Earliest memories

As a child I was in awe of my father. He was always working. If the sun was up he was working. My earliest memories were when he was awake very early in the morning before he was going to work he would eat toast every morning. I remember smelling the toast in the toaster. It would always wake me up. My father would work Monday through Friday, typically an eight hour a day. On the weekends he’d wake early and wake my siblings so we could help with the weekend chores. He’d make breakfast, usually his famous pancakes. Wow, those pancakes to this date are still my favorite of all time!

My dad in his early years was a weightlifter. His personal best in the bench press was 490! His goal was to hit 500 but that goal just fell short. I remember his biceps being large. Not huge, but large for his size.

My dads stature was why he was able to lift such large amounts of weight. He was a shorter man and his work ethic was amazing!

My father is still living. He’s 82 years young. He continues to work out three days a week. Up until he was around 75 he would work out up to six days a week.

When he stopped lifting weights he always ate well. Home cooked meals always kept him fit. He gained some of his weight but he was never obese.

When we were in high school he would always remind us that if you stopped lifting weights you wouldn’t necessarily get fat because muscle would always remain muscle, and fat was fat. If you continued eating the way you did when you were working out to gain muscle, that could cause you to gain weight.

This happened to me over my Navy career. Once I rose in rank the less hands on I was with my division. I’d walk around to check on their work but actually working wasn’t happening anymore and this showed in my weight gain.

Casualties were few and far between also. I was no longer on the fire parties. I was over all in charge at a scene as a Fire Marshall. I’d run to the scene but it wasn’t as vital to be the first on the scene.

To be completely honest I was at my laziest as I’d ever been in my life. I weighed easily over 200 pounds!

Pills pouring from a medication bottle

Pills pouring from a medication bottle

One morning after being underway I was waking up from being sick. I had a huge coughing episode and I felt something in my rib area and back. It was extreme pain. I had to have a friend take me to medical. I was diagnosed with a strained back. This was in late 2003. Once I got over being sick my back pain remained and continually got worse.

Over the next year I was misdiagnosed numerous times. I was in complete misery. I was placed on light duty, muscle relaxers and pain killers. Nothing was working. I was told to perform therapy but couldn’t do this without collapsing in pain.

Next week: This is what’s wrong with you.

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