Friday, March 30, 2012

Head and Shoulders


And of course a little bit of buttcrack. Try as I might, as you will see in the fun exchange in the movie below, the boy, even during play time, has to be reminded not to put his hands between his cheeks. Oh well, waddya gonna do? 

Those aren't pillows...!!!




OUT.

Monday, March 26, 2012

One Small Step


Even though I am posting virtually the same identical blog at Mission: iPossible tonight, some things are worth saying twice, and I just want to take a moment to point you in the direction of something that is, without doubt or hesitation, worth a few minutes of your time.

In our world, in the universe of the Special Needs community, we seem to spend much of our lives as parents picking up the pieces. Trying to patch holes in our lives. Trying to keep our families together, trying to put out this fire or that, and battling obstacles both within ourselves and put before us by systems that seem to care so little about the children they claim to serve.

Moment of Purity seem so rare sometimes, don't they?

They happen, they really do. And it is important that all of us stop and take a second to bathe in the warm wonder of those experiences when we happen to be fortunate enough to be granted a gift of such a treasure from one of our own children. But isn't it equally as important, as members of this community, when we become aware of one of our own who is savoring the beauty of something that will be timeless in their lives, to also bear witness?

Do we not owe it to them, and to ourselves, to stop, turn our heads, and take heed?


I say yes.

OUT.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Playing House...Badly


I had this post, a very lengthy one (imagine that) with a theory as to what the Hell was wrong with me. In regards to me leg/joint/groin/back pain. Not in general what is wrong with me. We'll NEVER be able to figure all that out in a single blog entry, so I won't even try! :)

But then I didn't get it finished before I went to see my primary care physician, and all my theories?

Blown to bits.

I'd make a terrible television doctor. None of my theories panned out. At least, not according to my Doc. He checked me out for a possible hernia and did not detect any, and all the other things I thought? Nada. The end result of the consultation was that he said he would be hooking me up with a Physical Therapist to try to work on my back, which he did feel was being compressed because of my newest duties as Bennett's designated driver to and from his 'school alternative'.

That is the place he goes every Monday through Friday instead of school, essentially. Jen got a new job as of about a month ago, and Your Truly has been the one who now drives him there, every day, there and back again. But whereas Jen drove him on her way to the job she had, I drive him from here at the house, so I therefore return to the house, since as was mentioned in the last blog I do not technically have a job in the true sense of the word, although I do work and maintain an income while maintaining a home-based business.

That means I now spend 2 hours, +/-, in the car, instead of around 5 minutes, every few days, in the car. Something in my back (and I do have a pre-existing degenerative disc condition from 2004-2005) is being aggravated by this extra pressure of the commute, and so my arms and legs can often feel like they are dipped in hot lava, my neck and back as well. But other areas of my body can also feel as if I am being stabbed or burned. Pins and needles too, and also cold, and numbness, all interchangeable, and of course pain unlike I have ever known.


And it isn't always limited to when I drive anymore. When I sit at a computer now, and even when I stand. The only time I used to get relief was when I would lie down. But that was about a week ago. Now I get no relief at all.

Ever.

It has become a constant. It doesn't stop it only gets easier to manage some of the time. Also, now sometimes the crown jewels retreat into the fortress of solitude and don't come out for a while, and they hurt also.

It's freaking weird...migrating pain.

I've had back pain before, dealt with it a long time, and this is different than any I have experienced prior. I guess it can still be just that, but it is amazing that it would fire off in so many different places in so many different ways. And this level of intensity?

Did I mention that I also have a swelling and pressure in my throat that had me concerned so I went to the ENT yesterday just to rule out any lymph node issues, and I did not have any, but my ENT did notice a mass of some kind on my vocal cords? I have to get a laryngoscopy the first week of April to identify what this mass actually is. In his cursory exam, he said I shouldn't worry too much because there wasn't really enough evidence for him to believe it was anything to be concerned about like cancer, so I should keep those thoughts locked out (I do like my ENT, he rocks), but he wants to try to figure it out to get the pressure in my throat eliminated.

