My past six months and where I go from here (very long post)

Discussion in 'Fitness & Nutrition' started by Fububutsy, May 30, 2009.

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  1. Fububutsy

    Fububutsy Saints Son!

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    Ok, so the past six months have been ridiculous for me from a health standpoint. I moved to Corpus Christi, TX at the very end of August and started a new job on Sept. 2 at the local university. I almost immediately began feeling sick, starting with a little cold that kept getting worse and worse till I felt like I couldn't go anymore when I finally went see a doctor. The story on that is my new insurance didn't start until Dec. 1 so I was just waiting for that to start when all this happened.

    So move to Dec. 3, I go see the doctor because I feel absolutely terrible. He thinks I might have pneumonia so he checks me out, does bloodwork and sends me to get a sleep study and a chest xray done. This was on a Thursday and I get called back into the doctors office on Tuesday. I did not think this was a very good sign and it turns out it wasn't.

    I had the sleep study done that Friday and I found out I have sleep apnea, but that wasn't the worst of it. On Tuesday, my doctor calls me into his office for a follow-up and he tells me that on my xray, he sees that my heart is enlarged. With the swelling my body was having and the size of my heart and an irregular heartbeat, he tells me that I most likely have congestive heart failure. He refers me to a cardiologist and a pulmonary doctor to get checked out more extensively.

    The pulmonary doctor tells me the most important thing is that I start losing weight immediately. I am morbidly obese and weigh right at 440 pounds at this point. I have been so big all of my life that I never realized how far it had really gone.

    Fast forward to the cardiologist the next week. He does an echocardiogram on me and says that my heart is basically a mess. I have very bad arrhythmia and my heart has become damaged from how hard that it was having to work because of how large I was and the increased load when I got sick. I see him on Dec. 17 and he schedules me for a cardiac catheterization on Jan. 6 of this year. He tells me that he was going to check to see if there were any blockages, which he figured there were not, but he has to make sure. Most likely I have cardiomyopathy is what he tells me, which is when the heart muscle becomes damaged due to an infection that reaches the heart, most likely from pneumonia or some other type of chest infection.

    I have the catheterization done on Jan. 6 and he tells me that I have absolutely no blockages and that cardiomyopathy is now his diagnosis due to no other factors contributing to the cause of the heart damage. My heart ejection fraction is at 20% when he does the test, which is very low. Normal is from 65-75% from what he tells me. He schedules me for a follow-up visit two weeks later to let me know of his plan of treatment for me.

    At this point, I am scared out of my mind. I have never had any real health issues other than being overweight, now I have a damaged heart and was barely surviving when this started. I see him again on Jan. 20 and he tells me that he strongly reccommends that I have a pacemaker/defibrillator implanted as soon as possible. He tells me that Tuesday and on that Friday, Jan. 23, I have the device implanted. I get shocked by it on Jan. 24, which turns out to be the worst day of my life because of this.

    When I got shocked, I was so fearful of how life was going to be from that point on, whether I would be constantly stressed out about the device and in turn make it worse on my heart due to the stress. I had to go to the emergency room that night to make sure that my device had not shifted due to it being done just one day earlier and obviously was a risk since the scar tissue had not had a chance to grow around it to hold it in place yet. It turns out that it was fine, and the device was just working exactly how it was supposed to.

    I got shocked that night because my heart was beating between 270 and 300 bpm when the device had to activate itself. It was terrifying at the time, but my heart rhythm has been quite good from that point on. My cardiologist even called it "beautiful" at one point because it was doing so well.

    The next big moment in my recovery came at the beginning of April, when I went see my primary care doctor and he had a echocardiogram done once again on me. The results came back from this one and my heart ejection fraction is now at 45%, up from the 20% on Jan. 6 of this year.

    I am on several medications, which is to be expected, but I have come to accept it as just a normal part of my life now, considering my life depends on it. My current problems are that I am slightly anemic and that I have low testosterone levels, which my doctor says is a common problem in very obese people.

