It’s not a big secret to those who know me well that my weight is something that I have battled with for about 25 years now. Well, perhaps battle is not the most accurate term. After all, the word battle implies that one has put up some kind of a fight. There have been times over the years where I have faced someone or something in an effort to protect my family from harm. After all, that is what any decent father or husband would do. It is ironic then that this same type of fortitude and tenacity has been temporary at best and absent at worst as it pertained to my weight. Pound by pound, I let it slowly creep into my life and did little to nothing to stop it.
I think part of it was by allowing myself to use euphemisms to label the issue. When it first began, I referred to my gut as a spare tire or perhaps even a pot belly. This is probably largely due to the fact that I pride myself on having a sense of humor and such terms add levity to the situation. I can even remember at one time referring to my weight as a bulge in my equator. Well, over the years my equator shifted resulting in a total eclipse of my toes. Yes, even now, I use some levity because that is just part of my personality. Well, the reality is that what I have is morbid obesity. This means that I am at least 100 lbs. above my ideal weight for my height.
This condition has not come without expense to me. For example, I can buy myself a nice outfit that fits me properly and may even look very nice on me. Still, not matter how properly the garments fit or well well I dress, I will still look like a morbidly obese man. Personally, with the exception of my wife, I couldn’t care less of someone else’s opinion about my appearance. Still, when I look in the mirror, I truly dislike what I see.
The other expense is the potential damage my weight brings to my health. I already have hereditary risk factors for heart problems and diabetes. I also have high blood pressure (controlled by medication). My weight increases that risk tremendously. In addition, being so obese is truly hard on the bones. Without the proper muscle tone, a body is just not designed to carry such weight without risk to the knees and back. This goes hand in hand with an increased risk of injury. It’s true. Those that are bigger DO fall harder.
Quite possibly the hardest consequence for me to accept is the development of sleep apnea. This means that I can literally have episodes where I stop breathing while I sleep. This results in increased health risks, a chronic feeling of fatigue (due to the lack of quality sleep), sore throats (due to the harsh snoring), and looks of worry on the faces of your family (due to the fact that they actually witness these episodes of apnea).
There is some relief to be provided from this oxygen deprived, brain addled state. I can use a machine that will force humidified air into my airway via Controlled Proximal Airway Pressure (CPAP). This machine is not free and covered 50% by my insurance. It makes me look like a SCUBA diver on a mattress. It does truly provide relief though. While this is a better way, it is not without it’s trappings. Gone are the days of taking catnaps on the couch. If I travel somewhere requiring an overnight stay, the CPAP machine has to travel with me. I fly to Georgia once a year. This means I have to take the CPAP machine through the security check and the machine requires extra scanning by security.
My only consolation is that I KNOW there is some hope. Several doctors over the years have told me that with significant weight loss, I could very possibly become independent of the CPAP machine as the weight loss could resolve my sleep apnea. The weight loss could also reduce or eliminate the need for medicine to control my high blood pressure. The reality check in that glimmer of hope is that it would require a loss of at least 60 – 70 lbs.
Given that I think of myself as a humor writer, my readers may find it curious that I would write about all this. First of all, writing about it and publishing it helps hold me accountable. Secondly, I hope and pray that anyone in a similar issue will do what it takes to resolve it. Consult your physician. Get into a weight loss program or a gym membership. I hope and pray that, in short time, we are all in better states of health not just living life to the fullest but living it for as long as possible.