Does this suck it OR WHAT!?!?

It sucks not knowing anything. And waiting day after day for any momentum or progress towards anything resembling a STEP ONE on the back thing? Maddening. So meanwhile I just spend the rest of the time worried about what I might be dealing with and in agonizing pain to boot. NICE.

I tried asking a Magic 8 Ball for an answer as to what is causing this. Got a really strange response.


I should have known...

OUT.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I've Got My Very Own Jedi Master


And you are all going to be incredibly jealous. Guaranteed.

Some time ago, I started to receive some messages from an 'anonymous' Internet entity who uses the e-mail name Helpin Hand and the e-mail address timetostopbeingaloser@yahoo.com. Here at the house Jen and I simply refer to this entity as HEHA for short (pronounced 'Hee-Haw').

Of course, I don't get the top of the line Jedi Master. I get the economy model. The 'Loser Edition'. Sniff. So I refer to the the entity as Episode 1 Yoda because it is so much cuter.


But that takes so damn long to SAY that it is easier to use HEHA. At least in conversation.

Now Episode I Yoda is an interesting entity. I use 'entity' or 'it' because I choose, at present, not to tell you the gender of this individual. But it decided to start messaging me regarding my career, to give me some helpful tips about my choices in life, and then moved on to include some tidbits about raising my kids, and these nuggets have now become so good that I can't keep them to myself any longer.

You know me...I HAVE to share.


Some of the earlier ones were pretty basic and uninspired. Just links to job listings. In fact, they were so under-whelming my Postini program assumed that they were spam. They wound up in my junk folders. Stuff like:

FROM: Helpin Hand [timetostopbeingaloser@yahoo.com]
TO: klilly@creatusmaximus.com
SUBJECT: Its' time.

Hello Ken
I have read your blog and enjoy it. But I think you need to get a job. Here's an ad I think you should look into.
http://columbus.craigslist.org/web/XXXXXXXXXX.html

Or others like this one:

FROM: Helpin Hand [timetostopbeingaloser@yahoo.com]
TO: klilly@creatusmaximus.com
SUBJECT: Another great local opportunity.

Dear Ken,
Happy Monday! Start the week off right by trying to secure a job. Here's one I think you should consider...
http://columbus.craigslist.org/tch/XXXXXXXXXXX.html

Yawn. I mean, did Episode I Yoda actually think I would click on strange links in an e-mail? I keep tellin' you...my Momma din't raise no dummy! Well, she might have, but I still ain't clicking on any strange links in e-mails. And besides, I had been getting so much spam to my Creatus Maximus account, I had already moved to a new host server and wasn't paying much attention to Creatus Maximus anymore. These were amongst the hundreds of other pieces of junk that were accumulating in my Postini program.

It was only later, when HEHA had stepped up the game, and I was clearing out the Postini folder and I noticed a large grouping of messages, that I even realized that I had acquired my own Jedi. Because some of the messages went beyond just links to job postings.

Some of the messages contained Wisdom.

They contained Truth.


They contained...well, just see for yourself. Get your notepads ready.

For example, this early one, in response to my blog about my shortcomings about taking Bennett out in public, or taking the family out in general.

FROM: Helpin Hand [timetostopbeingaloser@yahoo.com]
TO: klilly@creatusmaximus.com
SUBJECT: Sunday outing for the family

Dear Ken,
It's time to take your boys for an outing.
Go to a McDonald's. No, it's not the healthiest, but your boys will love it, and if Bennett is disruptive...you're at McDonalds.

I mean...you can't BUY advice like that. Well, you can, but it usually costs around $150.00 an hour. Am I right?

Or this one...

FROM: Helpin Hand [timetostopbeingaloser@yahoo.com]
TO: klilly@creatusmaximus.com
SUBJECT: Fear. Of work.