    This all brings me to my current weight. While still much too large for what I should be, I have gone from 440 on Dec. 3 to now weighing 352.8 as of this morning, or a loss of 87.2 pounds. This is my focus everyday of my life since I found out I was sick, losing the weight to give myself a better chance at living a bit longer life than if I did nothing. I know it is really too late, as I now have heart damage, but I will do everything I can to extend my life as much as I can from now till the end.

    It is somewhat funny to say, but finding out all of this has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. It has caused me to value my life more than I did when I didn't have to worry about health problems and it has shown me conviction that I never knew I had until my life depended on it.

    I exercise everyday and keep my calorie intake under 2000 a day, usually trying for 1500, give or take, everyday. I keep my sodium levels as low as possible. I have not used salt since Dec. 3 and stricly use spices now, and it is amazing how good things are even without salt. I never would have known a better way to live if not for all of this happening. My attitude has improved so much from all of this. My doctors have said that I am doing a good job and they are encouraged by it because most people end up going the other way and it just gets worse when they find out things like this.

    I feel the need to prove to myself that I can do it, regardless of it anyone else notices, I have to do it for me. This is pretty much the only time I have done something that strictly benefits me in my life. I have always been more worried about other people and their happiness than my own. This has been a great experience for me both mentally and physically. My view on the whole situation is that if I can encourage someone to be healthier and improve their life, it has been worth it. I have been feeling the best I have in my entire life, both because of the physical part of it as well as the mental part of it.

    Sorry for the length of the post, I am sure it will be ignored by most people, but if it helps encourage even just one person to improve their health, then I am fine with that. One of the main reasons I posted is to see if anyone has any suggestions or have been through such a large amount of weight loss and can tell me what I need to do to improve what I do to make the weight loss healthier.

    Cliffs: I have a bad heart, I used to weigh 440, now weigh 352.8 and counting. Does anyone have any suggestions about how I could better do some things and if I am doing it the right way to lose such a large amount of weight.
     
  2. ralyks

    ralyks New Member

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    Read the cliffs, then decided you were a good guy so I read the rest.

    300 bpm is insane.

    Normally it's not recommended and you want to see a doctor about this, but I would recommend dropping calories even lower than 2000, maybe to 750-1000 to get out of that weight range as quickly as possible. I would readjust (possibly upwards) when I hit around 250lbs to slow the weight loss but keep exercising man.

    I really believe that if you got to a good BMI and were active, you wouldn't need the meds, and your heart condition wouldn't be as bad.
     
  3. dengar

    dengar seans is a afta marchsollwe in his gir! OT Supporter

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    Good work on your progress so far.

    The most important thing is to keep moving in the right direction and make working out (whatever method) a part of your life.

    cpap crew signing in.
     
  4. Fububutsy

    Fububutsy Saints Son!

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    I have kept it around there because my doctor said that he did not want me to overdue it with the cutting out of calories. I have only actually eaten 2000 calories twice in the past three weeks. My normal intake is between 1000 and 1500 everyday now. I just use 2000 as an absolute limit to what I can eat everyday. My pulmonary doctor says that 350 is the weight that they see the most significant improvement in the functioning of the heart with congestive heart failure.

    I know it is going to take a long time, but I am determined to get down to 200 pounds. My goal for one year's time is 141 pounds, or to get to 299 by Dec. 3 of this year. I am going to keep going until I get as close to 200 pounds as I can. I know it will get much harder as I go on, but I have never been as determined for something as I am with this.

    I have to see my pulmonary doctor again on July 9. The last time I saw him I was at 374 when he wanted me at 385. This time he wants me down to 365, and I am currently at 352 with over month left. I think this is one of the things that helps motivate me, surpassing expectations of my doctor. He actually asked me if my weight was accurate the last time I saw him because I guess he didn't think I would be able to meet his expectations.

