A “see ya in a few” goodbye.

I spent some time today with a dear friend who is dying. Soon. It’s not the first time I’ve had to say goodbye to someone knowing that it was the last time we’d speak. Some would tell me it goes with the territory of my day job. True enough. Guess I’ve been around it (the end of life) all my life. I’ve been “in the room” as someone breathed their last on several occasions. I’ve been the first one called “after” a few times. I’ve watched the slowed breathing of someone who is medicated into coma so they wouldn’t feel pain any more. And I’ve also experienced the shock of finding out days or weeks later and not known exactly how to respond.
Today wasn’t like any of those experiences. My friend is my age. We have a lot in common and I’ve always enjoyed our conversations about anything and everything. We both loved talking sports. We both roll our eyes at the political atmosphere and both feel like until everyone learns to play nicely together despite any differences, we will continue dividing wider and wider apart. We both like food. Pretty much any of it…and we’d both proved that too many times. So, to hear that we have both struggled with our weight comes as no surprise.
My favorite conversations to have with him, though, have been about our common faith. I tend to stay away from too much of that discussion on my public page – not because I’m afraid of it or ashamed of it! In fact, it is THE fuel in my life that keeps me going – mostly because I’ve used FaceBook as a way to keep up with people all over the place and do my share of bragging about my kids as I look at my friends bragging about theirs.
Right now, though, my faith takes center stage. My friend told me a few months ago that he was going to be ready to go if his health didn’t turn around. He knew it wouldn’t and the last thing he wanted was to be a burden on his family. (not in a “pity me” kind of way; more like he loves them that much) He asked me then if I thought it was OK if he stopped one of the treatments he was taking if he knew he couldn’t get better. If he stopped it, it wold hasten his death. He didn’t want to hurt any more and I sure didn’t want to see him hurt anymore. Nor did anyone else that loves him. I asked him if he was at peace with that. He was. I’d do the same.
Today, when I got there, we small talked for a few minutes and then I said: “I guess you’re ready to go, huh?”
“Yes, I am. I didn’t think it would take this long.”
We chatted about that a bit and then more small talk.
I asked if he wanted to talk about anything specific.
He looked at me and said: “I’m sorry I never got to hear you call a football game.”
We both kind of choked up and then laughed a bit, deciding that surely heaven has football and maybe I’d get to call a game there. He wants to be on the field. Me too.
I asked him then if he wanted me to pray and he nodded his head.
Strange prayer, I guess, by some’s standards. I asked God to take him quickly and that he was ready to be with Him.
Afterward we talked for a few more minutes and he started dozing back off a bit. I helped him with his CPAP machine so he could get a decent breath and then held his hand as he dozed off. He tried to stay awake for me, but I told him to sleep.
As I sat there, one thing rolled around in my head. It was this: “…and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
Those words were written by a Christian known as the Apostle Paul many centuries ago to a man he mentored named Timothy. Paul was short for this world at the time too.
I looked around the room for something to write on for my friend. I wanted to leave this message for him. As I scooted my chair a bit, he roused and tried again to wake up for me. So I sat still and didn’t make any more noise. I was just about to write him a note on a napkin and then decided to text it to him. I knew he checked his texts regularly.
“Love you bro, see you on the other side.” Then I added the text from 2 Timothy above.
I get that some people don’t believe in a God. I understand it better than most think is possible. I get it because there is so much hypocrisy in this world from so many that claim to be people of faith but then live ugly hateful lives. I wish I could fix that all at once. To be straight with you, I honestly wish all the hypocrites would just lose gravity and float away. But I’m afraid I’d drift off on some days too. Perfection isn’t part of me as a human. I’m a big old mess. We all are…
My friend isn’t one who would make people doubt a God or think He’s a hateful lover of violence and any of the things that unknowing people accuse Him of.
Nah, my friend is one who if you knew him, you’d love the God he knows. So when he told me he was ready to see Him, I smile for him. I’m glad I share that faith with him. It was the bedrock of our friendship. Because of that, I don’t have a worry in the world for him and I also have no doubt that I’ll join him some day. Beats me if it will be on a heavenly football field or what, but I just don’t doubt that I’ll see him again.
After quietly sneaking out of his room and saying goodbye to his family, I drove off. My eyes had welled up a few times with him, but I’d been able to keep the tears from getting out of control. I smiled as I looked back at my phone and saw the last text I sent. I’m glad I’ll have a copy of that too.
I’ll miss my friend. I’m sure I’ll finally let those tears streak my face at some point. I know that when I see his family again without him, it will be tough. And I’m sure I’ll be in that similar circumstance again down the road, with someone else facing their end, but today was different.
Today was very much a “see ya in a few” goodbye.

