My brother Kevin has continuing health problems because of his obesity
Some people ask me why I am so adamant about what I write about here at my "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" blog. Others wonder if I should be using my time in other ways to do other things that I like to do. It's certainly a valid question and I appreciate the concern that people have shown for me and acknowledging the sacrifices I have made to do what I do.
But what I am going to blog about today is exactly why I spend so many hours relentlessly typing away the message of livin' la vida low-carb and making your body as healthy as it can be. Well, it's not so much a what, but a WHO: a man by the name of Kevin Lee Moore.
I've told you about Kevin before and he took a sudden turn for the worse this week. Back in November 2005, doctors gave him one year to live if he didn't lose weight as soon as possible. At the time Kevin weighed close to 600 pounds.
Just as he has done on every previous time he attempted weight loss or anything in his life, Kevin was gung ho about it...for a while. As in a couple of months. But then it happened to him--he starts feeling a little bit better, thinks he's gonna be okay now, stops doing those things that are essential for improving himself, and goes into complete denial about his morbid obesity.
Keep in mind, this is the same man who in 1999 at the age of 32 experienced three heart attacks in the span of a week that nearly killed him. And it's ONLY because of the complications brought on by his massive weight problem.
Sure, he's had some difficult life experiences, including a horrific marriage to a woman who basically made his life a living Hell when he had his heart attacks and was no longer able to work. She mentally and even physically abused him in ways that probably reminded him of what our dad had done to us when we were children. Thankfully he got out of that relationship with a divorce a couple of years ago, but the lingering damage has been done.
Like many people who are hurting and life seems in such turmoil, Kevin turns to food to comfort himself. And not just a little food. I mean an out-of-proportion gargantuan amount of grub that would make most people's eyes bug out. For example, he's go to McDonald's and get 5 Big Macs with 3 Large orders of French fries and 10 cookies. EEEEEK! Unreasonable to most, but reality for my brother.
This is my own flesh and blood, mind you. A man that I grew up with calling my older brother. Yeah, he was my stupid, ugly butt hole older brother and enjoyed taunting me as every older brother does, but it was only because he was my brother. We shared a lot of happy memories wrestling on the ground or playing pool at the local game room (I always beat him at it and he hated that!). While we endured the divorces that both of our parents went through and lived as normal a life as we possibly could considering the hand life dealt us as kids.
Fast forward a few years to 2004, I decided to take control of my weight and health for real and stop wallowing in the past with all the genuine hurt and pain that I had endured for my entire life. It was at that point there were no more excuses for the way I was living my life NOW and I did something about it. My old eating habits would have to be radically changed and exercise would need to become my friend rather than my foe.
As you know, I did it--I lost 180 pounds in one year and avoided the obesity-related health decline that hit my brother like a 2X4 upside the back of the head. My brother was a contributing motivating factor for me to do it for real this time for a couple of reasons. First, I wanted desperately to NEVER have to go through what he has since his heart attacks. Second, and even more importantly, I thought my example to my only full-blooded brother would get him going.
Unfortunately, I learned the hard lesson that you can't make ANYONE lose weight who is unwilling to do it for themselves. You just can't and Kevin is the prime example. He's read my book, he's seen me in person, I've given him advice about the changes he could make in his life if he truly wants to lose weight and restore his health. But he has ignored it all.
Now it's October 2006 and that man in the picture at the top of this post is hanging on by a thread. He was hospitalized as he has been hundreds of times the past seven years, but this time is quite different. The stent they put in his heart valve before is completely blocked now. He has two other arteries that are 90 percent blocked as well. He was very weak and fatigued when I spoke with him on the telephone, but he was hopeful the doctors could do something for him as they have in the past.
On Monday, the doctors he saw said they were too afraid to do open heart surgery on him because they feared he may not be strong enough to come back if they put him under. Then on Wednesday, they tried to run a test on him, but Kevin was way too big for the table which could not hold him. Yes, he's still around 600 pounds.