    I know I still weigh far too much, and I will keep working on it, but it has been one of the weirdest experiences of my life. I have not weighed less than 300 since before high school and I most likely am at my lightest weight in about 11-12 years right now. My life has been such a mess for most of it and almost don't know how to react that I actually am doing something about it finally, after ignoring so many people about it before. I only wish I would have listened years ago and I might not be in this situation I am in right now.

    Thank you for taking the time to read all of it and giving me suggestions. I am so new to all of this that I appreciate any and all help I can get.
     
  5. Fububutsy

    Fububutsy Saints Son!

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    Yeah, I walk everyday at work right after lunch to help keep me in a routine everyday. I get about 2 miles in at lunch and then on the weekends I walk from my apartment, to my work and then back, which is a good bit longer. It helps me kill some time in the early mornings on the weekends because I wake up so much earlier than I used to now due to my bipap machine I would assume. I feel so much better these days now that I can actually get restful sleep and I am so much more productive than I ever have been before.

    I have recently been given the ok by my cardiologist to start jogging for short periods of time, so I am working on getting into that in addition to or in place of the walking that I do. I am just such a different person now than I used to be, I am all about physical activities whereas before I would hardly ever do much stuff outside. I hate how I used to be and could not imagine going back to how I was before.

    Thank you for the encouragement as well, I appreciate any and all positive reenforcement I can get.
     
  6. ralyks

    ralyks New Member

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    Yeah definitely listen to the doctors. Keep at it man. May want to set up a log in the training logs section.

    You seem like you have the cals down, what about the quality of food?
     
  7. Fububutsy

    Fububutsy Saints Son!

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    I mainly eat chicken or fish throughout the month. I will eat beef every now and then, but I kind of always forget about it most of the time. I get fresh fish and chicken, I do not buy the frozen stuff that has so much more sodium than necessary in it. I eat much smaller meals than I used to before all of this. I make sure to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner with two or three small snacks as well. The snacks normally consist of fruit or low sodium salsa and tortilla chips. The chips and salsa is one of the few weaknesses I allow myself, although it actually isn't that bad.

    I was reminded of the biggest weakness I allow myself when looking at your avatar. I love sushi, but I restrict myself to at most twice a month, and go very light on the lower sodium soy sauce. I have eaten it once this month, so I figure that I am alright with it. I keep track of these things because I am weird about it, and I have eaten at a restaurant seven times since this all started. I did have fast food once because I was in a rush. It consisted of just the grilled chicken strips from jack in the box and a water. I skipped the sauce and fries. The strips have far too much sodium in them at 700mg but the calories are 200 for them if I remember correctly.

    I have convinced myself that the main reason I am doing so well is because of my iphone. :rofl: It probably sounds funny but it is true. I use an app on there called Lose It! that helps me keep track of my weight, my daily calorie intake and other things. I make sure to put everything I eat in the program and it lets me know how much fat, saturated fat and sodium I have taken in during the day as well as my calorie count. This is how I am able to make sure that I stay under my daily calories.

    I perceive myself to be doing well, but I know that I am just doing common sense stuff and I am sure there are more specific things I could be doing to help myself. I just don't really know what that would be at this point.
     
  8. ralyks

    ralyks New Member

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    Fruit is alright but it sounds like you need more greens in your diet in general. Salads are SIMPLE to make, and filling. I would include salad in at least lunch OR dinner, if not both. Carrots, celery, bell pepper slices, broccoli, etc can all be made into bite sized portions for snacking.
     
  9. Zaffir

    Zaffir OT Supporter

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    Most of this stuff IS common sense, or close to it. Eat less, exercise more => lose weight. Make sure you get enough protein. Whole, fresh foods are best. Get your multivitamins and fish oil. Drink lots of water.
     
  10. 4cd-Air

    4cd-Air Rape seemed like the next logical step

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    consult with your physician about your diet and find a reputable personal trainer in your area and schedule a few sessions.
     