2016 Dragons – Season we’ll never forget

The day football season ends might be the gloomiest day of the year. I love football. Always have. If there’s a game going on and I can get to it, I’ll watch it. I don’t even care who is playing… I’m experiencing that end of season gloom as I write.

For the last 15 years or so, though, I’ve cared very much for a team that has become “my team.” That team would be the South Oldham Dragons. Before I had sons old enough to walk, I’d find my way over to the high school and watch them play. There’s something about high school football. It’s pure. No one plays for money on that field. (Girls, maybe, but not money.) The raw passion of 16 and 17 year olds is pretty fun to watch when you pile 22 of them on the same rectangle, divide them into two teams and tell each to guard an end.

To be honest, they weren’t very good when I started watching them. But it was still the sport I loved and as often as I could go, I would. Rarely, did I know anyone on the field. I heard names and figured out who the stars were, but I’d never have known a single one without a helmet and numbered jersey.

As my sons got old enough to love football, I’d take them with me. My oldest was star struck at his first high school game. He couldn’t have been more than 3 or 4 but I remember him telling me on the way home that he wanted to be a Dragon some day and run onto that field. His first year playing pee wee football, he got that chance in a championship game. He was six and got put in for an extra point attempt where he needed three yards and got one…maybe.

Through the years, that team became more and more important to me and as my sons got older, I had no doubt, that I wanted them to be a Dragon too. So we watched every home game for a few years and after a while started going to the closer away games as well. Somewhere along the way, that Dragon team started winning more than they lost. There was an energy in the stands nearly every game and I loved it.

My boys, two school years apart, were getting older and about to head to middle school where they’d get to be little Dragons. So Friday night was no longer a “Dad, are we going to the game?” as much as it was a “Dad, when are we leaving for the game?” kind of thing. We knew a few of the boys in those days. Some had helped with the youth league where the young kids learned and played this great game. Some were older brothers of friends of my boys. It was really kind of cool to see them after a game and say “good game” and have them actually recognize us and respond with a “thanks, man.”

I took the scenic route to get here, but this brings me to the 2016 Dragons Team. These boys are special. Early in the summer, I remember a conversation I was having with one of the coaches about the expectations of the team. Their goal was to win their district, but it sounded like it was going to be tough to do. They were missing parts or weren’t as strong as they needed to be or they’d lost key players last year. Those things weren’t excuses. They were just facts. There were many unknowns coming into this season. I couldn’t wait to get it started though.

I have had the best seat in the house. Seriously.

From the first scrimmage, a demolition job on a fairly bad opponent, eyebrows started to raise as it appeared for many, that those unknowns might end up being strengths.

Game one, a team rolled into town fully expecting to start our boys off 0-1. Not so fast Anderson county, South had a different thought on how that game should go. I believe it was a 31-14 beat down and I also believe, that one game ruined that other team’s season. No lie.

Game two was going to be harder. We’d heard about the three potential D1 players we’d see and we had to go to their place to play. Two sets of Dragons on the field that night. The Green, Blue and Gray ones stood at the end. Doss, not so much. W 34-26.

Arch rival time in game three. Mustangs came in and my little ponies left. W 41-7

Next up, Boone County. W 35-14

Another rivalry game across the county to Buckner where the Colonels awaited. I’d go out on a limb and say we had AS MANY, if not MORE fans at that game than the home team. The score looks way closer than it really was after they got a couple of lucky scores once our starters were on the sidelines drinking gatorade. W 48-27 – That was FUN!

