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!