A Bloody True Story and Facing My Fear of Shorts
It was a really warm day a year ago in June, 2008. We were moving into a new house and we luckily had the help of many friends and family. I was really pushing myself on that day. At over 500 pounds nothing was easy, and moving things was almost too much. My swollen right lower leg was covered with at least a dozen open wounds from the skin stretching too far and breaking. It was painful to say the least, but a pain I had managed with pain killers and over the counter ibuprofen. I knew that the time was coming when I would once again need to take off a week or longer from work to elevate around the clock and have Irene nurse my leg back to health. This was becoming an every six month situation. But on that move day a year ago, I had to get out there and get it done. After unloading several items from the truck I was starting to realize that the pain in my bad leg was getting much worse. I decided to get a drink and take some pills. As I stood in the kitchen of this new place, getting a drink of Coke, I was completely oblivious to the large pool of deep purple blood spilling onto the tile from my leg. When everyone else noticed first, they started to freak out, I didn't. I knew what was happening. I had put too much pressure on it once again. As if over 500 pounds wasn't enough pressure, I had to get really strenuous with the moving adventure. I immediately hobbled back to the bathroom and climbed fully clothed into the shower. The deep sore that was to blame for this bloody situation was hurting intensely and when I pulled my pant leg up, it was clear what was happening. It got deep enough to tap a vein and now it was shooting out with the rhythm of my heart, which by this time was pumping pretty quickly. Irene doesn't do well with blood, especially when it's shooting out “horror movie style” from the one she loves so dearly. Irene helped me stop the bleeding and we wrapped it tight. Our family and friends ordered me to bed and assured me that they would finish the move. The rest of the day and night I must have been told to go to the doctor a hundred times. Why? After all, I knew what needed to be done. I needed time off to elevate and I needed Irene to nurse me back to being sore free like she had done numerous other times. I knew that the long term solution for making the leg better would be losing weight. But how was I going to do that? The damage that my right leg lymphedema had done over the years was horrible, but not as bad as some. I've recently realized that some morbidly obese people have it much, much worse than I ever imagined it could be. I'm blessed, I'm one of the lucky ones in this regard. Still, I never thought that I would ever reveal my leg, wrapped in low stretch bandages or unwrapped, to anyone other than my wife. I just accepted that I would always wear pants regardless of my weight, good or bad. That all changed today.
Until just a few days ago, I didn't even own a pair of casual shorts. I've never worn shorts in public as an adult, ever. A friend of mine that works at the Stillwater station within our broadcast team is also losing weight and he gave me a bunch of clothes that are too big for him now. What a tremendous blessing! In that gift I found two pair of casual shorts. At first I thought I'm never going to wear these, but I at least tried them on. They are size 46 and they fit perfectly! Irene and Courtney convinced me to wear them in public today. I have no idea how they did it. But they did. By the way, my 176 pound loss so far has dramatically improved the condition of my leg. I haven't dealt with the pain of open sores in a very long time, in fact the last time I did I blogged about it early on this journey. My bad right leg isn't so bad anymore. It still gets swollen with lymphatic fluid, but nowhere close to the degree it did before. It never gets so bad that it breaks the skin, not even a little...That's a thing of the past. With proper wrapping and eventually a medically prescribed support that will fit like a big flesh colored sock, my leg will look relatively normal. I never thought that would ever be a possibility.
Keep in mind, I've never worn shorts in public as an adult. It's always been a major hangup of mine, even before my leg started getting bad after a poisonous spider bite back in 1993. I felt too fat to wear shorts period. I didn't care how hot it was, I was wearing jeans, end of discussion! So going out in public today and tonight wearing shorts was a giant breakthrough for me. I felt naked! My legs didn't know what to think! What is that? Air? It's touching me! I constantly reminded myself that I would be OK. We had to take my mom back to Stillwater and I decided to leave jeans or any other type of pants at home. Once we pulled out of the garage, that was it. I was committed 100%. What started out feeling very strange and uncomfortable became liberating and joyful! I really kind of liked it. I'm not saying I'll wear shorts regularly, but every now and then I just might, because today I realized I can.
Courtney and I worked our tails off at the YMCA today. It was an amazing workout that involved an intense racquetball session and a bunch of one on one basketball. We had planned our weekly 10K for tonight, but shortly after our return from Stillwater, I had to suddenly report to work for severe weather coverage. That's cool. We sometimes have circumstances beyond our control that change our workout plans. We'll be OK, besides we did have a wonderful workout earlier today at the YMCA. And we'll have some awesome workouts tomorrow I guarantee!
Instead of posting a separate picture blog, I've included some pictures on this post below. These are the first ever pictures of me wearing shorts as an adult! I also included some before shots to illustrate the dramatic difference this weight loss has made. A couple I think I've posted before.
Thanks for reading and following along with me throughout this wonderful transformation. It's certainly been a fantastic ride so far and like I've said so many times...It just keeps getting better! Goodnight and...
On Vacation in July 2006--I was over 500 and Irene was around 330
We've come a long way baby! Photo taken tonight
Another Before shot---wow.
I'm a lucky man!
One of the worst side views ever! At over 500 pounds.
Another horrible side view---Me over 500, Irene well over 300! She's going to kill me for posting this one again!
Oh the dreaded side view! Not so dreaded anymore! And getting better everyday!