5 years left to live ... what now?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 12, 2008 12:13 AM GMT
    A few months ago a friend of mine told me about this place, so I hope you don't mind a str8 guy intruding ... it don't bother me, so I hope it don't bother you...

    Last year March I ate some tainted food ... an unknown virus attacked my liver and pancreas and accelerated weight-gain. I had been picking up weight anyway (office job, blah blah) but to the point where I'm about 90lb overweight (obese, fat, whatever)

    Because of the illness and the damage to my body my doctors gave me 5 years to live. That's now reduced to four years. I could probably prolong my life if I lost the weight ... but the nature of what happened has left me in the position where I am tired 90% of the time, and seriously depro (and the R1.5million medical bills don't cheer me up either!) getting up to go to gym in the morning is a mission. I can't surf anymore because there isn't a wetsuit to fit me or a board that can hold my weight. My knees are definitely hurting more and more each day.

    mmmh, I suppose I don't really know why I'm posting this ... I suppose it's just to get a little motivation. Initially they were hoping the weight would come off by itself once the bloodsugar and hormone levels in my body corrected itself, but this didn't happen. The aim here is to lose 50lb by the end of the year (11 weeks away) which according to the guys at the local gym shouldn't be a problem. The other 40lb needs to be off by April 2009.

    On the other hand, I'd prefer a less crazy approach. 50lb is a hellava lot of weight - or maybe it's just me being depro again.

    I know I need help but my family and doctors have already written me off. My folks have insisted I get my affairs in order and have even had to choose the hymns to my funeral. Most of my friends have already disappeared on me, no one wants to deal with seeing someone die.

    But I don't want to die ... I can't even describe how much I want to live. The point is that I feel totally completely and utterly alone in this battle. I don't even know which way forward.

    Kinda just hoping someone out there will be able to point me in the right direction ...
  • SFTraveler

    Posts: 171

    Oct 12, 2008 1:36 AM GMT
    Hey, Rangerboy!

    About two and a half years ago, I was in the same situation with a damaged liver and told that I had only a 15 percent chance of surviving. I absolutely refused to accept that prognosis and committed myself to taking every possible step to survive.

    Much to the doctors' surprise, I'm still here and healthier than they ever imagined was possible. I'm not out of the woods yet, but I know I'm going to make it.

    I recommend you do the same. You know what needs to be done; you just need to commit yourself to doing it. Find an exercise partner to help motivate you work out or, if you can afford it, hire a personal trainer for six months.

    You CAN do it. Besides, think of the alternative! icon_wink.gif
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    Oct 12, 2008 2:35 AM GMT
    rangerboy said

    But I don't want to die ... I can't even describe how much I want to live.

    That statement alone should FIRE you up and KEEP you fired up!! Yes, you have a temporary set back, however it has NOT handicapped you completely! I suggest you write down that statement on several different pieces of paper and place them in significant places around your environment so you can repeatedly remind yourself of your DESIRE to live and continue on!!! It sucks what happened, but man don't let it hold you back!! YOU CAN DO THIS!!!!
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    Oct 12, 2008 2:53 AM GMT
    You've stumbled upon a great community here that will help and support you. Plus you could probably find tons of training buddies here to help keep you motivated. Wishing you all the best.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 12, 2008 3:56 AM GMT
    ......and what so now youre going to give up?
    NO WAY ! Listen str8gt guy something in the back of your mind probably urged you to come here ....maybe its because you know that a good number of gay men are living with terminal conditions and were doing well with it..... ( there are still a lot of HIV pos men around who look, feel and are living and loving great! ) or that the support from a gay friends is so unlike that of your hetero friends who dumped you. What ever the case maybe...youre here.....and youre still alive.

    I applaud you for reaching out.....gay people are not exactly the first folk I would think a hetero man would approach for support but I fathom the courage it took for you to do so and as a fellow human being I again totally applaud you.

    So now what....what do you do? First off, remember its still ..."practiced" medicene. Their diagnosis is from their years of " practiced medicene".
    so be it.....MOVE ON!

    Try another approach, try holistic means, try you local chinese accupunturist and herbal medicene practictioners, try other non-western healers...hindu, vietnamese, Native american or alaskan. Hawaiian or Korean medicene is noteworthery as well.

    Get a new attitude on your diagnosis. Go find or form a support group if you can find one in your city. You can't do the t raditional exercise so how about walking? Go find that walking group or go save alife at the humane society get a walking companion and both of you get a life.

    Lastly hang out with people who have positive energy. People who'll fill your cup each time even though they don't have to. The attitude of survival stems from and attitude of positivity.

    Thank each day that you have to live and enjoy your life.....DONT GIVE UP!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 12, 2008 4:30 AM GMT
    GIven that you are ill, that quick a loss of weight sounds like it might be too stressful on your body. Half that, say 25 pounds, might be more realistic for 11 weeks. But the important thing is that for every pound of fat you lose, you will be getting healthier. If you just lose 1 pound a week, you will lose 52 in a year, and 90 in less than 2. And sometime sooner than that, you will start to feel the benefits, perhaps way before you reach a goal in pounds.

