Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Fighting The Odds

Photo Credit: stevenkbruno via Compfight cc 

After putting together yesterday's post, I realized a pretty significant question had been left unanswered. I mentioned that I had spent years passively due to my fear of seizures, then all of the sudden I am throwing myself down the sides of mountains and like that. So the question is: what changed?

As far as "my condition" is concerned, nothing has really changed. I still have Epilepsy. I still have to take a cocktail of medications every day. I still have an implant in my chest firing off electrical impulses to my brain every 5 minutes to reset my brain activity. I still have no driver's license, still would probably not last a week at a "real" job. There is still no cure for those of us with intractable seizures, nor is there one in sight that does not involve surgery removing significant portions of the brain. But the truth is this: I finally got to the point where I am more afraid of my obesity than I am of my seizure activity.

Now, don't get me wrong. Epilepsy is still serious business. People with Epilepsy are still 11 times more likely to die prematurely than those without. But Morbid Obesity (my variety) contributes to heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes - which all have their own risks of early death. And, here's the thing: a combination of gastric surgery, combined with diet and exercise changes, can remove the obesity-mortality factors completely.

When I talked with my doctor initially about the possibility of Gastric Sleeve surgery, I blurted out "I want Epilepsy to kill me, not a stroke.", and was immediately horrified at how fatalistic my view was. But my doc just nodded her head as if this made perfect sense to her. And, thinking about it since then, I can actually stand by that statement. If I already have a chronic condition I have been fighting against for over a decade, why not continue that fight, instead of having to engage on an entirely new battleground? Why fight a two-front war?

And, let's not forget the other health improvements. 2 years ago, while having surgery to repair a torn meniscus, my surgeon off-handedly told me that if I didn't lose my excess weight, I would be back in 5 years for a knee replacement. I don't want to have a knee replacement while still in my 40s. Whatever time is left to me, whether 5 years or 50, I want to make the most of. And I can't make the most of it in my current, obese, condition.

10 years ago I was positive I was not going to make it to 50. If I can last 4 more years, I am going to make it that far. I want these years to be active, to push as fast and as far as I can while doing the best I can to manage my Epilepsy. I no longer want to just sit around the house, watching the world pass by outside the window, kept in place by the twin anchors of my seizures and my weight. I want to drag that single anchor just as far as it will go.

Revving Up My Engines,

- Hawkwind

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