Dear Ken,
It is my firm believe that there is honor in all work.
Well, almost all work.
There is certainly honor in earning an honest living to support your wife and children.
So, if you're having a hard time landing the type of job you want - it's time to start looking at jobs you don't want.
Millions of men do it every day - suck it up and go to a job they don't like because they have to support their families.
You, too, can do this, Ken.
http://www.officedepot.jobs/Careers.XXXXXXXXXXXX=Stores

Awww....back to the job stuff? You were on a roll, Episode I Yoda! Oh wait, wait...here it comes. Because after a whole slew of job postings, the messages then change in tone and move entirely away from that. Something must have happened in Episode I Yoda's life I guess. Maybe some sex for the first time or something. The focus shifts all the way over to just messages about me and my life with no helpful links to job postings.

Which is OK actually, since I am not actively looking for one. I'll explain that in detail in another post at some point. I've been meaning to go over my career and what is happening with it, what I do for work and $ and such right now (I do manage to earn a very good income), what is going on in relation to my new role in Bennett's therapy, his transportation needs and Jen's recent job change, etc., but I will get to that in my own good time.


But as for the messages from HEHA, they start getting much deeper, more thoughtful. More introspective.

FROM: Helpin Hand [timetostopbeingaloser@yahoo.com]
TO: klilly@creatusmaximus.com
SUBJECT: honestly

Ken, I want to get real with you. The rumor in the special needs blogosphere is that you made up a story about going to the hospital because you are embarrassed about how behind you have gotten on both the Mission:iPossible blog and the Blogzilly blog. People are wondering if you are trying to buy time because things are falling apart. I am concerned you are losing credibility.

Not to mention more contradictory...

FROM: Helpin Hand [timetostopbeingaloser@yahoo.com]
TO: klilly@creatusmaximus.com
SUBJECT: What will your boys say about you?

You talk about the poor father figures you had, and how that affected you.
Do you want your boys to say,"Daddy was an unemployed blogger?"
"Daddy was obsessed with video games?"
"It was always one excuse after another with Dad?"
Or do you want them to say,"Dad always put us and Mom first?"

Now wait a second, Episode I Yoda. You just said that I was making excuses for NOT blogging enough, and that was why I lied about calling 9-1-1 about the chest pains, but now I need to give up blogging AND the charity?

But then you have to go ahead and confuse me even MORE with last night's message.

FROM: Helpin Hand [timetostopbeingaloser@yahoo.com]
TO: klilly@creatusmaximus.com
SUBJECT: Mission: iEmployable?

Dear Ken,
Do you ever just get embarrassed that you're you? Look at yourself. Really. Do you think that taking other people's money and buying a $400 piece of electronics really makes you a life changer? A person of great power in the world? It's a nice gift, but that is all it is. It isn't a liver, or a house, or a car. It's pretty ingenious how you've tricked people into giving you their money so that you can give it away and get credit for it. It's interesting to read the thank you notes that you have posted and see that people thank "Ken" so often (not your project, but you individually). You have designed it that way. And all that crap about how you have to be responsible with "all of your power"? You sound like such a pompous ass. And, all the while, you won't even get a job and support your wife and children.

Wait a second. Does this mean I am supposed to NOT continue with the charity efforts, or keep going, or what? Or is it just something that is OK as long as I have a job that is pre-approved by the Jedi Council? Episode I Yoda...you are SO KOOKY!!! You really need to lay off that ganja, mon!

Or perhaps it is medicinal...one can never be certain in today's society. If so, you are one LUCKY Jedi, let me tell you. And if that is the case and you really want to be helpful, send me some of that stash! This leg and back pain is a real bitch!

In answer to your question...nah, I'm not really all that embarrassed by being me. I mean...sometimes, a little. I have been a little gassy lately since I started an all plant-based diet, and when they sneak out, yeah...I get a teeny red-faced. But overall? Nope, I can't say that I am all that embarrassed by much in life.

You are wrong about one thing though...I don't go out of my way to draw a ton of attention to the MiP stuff, even though I actually SHOULD be doing more to get more eyes focused on it, but that's all about marketing, not really about tooting my own horn.


