A Heart Attack About to Happen
After I turned 40, I gradually added pounds, but so slowly it really didn't register with me. I should have seen in the mirror that I was starting to push things a bit. Funny thing about looking in the mirror though, you look, but often don't really see. Occasionally I'd look in the mirror and see glimpses of my Dad standing there, but I didn't really take serious notice of my expanding waistline.
Pictures of the family started showing this guy that was pretty big. Surprise, that was me! I took most of the pictures, so I wasn't in that many of them. Then I noticed on a family video that I was starting to get pretty rotund, while I was outside playing with our 2 teenage boys, was the first time I made a mental note that I needed to stop enlarging. I was about probably 250 pounds by then. That's pretty big, so its the first time I really got uncomfortable seeing myself on video.
I'd estimate that I was gaining about 5-10 lbs a year at this point, so when I passed the 300 lb mark, I was starting to see symptoms. Until then I'd always been a healthy guy, never smoked or took anything, plus I never liked to take meds of any kind, pain or otherwise.
Now that the kids were High School age, I was getting pretty fat. Funny, none of my friends from work or church ever really said anything to me about my weight, I guess they thought it wasn't their business.
By the time the kids were gone and married, I was pretty large and out of shape. Our two boys were out of the house now, and by about 2005 my wife and I were ready to do stuff on our own, without kids to encumber. I was feeling okay – although my legs were starting to get a bit stumpy (2005).
As many of you know, fatness comes on gradually, so you don't really notice until something snaps. With me, I started to notice that breathing was more difficult at night in bed. I would have to sleep on my side, with my tummy laying on the side so I could breath unencumbered.
I was now starting to get a barrel chest, and it seemed fairly rigid. My Father in law was like this too, so I didn't really think much of it, especially since I really didn't look at myself in the mirror much any more, so what was out of sight was out of mind.
I figured I always had heavy legs, and I thought that indicated that I was a pretty muscular guy [not really] and I took pride in my ability to run fast when I was a kid. Now, my legs didn't run so fast, and my chest was getting large and my arms were getting fuller in appearance. It is amazing how the body packs away the pounds, it can find places to store fat away just about anywhere, and it's when it starts depositing fat around your organs (Heart) that bad things can happen. I didn't like my lower belly much, it looked like I had developed an overhang (stoop). Since I always cinched my belt up pretty tight, my tummy would want to hang over. My 'junk' was getting harder to see too! That can't be good – because that's a really important part of a guy's 'Self Esteem'. Whatever else happened to me, my junk needed to work, and on demand.
Developing an annoying a-fib and 'The Sweats':
I'm not what you would call a dancer, but I have pretty good rhythm, and my wife had a dancing background. So, we signed up for a ballroom dance class at the ELKS hall one night a week where we would learn some new steps. Donna really enjoyed it, and I didn't so much. I found that I was always hot, and the dancing wore me down pretty fast. But I tried not to complain too much.
After Christmas, Donna wanted to go out New Years Eve to dance. I was usually reluctant to go to these things, but told her 'Okay', lets go to the dance and have some fun. That night I discovered that I had very little stamina left. I was tired and had to sit a lot. Dancing was labored and caused me to sweat. I made the comment to Donna that I'd better do some resting because I didn't feel good enough to do much dancing. That's when she got alarmed, and awoke to my problem. She was also a bit pleasingly plump herself, but she seemed to have much more stamina for dancing and walking than I.
I would start to sweat and perspire at some pretty embarrassing times. One evening at a social occasion, I was making a presentation in front of a group of people and my head started sweating – so much that I had to continually wipe off my brow else drops of sweat would drip off onto my paper. I was certain that everyone had noticed my situation, but no one mentioned it. I guess that is just one of the things that happen to fat people...
I was starting to get alarmed at my heart rate and the palpitations I was regularly feeling – my heart was acting weird! So after the New Years Dance, my wife scheduled me for a checkup. I didn't want to go because I didn't want to know what was going wrong. During that first visit I learned that my condition was called A-FIB (Arterial Fibrillation) and it was not a small thing. He also told me that it wasn't that uncommon, but usually for men 15 years older than I. He also told me that I would need to start taking BP meds and he'd start treating the A-FIB. The first thing to do was to 'Reset' my heart. To do so required that they shock-my-heart, stop it, and then see if it starts up again! Maybe that wasn't exactly what he described, but that's what I heard. I knew it was serious and I'd better do something, or else I might not live much longer.
