Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Day 323 A Serious Confession, The Gift of Life, and The Hottest 5K

Day 323

A Serious Confession, The Gift of Life, and The Hottest 5K

I have a confession. What I'm about to share with you isn't something you should ever do, ever, without consulting your doctor first. About a month ago I ran out of my blood pressure medication and I never returned to the pharmacy for a refill. I didn't ask my doctor or anything, I just stopped cold. This is a very irresponsible thing to do, and even worse when you consider my older half brother died at 42 from the effects of prolonged high blood pressure. Any explanation I give will not excuse the fact that I should have consulted a doctor first before boldly declaring myself medication free. With that said, here's my explanation: I was first prescribed blood pressure medication a couple of years ago. I needed it badly, but I still wasn't consistent in taking them. Then on June 10th, 2008, with my weight in excess of 505 pounds, and my blood pressure raging out of control at 220/119---or something close to that---I can't remember---but it was really bad, the doctor brought me to tears as she described in graphic detail what my internal organs were up against with that kind of blood pressure. Fearing that an early death could come even sooner than I feared, I grabbed that prescription and drove straight to the pharmacy. I started taking a good sized dose of two commonly prescribed blood pressure medications. It sounds crazy to say that it didn't scare me enough to “get busy” right then, no...death apparently wasn't enough motivation. In looking back, I think I may have thought the blood pressure medication was buying me some time. If it brought down the stroke level BP, then I could maybe ignore my “little weight problem.” As you may already know from reading this blog, I finally did get busy on September 15th, 2008 and have never stopped in my relentless pursuit of better health and an optimal weight. But through it all my prescription remained the same strength, perhaps I don't go to the doctor enough. After losing the first 160 pounds or so, I started having frequent dizzy spells. After visiting the doctor and discovering really low blood pressure, my meds were cut in half. I kept losing weight of course, and when my bottle ran out I made the irresponsible decision to NOT get it refilled and just monitor the BP and make sure it stayed perfectly normal, luckily it has. Completely normal, in perfect range, and with a pulse normally reserved for athletes at rest. It doesn't excuse my careless action---but I am very happy about this wonderful change. My normal blood pressure and awesome pulse was once again confirmed today.

I had a broadcast from a local blood donor center from 11am to 1pm. I arrived early in hopes of being able to donate while on the air. I knew that I would have to undergo a screening process, a process that I failed horribly a couple of years ago because of my enormous weight and out of control blood pressure. Would I be allowed to donate today? I was very confident everything would be perfect, and it was. The iron level of a blood donor here must be at least 38, mine was 48---awesome. My blood pressure today was 128/82, low enough to get a “perfect” out of the person taking my vitals. And my pulse? 61. 61!!! I was surrounded by needles and blood, had a broadcast to do and everything, and still---61. I was thrilled. I passed the screening process with flying colors and within minutes I was in a recliner with a needle in my arm attached to a bag that was quickly filling with life saving whole blood. It was a wonderful feeling to be able to donate while doing the broadcast. It's easy to just show up and ask listeners to come donate blood and save lives, it's much better to say, “listen, I'll go first!”

After you donate they open up what must be the biggest stockpile of cookies and snacks I've ever laid eyes on. Out of all the choices, I zeroed in on the greatest cookie of all time, the Nutter Butter. But i wasn't going to blindly eat them, I wanted to know the calories first. I remember looking them up early along this journey, but I couldn't remember. No problem, they grabbed an unopened package and showed me the info. 130 calories for two. Uh---no thank you! They may be my favorite cookie of all time. We may have spent many a nights together with a jug of milk, but there was no way I was investing even 65 calories in one of those things. Just a horrible calorie value, that's all. I opted instead for a 110 calorie pack of pretzels and my zero calorie green tea water.

A long time listener popped in during the broadcast. This lady has been listening to my show for years. She would always come to my personal appearances during remote broadcast, but for whatever reason she stopped a couple of years ago. Maybe she got tired of me ignoring her pleas for me to lose weight. She always expressed her concern for my size and health. She would even tell me how she could hear me becoming out of breath on the air. She once brought me an empty bottle of a product that was sure would work. She told me to find it and take it. It was a brown liquid that you consumed right before bed and magically it would make you lose weight during the night without any change or effort on my part. Well, I never bought a bottle of the stuff. I guess I knew that it wasn't going to be that easy. Anyway, when she walked in today, she was amazed at the dramatic difference. She just kept going on and on about how wonderful it was and how she wished her daughter could do it too. She was curious how I've been doing this, so I briefly shared my simplistic approach, and she was very agreeable---I was doing it naturally and changing my life and habits...not just my size. She was so excited, it made me even more excited! What an awesome experience.

