February 28, 2015


My dad, me, and barely one month old Baby Noah!
In my absence, I've wanted to report on one topic more than any other: my dad. No one loves me like my dad, and I've always been very driven by wanting to make him proud of me. He was my biggest cheerleader the first time I lost the weight, and he still is now, as I work my way up another mountainous challenge.

You don't need to be a long-time reader to know that my father's health has been a cause of great concern over the last few years. After a heart attack nearly ten years ago, he has struggled with heart disease, diabetes (and, later, neuropathy), and kidney failure. For a very long time, he didn't take proper care of himself, and the situation grew increasingly worse. He takes a lot of medications and goes to dialysis three times a week. I've written extensively about how it has affected me emotionally, as well as how it has motivated me to want to be healthier.

About nine months ago, just a few days after giving birth to my adorable baby niece, my sister and her husband bought a house. They had been looking for one for a while, with a long list of needs: it had to be affordable, of course, but they also needed to live close to where my brother-in-law works. And it needed to have enough bedrooms for them, their new baby, and for our father.

My dad was living with his sister, which is an incredibly touchy subject in our family to begin with, even without addressing the concerns of his health (long story short, she just really, really is not a nice person). With all of his health issues, he needs to be on an incredibly regimented diet - there are three separate lists of restrictions for his heart, his kidneys, and the diabetes. And his sister just didn't care, and would make things like spaghetti or lasagna, which are supremely bad for all three lists.

He was in and out of the hospital all the time. In April/May, he got sick - really sick - and after a long hospital stay, he had to go live in a rehab facility for a while. We would video-chat with him all the time, and he sounded very upset, very frustrated, and very lonely.

My dad had mobility issues, and needed a motorized scooter to get in, out, and around the house. So after my sister and her husband closed on the house, they were able to move in, but my dad had to wait until a ramp was built for his scooter. Once that was built, though, he was in there, and under my sister's rule.

My sister Lisa is an incredible woman. We have always had our differences, and still do, but I think in the last few years, as we've matured and grown into our adult lives, we've grown closer. Something I've always admired about her is how she doesn't put up with anything - me, I stay quiet, then I run away. But if she doesn't like something, she vocalizes it. If something bothers her, she does something about it. And she absolutely didn't like the way my dad wasn't taking care of himself, so as soon as he was in her house and under her care, she started to crack the whip, so to speak.

Lisa made sure he took his medicine regularly, and she monitored his food very closely. Other than rare exceptions, anything that wasn't on one of the three lists wasn't allowed. He jokingly referred to her as The Warden, knowing that as tough as it was, it was for his own good. He did as many of the exercises that he learned at the rehab facility while he was at dialysis - toe touches, leg raises.

And wouldn't you know, he started to get better.

After a little while, the doctors reduced his insulin from 50 cc twice a day to 25 cc twice a day. Now they've reduced it to 15 cc, and it's entirely possible that someday soon, he won't need insulin at all.

And on top of being able to stand more and longer, he's lost over 70 pounds.

Unbelievable, right?! I'm so amazingly proud, not to mention completely inspired by all the progress he's been making.


Erin said...

What an inspiration! And you too, Mary. One day I hope to be able to speak as candidly about my feelings and my relationship with food as you have done on your blog. Thank you for sharing with us!

Amy said...

This is amazing!!! I'm so happy that your dad has made such a turn around. He looks amazing! I can imagine that it is such a huge inspiration!

Kendra said...

Oh that is awesome!! I know you've talked a lot about how worried you've been about him in the past. I'm so glad he's been able to make these changes. And that your sister was willing to be the Warden. :)

Frickin' Fabulous at 40 said...

So glad your dad is getting the care he needs to regain his health and well-being. He wants to be around for those grandkids! Use his determination and success as a catalyst for you to start caring for yourself so you'll be healthy for Noah and *his* kids 30 years from now!

Debby said...

How awesome! I'm glad after your last post, that there are such positive things going on in your life!

Losing The Rolls said...

Wow, this is incredible. Can I move in with your sister too? Glad to hear your dad is doing much better now.