At Long Last, My Brother Kevin Is Finally Getting Serious About His Morbid Obesity
It now appears my brother Kevin is ready to deal with his weight
It's been a little while since I gave you an update on my brother Kevin and his ongoing battle to lose weight, get healthy, and quite literally save his life.
Ever since I first blogged about Kevin, interest in him has ranged from the curious to the concerned and has even brought out a few crazies (One memorable e-mailer wrote, "Why is your brother so fat if you've figured out the cure to obesity is low-carb? It must not work too well if your own brother can't even get his weight under control.").
So I've tried to give periodic updates on his weight and health for those of you who are praying for him. I've even used his story as an example to make a point in blog posts about livin' la vida low-carb pouring out my heart and expressing the pain that comes from my brother who just doesn't seem to get it yet.
You can read some of my previous posts to see exactly what I was feeling at the time about this deep, dark pit of hopeless despair Kevin had put himself in by clicking here, here, here, here, here and here.
My emotions about this issue with my brother have run the gamut--sadness, frustration, anger, bitterness, disappointment, fear, disgust, concern--sometimes many of these all at once! Never knowing if today's the day your only full-blooded brother is going to die is no way to live.
After suffering three straight heart attacks in the span of one week in 1999 that nearly killed him, Kevin has been living on heart medications with a mere 15 percent of his heart's capacity left. He's been in and out of the hospital with chest pains and middle-of-the-night scares so much in the past few years while his weight has not come down that I thought he had given up all hope for weight loss forever.
Although his doctors have told him to lose weight or die, nothing seemed to get through to Kevin. That is, until something that happened in April this year.
When I was being interviewed for the upcoming documentary film called Inspired: The Movie a couple of weeks ago, I shared with the director my sincere concerns about how to get through to my brother who apparently doesn't care about his obesity. You can see a brief clip from the movie of me talking about Kevin by CLICKING HERE.
The filmmaker was so moved by my heartfelt cry for help on behalf of Kevin that he said he would like to travel to Florida to include him in the documentary, too. So I told the director I'd have to ask Kevin if he'd be interested first. After all, it's a touchy subject talking about being fat with a morbidly obese man--AND ON CAMERA!
But Kevin is not shy in the least (in fact, I'm the shy one between us if that tells you how outgoing my brother is!), so it wasn't surprising when I approached him with this that he was all-too-eager to do it. GREAT! We are planning on driving down to Florida in July for a taped conversation about Kevin's weight. This will hopefully be enlightening and inspiring...to me, Kevin, and anyone struggling with how to help an obese friend or relative. More about that later!
While I was talking to Kevin about the film, I could hear in his voice he had something to tell me. "Guess what, little bro?" he said to me in his own distinctive vernacular. "I'm losing weight now."
WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?!
After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I just had to confirm what I heard Kevin say. Yep, it was true! He said he was tired of always feeling bad and going to the hospital that he started eating better (yep, that means less carbs--WOO HOO!) and getting as much exercise as his weak heart can handle. All I could say was WOW, WOW, WOW!!! Praise God for answering prayers!
I was curious what made him begin this new journey and he said it happened when our Memaw died a couple of months ago. She was the last grandparent we had and her death was partially brought on by heart disease from eating poorly (although she lived to be 77 years old).
This shook Kevin to the core and woke him up!
Just a few months earlier when I asked Kevin why he doesn't get serious about shedding the pounds, he had told me "I don't know, I'm lazy I guess." Now he had found the impetus for getting serious about his morbid obesity.
He says his weight is under 400 pounds right now, but he doesn't really know for sure since most bathroom scales only register up to about 350. But the good news is he cares, the weight is moving down at about 10 pounds a month, and he seems committed to this.
I'm not gonna assume Kevin's gonna stick with it because he never has before. Right now, though, his mind is on this goal to lose weight and I will support him the best way I know how. Love him, encourage him, and respect his courage to do what he has to do to climb this Mt. Everest in his life.
At the end of our conversation, Kevin shocked me one more time when he said "Jimmy, I'm proud of you for helping so many people with their weight loss stuff. You're doing a good job!" When he said that to me, I nearly choked up trying to hold back the tears. It was as if he said I GET IT, JIMMY, I FINALLY GET IT!
Finally, the message has sunk in. Now the real work has only just begun.