Sunday, March 04, 2012

40

In ten days time I will turn 40. Forty. XL. I'm not sure what it means yet, but I seem to be spending a great deal of time contemplating it.

I quit smoking when I was 30. Between then and now I managed a number of other achievements. We bought a house. Demolished a house. Built a house. We traveled. I completed post graduate studies (albeit a certificate, of which I am very proud). We managed to have two amazing daughters. It is this last achievement that is behind most of my contemplation. I have two amazing daughters and I am a 39 year old obese man with many of the comorbidities  that go with that.

My weight worries me. It always has. I have written about it before. I feel that it defines who I am more than the fact that I am gay. In fact over time I have received more grief about my weight than my sexuality. Rarely has anyone been rude or cruel to me about being gay. My weight however seems to attract an open slather of "harmless jibes", "good meaning quips" and down right rudeness. I once had a line manager ask me if I "really need that" when I took a Tim Tam from a plate offered to me in a meeting. I hadn't eaten all day, but hey, she was just meaning well. I almost died and crawled under the table to escape the unveiled discomfort on my colleagues faces. I still took the Tim Tam though. 

I am not going to sit here and write a whole posting on why I am so overweight. Nor am I going to sit here and write about all the reasons why I need to lose weight. I could bang on and on about depression and passionately plead the case for losing weight for the girls, for Vince, for me. I watch biggest loser for that kind of fix. However my weight is an enormous (excuse the pun) source of consternation for me. Not only does it consume so much physical energy to lug this body around, but I waste so many countless hours mentally agonising over it. It affects so many areas of my life. As I approached 30 I was not so overweight. I did however smoke. I was a heavy (no pun intended) smoker. I was an unwell smoker heading towards the proverbial early grave. I wasted a great deal of time agonising over that too. I gave up for a number of simple reasons. We were considering our options for childern and smoking was a large negative for that. Financially smoking was beginning to hurt. Physically, smoking was beginning to hurt. It took a while but I finally decided to quit. It was only once I made that very conscious descision that I successfully quit. Ironically that is kind of when my weight became an issue. Part of my plan for coping while quiting was to not worry about my weight. I would worry about that later. How hard was it to lose weight compared to quiting smoking after all. Who new. Well I am now at the point where for some simple reasons I decided I needed help.
  
Up until now I have always said surgery was not something I would consider. Gastric banding has been all the rage. Working in ICU I saw some horrible outcomes due to complications. In some cases it ruined peoples lives. I have spoken to so many people who have had it done and it turned out not to be the answer they were looking for. I know that soon the number of bands being removed may overtake those being inserted. I have read about all of the ongoing complications that occur. So it was not for me and I have always been a strong adversary of it. Then Dad had a gastric sleeve done in December last year. He looks terrific and I can see the impact it is having on his life already. I want that.....
 
Ward 5A RPH
I had only heard of a gastric sleeve being done as part of gastric bypass surgery for seriously morbidly obese people. So when Dad said he was having his done I did some research and I felt comfortable with what I was reading. The more I read the more it appealed as it seemed to tick a number of boxes regarding my concerns with bariatric surgery. The next time I went to see my GP I raised the issue of my weight and wham bam thank you mam I am booked to have bariatric surgery on the 26th of March. So in consultation with Jon my surgeon that is what I am having done. A gastric sleeve. Funnily enough Jon was a resident on the general surgical ward when I first started at RPH. I was a lot thinner back then.

So that is were my contemplation has lead me. For my fortieth birthday I am giving myslef another gift of life. I am really nervous about the surgery and actually scared of the prospect of complications. But I trust Jon and I am beginning to trust myself. That I have made the right decision. When I quit smoking the literature told me to ask for help. To seek the support of friends and family. It worked. Which makes it seem appropriate to seek that help again. I ask for yor support. Your patience and above all your understanding.

J.