“I AM NOT going to be a widow THIS early in life! Do you hear me?” With those words from my wife in the early morning hours one day last year I had hit my wall. Rock bottom. Nearly 300 pounds and I could not breathe. How did I get here? Let me recap the story leading up to my wife’s well placed comment.
We had went to bed that night like every other night. A quick snack and brushing of the teeth and off to bed for me and my wife of 24 years. I had been heavy pretty much all of my adult life and now tipping the scale just a few pounds shy of 300 (for a man only 66 inches tall!) I knew I needed to lose weight but I’d deal with it tomorrow…Like I had promised her for years.
I don’t remember the time exactly, only that it was dark and early morning. I had risen because I could not breathe and my body had gotten me up to alert me to this critical action necessary for life. I’m certain I had sleep apnea for years but blew it off. My body had gotten me up several times over the years when I could not breathe and my snoring was legendary to my wife and children.
This time it felt different. For some reason I couldn’t breathe and I felt a bit light headed. I struggled to get up and because I was dizzy fell to the floor. Still, I could not take a breath. Why? I got up, nudged my wife and tried to speak. Nothing. Now, fear set in. What was happening? I had never experienced this before. I was 44, in reasonably good health (other than being morbidly obese), and happy. There was nothing to indicate to me I was in danger of dying. Of course, my doctors had warned me a year earlier that I was nearing type 2 diabetic standards and that my blood chemistry was changing because of my weight as I entered mid-life. “No bother” I thought..”I have plenty of time”. Looking into my wife’s eyes that night I realized my time was now up. Would I be able to tell her I loved her?
As my wife realized I was not able to talk, I saw tears well up in her eyes. She told me she loved me and to please speak to her. I could not. I looked compassionately on her face even as I began to lose consciousness (or at least, that is what it felt like). This was it I thought. I’m going to die. I wouldn’t see my kids again (they were sleeping), I needed to phone my father, and my wife was going to watch me die. What a loser I was! I saw our marriage flash before my sight. The memories, the birth of our children, my call into ministry, our move to Denver, everything. It’s amazing what our mind is capable of when we feel we are in our last moments of life.
As I fell to the floor it happened…God opened my lungs. You might say the fall jarred my system. I say God pushed me off the bed. Regardless of HOW it happened, I hit the floor a second time and I was able to take a breath. My wife’s shaky hands on my back with her gentle touch told me she was relieved. I was not prepared for her next move. She then came around the bed, knelt beside me as I regained normal breathing and uttered the words “I AM NOT going to be a widow THIS early in life! Do you hear me?” Tears began flowing down her face as I came face to face with the realization that 2011 would be different. I would take the weight off no matter what I had to do.
I never wanted to see her like that again…