I'm not sure how many times I would need to specify that it is not about me over there, though, without writing it over and over like Nicholson in The Shining to get someone in your, um, unique position to really have that sink in, you know? You remember that saying about a one-track mind, yeah? It's possible you may have a bit of an obsession going on, right? When you are sending a guy messages all the time, it's a bit telling as to who is focusing in on who. Ask a shrink about what I am getting at, they can explain it much better than me. I'm betting you have some fairly easy access to one.

But you are entitled to draw any conclusions, you wouldn't be the first, probably won't be the last. Truthfully, it doesn't matter to me either way what you do going forward. Whether you continue sending messages or you don't. I can block the address, though I probably won't because I find your insight too entertaining. And the fact is that you haven't broken any laws with what you are doing.

In fact, this whole situation has inspired me to take it a step further.

Since I had been looking for a good way to segue into trying to do some regular 'features' on the blog, this is as good as place as any to start one such item. Which is why I am going to officially start with a new one as of right now. I guess I'll call it 'The Helpin' Hand'.

I've got tons of questions, problems to solve, you might say, and people always say I should ask some more members of the community and try to reach out for help. And so I shall. If Episode I Yoda wants to answer they certainly can, but I am actually hoping that someone with some advice that will be a little more useful might weigh in on some of the questions I have.


Today's question in 'Ask Helpin Hand' is pretty topical, for my current medical situation. Does anyone have any advice or suggestions as far as what are the best places to get great info on the best posture and or the best set-ups for computer work stations? Particularly how do you figure out what type of chair might be the best to sit in, and stuff like that?

Any Helpin' Hands, or thoughts, would be very much appreciated! :)

And feel free to chime in, Episode I Yoda. You can send as many messages as you like. The more the merrier! But here's the thing, though, and I gotta level with ya...I know your name, your address, your telephone number. I know your IP address. I know a lot of other personal information about you, too. I've done my homework.

It helped out a ton, during the past year, to have two things occur in my life. It helped to have been involved in a previous situation where I had to understand a lot of things about false identities on the Internet and have a front seat to witnessing and understanding the shady and fucked up things people do.

And the second thing? Well, let's just say that it is very helpful to have a new friend in one of our illustrious armed services who has a friend in one of those super cool alphabet agencies (like the one Jack Bauer kicked ass for) who have no problems at all tracing e-mails, once they have enough of them, even those routed through Yahoo, all the way back to any origin point. I'd tell you who those folks actually are, but I am afraid by even writing this part I am taking a chance. Maybe it was the creepy way I kept being referred to as 'Mr. Lilly'. I guess I just watched one too many episodes of The X-Files.


But God Bless our United States of America and the men and women who serve this great country. Halle-FUCKIN-lujah.

Now...I am not going to use this information for anything other than my own peace of mind, Episode I Yoda, and that is the only reason I even bothered to seek it out. I just don't want you to forget a very important rule about life itself.

Some secrets are weakness. Others are power.You have to know which ones to have, and which ones not to.

Because if you have the wrong ones, they can be exposed and exploited by anyone who discovers them. It is why I don't really like to have those kind. It is why I decided, a long time ago, NOT to have an anonymous blog, why I decided to live my life with an open book policy.

That way if anyone ever says 'Yeah buddy, but you did this or you said that!' I can just look up and say 'Yeah I did, so what?' and that's the end of it. I don't have to look for a way out. I don't have to do damage control

With very few exceptions, this is how I have lived my life for a long time.

And it is why I am choosing to handle this particular situation here, now, in this way, in a totally open forum. It isn't how everybody might do it. But it is how I am doing it.

OUT.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Sparks


I believe the general consensus here in the Comments section and in personal conversations regarding the post a couple of weeks ago about taking Bennett out and about and having a 'Familial Style Outing' (the 'beating-myself-up-over-it' part not withstanding) is that it might be prudent, certainly, to give it a whirl.

Regarding this I cannot disagree. My Momma din't raise no dummy.

Beyond my personal fear, which I can overcome, this is not about misgivings regarding what 'people might think'. I'm the guy who has talked about having purple balls in a company meeting. I'm the guy who blogs about pretty much every inappropriate topic in the known universe. Would you like to know what my official position is about the what people think about me? In general terms?

