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A Detour off the Appalachian Trail (July 21, 2009)

posted Sep 3, 2009, 12:42 PM by Neal Jones

            I don’t like talking about my health matters in public, but since I was planning to be out of commission for a couple of weeks due to surgery, I felt like I should notify you in the last Unigram.  Now, thanks to you, I will not be going through with my planned surgery to remove my uvula and whatever else may be residing in the back of my throat.  I say “thanks to you” because since the last new newsletter went out, many of you have spoken to me about the possible side effects of the UP3 surgery I was scheduled for – things like a permanent voice change, difficulty swallowing and coughing, and nasal reflux (I’m not sure what that is, but it doesn’t sound pleasant).  Plus, many of you have urged me to try losing weight and see what effect that may have.  I’ve done some research and have discovered that significant weight loss will sometimes allow people with sleep apnea to sleep without having to use the dreaded CPAP machine.  So it just makes sense to try a less extreme measure before resorting to surgery.  Besides, it’s a no-lose proposition.  Even if weight loss doesn’t allow me to discard the CPAP machine, it will still benefit my overall health, especially my blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

            So I’ve cancelled my surgery … and my side order of French fries.  Now is the time when I really should hike the Appalachian Trail (and I mean that literally, not in the coded language of Mark Sanford).  The only downside to my decision is that dieting and exercising seem humdrum compared to going under the knife.  People don’t give you sympathy cards and flowers for eating less carbs and using the treadmill.