Nelson County came to visit next. W 56-7

6-0 was sounding good, but another high powered offense was gearing up for the Dragons’ visit and we thought we’d be in a tough battle from start to finish. We were, but (and I don’t say this lightly) that night it felt like we were playing two teams. One in gold and maroon and the other in black and white stripes. I’d never witnessed an officiating crew lose control of a high school game like that one did. Chippy is an understatement with how things went there. But, when the dust settled, the scoreboard told the tale. South 52, Bullitt East 27.

At 7-0, the county started buzzing a bit with talk of this team. It had been building, but it really took off at this point. The local paper’s write ups, typically showing a strong bias for the northern equine variety, began to have to take up more and more space chronicling the boys from the Southside.

Another trip to Bullitt county took our team to an 8-0 record with a 39-7 win over Bullitt Central.

That left only one team to play in our district. North Bullitt. They were good. Scored a million points per game, but also seemed to give up that many. They had the next best record at 7-2 and we were ready for a shootout. It was. That game cost me all my fingernails! We thought we had them in a blowout early on, but they came screeching back, tying us after overcoming a 24 point deficit. But our defense finally bowed their backs and stood up a two point conversion attempt just short of the goal line. W 35-34  Whew, hand me the oxygen. That, and the district title. Again.

We would travel to the toughest challenge in the season next. Shelby County seemed to have our number. We came out flat that night. I don’t know if it was the fact the boys were just finishing fall break or what, but we didn’t look like ourselves. Despite that, those young men mounted a come back that fell just short. Two points short. L 32-33.

That loss tasted nasty in everyone’s mouth. And, I have to say, came at exactly the right time. That ended the regular season and made the boys ravenous for another win. I truly felt sorry for whoever would play us in the first round of the playoffs.

Woodford County drew the short straw. Though I had to watch it online, (Thank you Pegasus Sports Network!) it was a blast seeing our season high in points get thrown up on the scoreboard. Despite a great fake punt play, Woodford just didn’t have the juice for the men in green. South advances to round two 61-33

The following week, we had some de ja vu going on as Bullitt Central would try to upset us on the second try. Nope. South blanked ‘em. 37-0

It took an upset to get the Dragons their third home game in a row. That’s especially nice in the playoffs! So, in one sense, we were grateful to North Bullitt for ending a Madison Southern run. But on the other hand, the team we’d only beat by one point was coming back to town and they weren’t smiling.

Game two against North Bullitt was every bit as exciting as game one. My fingernails had grown back, but dang it, if those Eagles didn’t cost me another set. What. A. Game. This time it was our turn for the come back. We trailed by 14 going in to the fourth quarter and after two insane scoring drives, tied it up. But we were running out of time and at the tail end of the 4th, it looked very much like overtime was our reality. But, once again, our boys dug in and drove. All the way down inside the five yard line. Then, with seven short ticks left on the game clock, a  field goal attempt into a brutal headwind flew straight and true giving the Dragons a 45-42 win and an appointment to what was the final 4 for class 5A.

It was 1992 the last time South had wandered this far into the playoffs. Our boys knew what awaited them was a team that was trying to make it to their 4th championship game in a row. We had to travel to a “neutral site” to play them – THEIR place. No one picked us to win and many thought it would be a lopsided game where we’d come out licking our wounds and sorry we ever showed up. They did beat us. But the score was 55-62. A couple bounces the other way, and it very easily could have been our boys with the ‘W.’

We, the parents, grandparents, friends, teachers, fans… the people of South Oldham, weren’t as sad for the loss as much as we were sad for the defeated warriors who would never suit up in the green, blue and gray again. Finality is a hard pill to swallow for grown men, let alone young warriors who spilled their blood, sweat and tears for those of us who were spectators for the contests in which they fought.

