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History

All my childhood I’ve fought with chronic respiratory ailments, Bronchitis, Pneumonia, you name it and I’ve probably had it. Throughout my teens and early twenties the problems sort of subsided and I figured I’d just outgrown it. Then suddenly my late twenties / early thirties happened and it all went downhill. Enter 2004 and after five bouts of pneumonia since 1999 it was decided by my doctors I clearly had an immune system problem. Further they decided I had Rheumatoid Arthritis (not the kind of arthritis you get from old age but the kind that attacks your joints and immune system). The diagnosis made a lot of sense to me and so I went ahead on with the treatments (which can be horrid) and for a while felt better. It wasn’t too long though that the roughly yearly battles with pneumonia hit me again (hard) and even when I felt better I was fatigued constantly. A couple of years went by and I had pretty much decided to just live with the various problems I had and go about my business. Suddenly there was 2011.

In 2011 I was sidelined for nearly 5 months (no work, no play, pretty much nothing but horrible daytime TV and home shopping channels) with a horrid pneumonia. I have almost no recollection of most of that time but apparently I wrote some pretty decent code and articles along with helping someone with some obscure technology problems. After losing 5 months of my life and really not recovering much I decided to actually take some control, find a new doctor to help and really get myself healthy, this was pre-new year’s resolution. It took me into the new year to find a doctor I liked and really get to a point where I could convince myself that I could actually deal with getting healthy. Under the covers my depression/obsession over my health had deepened to a point where I just didn’t want to do anything anymore because I feared catching a cold or somehow getting sicker. It was a real pain.

After discussing things with my new doctor (and my wife) I went to visit an immunologist and honestly, I had no hope because I had seen others before and all said I had RA so of course I was immunocompromised and there was nothing they could do. Enter this guy who kinda looks like Sigmund Freud who did a whole battery of tests and figured out exactly what was wrong with me. Turns out I don’t have RA at all but rather a severe deficiency in both types of immune system. He claimed he could boost one type (known bad things) which would help a lot but nothing could be done for the other type (unknown bad things). This was oddly encouraging because it didn’t seem utterly hopeless. Basically I won’t die I just might get sicker more/easier than most people. I could handle that.

Now my second big problem was my blood sugar as diabetes runs heavy in my family and well, I’ve always been a big guy. That’s not entirely accurate, I was a skinny kid, average teenager (maybe a bit bigger than average) and a large adult. I was never one that ate four or five Big Macs or eat candy all night. For sure I had some bad habits (more posts to come on those later) but by and large I ate okay (or so I thought) and just figured big people ran in my family and what was the harm, I was just a big guy, right?  The new doctor decided a diet was in order (and believe me I have never been a dieter) called a Protein Sparing Modified Fast. A 900 calorie a day diet consisting of protein and some green vegetables. It sounded horrible and I knew I would fail.

I decided to really throw myself into it and see what would come of it. I started cooking all of my own meals (always loved to cook just seldom “found” the time) and have documented some of my modified recipes and originals on twitter and Facebook and pretty soon this blog. I’ve tried to embrace the better eating and the things I’m learning about food (not as simple as most think it is) and really alter my lifestyle. Gone are the all pizza lunches (any pizza actually), gone are the all carb-fest dinners and I no longer skip breakfast. I’m not a “small step at a time” sort of person so these basic changes were done all at once. I went from drinking six or seven Diet Cokes a day to about a gallon of water a day, this was more gradual to get up to the gallon but ceasing the Coke was immediate. After about a week of the water I could no longer stand the taste of the Diet Coke, it literally burned my throat. This was the first “foodie” lesson I learned….when one of the ingredients is “acid” they mean “acid.”

I’ve modified the diet a little bit (now two and 1/2 months on) mainly adding a bit more spinach and tomatoes to the diet and I have to say I think I’m doing really well (according to them and my clothes). My blood sugar has immediately snapped from around 220 to a statistically flat 85/90 and even though I figured the weight loss would not come, it has. I’m down 55 pounds and counting and I only have about 50 more to go. Believe me it only sounds “easy” and as I’m writing this I’m thinking “it really wasn’t this easy” but it really wasn’t gut wrenching or horrible once I started internalizing the lessons I was learning as I went. Lessons I will try to lay out in this blog for both posterity and in the hopes it helps someone else out going through the same things.

 

Oh yeah, I totally miss pizza….

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