Tonight we made a trip to Stillwater, about 45 miles south of where we live. Courtney was wanting to buy some school clothes , so we decided to visit with mom and grandma while the kids shopped. After a brief but wonderful visit, Irene and I headed for the Boomer Lake Trail. It's a small lake really, slightly longer than a 5K all the way around with a two lane sidewalk the entire way. It wasn't going to be easy. Not because of the distance, we can handle that no problem, but because the temperatures were approaching 100. The sun was brutal out there. Twice we stopped to “play” at the drinking fountain. We took turns drinking and splashing water on each other like a couple of kids. It was refreshing on a couple of different levels. It turned out to easily be the toughest 5K power walk we've ever completed and probably the most fun.

It's really late and I'm coming to terms with the fact that I must wait to read my favorite blogs until my lunch break tomorrow. I did see Stephen's phenomenal 100 pound milestone today and although we were running late, I had to take a second and comment. Welcome to the 100 club my friend! You can find Stephen's blog if you haven't already at www.whoatemyblog.com He's on his way to one of the most dramatic transformations ever. Check out his blog---look at that smile, he's a happy man—because he knows—this is it, this is the time that it's for real. It's for keeps. And when you realize it's for keeps, it's only natural to smile. Thank you sincerely for reading. Goodnight and...

Good Choices,
Sean

23 comments:

  1. I know it isn't sensible to stop meds like that but we do know our own bodies and were monitoring your BP, so it obviously was OK. That is great news about how it has come down (it was a big relief when mine did too).

    Well done on donating blood, you just reminded me, I think it is time for my next session soon.

    Love how you and Irene enjoyed your walk and a splash!

    Off to visit Stephen now - wow!

    Have a good night (it is morning here).

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  2. hey, great on the donating blood front. this really makes me want to find places to donate to. i have no reason not to, so i will seek them out.

    awesome about the lady listener. seriously, if your story can change the way one person thinks, thats one life saved, dont you think?

    great work on the 5K. temps above 85 kill me, so that is like a 10K, imo. wow. good job stopping at the water fountain for hydration and other. much needed!

    yes, stephen's smile made me tear today. heres to him following in your footsteps.

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  3. wow...just stumbleclicked upon your blog.

    where have I been?

    off to get the backstory :)

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  4. I have been MIA, as you know, but I have finally caught up on a weeks worth of posts...so here is a weeks worth of comments ;)

    The Facts of Life theme song...thanks. At least you got The Flying Purple People Eater out of my head :D But the lyrics are so true...

    Asterisk placing on "less than 5k". I feel your pain. I mistyped my weight a couple of posts ago, and still haven't decided how to fix it. I think it's about honesty. We feel the need to be honest, even when it's something that people may not even notice. But the honesty is with ourselves more than anyone else...

    Losing a follower: Their loss. Your blog is amazing and I find it compelling, motivating and supportive. Most likely the person is "giving up" on weight loss for now...Don't take it personal. On a side note, I realized that I had never officially followed your blog, so now you have a "new" old follower :D

    "Laughter is a major component of this family's happiness and success." Mine too. Even with all we have been through in this last month, we have found laughter. It is how we survive. When I went into surgery, my son and my friend and I had the nurses and staff laughing so hard I was afraid to let them poke me...but it relieved our tension too. Laughter definitely IS THE BEST medicine, IMHO.

    "If I can find a computer code that would shoot confetti out of your computer, that would be cool." Umm, confetti is a pain in the butt to clean up, as is silly string. Maybe shaving cream would be a better option? :D

    Congrats on the blood pressure! Kind of silly to go off the meds like that, BUT BP is easily monitored at home, and you would know if you needed it, so no big deal. Just do us all a favor and keep a diligent eye on it.

    Donating blood/snacking: I am a 10 gallon donator (long story, but have been donating since I was a teenager). I deal with the snacking by taking my own. I usually take dried fruit and nuts, they are healthier than what they usually offer, taste better, and I get more bang for my calorie budget...Then I drink a small juice and a bottle of water...Another good snack for that is whole wheat crackers and cheese... (though chocolate is good too :D)

    Glad to be back, and I will be reading and commenting regularly, rather than monster comments, I promise :D

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  5. Nutter Butter? Good call on switching it off, guy. It's just not worth it!

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  6. The blood pressure thing is huge! When I was obese mine never got super high (Thank God) but it was 135/85. After I lost the weight it dropped to 104/61! It's amazing how our body responds to good healthy eating and exercise!

    Great job!

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  7. I look forward to the day when I can stop taking my blood pressure medication! I will make sure that I consult a doctor before stopping it though. Good job on resisting the Nutter Butter...like you, I love those things! As good as they are, they are not a caloric investment. Keep up the good work!!

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  8. Okay, since you confessed I am going to fuss a little. You should never, ever do that Sean! When you started getting dizzy spells you should have gone to the doc and had your meds adjusted. While your reading was pretty good yesterday, I'd bet your doc would like to see that lower number below 80 due to your family history. For once, my dear, you need to take your own advice - make "good choices."