When those Dragon warriors look back on this 2016 season, when they’re my age and wondering why their joints are sore, they’ll think back to a 12-2 season and smile. They’ll rehash their favorite plays. They’ll recreate the scenarios that would have won that final game. They’ll laugh about the locker room stuff that none of us ever heard. (and don’t WANT to hear) They’ll wish they could suit up one more time and do it again…

Me? I’ll look back too. I’ll remember names and faces of young men and some old. Football names.  Ashkettle, Crittendon, Goodlett, Bates, Basham, McMullen and Mills that blew holes into defensive lines so other names like George, Bolden, Elsbury, Kelly and a youngin’ called Kmart could run for days. Those same monsters in the middle held off opposing defenders so a young man named Zaubi could launch 2200 plus yards worth of passes to John, Silcox and others. I’ll ponder a defense built with the bricks of Weathers, Cotton, Knable, Bowman, Beaudoin, Lightfoot, JD, JT, Jones, and Baetens. Not one, but two feet that rarely missed belonging to a Cantrell and Klehr. I’ll reminisce about underclassmen who stepped up when they were called on and those who are waiting in the wings for their chance to shine. I know those younger boys well and can confidently say that they’ll follow in the footsteps of those who paved the way and they’ll carry that South Oldham Dragon standard high. I’ll be glad to have seen those boys play under a group of coaches second to none. (And I hope those same coaches are STILL showing those boys how to play the greatest game on earth.)

When my sons are getting their sons ready to wear that Dragon uniform, I think…no, I know, we will all remember a team of young men who went farther than anyone thought they would and made a county proud. It’s a season we’ll never forget.

Yah, I’m still here…

To say it’s been a month of plateauing would be understating it just a bit. Though maybe a better description would be lots of up and downing. Today’s weigh in shows me at 310.4 and that’s livable considering…  At my last post, I was a half pound above that. What the last month doesn’t show is that I did get several more pounds off before heading on a spring break vacation. I didn’t get all that I wanted to off before leaving, but I was fine with where I was. So, a post spring break weigh in showing about a 5 pound gain over the week is today’s reality. But, also, here’s my favorite pic from spring break! My wife makes me look good all the time, but I like the difference between this year and last. Same beach, different body!


I didn’t even want to take pics with me in front or side to side with Raegan. Of course trying to hide behind her didn’t work out all that well either!

With what all I put into my head over spring break, I’m satisfied with that number today. Not happy, not fine, not relieved, not shocked. Just satisfied. But vacation is over! This morning’s workout knocked some sense into me and felt good.

As I write this post, I’m learning about the death of comedian John Pinette. If you don’t know him, he’s made his living off of being obese and I’ve laughed until I’ve cried through many of his standup routines. He was a funny guy. Dead at 50 of “natural causes.” Not much information out just yet but “pulmonary embolism” has been listed as the cause of death. That sends shivers down my spine because of those days back a few months ago that I spent in the hospital trying to avoid that very same thing. (See my “Blood Clots” post)


I can’t help but wonder what role John’s weight played in his premature death. I can’t help but think that he ended up exactly where I was heading. I’ll miss his comedy and every time I hear him now, I’ll be sad along with chuckling at his jokes. He didn’t get to choose how he went out. Something in his body set that in motion. (Update since starting this post: His death was probably due to liver and heart issues, so says his Dr. At the time of his death, he had lost nearly 200 pounds going from 400+ to almost 200. He was working on a new routine called “They Call Me Slim.”  It’s just sad. And sobering. And yet another wake up call…


So, yah, I started this post a few of weeks ago. I actually have a few posts just sitting waiting to be finished. Just not feeling it. Lots of ideas but none of them concrete enough to finish. Truth? I’m chicken to go where I want to. Not sure why. I’ve been scolded for not writing, and for writing in hopes that someone reads this. So, I’m getting SOMETHING out there at this point.

Today is April 29th…

I replaced the battery in my scales last night and weighed in this morning after not being able to weigh for over a week. I’m surprised at myself for what the little lack of accountability does to me.

The good news? I’ve lost back down to pre-Spring Break weight. 308.

The bad news? I can’t seem to break through that barrier and ironically, it’s exactly the lowest weight I remember being EVER since living in Louisville, so in at least 16+ years. That’s great, but it’s not good enough.

