On November 24th Dr. Sahsi Ganta performed a Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy on me at the Austin Surgical Hospital on Bee Cave Road. After much discernment and prayer and encouragement by my good friend Brian McClure (he had his on November 17th) I decided to make a radical change in my life. This particular procedure removes a huge percentage of your stomach leaving you with a pouch about the size of an egg. Ultimately, I will be able to eat about a cup of food at a sitting.
The decision was really quite easy for me. First I had my friend Brian to journey with and secondly I knew that I needed to do something radical to regain control over my health. Having had done many Street Retreats (up to 72 hours on the streets) the recent 24 hour blogging Street Retreat (National Blog Day on Oct 15th) really took it out of me. I could not sleep a wink while on the streets due to my portly nature. I really love being out on the streets and getting in touch with Christ through those he loves so dearly; the poor, the outcasts and the despised. But this time unlike all the others I was wiped out. Also I wanted to reduce health challenges for the future so I could focus on serving our brothers and sisters in need.
What can I expect? First, I expect to lose about 100 to 130 lbs. That right there will be significant. With this weight loss I should drastically reduce or eliminate many of the comorbidities i had associated with my obesity; diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea etc. Also, I am excited about re-engaging in a a moderate exercising program (this will be great for future Street Retreats) particularly walking. Even prior to the surgery I began to wal a bit around my neighborhood and enjoyed the early morning walks. I would take my iPod and listen to music, daily Mass readings, or other podcasts of a spiritual nature. It was an opportunity to be alone with God.
As someone who has admired and studied St. Francis of Assisi (I wear the San Damiano Crucifix around my neck) I also desire the ability to live a simpler more frugal lifestyle; to be in solidarity with the poor. Being able to eat small portions of food will be one of those outcomes that I pray will spiritually put me in solidarity with these brothers and sisters. I also fantasize about shopping for clothing at the thrift stores like all of my brothers and sisters on the streets must do. Hard to find XXX sizes there!
I also pray that my witness and journey will encourage others to take this radical step. Those that have fought weight loss all of their lives but still find themselves gaining weight truly have an option. Plus the reduction or many times the eliminations of the comorbidities is so significant that the cost to society alone is staggering if we do not do something radical.
Anyway, stay tuned as I will return and blog more on my journey. I ask for your prayers as I and my friend Brian make this journey. This is only a tool and I pray that we make good use of this particular tool.