About the book

"Bariatric Surgery: The Best and Worst Decision I Ever Made" is a non-fiction account of bariatric surgery written in a humorous style by Ed Zenisek. It chonicles the journey of Ed and his wife, Amanda, as they prepare for, and eventually have, sleeve gastrectomy. Written in 2018, the book exists in a 180 page paperback as well as a similarly sized ebook available on Amazon's Kindle platform. An audiobook version, voiced by Ed himself, will soon be available on Audible and iTunes.

Please read and enjoy the opening Preface of the book below.

Preface



On November 28th, 2017, my wife, Amanda, underwent sleeve gastrectomy. On December 7th, just ten days later, I underwent the same procedure. Those two surgeries were the culmination of almost 20 months of seemingly endless doctor visits, tests, paperwork, and bills.

As my wife and I took our journey into the deep abyss of bariatric surgery, I wondered why nobody told us it would be such a royal pain in the ass. As the pokes and prods turned into frustration, anger, and sticker shock, I decided I needed an outlet. I needed a way to vent my thoughts, other than strangling my doctors or walking into the bariatric center with a shotgun. I know that sounds dramatic, or possibly psychotic, but believe me, I never understood how some post office worker could blow away his co-workers with a machine gun until I tried figuring out how the hell I was going to navigate my bariatric surgery. Now, I understand. I don’t condone, mind you, but I understand.

As you may be able to tell by my overly dramatic opening monologue, our experiences weren’t always, or even usually, pleasant. Our doctors weren’t always great, and I would call our bariatric center office staff mediocre, at best. That said, I will spoil the ending; it was worth it. I don’t regret it, not even a little.

There are many other books and media out there that talk about bariatric surgery and use words like “life-affirming,” or they might talk about “habits for success.” They do a good job of psyching you up for the hard road and lifestyle changes ahead. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, I think it’s wonderful that most books about this subject are positive. It should help you get through the hours of testing, multitude of appointments, and days of waiting for results. Anything you can do to whittle away the hours, while you anxiously hope everything comes back in time for you to make your surgery date, is a good thing. Honestly, I think my book shows a positive outlook on the process in the end. After all, it is a life changing experience that makes people healthier and, ultimately, live longer.

But it isn’t easy.

At least it wasn’t for us. The entire process took over a year and a half, and every time we thought we crossed the finish line, the doctor’s office moved the goal. Having this surgery isn’t just about making plans and being ok with changing your lifestyle. It’s not just about eating less and cutting carbs. The seemingly endless maze of insurance, Medicare (if applicable), doctor’s offices, and doctor’s orders make getting the surgery feel more like it’s about checking off boxes than about changing your lifestyle.

Keep in mind this is my experience. Every doctor is different, and every patient is too. My wife and I aren’t doctors. She’s a dispatcher, and I’m a computer programmer… so our opinions don’t really mean much in medical circles. Take what I say for what it is, my experience from my point of view. I’m highly confident there are weight loss centers throughout this great land that are bastions of well-planned surgical bliss. Ours was not one of those, at least from our perspective, even though the surgeon turned out to be more than we ever could’ve hoped for. In addition to talking about the surgery, I’ll also talk about what led us to the decision. Bariatric surgery is a big decision, as any surgeon or nutritionist will tell you, and it took a long time for us to make up our minds to have it done. Amanda and I took the plunge together. Having both of us under the knife within two weeks of each other was quite an experience, and we each had our own issues, pitfalls, and pains. We also each had our own reasons for undertaking the surgery.

Hopefully, if you’re considering the surgery, what I’ve written proves you are not alone… others have been just as confused and frustrated as you are. I hope I can make you laugh about this whole experience, because it’s better to laugh than to cry and better to cry than to carry a shotgun into the doctor’s office and look menacingly at the receptionist.

Above all, if you’re thinking about having bariatric surgery, really thinking about it, then I hope this book helps you make the right decision for you. As I said, I don’t regret doing it, and neither does my wife. Or my father. Or my aunt. Or the dozens of people I’ve met, know, or have otherwise interacted with on our journey. Even though I may be harsh and a bit sarcastic in the book, know that every person I know or have talked to, who has had this surgery, considers it one of the best decisions they’ve ever made.

Every. Single. One.

As for being the worst decision I ever made, well, that’s probably not true. I did sign up for DirecTV once. Also, a book title is all about getting attention. You’re reading this, aren’t you? The experience was annoying enough to prompt me to write a book, so there’s that. There are many words I could use to describe how my wife and I felt about the bariatric and weight loss center where we had our surgery planned, but I think I’ll let the experience speak for itself.

In the end, both of us had successful surgeries and went on to significant weight loss. No matter what I write here about the people we interacted with, be they doctors, nurses, staff, or otherwise, I know they were just doing their jobs to the best of their abilities. Many of the experiences I’ll share with you are described from the perspective of someone who was either frustrated, angry, disillusioned, or otherwise confused. Looking back, I know I was not always right… or even mostly so.

That said, not only is it more entertaining to write how I actually felt at the time, but it also gives you a window into how you might feel when confronted with the same types of situations, should you do so. Remember, though, there are two sides to every story. This book is my side.

So, now that the niceties are out of the way, we’ll begin as most stories do… in the beginning.


I was born on Easter Sunday, 1979…