Sometimes as I write these posts, I imagine some kind of low-level news interviewer in my head asking me inane questions. They’re around 25 or so, fresh out of journalism school with all their hope, dreams and relatively solid grammatical skills still intact. The weight of the world and the massive intellectual drag factor of the so-called Kansas City news community haven’t managed to mold them into the hollow shell that so many of our news professionals seem to become. At the same time, they’re not afraid to ask the obvious questions. Today’s question from my imaginary interviewer – let’s call him “Skip” – is the following: why have you decided to blog again?
Well, Skip, it’s been a decision that’s been a long time coming. Stopping my prior blog was a pretty hard decision, and was one that I regretted pretty quickly. But one of the reasons I did that was because I do feel that if you don’t have anything interesting or at least amusing to say on a relatively regular schedule, don’t bother wasting precious internet resources with your mindless ramblings. I didn’t feel like I was really wasting space so much, but more that I wasn’t posting those things with the regularity that took my thoughts from “occasional ramblings” to the “fairly interesting” level.
So will that change in 2007? I hope so. At least I have something that I consider interesting to post about. What might that be? A big change.
Since around mid-September 2006, I’ve been thinking about having a Lap Band procedure done. I won’t bore you with the gory details, but it’s a bariatric (i.e., weight loss) surgery that is less invasive than the “standard” gastric bypass. A good friend (and blog reader!) was considering doing this procedure, so I thought I’d take a look too. After all, I definitely need to do something drastic.
I took my time thinking about this, reading about the procedure, and seeing if my health insurance would cover the procedure. Prior to this year, no, my insurance wouldn’t cover it – and the ballpark estimate for the procedure is somewhere to the tune of $16,500. That’s a lot of cash, and without insurance taking a chunk out of it, it probably would have meant taking a home equity loan or something like that.
However, when our insurance changed in 2007 to a new provider, what to my wondering eyes should appear but the paragraph in the policy that said, “yes, you can have this surgery, but only if you’re really, really overweight and have already failed at trying to lose it yourself. Twice.” That’s my paraphrasing there, but you get the gist of it.
So yes, I’m very, very overweight, and yes, I’ve tried many times to lose weight. How many? Let me think here. I can remember being called fat by other kids since I was in 2nd grade – I have a pretty strong memory of my 2nd grade teacher (in fact, almost my only memory of that teacher) talking to me about that. I remember going to Weight Watchers with my Mom sometime when I was in elementary school – I want to say somewhere around 4th or 5th grade. I remember going to Weight Watchers with my Mom when I was in Junior High – probably 8th grade – and then again in High School, around 11th-12th grade. I have gone on at least 5 different occasions after leaving High School. Each one of these sojourns has lasted somewhere to the tune of 4 months to around 1.5 years, and each time I have managed to gain everything back.
Pretty sad, right? I didn’t really think about it too much until trying to compile a personal history for insurance purposes, but in fact it is pretty sad. I don’t make any pretensions about the fact that in every single one of those instances, it’s been me that has failed – Weight Watchers never kicked me out saying, “sorry, we’re going to fail on you this time.” It doesn’t work that way. But at the same time, losing weight and keeping it off is obviously a difficult thing to do – if it wasn’t, there wouldn’t be a rampant obesity epidemic today.
In thinking about all that, I have decided to pursue the matter much more vigorously. Unless the surgeon tells me that I can’t have the procedure for some reason – and he could, I suppose, especially because of the hernia I’ve got poking out of my lower stomach – I’m going to have this procedure in 2007. Preferably earlier rather than later, but I likely have to lose some weight on my own before I can have the surgery. I also need to decide if I’m going to do the lap-band or the standard gastric bypass.
I’ve enlisted the help of my physician, who is referring me to a weight loss specialist (I’m making an appointment with them on Monday morning). I’ve also attended a very interesting informational seminar at Shawnee Mission Medical Center on the subject of bariatric surgery and learned a lot that I frankly didn’t know or thought I knew and was completely wrong about. The seminar itself has really caused me to give a lot more consideration to the gastric bypass surgery as an option – it’s still a much more serious procedure than the lap band, but it also has a much more significant and rapid affect on your health. In my current state, I think that might be a good thing – but I’m going to get the opinions of lots of medical professionals before I make my decision.
So there you have it – why I’ve returned to the world of blogging. Expect to hear a lot more about this new journey in the coming weeks and months, along with plenty of other boring details peppered in every so often. And welcome back!