Saturday, October 11, 2014

My First Post - How a Hockey Game Broke Me To My Core

Have you ever felt so humiliated that you just wanted to crawl into a corner and cry? Now try doing that and still having to keep on a brave face because it’s your birthday and everyone is there for you. This exact thing happened to me several years ago.

               My mother-in-law knew I was a huge hockey fan and arranged for my entire family to go to a Dayton Bombers minor league hockey game. For those that know me, I love hockey and have enjoyed watching it for years though I admit I don’t get to see games as often as I would like. I was so excited to be spending my birthday having a huge grill out with family and friends. The hockey game was just the icing on the cake. I couldn’t wait to get there. Little did I know then, it would be a night that would be etched in my mind as one of the worst nights of my life.

               We had a fun car ride to the arena in Dayton, poking fun at each other as we always do. Once we got inside is when everything changed. I went to sit in my seat and my backside stopped several inches from the seat with something sharp jabbing into each cheek. I stood up and tried again think that maybe I just sat down funny. The same thing happened. It was not a gentle brushing of the side of by butt, but full on in the square middle of each of my butt cheeks. In frustration I felt around and realized that the things poking into either cheek were the handles of my seat. It was then to my horror that I realized I was not fitting in this seat at all tonight. In the past I used to be able to cram myself into a theater or car seat in such a way that I probably looked as though I was overflowing and the seat would break at the slightest nudge. Tonight however, this seat wasn’t taking any chances on me. It was a flat out no.

               Not entirely sure what to do and still in shock over what was transpiring I excused myself and walked to the top of the area stairs. From there I venture into the concourse and outside where I began to cry uncontrollably. How had I let things get this bad? What had I done to deserve this humiliation? “It’s the arenas fault!” I clearly remember thinking. “They must have it out for fat people!”

               After a few minutes of grief, I knew I would be missed so I choked up a crooked smile that seemed to desperately say, “I’m happy and don’t ask if you think differently,” and I went to stand at the top of the stairs to watch the game. It was at this point that my beautiful wife came over to ask me what was wrong. I explained to her what had happened and that I did not want to make a big deal out of it. She very quickly pointed out that her mother had paid good money for the tickets and we should try to find a way to get a seat. “No, I’m fine,” I snapped at her, quickly regretting my tone, but I was too upset at that point to say anything.

               As if right on queue my mother-in-law arrived to try and figure out why we hadn’t been sitting with the group. My wife tried to explain to her what was going on and that it wasn’t a big deal. We were fine standing at the top of the arena.  My mother-in-law got very pissed off right away and started on a rant I can’t completely remember. I know it was a legit rant, but for the life of me I only remember bits and pieces. There was a small part about paying good money for a seat peppered with a little bit about spending my birthday sitting with family. The last thing I remember before she stormed off on a mission was her saying that she was going to fix this. “How can she fix me being fat,” I absently thought as I was still in a bit of an emotional daze from everything. The only thing I remember until she came back was my wife crying into my shoulder. I think she was embarrassed for me as well.

               When my mother-in-law returned she had brought the arena manager with her. She had brilliantly arranged for us to use an empty skybox at the arena for the remainder of the game! I couldn’t believe it.

               Though this story has a happy ending do you think I remember the fun time I had with friends and family that night? I should be looking back now remembering all the laughs, food, and beer. Instead what I remember most about that night was sitting alone outside the arena on my birthday and crying because I couldn’t fit in the seat. The sadder part of this story is that was over four years ago and it would be another three years before I finally did anything about the root cause of my grief; my weight. Looking back now I still don’t understand how that wasn't the defining moment for me. Instead of waking up the next morning and hitting the gym, I hit a box of donuts because, hell, it was my birthday.

               Have you ever looked back on a time in your life when you just want to go back a slap yourself in the back of the head for being an idiot? Even typing this is making me angry; angry at myself for being so blind, and ignorant, and caught up in my own self-loathing and pity to do anything about it. Well I am here to tell you right now that on November 4, 2013, I did something about it. I had a gastric bypass surgery. I can clearly remember as I was coming off of anesthesia the doctor looking at me and saying, “Welcome to the rest of your life.” That is what this blog is. It is the story of my life.

               In this blog will be stories on how I got to where I was over 512lbs. There will be stories about my surgery. There will be information on the surgeries that I have learned from hundreds of hours of research. There will also be recipes, tips, and tricks to help anyone lose weight and keep it off regardless of if you do surgery or not. I want this blog to be a motivation and an inspiration to those needing something to be happy about. I want my readers to learn from me so they do not have to put themselves through what I had to go through to realize my life was worth it and was truly amazing.

               I have said many times now looking back. I feel as though I was in a bad dream and am just now waking up. I urge you to follow me on my blog and Facebook page. I hope to keep you updated on the remainder of my journey. As of this writing I am down 210 lbs. in less than a year and I have some pretty amazing things planned. I want to run my first 5K and 10K in the next 6 months. I want to run my first half marathon at the Flying Pig this next year,  I want to run my first full marathon at the Walt Disney World Marathon in 2016, to finish my first Olympic triathlon at the Cincinnati Triathlon next year, to finish my first half Ironman race in 2016, and my first full Ironman race in 2017. I also want to document a trip bikepacking the Colorado Trail in Denver. It is a 585 mile mountain bike trail that I want to ride before the end of 2017.

The reason I want to do these things is to prove to myself that my body is amazing and is capable of so much more than I ever thought possible. I spent so much time neglecting my body that I now want to see what it is truly capable of. I also want to do this to prove that anyone out there can take back their lives, it just takes a choice. I am no one special. I am just some regular guy that made the choice to get healthy and if I can do it, then anyone can. I want to motivate others to greatness. I hope you join me on my journey.