I thought I would change the pace of things by opening up and telling you about my recent health struggles. It goes beyond the regular wear and tear and into the realm of not having to buy a casket for myself on the anniversary of my father’s death.
Part Zero: How did I get here
I might as well start this with how I got myself in such terrible shape. Well, it took about my whole life to get here. I’m from a country family, not quite dirt poor but not able to afford anything besides the necessities.
I had asthma as a child, so I could not get into rec ball or school sports. Most of my days were spent at home, doing farm chores or in front of a Nintendo. The “asthma shots” I had to take weekly kept me lean, but I gained a lot of weight fast when I reached 7th grade and outgrew my asthma.
Farm work kept me from going morbidly obese, even though I was over 300 pounds by graduation. I had some muscle mass, but it was not anything to write home about – mainly my legs from carrying my girth around town.
Then graduation came and went. I signed up for Valdosta Technical College’s Pharmacy Technology program and got a job mixing God-knows-what at the area hospitals. And I kept gaining weight, hitting 425 when I quit the “drug trade” and went into trucking in 2005.
The list of issues I’m dealing with – visible and hidden
One of the modus operandi at BTU is “Pack it, ship it.” So I’m just going to show the list of health issues I am dealing with a few months out of the truck:
- Morbid obesity
- Heart disease
- Edema of the legs (unknown cause, but getting weekly tests)
- Massive dental issues (broken teeth, gum disease, etc.)
- Sciatic nerve pinches from obesity
- Massive anxiety and self-doubt (literally in fear of being fired every moment of the day)
- And who know what else
Yes sir, over 15 years sitting on my butt in a truck not taking care of myself has finally caught up with me. Just this morning, I had an echocardiogram performed to try and see if I had heart valve issues that might be the cause of my legs swelling.
They’re big, but not to the point of weeping and ashy fungal growth. My left leg is the worst of the two, with a crease forming on top of my foot from when I flex my foot up and down as I walk.
The bad back and nerve pinches are something a workout plan will fix; I just need to drag my carcass down to the gym that I’m paying a membership to not use. But the mental issues recently flared up.
Some of it I won’t dare talk about, but I had a bad time in seventh grade. I said and did things that should have landed me in juvenile hall. But I found some form of forgiveness when I apologized to my Dad about it on his deathbed almost a year ago.
Now the self-defeating nature I have has flared up again. I’m scared of going all-out in an article because I might offend someone that will “get me fired with a phone call.” I cut loose a small bit last week and the article had over 1,000 views in an hour – on LinkedIn of all platforms.
I talk about it with Dooner some times, as it parallels struggles he’s faced and talked about at TED Talks. The fear of failure is what’s in my bottle.
The number of times I wanted to die is beyond counting
And yeah, I have had suicidal thoughts. In my worst days on the road, I thought more times than I wanted to about just ram the truck into a bridge pillar and ending it all.
But I didn’t! I continued to slog through the days and finally might have a career I enjoy. But thoughts of losing everything are still with me. Even had a talk with Dooner today, scared of going hard on the U.S. Xpress article due to the family involved. But I made some modifications to the article and used more “hot sauce” to spice the title up.
Had to do that a few times recently. It’s hard looking over your own shoulder working from your own home.
So in closing, I’m going to document this journey of rebuilding myself. You’re welcome to support me or shame me. I can kick all your asses so I don’t care, lol.
I’ll write another article once I figure out what is causing my edema, or when they amputate my legs, whichever comes first.