Let me start with some facts and history about this blog. My last real post was on October 13th 2012 so for those bad with calendars or math that was almost four years ago.
I have written a total of 104 posts and this site has seen over one half million hits, (510,143 to be exact.) Through the years this site has helped me immensely with my struggles with weight gain and weight loss. I used both humor and brutal personal honesty as a tool to motivate myself. And then I simply stopped…
I eventually decided that the blog was too much work and I was ready to proceed on my own without leaning on this site. To some degree I was right. I had a good understanding about how nutrition, exercise and the proper mindset could get you healthy. I started the blog at a record high personal weight of 303 pounds. As of a year and a half ago I was at a record low of 238 pounds. I had learned to love road cycling and was able to cycle up to 50 miles in a single day and with that new found love the weight continued to drop. I loved the new me. I looked as great as a goon like me could look and I felt great. Best of all I had pulled the love of my life- my wife along on the journey.
Then life happened.
I have had many years of problems with my left knee including a failed knee replacement. The problem with knees is that they come in pairs and my right knee totally gave up on me in early 2015. The short story is that I had a knee replacement early in 2015 and again it did not go well. I ended up in the operating room four times in 2015 for the knee and as a bonus developed a post-surgical intestinal blockage that nearly killed me.
All in all I was out of work and laid up for six months. I finally made it back to work and was happy to have that behind me when five days into work I went home healthy and woke up that night with a massive heart attack! The artery that serves the back of my heart was 100% blocked. My not dying that night was truly a gift from God. For those interested in reading about my heart attack experience please follow this link:
With all of that background here’s where the proverbial rubber meets the road… After my heart attack I felt that I had a gift that I did not want to squander. I wanted to spend many more years with my wife and with my recently born grandson a.k.a. Calvin the Great:
Yet here is what really happened. I instead caved in to excuses and fear. Excuses are just that… I was unhappy with my job and went through a radical job change… my job prevented me from going through the strongly recommended cardiac rehab program, now both knees are trash and simply walking can be difficulty let alone exercise, the list could go on and on but they are what they are – simply excuses.
As to the fear- that is real. I fear that as I now try to exercise I will suffer another heart attack. Even a potentially fatal heart attack. I have read studies that a lot of heart attack survivors can actually suffer from a type of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD.) If that’s the case I think that I’m there.
I recently had a follow-up appointment with the cardiologist that saved my life a few weeks ago. The guy who got out of bed at 3AM to save my life- Dr. Boffetti.
He of course talked to me about my weight gain after the heart attack and I expressed my fears. I asked him “when I’m exercising now and I feel like I’m going to die is it because I’m fat and out of shape or because I’m going to die?” His not so comforting yet honest reply was that he didn’t know. I now have two stents in my heart that cleared up that particular blockage but there were other areas of concern. He said that statistically speaking not many folks drop dead while exercising after the fact but he felt the risk/benefit analysis was definitely on the side of exercise and weight loss. Despite that I did nothing.
So why now?
Two factors really. One is that a couple of weeks ago I was at my best buddy’s house. While being a terrible looking man he is a caring man.
Fearing that one day he may need to carry my lard ass in a casket he started pushing me hard about getting healthy again. He really pushed me to start the blog again because he knew it helped me and that it had helped others. I almost did it. Instead I did nothing.
Then this happened… A dear friend of ours is named Mike.
Mike’s an amazing young guy in his early thirties with an awesome wife who is also a dear friend of ours. He has two beautiful small children who love him and need him dearly. Then Mike, being the silly guyhe is had a massive heart attack as well. Mike, like me, is very, very lucky to be alive!
Upon hearing of Mike’s terrible scare I found myself wanting to be a fount of wisdom for both he and his wife about what he needs to do, how he should act and the importance of him regaining his health for his sake and the sake of his family. Yet I realized that offering such advice simply made me a hypocrite!
I was happy to direct him on his course but I was unwilling to chart my own and thereby refusing to lead from the front. I have rarely caved into fear and have done some pretty ballsy things in my time but no as of late. As of late I’ve been scared and full of excuses
So for Tom, and Mike and most of all for me I choose to shake off the fear and embrace hope for my future. Today I weigh in at 295 pounds and I choose to go no higher. I’ll try to post my progress at least once a week and I hope that all of you will hold me accountable going forward. And as always for others struggling to get healthy please join me on the journey,