Question for Bernie
At 300 pounds, I am incontinent, exhausted, suffer from low back pain which may require surgery, and feeling hopeless. What do I do?
Thank you for any help you can offer to me.
Act like you are your loving grandmother, and do what she would tell you to do. You need to love yourself and stop fearing that anyone you encounter finds you unattractive. You have a lot to offer others, so work on finding your unique self through meditation or visualization. The attributes you find within are the anchor you need to go about life.
Knowing yourself well will motivate you to exercise and eat healthy foods. You can learn to love and take care of your body, and you will discover that you want to do the things the keep you healthy for the rest of your life.
You are using food to replace the love you never received as a child, so it is time to re-parent yourself. Find pictures of yourself as an infant and toddler. Put them up around your home where you see them every day. Each time you pass a picture of you, tell that little person that you love her—that she is worthy of having the best of everything life has to offer, the most of important of these being loved for the wonderful person she is.
I can recommend two ideas for getting the exercise that strengthens body, mind, and spirit. The first is if you already have a dog to walk daily, add more walking time with your dog to your day. Start slowly, but be consistent. The second suggestion is to find a personal trainer who, for a short time, can teach you, in the privacy of your own home, how to correctly use light free weights and do limbering up stretches which can help your back pain. Once you have some confidence about exercising, find a gym to continue strength training. You will begin naturally losing weight because once you are in touch with your body through exercise, it is much easier to love and take care of your body. I guarantee that you will start feeling much better about being out and about in public.
Other options that are great include water aerobics classes which are very popular with people who don’t want to put extra stress on joints but who need aerobic exercise. Many medical centers offer these classes to the public at low cost. Once you have done some of these things for two months or so, you can add more activities with a doctor’s “go ahead.” The key to sticking with exercise is first, get going (slowly), and second find something you love. Even if you don’t have a dog yourself, once you feel like you are in better shape and want to maintain a fun way to exercise, offer your services as a dog walker. If you like to shop, then find a group that “walks the malls” before they open to the public each day. These exercise groups also can make you feel accepted and cared for by new friends.
I am now your CD = Chosen Dad, so I will be here for you whenever you need a loving parent.
You can change your life, but the first step is learning to love yourself and your body just as it is now, and then do the things that will show your love to your body by taking excellent care of it. Your body will respond to the message that you want to LIVE and deserve happiness. Before long, you will see the changes you want, and I’m here to help you.
Question for Bernie
I have been fighting bacterial infections in both ears and severe bilateral mastoiditis for half of my life. I am now 54, and I don’t know what else to try. I have seen numerous doctors and taken antibiotics and prednisone for temporary relief every year.
A doctor I am seeing now wants to operate, but I remember my father, who was a surgeon, telling me that surgery should be the last resort. Is it time for the last resort? My doctor says there are many risks associated with this surgery related to affecting balance, hearing, and facial nerve impairment. I am very tired of this chronic problem, but I am still a fighter. I just am not sure what to do about taking the “last resort” step of surgery. Can you help me make a decision? I would be so grateful for your guidance.
Before taking the step of surgery, see a naturopathic physician to strengthen your immune system by helping you with herbal medications, homeopathy, and identify any allergies that could be involved. Also, take care of your emotional needs. Loneliness and depression can affect immune function significantly. Start meditating and visualizing about being healthy and free of this chronic condition.
Surgery can also be the right choice if none of the above work, but you do need to be sure before you go ahead with surgery that your immune system is as strong as you can make it. A very big part of that is your mental and emotional outlook. If you go ahead with surgery, you are going to need a lot of immune strength to heal, so make sure you are prepared. You might find my book Getting Ready for Surgery very helpful if you do elect a surgical solution.
Doctors are required to give patients full disclosure about the risks of any surgery, but they generally include the benefits along with those risks so the patient has a balanced view to help decide what course to take. You should always get at least one more opinion from another surgeon about the risks and benefits of the kind of surgery that has the potential to help with your chronic problem.
Draw a picture of yourself in the operating room and send it to me. I’ll help you interpret it. My patients have always found that this activity is very helpful in making decisions about having surgery and if they do need surgery, it is helpful to see how your outlook is in terms of healing afterwards.