I don't give a shit.

That doesn't surprise you, right?

Clarification. I care about what people I CARE ABOUT think about me. But strangers or asshats? They can go F-, um, they can go take a flying leap. Life is too short. Granted, I was not always this way. Back in the day, especially when I was involved in Message Board shenanigans a lot in the toy industry, I let stuff get to me. Not so much anymore.


What is most interesting is that lately, especially over the past, say, two months, this way of feeling about My Life and many others has been...evolving. Ask several of my key friends. Well, you can't, so you will just have to trust me, but something has been...morphing, changing, growing, I don't know what you might call it, but things are definitely different.

Guess I am having a growth spurt. OR, as I said to Heather recently...perhaps finally, after several years of trial and error, I may have at last hit the proper stride in life when it comes to understanding the key role nutrition plays in my body. She stresses exercise in tandem, and rightfully so, and HOLY CRAP I want it in a bad, bad way.

Can't right now though. I'll explain all THAT junk in a separate blog about what exactly is happening to my torso/spine. I have a really solid theory about it since my hospital stay and new evidence has been emerging.

In regards to the Bennett outings, it should be stressed that fear is not the main factor when it comes to taking Bennett out in a high density public situation.

I get where people are coming from overall, about just doing it, about not holding Bennett back from anything, but my main concern is truthfully one of liability. We live in a litigious society, and even if Bennett were to initiate some action that was in no way overly egregious, I have some...reservations about how it could possibly go down.


SO...I just need a plan for that, some kind of contingency to possibly block contact if I can if I get any kind of Spidey Sense flare-up.

Example time. I took Bennett to a Speech Therapy appointment on Monday. This was the first time I have taken him out to this place with his iPad since I took over that particular run. I did not know that Jen used to wait until the very last minute to go in. I went in when we got there.

It turned ugly real fast. The other kids swarmed him like zombies. They were fascinated by the iPad. He wanted to touch their heads, grab their hair, but because they were crowding them, that grabbing of the hair quickly became pulling of the hair, which he often does. His signals get confused or something. Or he digs his nails in. We haven't figured out yet how to stop him from doing it.

So I can't get the other parents to help me pull the other kids away, either because they don't see Bennett and look at him and think 'severely disabled' when they see him, or because they were just moronic themselves. I certainly don't blame the kids for getting upset that Bennett was grabbing at their faces. I had to wedge myself in between everything because the kids were certainly not listening to me when I was asking them to give Bennett space, and then after a while since they were in his, he naturally started to over-violate theirs.


Eventually Bennett gets out of harm's way in the zombie-crowd but then started turning the lights off and getting into other people's grille's as well. I tried to keep him contained as best I could. He shouted and contorted and ripped my back and abdomen to shreds with every thrust.

It sucked.

So yeah...I need a better plan, a better system. Because that was not working at all. For one I will have to have full strength as far as physical health, and it would not hurt to have a partner there certainly. I also have to have an 'OUT'. That was an appointment, something I could not walk away from. So I understand now why Jen waited until the last minute to walk in. Were it just for funsies I could have gone outside with Bennett. Taken him somewhere else. I do realize that.

This learning curve is steep sometimes.

OUT.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

An Affair of the Heart


Wow, has it really been two weeks since I posted last? Time is flying by, and so many things have been going on lately I almost don't know where to start.

The weekend prior to last, I began to experience some very odd pain in my chest, neck...everywhere really, but it began to focus in my chest. It was, it is, difficult to describe. Crunching aspirin helped it, and I did not do anything about it like going to see a doctor.

Let the Jeff Spicoli 'You DICK!' comments begin.

On that Monday, the pain had REALLY centralized in the left area of my chest, in the heart region, and was in my left arm it felt like a tube was jammed up and down my arm. Very weird. At that point, after describing the symptoms to my Mom, she said I should go to the hospital, like now, I asked my Mother-in-Law to make arrangements to pick Bennett up from school and if she could take me to the ER.


Both of them echoed the same sentiment. Don't mess around. Call 9-1-1. So I did.