    It seems we never know what will happen in life. I try to think of it was a process. No matter what your goals are in life, you will still one day end up dying. But if you try to live each day improving yourself in some way, you will have lived a positive life, and you will enjoy the benefits of your work along the way.

    If you look at life as a series of big goals, things like losing a certain amount of weight, etc, then it's harder to handle setbacks and stay positive. No matter what you do, there will always be a goal at the end of your life that you don't get to complete. And you will spend most of your time feeling that things will just be better once you reach the goal. But if you look at life as a challenge day by day to live the best you can, each day is an opportunity to accomplish a goal, and each day's goals are up to you.

    Now having measurements of progress and long terms goals is great for deciding how to improve, but the important thing is to do the best you can with each day-- give as close to 100% effort every day to improve yourself. I find that challenge, giving 100% every day, is the most difficult, and most rewarding in life.

    I wish I knew more about medicine to give you specific advice, but I know others on here do, and will offer their help.
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    Oct 12, 2008 5:23 AM GMT
    Hey ranger,

    You know, the liver is an amazing organ that has the ability to repair itself. I'm no doctor, but I did have a drinking problem for several years, so I've read a lot of stuff about the liver.

    1. Eat food that go easy on the liver. The book "How to quit drinking without AA" has a liver friendly diet all laid out to help it repair itself. I'm willing to bet the diet would help you in your weight loss efforts as well. I'm positive there are plenty of liver friendly diets on the internet as well.

    2. Avoid alcohol, drugs, and watch your sugars. No brainer there.

    3. Your friends and family are having you plan your own funeral and that SUCKS. I would definitely look into counseling for your family, your friends, and most importantly yourself. These types of reactions people have to crises like your's are a result of fear. You need someone to help facilitate all of you getting down to your feelings so you can come to grips with what's possible but also acknowledge that this possible outcome isn't set in stone.

    Sometimes the body and mind can do for themselves what medicine can't so you've just gotta make a plan, stick to it, and keep faith.
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    Oct 12, 2008 6:00 AM GMT
    Hello Rangerboy

    I can understand how your family/ friends may feel. About 2 years ago I had one of my best friends come to my office one day and tell me that he was told he had a little less than year left to live and wanted me to help him out. I thought what can I possibly do?! Being a business man at that time, I got him a good lawyer to set his trust and deal with his finances. Got him 5 funeral places and booked 2 walks at different cemeteries. Talked to his family to know who would pack his stuff and take care of his dog. I thought I was being a great friend. What better way to help him out, making sure the got his affairs lined up and had nothing to stress him out. It was after one of the walks we had that we ended up at one of our favorite bars. We had a drink, talk, had another drink, talked more, then being the wing man we flirted with some girls. Ended up in downtown LA at a club, danced the night away. At 4 am we ended up at IHOP having coffee and eating a NY steak breakfast with extra hash browns. When I dropped him off he looked me in the eye, hugged me and said that that night I had done everything he asked me to do. I sat in that car for such a long time. And I felt so stupid and humbled. I am not saying you need to excuse their behavior but know that most of them are trying to help.

    Now regarding your weight project. I noticed you said you surfed. So why not swimming to lose the weight? Very low impact and it works all the muscles in the body. Great way to lose weight. I lost my first 50lbs doing it.

    I hope this helps.

    PS. My friend, still living. He was able to get into a clinical medical trial and although still fighting it, we meet at IHOP once a month to enjoy a good NY steak and coffee and yes, always after a night of fun.
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    Oct 12, 2008 9:27 AM GMT
    I really wouldn't know where to begin to be honest. Is there no way at all of getting better? How does something like bad food put you in this position.

    I rally feel for you for being in this position but 5 years is 5 years. Think of what you have achieved in the past and make just as much of your life going forward. Who knows, maybe there is something about your life to keep you going beyond this so called "remaining time".

    I can't believe your friends have given up on you, they would not be friends if they did that to me. At the same time it can be a challenge going forward on your own. Can you perhaps looks at charity work that in return can help you out?

    Perhaps a sponsored event of some sort that in return can give you what you want as far as your weight loss is concerned? From what you've said so far I believe you haven't given up at all if your looking for options and that's always good.

    You have my support in whatever you do and I'd be glad to be a friend going forward.

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    Oct 12, 2008 4:28 PM GMT
    I'm glad you're here and looking for advice. I'm not here to judge, but it seems you're being a bit vague and not completely forthcoming about your condition.

    You say here that you ate some bad food March of last year. But your profile seems to indicate you've been mistreating your body for a lot longer than that:

    "After 5 years of not looking after myself, working way too hard and trying to keep my head above water I finally collapsed and my liver and pancreas decided to take a permanent vacation."

