The Beginning of a Friendship
Many years ago when I was in my early 20’s, I prayed that God would let me have a good “guy friend”. Just someone who I could talk to and get a guy’s perspective on things, such as men, dating, etc. Low and behold, God answered that prayer by introducing me to Larry.
Larry used to love to share the story of how we met. I had been attending this particular church for a while and had gotten involved in the singles group. We were very conscientious about making sure any new people that visited our singles group had people to sit with, so we always invited them to come sit with us. We took up several of the front row pews of the church, right within spitting distance (literally) from the pastor.
This particular day, I saw Larry standing by himself in the back of the church. I knew he had visited the singles group but no one had invited him to come sit with us yet. So, I took it upon myself to do so. He was very thankful as I introduced him to all of the others in the group. Larry later shared with me that he had gotten into a fight with some guys the night before, and therefore, on the day I met him, he was very self-conscious about the fact that his face was a bit torn up. Because of that, he said that he was getting ready to leave just as I came up to him.
That one moment changed the course of both of our lives.
I got my best guy friend and I like to think that he thought of me as his best female friend, although we never discussed it. We got to know each other very well. And when he started dating the girl who was to become his future wife, I got to know her as well.
The Weight Gain
When I first met Larry, he wasn’t skinny but he wasn’t huge either. He hovered around 250 lbs but as the years went by, he gradually began gaining more and more weight. Each bit of weight gain made it increasingly more and more difficult for him to do things physically. Now at 450 lbs., Larry was basically sedentary. He would go to work (at his desk job) and come home to sit and watch t.v. until time for bed. He went from a guy who loved to play tennis, to a grown man who had to have his wife put on his socks for him because he just couldn’t reach his feet. Larry was in pain daily, complaining of leg pain, back pain, feet pain. You name it…and Larry had pain there.
Missing the Mark
So, when Larry started complaining of having pain in his side, everyone, including the doctors, chalked it up to his weight.
“You need to lose weight.”
“Here’s an exercise program you can do.”
“You’d feel better if you just got some weight off of you.”
While all of those things are true, it wasn’t the case for my dear friend Larry. He was so big that no one noticed that he was growing a huge tumor inside him. One doctor even told him that it was a ulcer that was causing his pain. By the time he was diagnosed with cancer in the Spring of 2014, the tumor had grown to be 18 lbs! On a normal sized person, an 18 lb. tumor would be very noticable, but on a 450 lb. man, it just got overlooked. When the doctors did the surgery to remove this cancerous tumor, it was then that I knew my friend was dying.
While Larry was in the hospital, he kept asking me about my new puppy, Phoebe. I had only had her a couple of months, but he loved that dog! Larry kept teasing me and asking when was I going to bring Phoebe to visit him in the hospital. So, I discussed this with his favorite nurse who told me I could bring Phoebe in to see him. At this point, we didn’t know how much time Larry had left, so I was going to do whatever I could to make his last days on Earth happy.
So, I wrapped Phoebe up on my sweatshirt and snuck her onto the hospital elevator. The elevator thankfully was right across the hall from Larry’s hospital room. Once we arrived, I quickly unwrapped Phoebe and showed Larry who I had brought to visit him. Oh! How happy he was!!
It was just a few short months later when Larry passed away. The doctors were unable to get all of the tumor because it had grown around so many organs. So, it began to grow back. Larry passed away in his own home, surrounded by his friends and family. When the hospice nurse told us that it was getting close to the time when Larry would pass away, one of our long-time friends grabbed her guitar and began playing. We sat and cried and sang some of Larry’s favorite hymns until he passed.
Never Take Your Health for Granted
I often wonder if Larry hadn’t been so obese, would the doctor’s have been able to find the tumor earlier? Could he have survived if the tumor hadn’t had a chance to get so big?
We will never know, but I do know that I don’t want that to happen to me or to anyone else. Our health is something to NEVER take for granted. The World Cancer Research Fund estimates that about 20% of all cancers diagnosed in the US are related to body fatness, physical inactivity, excess alcohol consumption, and/or poor nutrition, and thus could also be prevented.
Did you hear that? 20% of cancers are related to how we take care of our bodies!! That’s a huge percentage that is absolutely preventable!!
In an effort to prevent as much disease as possible, one of my goals is to not only lose weight but to also be fit. You can be super skinny, and yet still not be fit. In this quest to become fit, I’ll be researching and learning and of course, I will share that with all of you.
I urge all of you to begin and/or continue your own quest for fitness. It’s not too late! You CAN do this! Melissa and I are here to help you in any way we can.
Comment below and share with us where you are in your own weight loss journey and if there is anything that we can pray for you about!
Love you guys!