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Project 250: Excited, Nervous About The Start Of A New Life Adventure

Jul 07, 2015 02:49AM ● By Bill Gilman

Editor Bill Gilman and his son, Kieran, at the younger Gilman's high school graduation in 2011.

"I went to Burger King and placed my order. The guy asked what I wanted on my burger. I said, ' a hot dog.'"
That's a bad joke. And an old one.
But that's what I do when I'm nervous -- I joke, I toss out one-liners. My therapist would tell you it's my "coping mechanism."
The sheepskin on his wall tells me I should probably take his word for that.
And it makes sense. I'm nervous.
Excited but nervous and anxious.
On Wednesday, July 8, 2015, I'll be taking the first step on a new and exciting life adventure.
At 8:30 a.m., I will arrive for my first official consultation, connected to my desire to undergo gastric bypass surgery.
So I go in to see my doctor and he says, "You're morbidly obese. If you don't lose weight you could die at a very young age." I said, "I want a second opinion." He said, "OK, you're ugly, too."
See, the thing is, I'm 48 years old and I weigh 400 pounds -- probably a little bit more if the truth be told. That simply does not go hand in hand with a long life.
And as delighted as I will be to see Jesus, assorted family members and a certain Fluffapotomous when the time comes, I've got some things I'd like to accomplish and enjoy in this life, first.
I want to watch my sons get married to strong, loving women. I want to be a grandpa and teach my grandkids all the songs I taught my boys and tell them all the corny jokes I learned from my dad.
I want to travel with my wife and see as many of God's natural wonders as possible.
I don't want my mom to have to bury her son. I don't want my sisters to have to bury another sibling.
I've tried everything to lose weight. I've tried all the diets. I even tried that Slim-Fast, you know, the powder you make into shakes. Oh, that stuff is good, really delicious. Goes great with nachos.
My weight has done the classic "yo-yo" process my whole life. Up to 265, down to 220. Up to 295, down to 235. Up to 325, down to 280. Up to 350.
Then, after my spinal surgery, my weight dropped down below 300 pounds for the first time in years. Near fatal illness has the nifty side effect of weight loss.
The weight stayed off for a few months but then, in June 2010, I started working for Patch and all semblance of a normal life went out the window. 60-80 hour work weeks destroyed normal meal planning and eating habits and my utter lack of self control took care of the rest.
Good days were ones when I was able to stick to the "Reporter's Diet." That's the one where you gird your strength to walk up to the counter and say, "No fries with that today."
It's not that I eat when I'm sad or when I'm nervous. I just like to eat. I love the taste. I love the sensations. I can eat any time of the day or night and it will give me great joy. That's why I was so happy to find an Asian take-out place that delivers 24 hours a day. Yeah, it's called Wok-Around-The Clock.
Do you see the photo at the top of the page? That is of me and my son, Kieran, at his high school graduation in 2011. I love that photo. It's one of my favorites. You probably recognize Kieran's name because he helps me with Your Tewksbury Today.
Anyway, back to that photo. It is also one of the most embarrassing photos of me out there. I look at it and see this 400-pound man staring back at me and I'm frustrated and sad that I let things get to this point.
And then there are chairs.
I hate chairs.
I broke a patio chair visiting friends a few years back. THEY apologized. Can you believe it? But we all knew the truth. I've been used to the seats at Fenway Park not being comfortable. But last year, my son and I needed to move to open seats in one of the handicapped sections.
I always need to get an extra seat on airline flights. I could go on but you get the idea.
Which brings me to Wednesday.
I'd wrestled with having "the surgery" for a few years ... hesitant because I kept thinking I should be able to lose this weight on my own and ashamed that I couldn't. But then I learned that three friends of mine have gone through the gastric bypass surgery over the past few years and the results have been fabulous.
I realized I didn't have to be ashamed that I couldn't do it on my own. I just had to have the courage to do something about it.
So I talked it over with my wife and we prayed about it. And I feel confident this is where the Lord is leading me.
My mom made me some great Halloween costumes when I was a kid. But folks could always tell it was me under the costume. I was the only kid going house to house saying, "Trick-or-Ham."

With your permission, I'd like to provide updates from time to time about how the adventure is going. The prep-work before the actual surgery can be 3-6 months. And then the after care. ... well, let's just say there will be some major lifestyle changes that accompany the surgery.
My goal weight, as I see it now, is 250 pounds. But if I can get close to 200 pounds, that would be even better. I think I could get used to saying, "I'm half the man I used to be."
Maybe by chronicling the process, I can help someone else struggling with their weight and not sure what to do.
Wednesday, July 8, 2015. Day 1 of a new adventure. Prayers and positive thoughts are most welcomed. This is going to be bumpy ride.

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