Feb 18, 2010

This fat thing is "old hat" (part two)

Part one
Change in my life was needed.  At the time I was in pretty bad shape:
  • Seven different prescription medications
  • Twenty-four hour oxygen
  • Bi-PAP ventilation at night
  • Four times per day blood glucose monitoring
  • Insulin injection
  • Physical therapy every day
  • Severe pitting lymphatic swelling below the knee in both legs
  • Morbidly obese at over six hundred pounds
  • Asthma
  • Emphasema
  • Dermatitis
  • Declaration of disability from the state
Life was really hard.  Life sucked so bad for me. I could see others moving on, growing, learning and living life.  It was all passing me by.  I felt, at times so alone.  I was desperate for normality.  Dark places lurked in me on foundations of great pain and what I have come to believe is real evil.  I was physically and emotionally crushed.  Slowly these things began to come under control.  I remembered the events I witnessed in the dim hallway just outside of the room two doors down. They really galvanized in me the need for change.  As soon as the opportunity was available to enter the Sharp Weight Management program, I did.  It had been suggested to me as an alternative to by-pass surgery.  Turns out I was too large for the surgery.  During my consultation it was determined that the laparoscopic instruments were not long enough to be used safely.

I was almost too ill to participate in the Sharp Weight Management program at all.  I had managed to drop a significant amount of weight, mostly water, before applying for the program.  This was possible because I had spent a month in the hospital and been in physical therapy for more than a year. The debate about letting me into the program or not was all kept away from me.  I was unaware that I was a bit controversial as a program candidate. I am alive today because of that program.  I am forever thankful for it.  I entered the program at five hundred seventy-nine pounds.  My illnesses began to change almost immediately.

The thing that people noticed in me right away was attitude.  I had been notoriously angry.  A mean, quick-tempered and sharp-tongued fat man.  I look back on those times and realize how much of my anger was drawn from fear and scrambling for a sense of control, when so many things were chaotic. I had become more friendly and understanding.  I would share smiles and shake hands more often.  People commented on my optimism. I was shocked, almost offended.
The details of the Sharp program, and how it works requires a dedicated posting. For those of you that already know of HMR, you may be able to surmise much of the program structure.
 I made a commitment.  A promise to myself to change.  I had the support of family members who sacrificed quite a bit to see my way into this program and I couldn't let them, or myself fail.  I had the words of the kind soul in a lab coat ringing in my ears.  I was sick... and tired of being so sick.  I had to do it.  I had to pay attention.  Learn.  Move.  Eat less.  Discover nutrition.  Commit.  And I did all of them with a passion I had never known before.  It was critical to me to enact change.  Not to think it, or want it, but to take action.  I had all the motivation in the world.

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