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.