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  9. I agree with Helen, check in with your doctor! Kudos on donating blood!

    http://hecate-metamorphosis.blogspot.com

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  10. Thank you for donating blood. My daughter's life depends on peoples kindness and willingness to donate blood. I was crushed last year when I couldn't donate blood because I was too big for the blood pressure cuff. Now I donate whenever I can.
    And I'm not a doctor, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn last night, so do us all a favor and make sure you get to the doc about that BP medication. Just to make sure.
    Take care.

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  11. Yes i have to say that if anyone is thinking of going off of blood pressure pills they really should be monitored. My dr has stated that if it's hereditary and you go off your blood pressure can skyrocket. I'm still on mine!
    Way to go on playing in the water :)

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  12. Way to go on donating blood, I've never donated either so should look into it. That was great meeting up with a fan and getting such great compliments. Wonderful you got a walk in with your wife too and some playfulness together, that's always fun. Maybe it's time for a date night and some "just because" flowers *smile*. What you said about Stephen made me tear up (again), it's so wonderful seeing others hit such great milestones for themselves. He just looked so happy. I loved what you said about it being for keeps this time, that's how I feel too. Hope you have a great day.

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  13. I've never given blood either for all the reasons you wrote. My daughter does everytime but I've always said I wouldn't because--are you ready for this?--it makes me sick. Boy I'll say anything except the truth which is I know I'm too fat and won't pass the screening test. Something new to look forward to!

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  14. Just came across your blog the other day. Started reading it from the beginning, but ran out of time. Maybe you could write a book when you are done this journey. I know a girl who recently lost about 140 lbs in a year and she wrote a book, which was only her blogs. It's an idea.

    You truly are an inspiration. I'm just beginning for the umpteenth time to get this weight off. Why is it such a struggle? I'm 55 years old now and if I don't get it off now I will never do it. My life has been put on hold for far too long. I think of people like you who are losing 100's of pounds and I'm struggling with 90-100. Oh well, hopefully continuing to read your blog along with others, I will find what it is I'm so desperately needing.

    Take care!

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  15. Wow about the meds. Great job getting that blood pressure under control! I'm still on meds for triglycerides. I thought my blood work would be great in June, but the tri's were still way too high. I wish I could monitor at home like you did with the BP. So I'll keep popping my pills until the next blood draw.

    When I was in high school and college, I volunteered weekly at the local blood bank and I put on a yearly blood drive at my schools. I've witnessed thousands of people donate blood and a handful pass out. Back then my blood pressure was so low I had to jog in place to get it up high enough to donate. I was the one that would always pass out. I haven't donated in years. It really thrills me that you were able to donate, and do it live where all your listeners could hear about it--setting a wonderful example. Kudos to you!!! What a proud accomplishment!

    I think it's so wonderful that you get listeners come up to you often and comment about your weight. Cloud 9!!

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  16. Brand new reader here! I'm off to dive into the archives. You seem blatantly awesome. :-)

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  17. I took myself off my meds too 7 weeks ago. Have lost 20 lbs. so far...when I get 30 lbs. off going to have all the tests run again. In my defense, the last 4 times I had it checked at the doctor's office over a 3 month period it was 120/80. Also, I did take one BP pill about a month ago and had the worst dizzy faint feeling I've ever had. I think when I took the pill it made it drop WAY too low...so I think I'm still in the normal range. I'll find out soon!

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  18. Shame, shame... That's straight from the nurse's mouth! But way to go on not needing the meds anymore! I am soooo happy for you! I know some of the side effects of taking medicine for hypertension; both from the books and personal experience, and they can definately put a damper on some things in life. So congrats on that amazing accomplishment! That's awesome.

    As you may or may not know, I get alot of info from caloriecount.com. I read a story today that sounded so much like your story. I thought you may like to read it. I know you may not have time today, but when you do, check it out. You will probably be able to relate rather well.

    http://caloriecount.about.com/power-within-oneself-b324938?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter_20090803&utm_term=continue1

    I guess just copy and paste.

    Take care...

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  19. They say confession is good for the soul! I'm just glad that your blood pressure is normal now... and you were able to donate blood! That is fantastic!

    Good luck on your weigh in tomorrow! And thanks for always being so encouraging and supportive! :)

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  20. Those stats are just amazing!! Way to go on donating :) The walk sounds great...except for the temperatures. I just don't even try that! It's gym or nothing baby! LOL

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  21. I am so pleased you no longer have to take the meds...can't say I am pleased the way you did it heheh but you knew I would say that having been a nurse and all...

    How refreshing for your and Irene to spend that time together.....well done

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  22. Thank you very much for the encouraging comment you left on my blog. :) I'm glad you didnt' give up on me!

    Giving blood always makes me feel better. I had some bloodwork done a few months back and they said I had "too much blood" and should consider donating. I haven't seen many blood drives in my rural area but I need to look into donating somewhere.

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