about the universe forum commander Shop Now Commanders Circle
Product List FAQs home Links Contact Us

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Steve Cole reports on his health, and health in general.
Over the last few months I have undergone a serious change (for the good) in my medical situation, and it just got a lot better in the last two months. Let me tell you the story and maybe it will encourage others.
About a dozen years ago, a dear friend of mine died, and my wife decided that I needed to see a doctor regularly (instead of once a decade). This was the doctor who retired recently. He discovered all of my health issues, gave me some pills, and they quickly came under control, but weight loss just did not happen. This was partly because the medication I was taking was notoriously resistant to losing weight, and partly because I was busy and didn't take time to exercise. Two years ago in February I broke my leg and a year later I had reached a point where my (severely limited) ability to walk was as good as it was going to get. This sent me into a serious depression as I knew there would be no more vacations as I couldn't walk well enough to see or do anything. I had resolved myself to the idea that the inevitable was only a few years away.
Late last year my doctor of many years retired and I was lucky enough to have Leanna's doctor take over my care. As I am diabetic, grossly overweight, have high blood pressure and a weak heart, there is a certain amount of care to be taken. To hear the new doctor tell it, the retired doctor should have been doing a lot more. I was skeptical at first (being suspicious of doctors who are always looking for something else to bill your insurance for) but she quickly convinced me.
I have been seriously overweight for a very long time. At one point nearly 20 years ago (when I weighed a lot less and was still seriously overweight) Steve Petrick and I took to walking a mile every day, and the weight steadily dropped away. Then a business crisis messed up everything and all the weight came back as I used food to deal with stress. I stopped walking at work more. A few years later, we started walking a mile a day again, but the weight stayed the same due to the medication and the broken leg two years ago brought that to a stop.
The new doctor quickly changed my treatment to another medication which would allow me to lose weight if I gave it some serious effort. (Moral of that story, if you have taken the same medication for a decade and it has caused problems, just maybe some drug company invented something new and maybe your doctor could find out about it.) I started to feel a lot better (she found a vitamin deficiency which she fixed and that helped, but finishing ACTASF-1.2 and "Day of the Dragon" helped even more) and with the encouragement of the doctor (as well as Leanna and Jean) I began to walk more.
A lot more. Wolf is always ready to accompany me. I was walking a quarter mile three or four times a week at the first of this year, but that quickly went to seven times a week and then each walk (Wolf and I visit a variety of parks in rotation) began to stretch longer and longer. I checked a map and was able to find interesting routes and paths to explore. The daily walk (excepting bad weather) usually stretched to half a mile, and some of them to a mile, then the Saturday walk reached a mile and a half (with a plan to extend it half a mile every month).
Wolf was adamantly opposed to any idea of skipping a walk now and then (I could always find an excuse), and I found that I wasn't really losing any work since the walks cleared my head, removed my stress, and gave me a chance to think through some game design and business issues. (Moral of that story: everybody needs to exercise, walking is one of the best exercises around, and God invented dogs just for this purpose.) The fresh air and sunshine helped, too.
Suddenly I was walking four or more miles a week and honestly thinking that maybe I could walk a 10K course a year from now. (I need a goal.) I was shocked to step on the scale for the first time in two months and discover 10 missing pounds. This unexpected weight loss, and the positive reinforcement from friends and family (and the doctor) elevated my mood. I even noticed that I was walking confidently instead of carefully placing each step of my damaged left leg (in constant fear of falling down). My left leg is now much stronger and I don't even notice that the bones don't work the way the original design envisioned. Leanna and Jean have noticed that even after walking a mile and a half, I go back to work instead of taking a nap on the sofa (which I did only a year ago after walking a quarter mile).
Suddenly, my future is not a steady decline into that good night, but a reasonable expectation that it will get a lot better and fairly soon. Just doing what I'm doing, in two years I can get down to what would be considered a normal weight for a man my age. That could mean that instead of doing less and less each year, I could do more and more. Losing a hundred pounds will (perhaps) end my diabetes and high blood pressure. (The old doctor said I was: "a type-3 diabetic, just too darn fat." The new doctor admits there is some truth to this unscientific diagnosis.) Medical science supports the theory that serious weight loss by a fat person will reduce or eliminate blood sugar issues. Losing the weight will mean fewer pills, more energy, vacations I had long abandoned any hope of enjoying (Hawaii in 2016, I need a goal), and living to the age at which my parents died (at least 15 years from now, 30 years in the case of my grandfather). That's enough time to find something important to accomplish, and far too long to sit in front of a television and wait for the inevitable. Everyone around me is delighted by the new (and far more productive) attitude. If you'll excuse me now, I need to go take a walk and figure out how to handle those fighter factors in F&E.