So the blog is about to take a left turn, for reasons that will become apparent.
I keep thinking I've bottomed out. I keep finding not.
Let's get up to speed very quickly: Two years ago this week, I went into hospital with stopped-up bowels. Turned out I had diverticulitis, a nasty infection on top of that, and was about to die. They performed a colostomy on me.
Two months later, the doctors did a second surgery: A colon recission. That means they shortened up my colon. In practice, it meant cutting out old dead colon that had wrapped itself around my bladder. Oh, and: They punctured my bladder during the surgery.
The colostomy, for what it's worth, created a hernia. And the doctors tried to fix that hernia when they reversed my colostomy in November 2011. But the fix didn't take. Today, I'm overweight AND lumpy in a way that being merely overweight doesn't describe. A CT scan a few months ago shows I basically have no abdominal wall between my belly button and my sternum. Oh, and I weigh 280 pounds—this being a chicken-and-egg thing: Am I *this* fat because I can't exercise much ( get tired, and frankly sit-ups are out of the question) or do I not exercise much because I'm fat?
Doesn't matter. A surgeon told me yesterday he won't operate to fix me because, at this weight, there's an 85 percent chance the repair would fail. He wants to see me in three months. He wants me to lose 50 pounds. And if I can't do it the old fashioned way, then I need to look at "surgical" methods for dropping the weight. For my health.
So that's the story. I'm 40, fat, and herniated like a motherfucker. And I don't really have many good stories to tell about how I got this way. I've spent a lifetime making undisciplined, mediocre choices. Now I find I'm falling apart. "You can't continue to live at that weight," the doctor told me. He's right. So what the hell do I do?
I'm giving myself a month to see if I can start to lose that weight in a natural and meaningful way, before I call the weight-loss surgeon he named. I'm not entirely sure how it's going to happen. I think it means an hour on the treadmill or eliptical, every day. I think it means no more cheeseburgers, wings, pizza, sausage breakfast sandwiches. I think it means weighing myself every goddamned day. I think it means tracking every thing I eat. I'm not sure I can be a strict calorie counter. I've done that before, and it drives me nuts.
But this is where I start. This is how I start. I'm a freelance writer. I largely shape the schedule I work. My son is in school so I don't have to drag him around during the day. I'm on the road very little. If anybody has the space in their life to reshape their eating and exercise habits, it's me. So, fuck it, it's time.
I'm a compulsive oversharer. Everybody who knows me knows this. I'm aware of this. But it's not easy for me to share this stuff, because it reveals me to be weak in a lot of ways I don't want to be seen as weak in public. This is humiliating. But I suspect I'm going to need support and ideas from people.
I want to be a vigorous and vital partner to my wife for decades to come. I want to be an active and energetic dad for my son for as long as I can. I want to live, and live with a good quality of life, instead of quickly crumbling to an early grave. This is where it starts. I'm out of delays, out of excuses, out of time.
Starting today—later today—I'll post what I'm eating and how I'm exercising at the end of each day. I don't expect a huge audience for this. But I am interested in hearing from folks. I guess I'm crowdsourcing my survival.