(This is part of a series I posted on my other (formerly anonymous) blog, tobypass.wordpress.com. An index of all posts in this series is located at the bottom of this article.)
If you’ve been following me along over the past couple weeks — you know I just started this blog as a bit of a chronicle and journal of my walk through this part of my life. You also know that I have yet to fully decide, “YES – I’m going to do bariatric surgery!”
I did go to an information session put on by a regional bariatric group a couple weeks ago. And since then I’ve actually spoken to those people on the phone and am scheduled for an initial consult with a dietician and doctor in the middle of June (2015). Of course I’m not the only one at this point who has the option of opting me out — they certainly can disqualify me for a hundred different potential reasons for all I know. But I also know that I can decide to stop the process at any point along the way. I don’t imagine doing that; yet it’s comforting to know that I can.
In this post, I want to explore a little bit some of the pros and cons of surgery vs. no-surgery. Primarily just to help me get my mind straight about everything. Do the risks outweigh the potential rewards? Is the cost (in terms of permanent lifestyle change and social implications) too high for what I’ll get back? Are there intangibles with either that I can only get by pursuing a given path?
So I worked up this little chart — I’m a nerd, I know. And my hope was to compare and visualize the weightiness of each decision path. You’ll see some question marks throughout and that’s because I’m not sure how much to weight some of these items — or if even some of them are true. In any case, this is how it fell for now…
Now — The real question mark in all of this is whether or not I’ll stick to the changed lifestyle if I do the surgery — or If I’d be able to be successful at permanently reducing my weight without surgery (hasn’t happened yet in over 15 years of dieting)… In the end, it comes down to likelihoods — and according to my past path, it seems most likely that trying to do this without surgery is a far more difficult path also one that is more likely to end in little to no success… It also seems that according to the research, surgery is the best option for most people this overweight — yielding the best long term results of any currently known therapy.
If I were to make a chart with those things a little more solidified, the graph would look a little differently… The weight would fall much more firmly on the side of surgery.
However, if I were to beat the odds — really be able to keep my weight off with diet and lifestyle change alone, that would seem like the better option (other than the speed factor) — because I’d avoid all the risks of surgery and permanent body change while still reaping the benefits of lower weight and fewer comorbidiites. This scenario is the less likely one – clearly – but still possible.
The real wildcards then become clear to me…
First — time — surgery is far more likely to yield me into a successful situation within a couple short years than is lifestyle change, which is and will be a very long slog with many more downs than ups arguably. Because I have two little sons who’s childhood is in play here — time IS of the essence. And that isn’t overstating things at all…
The second wildcard isn’t a big deal but it is something. I write in the chart above about how surgery is this definitive, risky, permanent step — it’ll be putting me on a path irrevocably — an adventure of a kind. Sure. There might be dangers. Sure. There might be problems down the road. But it’s doing something about my situation. It’s doing something big. It’s arguably doing the BEST possible thing (according to my family doctor – and now my wife). It kind of has the feel of joining frodo on his quest to return the ring to mordor in the lord of the rings tale (ok 2 nerd references in one post — enough) — I like that. It feels good. It stokes my inner masculine adventurer. Even if there are negative things that come out of it…
I’m not sure if I’m any further along in the process of deciding than I was when I began this blog a couple weeks ago — but I feel as though the stars might be aligning for me to go forward with it.
The rubber will begin to meet the road after my consult in a couple weeks I’d suppose.