I had to see a neurosurgeon from 2006 to 2008. On my first visit to see him he walked into the room with my wife, Polly, and the first words out of his mouth were, "you're not a little guy, are you?" After he spend a few moments with me, he stepped out to check something. I said to Polly, "that first statement he said did not take a brain surgeon to figure out!" I was somewhere over 330 pounds at the time. I was suffering from neck and shoulder pain with some loss of feeling in my left shoulder and arm. It is one thing I have not talked about much in my recovery.
My doctor identified a narrowing with a bone spur between my C5 and C6. He talked to me about various treatment and tests we needed to do. He also told me that the size of my neck with my weight would not make surgery easy if it came to that point. He said he could definitely do the surgery, but the size/weight would make it much more difficult. I thought, 'great, one more thing to worry about, to complicate my life and the things I was trying to do at that time in my life'.
Over 3 years I went through numerous tests and shots to hold off surgery. I had several epidural procedures to help with the pain and swelling. In late 2008 my doctor told me that I would be having my last epidural and the next step would be surgery! I was not happy with that news, but it still did not jar me to do something about my weight. I did not want to face the fact that losing weight would make surgery much easier and less risky with reduced tonnage on my body and neck. I did not think losing weight would help my situation that much although my doctor had told me it would.
And, as you know, I started MY journey on March 2, 2009. This was about 3 months after getting the verdict from my neurosurgeon there would be no more epidurals, but there would be surgery. Over the course of my journey I did not think much about my neck, the pain, or the loss of feeling in my left arm/shoulder.
I did not think much about it till last week in my favorite Starbucks. I saw my neurosurgeon at the register ordering as I talked with my brother over coffee. I thought damn I have no neck, arm, or shoulder issues now. I have very little issues with loss of feeling. All of the weight loss, the diet change, and the exercise had improved my condition to the point that I had all but forgotten about my neck issues.
I stopped my neurosurgeon and introduced him to my brother. I told him about my story and present condition which he was happy to hear. Then, to MY surprise, I thanked him for being SO BLUNT with me in 2006. He held no punches back when he first walked in the room and said, "you're not a little guy, are you?" He told ME on my first visit that MY weight would be an issue.
I tell you all this because I know the struggle with obesity is a tough. I know TheFatGuy had a very difficult time talking about his weight and hearing anything from anyone. I know it is hard for everyone to talk about this deeply personal issue, even doctors! All of this brings TheFatGuy back to the fact that we are dealing with a NATIONAL EPIDEMIC with millions of very personal stories.
While I do not condone being cruel to people, I do condone honesty, even if blunt at times. That is why I thank my neurosurgeon for being SO BLUNT with ME on 2006 and I thank everyone who was honest with TheFatGuy about his weight issues. I may not have liked it at the time, but I may not be here right now if it not for some of the blunt honesty bouncing around in my head.
One thought I would leave you with: Would you be BLUNTLY HONEST with someone to save their life? I think that is what it comes down to for TheFatGuy.
Note to ME and YOU: Tough Love is a Tough Thing! Thank anyone who has the courage and love to tell you the truth, even if it hurts!
TheFatGuy, TheFitGuy, TheBEAST