Wednesday, November 09, 2005

My Brother's Morbid Obesity Is Killing Him

I write this today with a very heavy heart because of someone who is very near and dear to me in my life -- my only full-blooded brother, Kevin.

Those of you who have read Chapter 5 of "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" know that Kevin, like me for most of my life, has struggled with his weight and allowed it get up to a very dangerous level. In fact, he had about three heart attacks in the span of a week in 1999 that nearly took his life then.

But by the grace of God he survived that ordeal, lost weight and was doing so well. Unfortunately, Kevin started neglecting his health (AGAIN!) by scarfing down junk food, sweets and snacks and his weight has gone up and up. AND WAY UP!

When my wife and I visited my family last Christmas, I could not believe my brother had gotten as big as he had. He had to weight AT LEAST 400-450 pounds when we saw him. Of course, he saw how much weight I had LOST and I was hopeful that might spur him on to do something about his weight.

Unfortunately, he decided attempting to lose weight was a pointless endeavor and started gaining some more.

On Sunday night, my brother went to dinner with my sister and said he wasn't feeling very well. Later that night he checked himself into the hospital and they discovered that every single one of the arteries that had been cleared just 6 years ago were fully blocked again and there were several new ones.

When they asked Kevin how much he weighed since none of their scales could weigh him, he responded, "I'm 365." Maybe in his legs! I understand denial about your weight because that is how I got up to 410 pounds. But Kevin is probably between 500-600 pounds now with no signs of letting up.

Kevin's doctor told my mother that if Kevin doesn't make any changes in his lifestyle with either his diet or exercise that he would be dead within a year. That hit my mom like a baseball bat to the forehead and she is both angry and concerned.

When I heard the news via telephone (I live 500 miles from them) last night, I sat dumbfounded for several minutes. Why is my brother having such a hard time with this? Doesn't he even care that he is killing himself? I love the big goof, but he's got to stop playing with his life and get going with this -- AND FAST!

As I wrote about in my book, Kevin's situation was one of the reasons I started livin' la vida low-carb. I didn't want to be subjected to a life of a handful of medications and a machine in my chest to keep me alive. That's not what Kevin needs either.

Pray for my brother, Kevin. He is a gentle giant with a loving heart. But his decision to ignore his weight problem is now catching up to him and he has a clear choice -- continue on the same path and die OR make some attempt to lose weight and lots of it.

Most people would say Kevin has been given ample opportunities to get his healthy under control. If the heart attacks he had in the late 1990's didn't wake him up, then what will? Death? You just have to shake your head at those (even family members) who don't allow circumstances to jar them into reality.

WAKE UP, Kevin! Your house is on fire! Grab hold of that hose and start extinguishing it NOW before you lose everything. This is a battle that is not impossible as evidenced by the weight loss success both mom and I have had. YOU CAN DO IT!

I only hope it's not too late.


Blogger Debi said...


I'll keep Kevin, and your entire family in my prayers. I feel for you - my dad is in similar shoes as your brother. He's not quite as large as you say your brother is, but he's still ~350 lbs. and is only 5' 7" tall. He, too, has been told he's had a heart attack, suffers from angina, water retention in his legs, and has even had stents put in due to blockages about 8 years ago - and any change he made was temporary and short lived.

I feel your pain, as I struggle with similar issues in my own family. (My dad is also a distance away - at ~1000 miles from me.) All we can do is pray, and you can never have too many prayers!

Kevin and your entire family is in my prayers. Please keep us posted on what happens.


11/09/2005 12:59 PM  
Blogger Newbirth said...

When my Dad was diagnosed with diabetes (from bad food choices and being overweight) he was told to lose the weight or die. He lost the weight. I didn't even recognize him at first! He didn't look happy, but he was slim at least.

Unfortunetly, since then he has continued to eat high carb foods and his diabetes isn't controlled, even with regular insulin injections. He's starting to gain the weight back, too.

He COULD have controlled his diabetes with diet, but no. He went from diet to pills to injections to a higher dose in his injections.

He just doesn't get it and it's gonna kill him.

1/09/2006 12:21 AM  
Blogger Cindy said...

