In my last blog post
, I introduced Terry and Joan Garman, who, despite Terry’s debilitating Parkinson’s disease, manage to exercise regularly. They are proof that there are really no good excuses for not maintaining healthy lifestyle choices. As we wrap up the MD & Me: Walk-n-Learn
program for this year, I have found one inspirational story after another among the participants of this fun and educational program. These are stories about real people with real-life challenges who have chosen to make exercise and health a priority. And they’re realizing the dividends of this investment.
Let me introduce the Fishes – Charlie and his lovely wife, Melody. I first met Charlie as a patient in the hospital almost two years ago. He was close to 100 pounds heavier (including about 45 pounds of extra water he was carrying due to severe sleep apnea) and suffering from right ventricular heart failure due to sleep apnea, diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. At first, we had a difficult time convincing Charlie that the majority of his ailments were related to his weight problem. Each morning as I entered his hospital room I was prepared for his verbal assault regarding what he considered to be my "mis-diagnosis" of his condition. He demanded that we DO something about his plight.
Now, two years later, Charles is 55 pounds lighter than his "dry" weight when he left the hospital. He no longer requires the CPAP machine for sleep apnea, insulin or other drugs for his diabetes, and he is off of his blood pressure and cholesterol medications.
What caused this miraculous transformation?
Charlie and Melody decided to make dramatic changes in their diet and to start exercising daily. Their return on investment is literally beyond calculation. The transformation was not overnight, but the small changes they chose have resulted in a completely transformed person who no longer needs medications for some devastating chronic health problems. Now, Charlie is able to walk AND talk for the entire mile of the MD & Me: Walk-n-Learn walk. Before his transformation, he could not walk across the room without stopping to rest and recover from severe shortness of breath.
By the way, Melody lost 48.6 pounds during the process!
Their combined success brings up some important points. First, having the support of other people (such as an exercise group similar to MD & Me: Walk-n-Learn) makes our journey back to health much easier. Secondly, most lifestyle changes take time to take hold and even longer to reap the benefits. But, if you stick to your program the rewards can be sooo sweet!
Remember the Fishes when you get discouraged and it seems as though you are not making any forward progress. If you have a story to share about a similar transformation – yours or someone else who is willing to share – please let me know.
The last MD & Me: Walk-n-Learn event for this season will be Tuesday, Oct. 8. James Edlund, MD, Parkview Physicians Group – Colon and Rectal Surgery, will present on “Colon Health.” To register, call 1(855) 637-0010 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, remember the upcoming Fort4Fitness events on Friday, Sept. 27 (Senior Marathon), and Saturday, Sept. 28 (Main Events), at Parkview Field. Mom is on pace to complete the Senior Marathon again this year, and she assures me that she will not allow me to set such a dismal pace, which resulted in our poor finish last year. Hope to see you there!