  11. ralyks

    ralyks New Member

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    I would see the doc before taking fish oil because of the blood thinning effects and possible interactions with current medications which may already be thinning his blood.
     
  12. Zaffir

    Zaffir OT Supporter

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    You're right. He should really see his doc about pretty much anything.
     
  13. Neo22

    Neo22 OT Supporter

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    if he drops cals that low hes going to end up getting fatter. The metabolism will shut down.
     
  14. Neo22

    Neo22 OT Supporter

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    Sent you a pm also.
     
  15. Fububutsy

    Fububutsy Saints Son!

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    I do need to get better at it. If vegetables are there, I will eat a good bit of them but I do not keep them around nearly as much as I should. I used to eat salads a lot, then I changed it up because that is all that I was eating for lunch for awhile. The last couple of weeks I have gotten better about eating more salad than I had been.

    I need to go grocery shopping today or tomorrow actually, so I will make sure to pick up a good bit extra. I could eat broccoli, carrots and cauliflower all day so it just makes sense to start getting more of them. I even know that I should be eating more veggies but for some reason I never think of changing up what I am doing.

    About the water, I drink skim milk sometimes and orange juice every now and then, but I strictly drink water as an everyday thing. I have not had tea or a soda since Dec. 17 when my cardiologist told me not to anymore. He said the caffeine would only mess with my heart so I should strictly avoid it. I am sure that has helped tremendously with the weight that I have lost so far.

    I do consult my doctor about everything that I change in my lifestyle. From whether or not I could start jogging in addition to the walking I am doing and even whether taking a multi-vitamin was alright with all the medicines I am taking.

    To Zaffir,

    I am following that as closely as I can about whole foods. The only things that I buy processed now on a regular basis are cans of low sodium tuna fish and the salsa and chips that I use for snacks. I buy no salt added green beans and corn sometimes, but not regularly. I use all fresh vegetables when I make soup and for anything else that I cook.

    Concerning the fish oil, I will call my doctor and see about it. He said that my heart was doing well enough and keeping a normal rhythm on my follow-up visit after having my ICD implanted that I did not need to be on a prescribed blood thinner. He has me taking a baby aspirin every morning to help keep the blood a little thinner than normal.

    The medicines I am on are Advair and Combivent for my asthma, and then for my other conditions, I take Digoxin 0.25 mg, Coreg CR 10 mg, Furosemide 40mg, Enalapril 10 mg and Spironolactone 25mg. I take the first four pills once a day and the Spironolactone I take in the morning and at night. The same thing for the Advair and Combivent inhalers, once in the morning and once at night. The aspirin I take is Bayer Baby Aspirin which is 81mg per pill.

    Neo22,

    I got your PM and will look into it. About the metabolism, that is specifically what my doctor told me, that I need to eat enough calories and eat them throughout the day so that I can keep it at a good level. He did not want me to go from my normal diet to anything too drastic so he said that between 1500 and 2000 would be a good starting point.

    I am somewhat hesitant about seeing a personal trainer right because of how my heart is. I am just walking and eating better now to try and get weight down and want to look into seeing a personal trainer after I have gotten much lighter than I am now. I want to get the bulk of it out of the way and then be able to focus on getting as fit as I can be following that. I have thought about seeing a nutritionist though, I think that it would be good to get more structure in my daily diet as opposed to my current way of doing it.

    Thank all of you for your help and suggestions. I will be looking into these things to hopefully get into an actual level of health that is acceptable because even though I have done a good job of it so far, weighing 353 pounds is obviously nowhere near healthy. My ultimate goal is to get down to 200 pounds or as close to it as I can get.

    For reference, here is a picture of me before I moved here and then on May 1, even though it is only a face shot. I never take pictures because I was always so self concious about it, so I don't have any full pictures from when I was at my heaviest. These are from my former and now current jobs. I was weighing around 370 when I took the picture on May 1st, so I am down about 17 pounds from then.

