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3 and a half weeks ago I made a dramatic change in my life and the way I live.  I had surgery.  I wrote about it before it happened.  Suffice it to say, it was dramatic.  But necessary.  I’d been chubby since I was little.  Not much more horrifying than being PUT on Weight Watchers as a 8 or 9 year old kid.  By the doctor and your mom.

You know, 23 days later, I feel different in many ways. Some great, a few horrible obviously. But looking at it thus far and knowing the last time I saw this number on the scale, there was a young Arkansas Governor who was our new President makes me realize how lucky I am. Yes, it’s been that long folks since I was this small. I’ve got about 40lbs to go to be where I want to be.

In college I had expanded to 309 pounds at one time.  I was in a dark place, and by that I mean that nothing at school was going right, I had debt I was trying to work off and I had lost a close friend.  I ate my weigh into oblivion.  Now, 309 isn’t that large if you are 6’8″ tall and play a sport.  I wasn’t that tall.  I still did sports like racquetball, basketball, flag football.  I stayed somewhat active.

Then in 1995 I took a job at a boys camp in the mountains of North Carolina in a town called Brevard.  In one summer, and 17 weeks, I was able to lose down to 249.  That was by exercise, working outside all day and into the hours of the night and eating healthy camp food.  Until then I had NEVER had 100% whole wheat bread made with whole grains nor had I ever experienced spaghetti sauce with real veggies like carrots and zucchini in it.  I was proud.  Problem was, my father told me I was still big and told me I did NOT look as if I had lost any weight.

Talk about discouragement.  Sooo, I ate some more.  Got back to about 289.  Every time I would get sick at NC State and had an infirmary visit, I would be reminded about my size by the doctors.  I tried and took PE classes.  The problem with colleges-late night restaurants and 24-hour grills like IHOP and Waffle House.  Also, an all-you-can-eat dining hall.  Those combined make for a disaster.  I worked a job from 10 or 11 p.m. until 4am.  A group of us did and when we got off we’d go to IHOP.  At 4am there are plenty of college kids in there.  Along with some of the unsavory element in town and others who just got done at parties, bars and raves.  My favorite was their t-bone steak and eggs.  A steak, two eggs, hash browns, and 2 pancakes.  At 4 in the morning, imagine that!

So, you can see, it was a combination of habit, poor eating decisions and choices and no will power or exercise.  As I got older, some of that changed.  Don’t get me wrong, I felt like a Weeble-Wobble at my wedding in my tuxedo.  I looked like an outer layer of a Russian Matryoshka doll.  Then later on I got sick and needed surgery.  Had stomach ulcers and other issues.  Spent 20 or so days in a hospital in 2006.  My weight had dropped all the way back down to 259 before the hospital.  I was too sick to eat.  50 pounds is a lot to shed from my sophomore year in college until then.

So, I rebounded again and put back on another 30 lbs.  See a trend?  Then in 2009 I had other stomach issues.  Another trend?  Deja vu!  Go figure I lost weight again.  Back down another 25 or so pounds.  That has been the staying point for the last 7 years. I had looked at this surgery in NC before we moved.  So, I went ahead with it up here in PA.

I won’t lie.  This has been the toughest out of my 10 surgeries in my life.  It has hurt, been working on my nerves and my body.  At times I wouldn’t wish some of this on anyone.  But it is an elective choice I made to get to a healthier place in life.  I went back to the doc this week for a post-op follow up and I won’t say how much I’ve lost already, but suffice it to say it’s been a good bit.  Beyond that, yesterday I had to ask the nurse if the blood pressure machine was working right.  My blood pressure was 113/62.  I couldn’t believe it.  I used to need the large/long cuff because of the size of my arms.  The regular cuff for an adult now almost is too large.

I still have a way to go to get where I want to be.  Not too much though.  I am happier about it now than a week ago.  I feel better now than a week ago too.  Friends and family may not understand the decision.  However, it has been the right one so far.  Yes, I’ve had a couple of hardships I didn’t anticipate, but overall I know it is going to work towards my benefit.  And I’ve got my immediate family supporting me with my wife and kids.  For me, that’s all that matters! As a side note, it might be kinda cool to be tinier with a new Clinton in the Whitehouse as President than I was when W.J. Clinton was President!