A couple of days ago, I saw a fat guy in the mirror again. It’s been several months of compliments on how well I’m doing and sure, losing 80 pounds is pretty great. But I’m not done and I don’t want to forget that. 308 pounds is still massive and more than most people even think about weighing. I don’t care if I can carry my weight well or whatever, I don’t want to weigh that much and I need to get out of the funk I’ve been in and get busy. My working out has increased, but not still to the level I’d like. Spring time is at least bringing more opportunities to be active and I’m taking advantage of it. I think maybe I’ve gotten used to this new lighter body to some extent. But the feeling I had the other day was not one of success. It was disgust. I’ve come too far to stall this bad, but I have. Actually, this might very well be the most discouraged I’ve been since before my surgery. So, there it is…

Maybe I’ll get to some of those things in another post, but for now, I want to get something done. So, here it is. Long overdue and not much of an update, but,  it’s something.

A 3rd Grade Memory

MARCH! It’s now been six months since my surgery. That amazes me. This post finds a slight gain over two weeks ago. I’m just under 311 at weigh in today. Guess that’s basically one pound up from the 309.9 last time. Oh well… That doesn’t make me happy at all, but there’s no doubt I can see why it’s happened. I’m pretty motivated right this second to get those 11 pounds off by the end of this month since that will be Spring Break week and we are heading to Gulf Shores, AL for what I hope is a warm escape from the worst winter I can remember. So, I’ve got to hit it hard these next four weeks and I’m ready to!

03-02-14 03-02-14s

While the weigh in doesn’t make me happy, the measuring does. Based on the tape measure today, I’ve lost another 4+ inches. Here are starting and current measurements:

08-30-13 vs 03-02-14   Neck: 19 vs 17.25, Shoulders: 60+ vs 55, Chest: 54.5 vs 49.5, Belly: 63+ vs 54.25, Waist: 58 vs 49.5, Hips: 60 vs 52. I’ve measured my legs and arms too, but I never seem to get the same spot when I measure, so they are all over the place but show a good loss as well in the 8 inches range. Some quick math for ya shows 50 inches lost give or take a bit. I’m trying to be conservative with this and feel like this is a very fair number. I’ll take it!

Gear shift time.

Last Sunday afternoon I left home and drove up to Spring Mill State Park for a three day spiritual retreat. The church where I am a minister has a set of exceptional men who serve as elders and they’ve told me they’d like me to do that a couple times a year to refocus and connect with God in a deeper way. I treasure that time and fear it at the same time. It means time alone and I don’t like being alone for the most part. For an extrovert like me, being around people is energizing and fun. Being alone and quiet means I have to be real with just me. And I’ll be honest with you, that’s just flat freaky sometimes.

On this particular retreat, one word was rattling around in my head: Integrity.

“Integrity” Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky.

That’s big word and has deep deep meaning to me. I want to clarify something right away in case your mind goes the wrong direction. I was not on a search to find integrity because I had lost it. Nor was I feeling like a failure in that area of my life. Well, not exactly. What I was interested in doing was seeing where the chinks in the armor might be.

I’ll set the stage a little more by saying that having my integrity questioned has always bugged me. Now listen, I’m WRONG a lot. I have got no problem admitting that. (suppose that depends on who you ask, really) But I’ve always felt that if I do make a wrong decision or say the wrong thing, that my intentions weren’t wrong. That doesn’t make me more right, it just means I don’t set out to be wrong on purpose. Following me here? In the last few months, I’ve had my integrity questioned in some fairly brutal ways. One friend accused me of cheating during a trivia game because I had my phone out. Another said I twisted the timeline of something to make things come out the way I wanted. There are a couple more things I can think of in that same category as well.

Well, gee, that looks pretty bad there bucko. I have to say that looking at it on the surface, I understand why those things were said. You know, I should never have had a cell phone out at a trivia night. And I really may have gotten a timeline wrong but it wasn’t to get my way. But how do you know that? What is it that makes someone assume you WOULD do those things? It is a lack of integrity. At least in the eyes of someone else.

