Thursday, December 29, 2016

Looking back at 2016

313,000 words typed this year. Dang. That is quite a few. Like, if those words were put into novels, I would have written a trilogy. In one year. And I used to wonder how Robert Parker managed his output of books...

Seriously, though, 2016 was the year when I finally decided I had something important enough to talk about on a regular basis. In the past, I have written about Epilepsy - which is important to only a very small segment of the world, though I wish it was important to more people. I've written about gaming, which is important to me, but not necessarily the majority of the planet. But, this year, I finally discovered something that was important to me and a good percentage of the world: obesity, and the life-altering methods that can be required to combat it. 

Despite my terrifically bad memory, I can distinctly remember stepping on my scale in February and seeing the numbers "302" appear on the readout. I felt like my heart would stop beating. I don't know why it was that I was willing to previously put up with scale numbers like 280 or even 290. But cresting that 300-pound plateau was just too much for me. I could barely walk down the street and back (2 tenths of a mile) thanks to my blown knee. I couldn't empty groceries out of the car without gasping for air for minutes afterward. The combination of my weight and my seizures was so overwhelming that we finally had to give up being foster parents, since it was not fair to expect my wife to be raising kids by herself as well as caring for me full-time. My life revolved around my shattered dreams of being a parent and a musician, my sexless marriage, and waiting for the next batch of seizures to arrive.

And, of course, food. LOTS of that.

300 pounds is what it took to get me to accept that I had a problem that I was not going to be able to fix on my own, despite years of trying to do so. After abusing my body for 20 years I gave up my belief that it was all somehow temporary and that I could change any time I wanted to. I needed help from an outside agency - drastic, dramatic help that was going to involve radically changing my physiology, and altering my life not for a few days or weeks, but for the rest of my life. Bariatric surgery from Dr. Tyner, and the unflagging support of my loved ones, provided me with the tools I needed to finally make those difficult choices and changes.

And, so far, it is working. I can walk 5 kilometers without falling to pieces afterward. I go to the gym almost every day. I have a social life again. I have a sex life again. My increased health even seems to have had a positive effect on my seizure activity. A year ago, I was sitting around the house waiting to die. Today, I am constantly in motion, and planning for 5, 10, and even 20 years down the road. Obesity was killing me, and I have now sprung back to life.

And, in the place of being passionate about food, I have discovered new passions. I was able to get a quill and inkpot tattoo back in April to celebrate becoming a published, professional writer. I am halfway through writing my first novel. I have begun work on not one but two non-fiction books. I even went so far as to buy a house, fully expecting to be around when it is paid off in my 70s.

97 pounds lighter and 300,000 words later, I am still discovering new things I want to experience.

Thanks For Joining Me On My Journey,

- Jeremy

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