I was going through some of my pictures earlier, and ran across this one. November 6th 1992. I was working on a model railroad that I had gotten for my birthday. I still have a weight problem today, but I thank God that I am not like I was then! I can walk up several flight of stairs now, where then it would have taken me time, and considerable pain. I can walk more than 50' without being winded, heck, I can run for a short distance. I was home bound and miserable at that time, and now I can get around. I can put in a full day of physical labor, where back then I could only do brief tasks. I was strong, but all of my strength was focused on maintenance of living. I was on oxygen 24-7, and suffered from a congestive heart problem. I had a rattle in my lungs, and fluid retention in my extremities. I was in pain, I was lonely, I was dying.
When I see someone who is in the condition of the man in the picture, I hurt for them. I have empathy for the life that they live, for the pain that they feel, and for the lonely life they lead. I feel for them, the brunt of jokes, the staring eyes, the laughing children, the comments from jerks and misinformed advise givers. I was surrounded by good friends that supported me through this time, but at times I felt like I was the only person in the world. It is impossible to explain, unless you have been there. It is a prison, it is a torture, it is a hell.
Today, I am not perfect, but I am a darn sight better off than I was. I am healthy, and I thank God for that everyday. I can go to movies, fly on planes, drive cars, ride in (some) roller coasters. I am living.
Once upon a time when I was the man in the picture I was asked why I wanted to lose weight. My response was I want to live. They then asked if I was afraid I was about to die. I said, "no you misunderstand, I am alive, but I am not living." Living and being alive are two different things. Now I am living, where back then I was pretty much dead. I was just waiting for my body to give out, and not dreading the day.
When I had my first gastric bypass surgery, I was given about a 20% of dying during the surgery, but I decided that the risk dying was outweighed by the desire to live. Besides what did I have to lose, virtually I was dead already. I was at peace with the whole idea. I did die on the table, but was resuscitated. Of that I am very pleased.
I had a revision of the surgery done a year and a half ago. The mortality rate was considerably more in my favor this time. Also there have been wonderful advances that help people to maintain weight loss, than when I went through the surgery the first time. Education is the key. Now I am working on losing more, but if I never lose another pound I am living, and I am happy.