Several years ago, I cheated on my taxes. Hang on, this is a funny story with a terrible ending. I like to get my taxes done as early as possible because I always seem to get a refund. Several years ago, I started using the TurboTax software to do my taxes and thought it was cool how it keeps a running total of what you owe or what you’ll get back. That year, I had everything I needed to do my taxes except my wife’s W-2’s. So, I did as much as I could without her info. Just “for fun” I thought I’d see what I might get back by using her previous year’s W-2’s. Guess what? Once I had the correct forms, I never corrected the error in the software. And the big downside was that my wife had taken a new job that showed a substantial income difference between the two years. I didn’t double check my work and I filed them. On purpose? No, but how do you know? The IRS doesn’t know that, nor do they care because a little over two years later, I received a letter from them saying I’d incorrectly filed for that year and I owed them $1548 in taxes. I went back through my records and found my mistake. I didn’t have that kind of money lying around at that point and it caught me off guard. I was embarrassed and actually pretty angry with myself. Did I intend to try to cheat the IRS? Well, no, but that’s what I ended up looking like I did. I don’t make that mistake any more. I double and triple check my taxes before sending them off. Oh, and I paid my bill. Yuck.

Third grade memory. Serious flash back here. Standing in the recess line waiting to go back to class, I hauled off and punched Michael Ashby in the stomach. I can still see him as he raised his hand to tell the teacher. I see the whole thing in super slo-mo and can even vividly remember his facial expression as the punch registered on his face. It was Mrs. Waddups’ class and I was a model student. No seriously, I was. I got sent to the principal’s office and Mr. Spall was shocked to see me there under those circumstances. Michael told his side of the story and Mr. Spall said: “I never thought I’d have to do this, but I have to give you a swat.” (Obviously, this was before the days of castrating our educational systems and convincing them that students are never wrong and can’t be disciplined…gimme a flippin’ break!) Well, I got my swat. (and I lived AND learned) It hurt, but it didn’t hurt as much as knowing I did something wrong.


(This might have been 2nd grade actually, but the pants alone were worthy of a swat!)

I’d always been told that if I got in trouble at school, it’d be worse when I got home. So, naturally I didn’t tell my parents. For YEARS, they didn’t know. And by the time I told them, I had invented the best story ever to go along with me punching a kid. It was a two part lie. One, was I convinced myself that Michael was picking on my younger brother on the bus.  So, my punching of Mikey was only me being valiant and standing up for my brother. And what brought the opportunity on in the first place was that in the recess line, we were talking about the Ali vs Spinks rematch from that previous weekend and I was pretending to fly like a butterfly and sting like a bee…


So, I combined that fact that Michael was picking on my brother and that I was reenacting a heavy weight fight with a good excuse to punch a boy. Can I be honest finally about this? This LIE was what I grew to believe. Dead level truth right here: I HAVE NO IDEA WHY I PUNCHED MICHAEL ASHBY! I don’t remember the reason. It might have had elements of my made up story, but I just don’t know. The story I created was the truth in my head for not just years, but decades. In fact, I can see it in my head JUST LIKE I TOLD IT even though that’s not even possibly how it happened. Am I sure? Um hm…

First, My brother wasn’t being picked on while riding the bus. He’d have been in kindergarten and so it WAS possible, just not likely. Kindergarten was a half day back then and I have zero recollection of my brother on the bus with me OR whether or not Michael rode that bus. Second, and quite a bit more embarrassing is that the boxing match that I SWORE I was imitating between Ali and Spinks hadn’t happened yet when I was in third grade. It wouldn’t happen until the fall of my fourth grade school year. My third grade year, Ali LOST to Spinks. (Feb 15th, 1978)

Point please?

I wonder when thinking about personal integrity how often we have fooled ourselves into thinking a truth that isn’t. Am I above doing that today? Well, of course I am. Right?

In a rare, for me, quoting of the King James version of the Bible, I have to throw out 1 Thessalonians 5:22. “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

I don’t see that verse much any more in that form because I usually use a different translation now, but THAT version left an impact on me. This idea that there is an “appearance of evil.” For me, I see this as a hint, a sniff, a trace, a whisper, an insinuation. I must ask myself is there any way at all my actions could be taken as one without integrity. If I can come up with a way, then that’s an “appearance.” I know that sounds drastic and some will no doubt think that we shouldn’t have to worry about what others think about us, but I feel differently. Who do I represent? Do I take a chance on bringing a shadow across Jesus Himself, just so I can stand my ground? No, I can’t do that. Enough people are doing that already.

