Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Teenaged Obesity . . .

With much thanks to Megan for calling my attention to this story (and cursing her for making me cry (with happiness) for this kid on a Tuesday morning), I wanted to share  a great story about young obesity and a story with lots of good statistics about the obese life and weight loss surgeries that touch all of us in some way or another.  

Here is the gist . . . 15 year old kid.  Living in Virginia.  5'4".  260 pounds.  Morbidly obese.  High blood pressure.  Severe sleep apnea.  General self loathing and misery as he is confronted by a teacher about his food consumption in the cafeteria.  Needs to do something (insert general routine of failed diet after failed diet and even a stint or two in "fat" camp) or he's going to die.  Young and sad.  So what is a kid to do?  Beg for help from the medical community and he got it . . . in the form of lap band surgery.

You all know my feelings on lap band surgery (sorry, I feel how I feel) but this is a great example of how weight loss surgery - of any type - can greatly impact and even save a life.  For a 15 year old kid who just needs to survive adolescence it might be perfect (after all - he's still very young and can likely fight the good fight moving forward if the lap band does not do it for him long-term).  Anywho . . . he's doing great thanks to the procedure.  He's lost 90 pounds.  He's almost textbook "normal" weight for his height and I guarantee he's having a better high school experience than he would have if this procedure was not made available to him.

Now - let me be clear - I don't know what it would be like to be Andrew.  I really don't.  I had a great teenaged experience.  I had a few kids that called me "fat" (and they bothered me very little because my overly-well adjusted sense of "self" would allow me to point out that none of them were people that I admired or wished to be like or have the approval of anyway (put that in your pipe and smoke it, haters)) but, for the most part, I was no different (besides my girth) than any other kid in my small, protective high school.  

I had great friends.  I had fun.  I socialized. I never felt left our or alienated.  I never got any trouble from anyone that I didn't deserve.  

I don't mean to imply that Andrew had a miserable life.  I pray that his life was and is even more blessed than mine was and is.  I really do.  I just know that, for the average fat kid, it is hard to be fat and young in America.  Even as we get fatter as a society.

Good luck with the rest of your life, Andrew.  Welcome to the other side of your journey! 


Larraine said...

I read the original article, and I must tell you that I thought it was a good idea for that young man. He was too young for regular gastric bypass surgery. I opted for regular gastric bypass surgery also. However, for someone as young as Andrew, the lap bad is probably a better idea. The point is that he now has his weight under control. Hopefully he will continue to do so in the future. Not long ago someone told me about their neighbor who had gastric bypass surgery and has managed to eat herself up to nearly her original weight. She apparently eats all day. People think the procedure allows an effortless weight loss. You still have to change your eating habits. Hopefully the young man in the story will be able to do that.

Sean C. Amore said...

Hey, Larraine. Thanks for checking in. I totally agree that lap band was right in this scenario . . . and to be clear - I've never argued that GB is an instant or permanent weight loss strategy. I hope your journey is going well!