My mom told me that Kevin is supposed to have a PT scan today on his heart to determine what they will do next. It is very likely he will be sent to a specialist hospital a few hours away and Christine and I will very likely be going to visit him there if that happens. I'll try to let you know when that happens so you can pray for him specifically about his surgery and for us as we travel.
Do I even need to tell you how upsetting this is to me? It's something no parent or sibling should EVER have to go through because it is all preventable. But we all have choices to make in our life and Kevin has made his. He has simply accepted that he's fat and will always be fat for the rest of his life. That's what I used to think, too, but I instinctively knew better. Why do people fall into this self-imposed trap about their weight?
Now you realize why I remain so vigilant and passionate about sharing what has happened to me through my weight loss experience because this subject hits too close to home. My mom's dealt with her obesity with gastric bypass surgery and my half-brother Nathan was able to take off the pounds with a low-carb-styled program and exercise. But this is something that has completely alluded Kevin and the price for that decision, conscious or otherwise, is having to be paid now.
I'm sorry if this post is not the encouraging, put on a happy face, go get 'em article you have read from me over these past couple of years. But my mind has been uneasy since Monday when I got the news about Kevin. He's a special man that right now needs the earnest prayers of anyone who has felt the pain and agony of living with or being an obese person. I cherish those at this time for Kevin and my family and hope for the best to happen for my brother even if that means the good Lord will be taking him home soon.
I will certainly keep you informed about Kevin's progress in the next few days and post updates here when I get them. If I have to go away for a few days, then I know you will understand if the blog comes to a standstill. The work I am doing here is important, but Kevin's situation is life and death. If he's in his very last days, then I need to be with him. God bless you all for your continuing faithful support for me and what I am doing. Now you know a little more about why I will NEVER give up telling people about the healthy benefits of livin' la vida low-carb.
10-5-06 UPDATE: My friend Richard Morris who knows a thing or two about what it feels like to be morbidly obese shared his thoughts with me about Kevin in an e-mail today.
I just read your article about your brother. Wow. First of all, I didn't know you had a brother and I just assumed that everyone within range of your infectious enthusiasm would be just as gung-ho on healthy living as you are.
After a short bit of reflection though, I realized that the situation with your brother makes perfect sense. You see, I have an older sister who is morbidly obese as well. Like you, I've done everything to try to help her. She spent two months with my family a while back and had really started to change physically and mentally, but then she returned home out West and went back to her old lifestyle.
Like you, I've received numerous emails from people who have attended my workshops, read my book or visited the web site and have had their lives transformed, and yet when it comes to family, it seems that those closest to us are the hardest to reach. I've heard variations of this same story from other people who can't seem to get a brother, sister or parent to see the nutritional light and walk therein.
I just thought I'd share this perspective. I think sometimes people think there's something about them or the relationship they have with a loved one that prevents that person from taking charge and making change, but the fact is that your situation with your brother is fairly common.
I'm so sorry to hear that his condition has worsened. I'll keep him in my thoughts and prayers.
THANKS, Richard, and to everyone else who has offered thoughts and prayers at this time. From the bottom of my heart, I am grateful to know that so many of you have shown me and my family genuine and loving concern at this time. God bless you!
10-5-06 UPDATE: I just got an update from my Mom about Kevin via e-mail.
Just a note to let you know what I know about Kevin. Today they made him fast all day in anticipation of a test they wanted to run, but there was a problem because they wanted the hospital to discharge him, let them run the test and then readmit him. They fought about it all day and never ran the test. They finally let him have dinner tonight.
The doctor is trying to get him sent to a specialist and let them run the tests on him. I am taking off tomorrow to go up and hopefully talk to the doctor about this. When I know something more, I will let you know. Keep praying!!!!
10-6-06 UPDATE: My mom talked to the doctors today and is very frustrated. The doctors are still indecisive about what they want to do. They will keep Kevin over the weekend, discharge him on Monday, readmit him to adminster an MRI and then determine when and whether to send him to the specialist three hours away. Sigh. My mom was spitting bullets about the adminstrative red tape she is going through with this. She is hoping they agree to send him to the specialist by this time next week. I'll let you know when I hear something definite. THANK YOU so much for your continued prayers, e-mails and support. God bless you all!