I turned 50 in October and I have a cousin who is about 18 months older than me. The last time I saw her was at her father's funeral. She was probably north of 400 pounds and was wheelchair bound. The last time I saw her before that was in intensive care after she had come out of a diabetic coma with her blood sugar at unreadable levels. She has been a diabetic for a very long time. Despite being quite intelligent and having a Master's degree in education, she hasn't worked in over 20 years because she is unable to move. Now, her kidneys have failed and she is on dialysis.
Our health really is all about the choices we make. I can't for a second type this and say that I have always made good choices. I smoked for 30 years and I was overweight for most of those years. Fortunately, I had my "oh shit" moment when I had to buy a pair of pants with a 42 inch waist. That was enough to get me to start living a healthier lifestyle. Unfortunately for my cousin, it appears that she will never have an "oh shit" moment and I seriously doubt she'll see 60.
That's remarkable as my father's family comes from seriously hardy stock. My paternal grandfather was an alcoholic coal miner with black lung who chain smoked and managed to live into his early 70's. My father's brother (my cousin's father who died last year), was overweight, chain smoked, had undergone three heart bypass procedures, and he managed to make it into his early 70's as well. My father has taken good care of himself. He is not overweight, he eats a healthy diet, and he stays active. He and my mother took care of my 7 year old until she started school and they are caring for my 3 year old. My father just turned 82. He's not as quick or as strong as I remember but he still shovels his driveway and he still cuts his grass.
It is frustrating to watch her kill herself but I take solace in the reality that my father has provided the example of how I can be when I'm over 80. Interestingly enough, I told my wife earlier today as I was heading out to buy my father a birthday present that I want to be like my father and be really difficult to shop for because I already have everything I need and most things I want.
Short term goal: 2:59:59 (November, 2013)
Mid term goal: Any race over 80% of top AG standard
Long term goal: To say I've been a runner half my life. (I started running at age 45).
Sorry to hear about your cousin I really hope she will "wake up" soon and start to make some healthy lifestyle choices before it is too late. Must be hard and frustrating to watch.
5K (6 total) PR: 28:16 (5/5/13) 10K (2 total) PR: 1:05:02 (5/19/13) 4M (2 total) PR:44:46 (4/7/13) [yet to "race" one of these all-out] HM TBD 10/12/13
Capitol Hill Classic 10K 5/19/13
Baltimore 10 Miler 6/15/13
NY Giants Run of Champions 5K 6/23/13
Goal Race of 2013:
Baltimore Half Marathon 10/12/13
I know what you're going through my friend. Watching family/loved ones slowly kill themselves is often times a mix of heartbreak and frustration. My mother was 350lbs. She lost the weight, but it was too late, her body is shot.
I feel for ya brother, I really do.
We can let the circumstances of our lives harden us so that we become increasingly resentful and afraid, or we can let them soften us, and make us kinder.We always have the choice.
Sorry to hear about your cousin. Some people never get it or change. Some change too late. My husband had asked for a gym membership for his birthday two weeks before he passed, and he used it. My mom smoked and drank up until her diagnosis, never ate and was 7loo pounds for years. On the other hand you never know. My brother in law was the perfect work out king. His dad still alive, mom took terrible care if herself and Was in her late 60s. He died at 44 from bad arteries. Point is you never know. Just enjoy each day.
Sorry to read that, LTH.
Length of life is partially out of our hands, but quality of life much less so. Hoping that your cousin decides to make the most of what she still has.
Thank you for sharing this story with us, it is so emblematic of our society. I dont want to trump your story but my father who smoked into his 40's was told some 40 years ago he would die. He then started to run, barely finishing 1 block his first week. Just last weekend he finished 3rd in the 4 mile Ringling Bridge Run in Sarasota at 85. He made an obvious choice to get healthy (as you did), and is an icon to me. So my prayers to out not to your sister but to you, as it is your choices that we need to hold in high esteem and show the young that there are consequences to all that we chose to do.
It's unfortunate to hear stories like this. But you are so right, it's all about the choices we make in life that affect everything about us. And sadly, far too many people make bad choices throughout their lfe.
Take Charge. Train Harder. Suck Less. No Excuses.
