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How my cats saved my testicles

Weight loss isn’t easy, and the older you get, the harder it gets. And it’s been tough for me to stay on the wagon, and stick with an exercise and diet plan. On the 27th, it will be two years since I quit smoking, and I’ve put on more than 50 pounds since then. I was already out of shape to begin with, weighing around 300 pounds. My highest weight was around May 1st of this year, when I weighed 357 on my home digital scale. I lost 17 pounds in May, getting down to 340, but I haven’t dropped a pound since. There are days that I have trouble believing I’ll ever drop another pound.

This past spring I had a real health scare. I had increasing testicular pain starting in late February. It got gradually worse, but I just thought I had pulled a muscle or something. Then one Sunday it became excruciating; I could barely move. Somehow I forced myself into my car and to the emergency room of the local hospital, where they performed an ultrasound test. The ER doc informed me that I had a varicocele, which is like a varicose vein in my scrotum, and would need surgery. I was given the name of a local urologist to consult with about surgery, and they gave me some pain pills. Well, the pain pills helped somewhat, and that Sunday seemed to have been some sort of terrible flareup, because the next week or so the pain decreased every day. It still hurt, a lot, and it was still very painful to walk, but it was bearable. I could function, as long as I didn’t have to walk very far. I finally got in to see the urologist a week later. He told me that the ER doc was wrong, and that I didn’t need surgery on my scrotum. That was certainly good news, and the fact that he’d been doing nothing but urology for 38 years made me think he knew a lot more about it than some harried ER resident. The urologist said I had an infection, and gave me some powerful antibiotics, Cipro something or other. All I know is that it’s the same one they gave all those people back in 2001 who might have been exposed to anthrax being sent through the mail.

I wasn’t crazy about taking that, but it beat scrotum surgery. Unfortunately, the Cipro regimen seemed to have no effect. I went back to the urologist a month later, and I told him that I was still in pain, although things were much better than they had been the day of my ER visit. He said my infection was gone, and there was really nothing more he could do. That was on April 20th, and boy was I disappointed to hear that. As I said, although the pain was no longer excruciating, it was still very unpleasant, and now the expert was telling me there was nothing more he could do.

Now, I forgot to mention something, which is that I had started taking fitness walks back in February, as part of my plan to lose 150 pounds. I would walk around my block for 5-10 minutes, rest for 5-10 minutes, and then repeat until I had about half an hour of walking in. I couldn’t walk more than 5 or 10 minutes as it caused a lot of back pain, due to my huge gut. Anyway, I had built up to 45 to 60 minutes a night when the testicular pain started. Obviously, that ended my fitness walking. I was hoping that the doc would fix whatever was causing the problem so I could get back out there and start walking again. But no such luck.

So I struggled on. I could get to work and back, but that was about it. No more walking, and it was very difficult to have any hope that I was ever going to feel better. They say you don’t really appreciate basic health until you lose it, and they’re right. I had never really been laid up for any extended period of time before, and I had always taken pain-free walking for granted. Now it was gone, and just getting to my job and back was pretty much all the walking I could manage, and it was starting to look like my situation was permanent. The fact that I love long walks (years ago I used to walk 2 hours a day) made it even worse. I didn’t have much hope that I would ever again be able to walk without terrible pain, but I swore that if I ever regained my health, I would never again take walking for granted, and that I would use walking to get the weight off.

Well, as I mentioned in the title, my kitties saved my testicles. And they did it even before I got them. I live alone, and had been wanting to get a couple of cats. I got more serious about it, and decided that I had better be ready so that if I found a couple, they could move right in. So I went to Walmart to get some kitty supplies. Cat box, cat litter, laser toy, food and water pans, cat food, etc. Now, we have a Walmart here in Beaumont, but there’s another one in Lumberton, which is another 15 minutes away, and for some reason I decided to go to that one. Well, after I was done with my shopping, and headed to the checkout line, suddenly my testicular pain became excruciating again. Once again, I could barely move, and I thought sure I was going to have to head back to the ER. But I forced myself to go through the line and finish my shopping.