My Symptoms: Shortness of Breath, Fatigue, Heart Palpitations...
After deciding that I had to get serious about losing weight, I saw an info-mercial on late night TV about a new book titled "The Weight Loss Cure". I'd heard of this snake oil guy before, but I called the number on TV and ordered one of the books anyway. The author proclaimed that this was a miracle weight loss cure and it had to do with the hypothalamus gland, and you had to buy his book to get any information about it.
He also said that once you go through the weight loss process, your body was pretty much immune to gaining weight from then on! Yeah, Right!! So it was the best of both worlds - fast weight loss that you won't gain back ever again. Okay, that's pretty funny! Anyway, I didn't care so much about the after, I just wanted to get the weight off me as fast as possible.
I needed to feel better, and SOON! So after receiving the book in the mail I started scanning through it, trying to find where the secret was buried. I passed the fluff in the front, the annoying repetition, but then got to the place where he started talking about the hypothalamus gland. Then came the the big let down - you had to get a prescription for some substance called hcg and get a shot every morning! What! No WAY! I tossed the book over my shoulder into the back of my Jeep! I was really disappointed. Where or how was I going to get a doctor to prescribe me a regiment of hcg?
I told Donna about the book and we decided to do some more research on the program. We started looking on the internet for hcg and found a few clinics that offered the HCG Weight Loss Protocol, but not in our area. When we expanded our search, we found an HCG clinic on the other side of our state (200 miles away) that provided the HCG Diet program - and the cost was in the $500-$600 range. We jumped at the chance and immediately scheduled an appointment with them.
When we arrived at the HCG clinic, we met with the Dr. and then talked with a 'diet consultant' who described the process, taught us how to give ourselves the shots, gave us a log sheet to keep, and then got us our hcg - a clear liquid in a 5000 IU bottle - enough to last a month. We started the process, with full anticipation of success. We re-ordered a total of 3 times, one of which came to us one summer day in high heat - the hcg bottle was too hot to comfortably hold in the hand. But we cooled it down and it still seemed to work fine.
I was a wimp, and didn't like the idea of giving myself a shot every day, so I'd have Donna do it for me. In the morning, I'd get in the shower, and she would load up the syringe, and call me to the front of the shower where she would inject me. Most of the time I couldn't even feel the shot, that's how wimpy I was. Then came the day that she was gone on a tip to visit her sister, and it was up to me to get the shot prepared, and give it to myself. That first time was a scare, but after doing it, I determined that it wasn't that hard, and I started doing my own shots from then on.
From the beginning, the program amazed us – we both started losing weight like crazy at first! I lost 12 pounds that first week and Donna lost a lot as well! We were excited! After a few weeks we hit our first plateau, and worked through that, kept up the good work and kept losing. Over a 4 month period, I had lost 95 pounds, and by the end I was feeling darn good!
Doctors orders required me to keep a BP record. I was on Kumaden and some BP med that made me feel generally crappy. I noticed that after a few weeks my BP had come down to just above normal, and I'd read that I should keep an eye on my BP so that I would not go TOO low, especially since I was taking BP meds to bring my blood pressure down. I was mostly concerned about the Kumaden though – that is a nasty stuff that thins down your blood, and is dangerous because it is possible for a patient to bleed too much, or get an aneurysm in the brain! I had to go in to see a nurse every week, for her to check my blood and make sure my dosage was working properly for me.
My Cardiologist said that having A-FIB meant that I was 5 times more likely to have a stroke. I didn't want a stroke, never had one, didn't want one. Later I would find out how much I don't like strokes because my mother suffered from a few mini strokes which rendered her wheel chair bound and immensely frustrated.
After I started the hcg diet my BP came down to just above normal so I started to wean myself off BP meds, but my main focus was to get off Kumaden. After 2 months 50+ lbs lost, my Cardiologist was surprised that both of us had lost so much weight in the matter of 2 short months. We asked him why he didn't put us on a diet when we first visited him and he said that people just don't do it, so he doesn't push it.
We followed the program straight through for 4 months, although we had several plateaus that bugged us, but we worked through them. We lost lots of weight at first, then it tapered down until in the last few weeks we were losing about 2-3 lbs per week. Still, after 4 months, I had lost 95 pounds, and the wife lost approx 60.
When drastic measures are needed, the hcg diet may be the drastic means you need to avert a catastrophic event in your life like stroke, heart attack, diabetes, or other secondary issue like breathing issues, bad knee joints, Plantar Fasciitis, headaches, numbness, and the list goes on.