Sorry to hear about your cousin, LTH. It is truly about the choices we make but it is still sad when one sees them wasting their life away or suffering.
DamarisMarathon Maniac, Ultra Runner
PRs: 24:57 (5K); 51:25 (10K); 42:46 (5 Miles); 2:04:31 (HM); 4:34:09 (Marathon); 8:00 (Trail 50K)
Next: San Francisco Marathon * Chicago Marathon * MCM * Ft. Myers Beach Marathon * Philadelphia Marathon * Space Coast Marathon * WPB Marathon
Damaris Runs with Asthma
Brad, I'm sorry to hear this.
That is tough. It's so easy to lose hope when you have so much weight to lose that it can seem impossible. I hope that she is able to salvage at least some quality of life with the time that she has.
Started C25K Feb. 2012! First 5K 5/1/12 32:00
Current PRs: 5K: 26:03 12/15/12 10K: 58:32 9/23/12
10M: 1:26:15 3/16/13 HM:1:56:00 4/14/13
Oy, Brad. I'm sorry to hear about your cousin.
Races So Far
Cambridge CityRun 5-Miler 04/01/12 - 50:57.9
Newton 10K 06/10/12 - 1:06:14
Mass Ave Mile 07/22/12 - 8:08.1
Lynne's Kids 5K 11/22/12 - 25:22
Jerusalem Marathon 03/01/13 - 4:53:34
Cambridge CityRun 5-Miler 04/07/13 - 42:21
Boston's Run to Remember Half-Marathon 05/26/13
Newton 10K 06/02/13
B.A.A. 10K 06/23/13
Firecracker 4-Mile 07/04/13
Baystate Marathon 10/20/13
Bill's Pizzeria 5K 10/27/13
Fattman Chilly Cup Half-Marathon 11/10/13
Jerusalem Marathon 03/21/14
Barking Mad To Run
So sorry to hear about your cousin. Yeah, I watched my mom do the same thing, she was always obese, smoked her whole life, never ate very healthy...and yet, she lived until she was nearly 80, go figure. But..she did not have a very good quality of life IMHO, she was ill quite a lot and in the hospital numerous times over the span of her life. Her lifestyle was one of my motivating factors on deciding not to live like that, and to try and stay as active as I can, and I've been physically active for the majority of my life. Now if only my mental side would catch up!
It is sad to see family members doing this to themselves but there's not a lot you can do about it if they're not motivated themselves to make a change. I'm glad you 'saw the light', buddy!
"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." Theodore Roosevelt
So sorry to read this, you are correct it's all about the choices we make.
Smaller By The Day
LTH, that entire OP explains a lot. We're in similar boats. You can only do so much to help those around you. Hopefully, you can find a way to reach your cousin. I know you're frustrated, but try to find a way to find that common ground. My own family tree is riddled with diabetes, heart disease, stroke, etc. People don't get it. I reached 315 pounds because a wrestling coach said he needed me at heavyweight. I have had time to rebound, and regret nothing. I'm watching my brother slip into lethargy as he ages, and I transition into the next stage of life. My entire family consists of wrestlers, boxers and fighters. I feel like the first to figure out that you can't stop once the bell rings or the horn sounds. I feel bad for your cousin, but worse for you. You get it, but helplessly can't translate it to those you care about. My prayers are with you and your family.
Blueberry Stomp 5K (9/12) - 31:02
Feel The Learn 5K (10/12) - 26:58
Indianapolis Monumental HM (11/12) - 2:03:56
Run For The Heart 5K (12/12) - 25:48:48
Valpo Valentine's Day 5K (2/13) - 24:45:08
Chi Town HM (3/24/13) - 01:54:07.2
Dart For The Arts 10K (4/13/13) - 48:59
Indianapolis Monumental Marathon (11/02/13) -
It's very sad that someone just past 50 is already on the downhill slide. But it doesn't sound like she'll ever have her 'oh shit' moment, if this is the way she's lived for years. I know of woman who recently died, after many years of diabetes and I don't know what else. She ended up in a nursing home, on oxygen, unable to walk. The doctor tried several years ago to just get her to walk the length of her house a few times day, but that was too much trouble. She was in her late 60's.
Those of us with positive role models can be thankful. In the end, we can only change ourselves, and feel sorry for those who can't.
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