Back to my retreat. I truly did have an opportunity to lay bare my soul in prayer and came to the honest conclusion that I have work to do in the area of integrity. Funny stories aside, when I look, I find things that could have that sniff, trace, whisper etc of “evil.” I REALLY want to defend myself right now and say things like “but I always mean well” or “my heart is in the right place.” But there’s part of me that wonders if I don’t have a third grade memory working here as well. If I’m willing to tell myself something long enough to believe it, what makes me think I still can’t do that…

I’m not done with this topic yet. As I pondered my own integrity, I looked at it from the perspective of a husband, father, friend, and man. I believe that I opened a door to some big things for me personally. If you’d have asked me a couple weeks ago if I am a man of integrity, I’d have no hesitation in saying: “yes, of course I am.” I still believe that, but what I want to do is purge my life of those hints of evil. Those twisted truths that I’ve gotten lazy with. I’m not sure what they all are yet. But I’m willing to dig a little deeper.

What about you? Any “3rd grade memories” you need to straighten out?


Blasted Writer’s Block!

Authentic Life

No, I haven’t fallen off the face of the planet with my blog. Not at all. In fact, I’ve got about three different things I want to write about and can’t figure out where to start. Meanwhile, it’s been a month…   So, let’s catch up on a quick post and then I can feel free to get going on something else.

I’ve had a few people say they were worried that things weren’t going well for me anymore since I hadn’t posted in a long time. NOT TRUE!!! Here are some numbers for you…

Weight at start of school year:    387

Weight on August 30th:              384

Weight on surgery day:               379.9

Weight on February 17th:          309.9


Remember this guy?

Me 9-2-13 Maybe the worst picture of me ever. Doug Xmas 05

Well, this…

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Blasted Writer’s Block!

No, I haven’t fallen off the face of the planet with my blog. Not at all. In fact, I’ve got about three different things I want to write about and can’t figure out where to start. Meanwhile, it’s been a month…   So, let’s catch up on a quick post and then I can feel free to get going on something else.

I’ve had a few people say they were worried that things weren’t going well for me anymore since I hadn’t posted in a long time. NOT TRUE!!! Here are some numbers for you…

Weight at start of school year:    387

Weight on August 30th:              384

Weight on surgery day:               379.9

Weight on February 17th:          309.9


Remember this guy?

Me 9-2-13 Maybe the worst picture of me ever. Doug Xmas 05

Well, this is me now:


The last time I took measurements a couple weeks ago, I’d lost another six inches as well. I’m no longer wearing many 3X shirts. I still have a few that I really like, but I look ridiculous in most of them. Nearly all of the 2X shirts I was given fit me very well. I still have not bought any new pants, so I’ve been tightening my belt on all my 48’s and 50’s, but I can’t do that much longer. I have exactly one pair of 46’s and those are the ones that fit me well. I’m still a few pounds away from that closet full of 44’s I wrote about a few posts ago. So, I refuse to spend money on new ones just yet.

Grilling for V-Day

This is my most recent picture as I was grilling steaks in the snow for our Valentine’s dinner. It was pointed out that my pants look too big. OK, so they are. Without a belt on, they all fall off… OK, done picturing that? Good.

I continue to feel better and have started working out again. I was quite bummed to find out how much strength I’ve lost in such a short period of time (six months or so) but am committed to building it back up. My stamina is good these days for the most part. I think I have normal tired sometimes, but I’ll take that. There have been no more problems with blood clots or anything out of the ordinary. Had another kidney stone and a cold I’m  dealing with, but those are hardly weight related. I can eat anything and have. Still can’t eat much, but I CAN eat more. AND, I am noticing that I could push it more if I chose to – which would be stupid!

So, there are some facts for ya.

In the last month, I’ve “only” lost five pounds so I guess that could be cause for alarm, but I’m not concerned. The 1-2 pound per week pace is a good one for me. Looks likely that I’ll have lost 80 in six months. I do know folks who have lost more than that in that time period, but everyone is different and I am extremely pleased with where I am. I also know some who haven’t lost nearly this much in the same time. I read this week that Rosie O’Donnell had this same sleeve surgery and lost only 40 pounds in six months. So, there’s that and I’m good! 😉  This morning’s weigh in took me under 310 for only the second time in over 17 years. The other time was not a fair representation of that weight since it was after two surgeries within three weeks of each other. (gall bladder then appendix) I had been doing well at losing weight at that point, but dipping down under 310 then was a sick weight and it was one day and didn’t last at all! I feel like 309.9 looks healthier on me than it did then. It’s still a massive amount to weigh.