    [​IMG]
     
  16. grampositivecocci

    grampositivecocci New Member

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    It just goes to show how severely obesity effects your health. CHF at your age is a scary thought.

    ICDs are good things. You're well on the way to adding many years to your life, keep going bro and never give up.
     
  17. Uglybob69

    Uglybob69 I miss beer.

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    You're lucky you had your pacemaker installed when you were having vtac it could have been a lot worse.

    Really it looks like you have things dialed in. One tip I have is: if you're eating a max of 2000 calories a day, I'd try to get 40-50% of that in protein. It will help you retain the lean muscle mass you've accumulated by walking around at 400+ pounds.

    Exercise per doctors orders and good luck, you have things 1000% more figured out than most fatties that come in here. It sucks that you had to have a wake-up call like you had but your response to it is truly inspiring.

    Your august to may pictures show that you've made great progress, you already look a lot better. Best of luck again.
     
  18. Zaffir

    Zaffir OT Supporter

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    Also, take shirtless pics of yourself in the same spot with teh same lighting every week or two.

    Looking back at progress pics is sweet.
     
  19. Fububutsy

    Fububutsy Saints Son!

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    Yeah, the thing about the pictures are that the August picture was taken before I actually got sick, so I am sure I looked a lot worse at the beginning of Dec. when this all started, but I don't have any pictures from then.

    I try to eat as much meat as I can and less filling things that have a lot of calories. I avoid all cheese, salt, and as much fat and saturated fat as I can.

    What I have done so far today is eat a can of tuna earlier and am now cooking three chicken thighs for lunch. Tonight I will eat a tuna steak and add in some veggies, probably broccoli and squash or something along those lines. I have to go grocery shopping so I might sneak some tortilla chips and salsa in, just have to do as always and make sure not to overdue it.

    I did 35 minutes on an elliptical this morning, which was my first time ever using one actually. I normally walk from my apartment to my work and back, which is 8.6 miles, on the weekends, but I decided to try out the little workout room they have here at the apartments.

    That was something else, I can walk forever but my knees were not big fans of it the first time on it. lol. I could really feel the effort put into it in the knees. I didn't realize how much more it works you than just walking, my legs about wanted to give out whenever I stepped off the thing. I guess I just have to get used to it. I sweated a lot more than I do whenever I walk though, so I assume that it had a better effect on me. My friend that is a trainer said to start doing jogging on an elliptical first and then on grass to get used to the impact before jogging on concrete.

    I have been feeling so much better since I have been losing weight and it just keeps getting better and better as each day goes by. I can't believe how bad I have been ruining my life with how I was before.
     
  20. 4cd-Air

    4cd-Air Rape seemed like the next logical step

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    OP has potential for EPIC success
     
  21. mandrew

    mandrew New Member

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    Awesome progress dude. Keep it up!

    I don't think jogging is the best idea... it's high impact on your knees so stick with elliptical and such. Another low impact cardio exercise is walking on a steep incline treadmill.... If your apartment has one you might try that out and see if it's easier on your knees.
     
  22. Fububutsy

    Fububutsy Saints Son!

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    Yeah, I wanted to start jogging to try and get better results than just the walking I do. I think I am going to start just working with this elliptical and see how that goes for right now. Gotta keep it steady, make sure I don't overwork myself, and give myself any excuses to not keep doing well. I feel like I have that under control mostly, but you just never know.

    The journey continues tomorrow.
     
  23. Uglybob69

    Uglybob69 I miss beer.

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    Keep us posted and/or start a training log
     
  24. The Great Deceiver

    The Great Deceiver 21st Century Schizoid Man

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    Get a stomach stapling
     
  25. Uglybob69

    Uglybob69 I miss beer.

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    That is just for people that can't control themselves. The OP seems to be right on track. It is an invasive surgery that does have a good risk of complications. No reason for it.
     
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