I too have a family member that is ignoring her health and on her way to an early death. In my case it's my niece.

In the past she's had 2 pulomary embolisms and is on coumadin for life. About a year ago she was diagnosed with Type 2 (bs over 700!), but is now "diet controlled", which in her case means stopping regular soda. Otherwise she follows no diet and doesn't monitor her blood sugars. Last I heard, over 8yrs ago, she was over 265# and wearing a size 22. Now she states that the clothes at Lane Bryant, which go up to size 28, are getting too small for her. This is a woman with kidney damage (from childhood problems) and lung problems due to the PEs. She also smokes.

My niece says she "doesn't have time" and "can't afford" to go on any more diets. She 'Can't live without bread, etc". And she won't listen to me or any other family members. She's only 41 yrs old.

There is little we can do but pray and encourge them to make a change. I sincerely hope your brother and my niece wakes up and realizes that they are killing themselves, but know it has to be their choice and they have to do what they need to do to prevent an early death.


1/29/2006 12:24 AM  
Blogger Katrina said...

Your mother needs her head examined making brownies like that knowing that it is killing her son. Of course, someone who gets their intestines butchered and sewn together so they don't have to "diet" (rather just eat a few bites and throw up!) is pretty darn clueless anyhow! I'm sorry this sounds so mean, but it's so angering! It's so awful! Doesn't she get it? I know it's your brother's problem and no one else should be blamed, but if he was trying to quit drugs, what would you say if she laid out 20 lines of cocaine on the coffee table?! It's the same thing! I just don't understand people some times. I'm trying to drop weight and "food pushers" really really upset me.

12/01/2006 2:53 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

THANKS for sharing your comments, Katrina. But again I go back to the issue of personal responsibility on the part of the person with the problem. Sure, my mother with the "butchered intestines" probably should not have made the brownies with Kevin around, the fact is they weren't for him. They were for my stepdad and the rest of the family. Kevin HAS to figure out the word "NO" for himself and exercise some self-control. Is it hard? OF COURSE! But to overcome obesity, you have to make hard choices and stick with them. Kevin is not there yet.

12/01/2006 9:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Jimmy and other readers. ONLY KEVIN can save KEVIN. Period. All we can do is love and support him until (hopefully) he finds his CLICK like I did. Jimmy I know this is incredibly difficult for you and your mother and sister. I can see how you could lose it and get angry with him. Have you tried writing him a letter and pouring your heart and concerns out to him? Perhaps if he could read it alone, come back to it possibly, it might make a difference. Perhaps not.
There is no reason whatsoever that other people should have to go without treats just because some of us are wired backwards. It's our responsibility to take charge and take ownership of our health issues. Those brownies are but a metaphor for what is wrong with Kevin. I should know. Until December 26th, 2006, I was THAT Kevin.
As Yoda said, There is not to try. There is only to DO. Are you scaring yourself and your family and facing grave health concerns ahead? CHANGE YOUR PARADIGM and change your life NOW. Not next week, not when you can get to the grocery store, not after vacation; NOW. Right now. It's about what you CAN DO. Not excuses.
Jimmy I will pray for your brother, and the rest of your family. I pray he will see the truth like I did. Only he can do it. It took me years, he at least has his age in his favor.

2/14/2007 11:00 PM  
Anonymous Jenna said...

Your brother isn't "ignoring' his problem. Trust me, he feels it with every breath.. he feels it when he tries to roll over in bed, or when he needs to buy new clothes..

He is depressed and discouraged about the situation and he feels like it is hopeless.

He may shrug off your concern.. or make statements like "I don't want to live forever eating rabbit food.. I want to enjoy what time I have and eat anything I want right now"

He is discouraged and afraid of failing. He doesn't want to disappoint everyone, or himself. It's not an excuse, it's a reason.

Tell him you love him.. and that he is perfect.. that he can do anything! Tell him that no matter what happens you will love him and admire and support his efforts. Tell him you (of all people) know it's not an easy path.. but it doesn't have to be an overnight trip either.

Get him to commit to losing 25 pounds this year. It's something.. and if he can double it and lose 50 by the end of the year he'll feel like "the mannn!"

I wish him luck.

9/15/2008 4:04 PM  

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