I went straight home, and lay down on my bed, which was the only way to eliminate the pain entirely. After a couple of hours, I got up to see how I felt. The excruciating pain was gone; I was back to the very unpleasant but bearable level. At first, I thought no more about it, figuring the flareup was just one of those things. But later I began thinking about it again, and I realized there had to be some reason the pain flared up like that. It certainly wasn’t walking around Walmart; I buy groceries every week. Finally, it occurred to me that the only unusual factor was that I had spent a longer time in my truck than I had in a couple of months. My work is 15 minutes away, and Kroger and Books-A-Million and Barnes & Noble are really the only other places I was going to, and they were only about five minutes away. But it had taken me about 25 minutes to get to the Lumberton Walmart.

Could that have had something to do with it? Well, I was driving a 1996 Nissan pickup, with about 250,000 miles on it. I had owned it since 1997, and I had always been heavy. Was it possible that the seat had worn out, and that had something to do with my testicular pain? It didn’t feel worn out, but I might have gotten used to it. So I asked a couple of guys at work to sit down in my truck and see if they noticed anything. Both of them said it felt like the seat was completely shot, and they were riding on a piece of wood. Well, that was the best news I’d heard since I found out I didn’t need surgery. Maybe it was the truck seat causing the problem this entire time. So I got a donut cushion, started sitting on it when I drove, and I’ll be darned if the pain didn’t start decreasing immediately. It took several weeks to get back to almost normal, and I’m still not 100% every day, but I’m pretty close. And I’ve been walking 60-90 minutes a day for the last couple of months. (Until last week, which is another story). So I have my new kitties to thank for saving my testicles. If I hadn’t gone to the Lumberton Walmart to get their pet supplies, I might still be be in severe pain.

Fat Guy Blog is officially closed

Yes, it’s official. I’m giving up the blog, so don’t look for any more posts on here.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not giving up on weight loss, or blogging about it. Far from it. But for whatever reasons, known only to them, Google has chosen to consign this URL to the 9th circle of Hell. It simply doesn’t turn up in Google’s search results for “weight loss blog”, no matter how faithfully I blog every night. As it used to be on Page 5 of Google’s results, and it’s now been two months since it appeared in the first FIFTY pages, it’s obvious that Google has decided it doesn’t like this blog, and that their decision is permanent.

So I’ll be buying another URL and starting over, and I hope to have it kicked off in the next couple of weeks, as I intend to start my weight loss program in earnest after October gets here, and I can start walking again.

Not much to report

In light of the fact that I’ll probably be moving to another URL soon, I probably won’t be making many long posts on here from now on. Unless I suddenly reappear in the first 50 pages of Google’s search engine results in the next couple weeks, this blog will be shutting down and moving to another URL.

But as long as I’m here, I’ll point out that I haven’t had a single drop of pop or iced tea or another sugary drink, or hardly any sugar at all, since Saturday. Tomorrow night will mark one week without sugar, and I’m not missing it near as much as I thought I would.

This blog will probably be moving

I don’t know what I did to tick off Google, but my site doesn’t appear in the first 50 pages of Google results for “weight loss blog.” It used to be on page 5. But it disappeared from the search results about a month ago and it looks like it’s not coming back. So I may have to get a new URL and just start over. There’s not much point in blogging every day if nobody reads it.

