On the road to wellness: Planning surgery

The world is full of images and messages about our weight. Skinny = pretty. The country's too fat. There's an "epidemic" of obesity in America. Obesity is on the rise among our children. Type II Diabetes is nearing epidemic proportions. What are we going to do? What are we going to do? What are we going to do???

This is a topic I've dealt with all my life. As a very young child, I was slender, but once I got into school, my weight started rising. I remember being weighed in at 216 pounds in the 7th grade. I was bullied and harassed, which made the weight worse--food became my only friend, to the point that I honestly didn't know what hunger really felt like.

And now, at the age of 39, I'm morbidly obese with a BMI approaching 50, and I'm scared. My dad and both of my grandfathers died of heart disease (my father was only 44 when he died); my mother has Type II Diabetes that's now morphed into Type I, insulin-dependent; my cholesterol is high; my blood pressure is high; I have severe sleep apnea; I have spine and joint issues that cause me pain on a regular basis. My weight affects everything I do, from going up the stairs to the room where I work, to the airlines I choose to fly. (Nowhere near Southwest anymore.)

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