is a lot of work to lug around.

"You should diet," a friend suggested helpfully.

Please. I've dieted my butt off, literally in some cases. I added it up once and concluded that all told, I have lost through dieting the equivalent mass of an emerging nation. I call it Bolognadonia.

"Try exercise," said another.

You think I haven't? I can bench press a small truck. And then we switch and the truck bench presses me, since we're about the same size.

"You should just accept yourself as you are," said yet another.

That's well-meaning but it means accepting a shortened life span and a host of problems from sleep apnea to high blood pressure to diabetes. Oh, yes. Sign me up for that.

I needed a game-changer. So after a year of research and another year jumping through insurance company hoops, here I am heading to the surgical suite. And yes, I am frequently asking myself "What in God's name am I doing to myself?"

Well, after I get over the panic, I see that I am addressing the conditions noted above under life span and problems. I'm getting pro-active about them in the most serious way I can imagine.

"This isn't going to be easy," my friends have warned. Well, duh. I'll be using baby spoons and egg cups to eat a highly restricted diet, giving up a lot of foods I enjoy, and dealing with gastro-intestinal issues not often seen (or, more accurately, heard) outside your average barnyard. I KNOW it's not going to be easy.

But it hasn't been easy hauling this corpus around all my life, either.

I'll gladly trade difficulties. I want Lard Butt - Adipis Natibus to you Latin scholars - to be a memory, not a way of life.

© 2013 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.