By the time the EMTs arrived, the pain had diminished, but they insisted that I go to the hospital anyway. Had to. So I went in. Tests were run, I stayed overnight. The following day I took a high intensity stress test. My heart was fine. In fact, they pushed me on the stress test to the maximum level.

One of the techs asked, while I was running full speed, 'Can you handle this?'

To which I replied (barely) 'My heart feels fine. My ass and my legs feel like they are gonna fall off!!!'

The end result is that I learned I do not currently have a heart problem. At least none that those tests or blood work revealed. Is it possible I have some plaque build-up in my arteries? I think it is LIKELY that I have some plaque build-up in my arteries. I have treated my body like shit for all of my adult life. But it is not affecting the blood flow in my heart at present.

The lipid panel was quite revealing, however. I mentioned a while back that I had changed my diet. I have eliminated meat and dairy from my diet and started a plant-based, organic lifestyle with an elimination of as many processed, pre-packaged foods as I could possibly handle.


Most people say 'I can't imagine doing that.' Trust me. While it is not an easy thing to do, it is easier than you might think, and when you read what I am about to tell you, it might just make you think twice before you pull into the drive-through if you are having any issues with your health.

Prior to my tonsillectomy, I had to have a History and Physical in order to be cleared for surgery. When this happened, the head nurse (hee hee...'head' nurse) called me and was, frankly, alarmed at my results. My Triglycerides were around 620 or so. She was stunned. Let's just say that she said 'I've never seen a number this high. Are you sure you fasted?'

My overall Cholesterol was nearly 380. My LDL Cholesterol was around 260. That's the bad kind.

They put me on a non-statin pill called Lovaza. Essentially Fish Oil. And I promised to lose weight and change my diet. Of course I did neither with any real commitment, but I did a LITTLE bit.

I coasted, as I am often prone to do. I was cavalier. And when it came time to have my blood tested a second time, for a wellness review for our insurance, I got another set of numbers. SO, shortly before I started this new lifestyle of food consumption my numbers looked like this:

Triglycerides: 518
Total Cholesterol: 342
LDL Cholesterol: 207
HDL Cholesterol: 35

Now, let's talk turkey. Or in this case, lack thereof.


I had to finally admit to myself that I had ballooned into a soft, sloth-like creature who had lost his way. No...biggie.

Once I did that, the rest was kind of...easy, actually. The trick was to stop lying to myself. Having the Disability Card in your Life Deck makes that easy sometimes, and I don't mean to offend anybody who struggles with their life, especially when the crushing weight of all that assaults you and being the parent of a child with a disability gets to be too much. If anybody in this digital domain is guilty of letting this life get them down, it is me. I have struggled, and I will continue to struggle.

My point here is that I believe, at least for me, that it has been easier, at times, to hide behind the new pain Bennett has brought into my life. And nobody could blame me for it. Though it is a fine line. Perspective is always everything. I often feel shame sometimes when I look around at those who have had it 'worse' than I have yet (well, technically, kids who have it worse than Bennett) and yet the parents are so much more together than me. But that, as always, is a whole nutha topic, because who defines 'better' or 'worse'?

But, the real point here is that on MY journey, in OUR story, I'm always learning, always open, always trying to be cognizant of my own shortcomings and proud of my accomplishments when it comes to my life and my family. In this case, I had a major, major shortcoming, a fatal flaw, and it had to be corrected. No more excuses, no more bullshit. I was backed into a corner that I prepared for myself and I had one option.


So when I say that it was 'easy' to make the transition to a plant-based diet, I say that with a ton of asterisks attached. I lived a life prior and had some hardships prior that MADE it a no-brainer. I had two choices before me.

Do it...or die young.

Is that REALLY a choice? Would it be a choice to you?

It was not a choice when faced with the prospect of quitting smoking. It will not be a choice with whatever I find out about what I believe to be a serious compression in my spinal column or some other more serious ailment causing this tremendous pain in my body that will require a lot of effort to correct.

