Important lifestyle update: Sort of…

I have some bad news.  I know that this will come as some surprise to you.  It certainly caught me off guard.  Sit down if you must, but brace yourself.  Here we go…


I don’t know how it happened, but it did.  I’m sorry for springing it on you like that.   I could swear I went to bed last night at a trim 205, but when I awoke this morning I was a bit more than that.  Well, more than a bit.  Some. Okay, lots.  Fine, like a LOT more.

I tip the scales at just under 310 right now.  People tell me all the time I don’t look like I weigh that much, but I do.  My large frame hides the pounds well I guess.   But it takes the same effort (and pain) to move this much weight around whether I look 300-plus pounds or not.  “Not looking” 300 pounds doesn’t help my joints feel better.

I’m not sure where the line is drawn for “morbidly obese” but I imagine I’m probably getting pretty close to it.   If I want to be around to see kids get married or to play with grandkids then I probably ought to do something about my weight.  And I should do it soon.

The Weight Problem(s)

The issue with my weight gain is that I am experiencing a high level of pain most of the time.  Right around 205 is where my weight was when I was in the Army and healthy.  Since my back pain started in 2008 my weight has steadily climbed to where it is today.  The pain causes vastly reduced activity levels.

Adding to the issue is that I get depressed about the chronic pain and the thought that it’ll likely never go away.  Also, I have PTSD from some events while serving in the Army.  Stress is a common source of weight gain.  Over eating is a common tactic to distract from the pain/stress/anxiety that I’m feeling.

The Weight Solution(s)

I wish I had an easy solution.  The two things most people mention when they talk about losing weight is diet and exercise.   Exercise is possible, but almost  always comes with an increase in pain level.   When just walking to the mailbox is sometimes crippling, how do I set an exercise routine or schedule?

And diet?  I could change what I eat, but in moments of mental distress I know that I’ll cheat.   Getting rid of the negative thoughts or emotions will probably always take precedence over the calorie count.  I know it sounds stupid (even to me) but eating is a distraction from life’s problems.

The Weight Resolutions

So… what do I do?  If I can’t commit to exercising regularly due to back pain and headaches, and can’t commit to “dieting” due to moments of mental distress, what options are left to me? 

Just letting myself continue to balloon doesn’t seem like a good option.   I’ve made new commitments to getting myself the treatment I need for mental wellness, wouldn’t it be a shame to expose myself to a whole host of new physical ones?

So at this point all I’ve been able to make a resolution about is to get healthier by losing weight.  The method of doing that is still open for discussion.  As always, encouragement and ideas are welcome.   Also feel free to share this if you think you know someone who could offer good advice.

For comedic relief,

This is what I feel like each Sunday getting dressed for church!

Angels Among Us

I believe in angels, both the seen and unseen.  The immortal ones, and the average, everyday, human kind of angel.

I was at a church event this week (New Beginnings) with my daughter, Caitlin.  It was kind of a recognition ceremony that doubled to encourage the girls to live by the values they profess.

When talking of doing “good works” one of the presenters there shared the story of the High School valedictorian who gave a speech where he told the story of how he had cleaned out his locker and was planning on committing suicide that weekend… only someone noticed him as he was on his way home and they spent the weekend (and high school years) together.   (Here’s a link to the story of Kyle).

Well it got me to remembering the Angel that saved my life, Ryan Neilsen, while I was at Fort Huachuca.   I had a hard time at Fort Huachuca do to the unfortunate presence of just a couple of soldiers there who found particular delight in my misery, but it was the presence there of Nielsen that helped me survive the place.

I had filed several informal charges* against one particular guy who was the main problem.   Despite this though the cadre provided no relief and he didn’t restrain himself at all, in fact he was encouraged by the lack of action by the NCO’s.  So things got worse for me.  Thankfully there was  a friend in the unit who was a strength at a time I was weak.

After one particularly bad week of harassment and abuse I had decided to just give up.   I was done.  I couldn’t handle the stress of the current situation and had started to believe it would never get better.  I had broken down and was sobbing and slightly hysterical.   I stumbled over to the Chaplain’s office to try to reach out for help from him, but it was locked and he was gone.

I probably spent 10 minutes just sitting outside the locked doors sobbing and thinking of ways to make the pain/suffering stop.  After a while I was able to stop shaking enough to pull my phone from my pocket and called Nielsen**.   I don’t know that he could understand a thing I said and I tried to talk to him.   He knew I was in bad shape though and asked where I was.   Thankfully he was nearby, close enough that in just a few moments I saw him sprinting his way toward me.

It was a sight I’m sure I’ll never forget, seeing him running toward me to save me from the darkness I was enveloped in.   He talked to me, calmed me, and helped me find additional care.   He was an angel of comfort doing the Lord’s work.  Because of that day, and others like it, Ryan quite literally saved my life.   My family was the reason I chose to kept living, but Nielsen was the one who help me make that choice.

That man has my undying gratitude and will forever, eternally, have my respect and love.  I don’t know if he even remember this incident, but I hope that he knows that if he ever needs me, I will likewise come running to his aid.

In a world full of ugliness, terrorists, hatred, and pain, it is easy to believe that those things are the only things to find in the world.  But you can find some way to be an angel.  Find some way to encourage those around you.  Try to SEE those around you who are hurting, are afraid, are alone, or are ready to give up.  It might only take a moment of kindness to save a life.   It only took a moment to save Kyle’s, and it only took a moment to save mine.


* I did end up filing formal charges.

** I could have called Julie, but she seemed too far away.  Plus I wanted to shield her from the pain I was feeling.

A Rough Week

It’s been a rough week.

Lots of tears and heartache.  Lots of depression.  Nightmares were running rampant and veering into the violent (as previously explained).  It included more than one emotional breakdown, an emergency meeting with my VA mental health therapist, several follow up visits, and a review of my crisis management  plan (don’t worry Mom, I’m fine!).

Julie of course is an angel.  While I am navigating a  turbulent ocean, being violently tossed to and fro, she is the lighthouse that casts out the light of Christ leading me to a safe harbor.

It doesn’t help that she hurts from my pain.   My sole objective has always been to keep her from hurt and pain, and so for years I’ve told her “I’m fine” when I really wasn’t.   I didn’t want her to feel my pain, or to think that she in any way caused it, so I tried to hide it for years.  Now that I’m becoming more ready to face it and deal with it, it still hurts me to see the pain she feels on my behalf.   I still want to shield her from that, but I know that it only leads to more heartache in the long run.

So we’re dealing with it.  We’ve had lots of heart-to-hearts.  And lots of tears.  Telling her the truth after all this time about events at Huachuca or about my real mental state is hard.  But I’m not shying away from it.  It is too important to me to get better in the long-run so that I can stop causing all this heartache all together.

But today is a good day.  After all the mental readjustments to life, we are finding a new normal, a new comfortable, and finding happiness in the spaces in between.  And we are working together to face the difficult roads ahead.   We both anticipate more down days with plenty of tears, but we’re hopeful that in the end we’ll be stronger and happier.   We’re hopeful that in time the good days will outnumber the bad.

Hope you all are doing well.   As always, encouragement is welcome!!


Life Choices

Came across this quote today about the way we live our lives and absolutely loved it…

” “I’ve always wanted to sail to the south seas, but I can’t afford it.” What these men can’t afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of “security.” And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine – and before we know it our lives are gone.

What does a man need – really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in – and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That’s all – in the material sense, and we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade.

The years thunder by. The dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed.

Where, then, lies the answer?

In choice. Which shall it be – bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?””


Bankruptcy of purse has never scared me, but bankruptcy of life?  That is terrifying!