One thing that brought that home to me a few weeks ago (and TRULY depressed me) was going through a check up to upgrade my life insurance. They couldn’t care less that I’d lost 75 pounds. They still “rated” me high risk BECAUSE of my surgery and because I’m still over 100 pounds overweight according to their charts… Truth here? That ticks me off! My premium more than doubled from what I was quoted. Now, I get it. I really do. But seriously, who decides what I should weigh? My guess is that if I lose another 100 pounds, I’ll look terribly thin. I truly can’t even picture it. I don’t want to be skinny! Just healthy. And I’m convinced I’ll be that without being underweight for my body type. Anyway, insurance folks must be smarter than everyone else… But I can re-evaluate in a year and probably reduce that premium if I’ve lost enough to satisfy them.

I’m not sure how many 300+ pound people you know. Most of the time, people are surprised to find out how much I weigh. Now, I realize some of that is them being polite, but apparently, I’m a dense person. (wait for it…nah, make your own joke) Some medical pro’s talk about frame size and then I’ve heard others say there’s nothing to that. You’re supposed to be able to tell your frame size by taking your middle finger and thumb and trying to put them around your wrist. If they overlap, you have a small frame. If they touch, you have a medium frame and if they don’t touch, you have a large frame. Makes sense to me. Well, my finger and thumb are over an inch from touching. One doctor told me once that “there are large framed people and then there’s you.” Big-boned. Right? We’ve heard that before. But I truly don’t know if there’s medical proof of that or it’s just something we say. (Try the finger and thumb thing if you haven’t already and you tell me… You think there’s anything to that?) At any rate, I’m still north of 300 but I don’t feel like I look “that bad.” I’ve had someone guess my weight at about 220-230 right now. Really?  How do you miss by 80 pounds even being polite?!? I think my fat weighs more than yours… LOL  (…No really, that just made me laugh out loud.) I really don’t get it, but I DO know I am not close to where I’d like to be yet. Normal guys wear 36 or 38 jeans, not 46! And yah, I fit into 2XL shirts right now, but maybe I should be in a Large. When I see current pictures or look in the mirror, I recognize a major loss. There’s no doubt about it. But what I think I’m seeing is that I’m about to lose down into the normal overweight range and there are A LOT of people in that group. So, what I think is happening is we are all “moving our normal” into something we’ve gotten used to. People got used to me at 360+ pounds and even though I’m not that any more, I’m still way bigger than 95% of everyone. This all makes sense in my head but I’m afraid I’m not translating it well for you to read. I guess if I simplify things, I’d say this: I’m so happy to have lost 77 pounds but I’m not ready to rest yet.

I remain incredibly encouraged by all the compliments people give me. Truly, I am blown away. It is fun running into people I haven’t seen in a while and see genuine shock on their faces. Or sometimes not shock, but just a very “wow” expression. Don’t worry that it’s going to my head. It’s not. For the most part, I have an amazing group of supportive friends. I do know I stay motivated because of them and because I am taking the example I’m trying to set seriously.

I’ve talked to so many people who have had the sleeve done and asked if they’ve had any regrets? The answer I hear most is “YES! I wish I’d done this years ago.” I understand that sentiment. BUT… For me, I was ready when it happened, not before. I’d have loved to have been healthier earlier, but timing is everything, right? I trust this path and have trusted God in the timing. Surely I would have messed things up had I forced my own will in the past.

So this is the post that catches up with the last month. And I hope takes care of the writer’s block I’ve had. I really do have some more fun things I want to write about and a few things that I’m just wanting to process outside my own head for a change. So if you see a new post soon, be forewarned as I’ve mentioned before. I’m branching out into more than this weight loss thing for me. I have things from the spiritual world I want to chew on. Things from the sports world I want to tackle and maybe even dabble in politics a bit.

Let me hear from you if you read. I enjoy feedback!