I will have the same resolve with whatever it turns out to be as I have about anything else these days, because as all the shitty toxins of junk food and pre-packaged garbage have been leaving me I have to tell you one thing that is unquestionable. My mind has never felt more clear. I was drinking Iced Tea all day. That's gone now. I was drinking artificial sweetener in my coffee every morning. Gone. Just black now. I sometimes don't bother with a second cup.

My ADHD medication? Which is essentially legalized Cocaine? I started a wean this week. I just do not need it. I'm also weaning several other medications, and you know how many I was on and how much that bothered me.


That...is HUGE.

I'm already at half my usual Xanax dose. I do not feel any more stressed at all. Not in the least.

The drug for my Hypothyroidism? My levels were only slightly off, so I asked the doctors for more time. I wanted a chance to show that I could improve it, because I think I was taking it wrong. SO I isolated it by an hour and a half from EVERYTHING else I put in my body. I think that will be the trick. No increases.

The goal here is not to ADD MEDICATIONS, the goal here is to eliminate them, if not completely, then nearly to the point of as close to zero as possible. And I think that is achievable.

Initially, in that hospital room, the cardiologists had come in, after seeing my numbers on the lipid panel that THEY had run, and their plan was to add two medications to my life. I said 'Please, before you do that, give me a chance to talk to you. You say my heart seems OK, right? Well, let me tell you what I have been doing over the past couple of weeks, and let me tell you what my numbers USED to be.'

I did. I told them about the change in eating habits. I told them about the plan to add in exercise, but the fear of doing it because of this pain, and I didn't want to stress my heart if it is a heart problem, or aggravate a herniated disc or a possible peripheral neuropathy or something along those lines if it is that kind of thing. But I wanted to be absolutely clear that I am attacking this thing full-on, with total commitment, but I wanted to do it in a NATURAL WAY, and then I told them about my numbers that I mentioned above.


They at first almost didn't believe it, or at least they were shell-shocked. But I said 'Look, please have my doc's office fax them over. Confer with each other and come back. I'm not going anywhere. Then make your decision. I'll abide by whatever you decide. But all I am asking is for you to look at the data and think about it.'

They left to get the info and do all that stuff. A while later they came back.

No new prescriptions. Not only that, they wanted to tell me how impressed they were with me. They don't get patients in here like me often, they said, and they thought it was very important to make sure I knew just how unique it really was. They didn't have to do that, because we all knew it. All you had to do is look around the unit. During our discussions, an extremely obese man in the room next door was arguing with a nurse about why he could not have hot dogs for lunch.

In the heart wing of a hospital. And yet, sadly, the nurses at the nurses station, later that morning, were ordering a pizza. So where does it end?

I was so...relieved, when the cardio docs left. No meds, I had not had a heart attack. All in all a good day. Yeah, I am in a bit of excruciating agony over the pain I am having, but one step at a time.


The numbers from the hospital? You ready? This was after just TEN DAYS on a plant-based lifestyle change.

Triglycerides: 282
Total Cholesterol: 201
LDL Cholesterol: 114
HDL Cholesterol: 31

They are all fantastic results to achieve in ten days time. Well, except for the last one, but I can get that up through exercise. And I will. The pain is not an excuse. Anyone with nerve pain or disc pain will tell you. It is very, very real. And scary. When your arms and legs and hands and feet go numb or start tingling and burning and then stab you...you get freaked.

But I will deal with that.

As far as weight, it is melting away, as are the years of mileage on my face. As of this weekend I was about to break the 200 barrier, a barrier I have not broken since back in 2005 when I worked for Palisades. That's significant. ESPECIALLY since I ballooned up to nearly TWO-HUNDRED AND FIFTY-SEVEN about a month after Bennett's surgery. It was a low point in my life, that much is certain. I got back down into the 220's last year, but still..I was in the 180's when I got married, I was in the 170's when I was courting, and I was in the 160's in college.

But as I write this, I am wearing clothes I have not worn in years. Of course I am typing standing up to relieve pressure on my back, and that SUCKS, but I still feel better in every OTHER way than I have in a long, long, long time. ;)

And you just can't beat that.

OUT.