Sleep study went well

I finally got 4 hours of good sleep! Got to the sleep lab at about 7:30. By the time I was done signing papers and getting all wired up, it was about 8:15. Normally I go to bed around 10:30 or 11, so I wasn’t ready to fall asleep. Laid there for probably 90 minutes, listening to George Knapp talk about the legend of the Mothman on one of my Coast to Coast podcast downloads. Finally nodded off, but, as usual, my sleep was very fitful. I probably woke up 5 times between falling asleep around 10 and the respiratory technician coming in to wake me up at 12:30. Then, after some discussion, he hooked me up to the CPAP machine. When you first try to put the mask on, it’s horrible…it feels like someone is trying to shove a powerful fan down your throat. But after about 3 attempts, I got it on, and once it’s sealed against your face, it’s fine. Then he told me to lie on my back. I explained to him that I can’t fall asleep on my back, as I’ve tried over and over, sometimes laying there for a couple of hours to no avail. But he said just try it. So I did. This was about 1:00. About five minutes later I fell asleep, and the next thing I remember is him waking me up at 5:30. I slept like a log, and he said I only turned over once, which has to be some kind of record. I’m very excited about the results. I was pretty sure I had sleep apnea, which he assured me I do. He said I stopped breathing every three or four minutes sleeping on my own. But my big fear was that I couldn’t get used to wearing a mask to bed. Now that I see it’s no big deal, I’m looking forward to finally getting some decent sleep starting in a couple of week after the lab processes my test and sends the results to my doctor.

I’m going in for a sleep study tonight

I’ve had trouble sleeping for years. And I’m sure my problem is either caused by or greatly exacerbated by my weight. I’m not going to go into all the detail of sleep apnea right now, but the doc thinks I have it, and we’ll find out tonight. The test is $1000 out of my own pocket, so I sure hope they get to the bottom of my problem. The only way I can function at work is to chew nicotine gum all day. And I think doing so aggravates my acid reflux, because when I lay off the gum for a few hours, the cough goes away. But then I can’t stay awake. So it’s either be miserable from coughing all day, or doze off at work. Since I want to keep my job, I’m chewing the gum. I was hoping I could get diagnosed and fitted with a CPAP mask within a few days, but the lab says it takes 10 days to interpret and process the results and pass them on to my doc, who will then have to write me a prescription for a machine. So two more weeks of this…I hope I can hold on that long.

It would be great to be able to get a good night’s sleep again. I knew a guy who wore a CPAP and he said the first morning after he wore it he felt like a brand new man. That would be nice to experience. They also say that lack of sleep contributes to obesity, so that’s another reason to look forward to getting a good night’s sleep every night.

I’m doing better when it comes to food. I’m eating much less. I’m trying to get used to being slightly hungry most of the time. It’s not that bad. Saturday I found two 20 ounce Pepsi’s I’d forgotten about in the fridge, and I drank those, but since then I’ve had no pop, tea, sweets or other forms of sugar. I’m going to try to keep it up. I’m really starting to enjoy the taste of pure, clean water.


That’s still my goal. Just maintain. Don’t get any bigger, but don’t worry about trying to lose weight. Although I did go all day without sugar today. Well, I’m sure there were minute amounts in the brats I had for lunch, and the Jimmy Dean Breakfast Bowl I had for breakfast, and more than a finite amount in the buns for the brats. But those aren’t causing my weight problem. That’s the result of the 5-6 Pepsi’s, Moutain Dew’s and iced teas I normally drink every day. Actually, when you add up the pop at work, and the tea at home, it’s probably more like the equivalent of 8-10 cans of pop. But today it has been nothing but bottled water.

So that’s not bad.

Sugar: The Bitter Truth

Watch it here.

Not much to report today

I’m extremely tired, kinda depressed, and that’s about it.

Busy writing

Too busy getting caught up on my freelance assignments to write much tonight. I hadn’t thought about this factor when I took on all these freelance jobs. I will definitely have to cut back in the future if I’m going to keep my promise to myself to blog about losing weight nearly every night. It takes a good 45-60 minutes to knock out a decent post, and I don’t have that tonight. And just think, in a couple months, when it’s cool enough to walk again, and I’m spending 60-90 minutes out on the pavement, time is going to be even more precious. And since losing weight and blogging about it are the main priorities, making some extra money every month will have to take a back seat. I should probably just take on enough work to fill 10 or 15 hours, and knock it out on the weekends.

Anyway, cough still here, but not getting worse. I ate pretty good today, and I’ve got my evening meal planned for tomorrow. And I bought a 24 pack of bottled water. There is no tea or pop in the house.

Well, it wasn’t much of a blog, but I kept my promise.

Stay tuned.