    Being that you're talking about the liver, what I suspect is a long term drinking problem. Apologies if I'm wrong and please correct me.

    Thankfully, you sound determined to get back in shape, but you also sound resigned to die. As long as you're still alive, you should plan to keep on living. At 31, you should have several good decades ahead of you.

    If your liver and pancreas have totally given up, organs can be transplanted. Cirrhosis is an irreversible condition, but anything less serious than that is treatable and the liver is remarkably resilient and capable of healing.

    If your doctors are telling you to get your affairs in order and prepare to die, I'd get a second opinion... immediately. Find a doctor who will help you back to health.
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    Oct 13, 2008 1:57 AM GMT
    Just to defend the story, hepatitis A from food, mono, and probably a lot of other viruses can have that effect on the liver. Wikipedia lists about 15 viruses that can. If you don't get diagnosed while you are sick with the original illness, they may never know for sure what damaged your liver. It sounds like, from the description, he got sick, then shortly afterwards developed hepatitis and blood sugar problems. But do we really need details of his diagnosis to recommend ways to get motivated to lose weight, which is what he asked for?

    Regardless of why he got sick, and exactly what happened, the advice for getting motivated to make a change is the same.

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    Oct 14, 2008 8:09 PM GMT
    Hi everyone

    Thank you so much for the messages and posts of support - it's sort of overwhelming ... once again thank you so much.

    Global_Citizen ... I suppose I'm vague because no one really knows what's going on. Over the last 5-6 years I changed jobs - it was rather stressful and I worked long hours, between 14-18 hours a day. Problem with that is you end up not exercising as much as you should, and the immune system takes a loop.

    So I ended up eating tainted food and a system that was already stressed simply didn't cope. We can only assume that the liver tried to detox, I don't know.

    Regarding damage to the liver due to drinking ... well we can rule that out since I don't drink alcohol. :-)

    The good news is that I've changed jobs ... trying to work less and enjoy life a little more ...

    Once again, thanks everyone.


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    Oct 17, 2008 7:25 PM GMT
    Hey Buddy,
    I was in a similar situation about 21 years ago. I was told I have 6 months top a year to live. I went into a deep depression and started making plans for my funeral, etc. One morning when I got out of bed I decided no, I am not going to die. I want to live. I went for several opinions; I went to holistic healers, etc. I started reading as much as I could on my condition. At the time I was doing drugs, drinking pretty heavy, and I smoked 2 and a 1/2 packs of cigarettes a day. I decided that I was going to fight. I quit everything bad, all in one day. I began eating healthy and exercising. I am still here and I am healthier then ever. I refuse to give up. As everyone here has said it is up to you to take control. Think Of the diagnoses as a wake up call. Get other opinions. I have learned to love life and to appreciate all the little things that we normally take for granted. Don’t give up!
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    Oct 17, 2008 7:50 PM GMT
    Years ago I had a few clients who were in End Stage Renal Failure and late stages of Multiple Sclerosis, which are somewhat worse than what you are going through. There is alot to be said for the power of a positive attitude.... Most likely the doctor mispoke, or his meaning was lost in translation. I bet what he meant to say is "if you continue with this lifestyle you will have X years to live"

    Keep your chin up. If you are not active most days of the week, you need to be. You dont need to run marathons everyday but getting on the bike for a half hour or taking an hour walk around the neighborhood after yoru evening meal are simple ways to get the blood flowing. A little bit will go a long way. In the end its all about being active and moving your body.

    Dont focus on what you "cant" do, focus all your energy on what you can do! Everyday you need to suprise yourself with something new that you can accomplish. Its baby steps buddy, but your body will respond and you will gain confidence accomplishing the daily micro goals.

    If the doctor gave you diet advice, you need to adhere to that advice strictly. Im certain your Insulin/Glucagon levels are out of wack! Let the doc or a Liscenced Dietician give you advice on food.

    My special needs clients are still alive and kicking after ten years. People beat Cancer, sustain MS and Parkinsons, and even manage to survive with AIDS....but its all about your will to fight. IM not gonna pay you lip service like some other guys, but I will wish you the best of luck in your fight. If it gets unbearable lend me your ear and I will give you a pep talk.
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    Oct 17, 2008 7:57 PM GMT
    DO NOT GIVE UP! You can change your life, just get started. Don't even try to lose 50 pounds in such a short time. It's not healthy, you'll have to practically starve yourself to do it. I know you want to lose the weight by April next year but it's more important you lose the weight slowly. You are more likely to keep it off and you won't starve yourself in the process. If you can afford a trainer there try to use one at least twice a week to help keep you motivated and instruct you properly and I'll be glad to help in anyway I can. Just send me a message. GET IT ON!
  • UncleverName

    Posts: 741

    Oct 17, 2008 8:15 PM GMT
    I can't possibly understand what you're going through. It sounds terrible.
    I would echo what many others here have already said, and hope that what I say helps in some small way.

    Your statement about not wanting to die is simple, and something for you to stand behind. Continually strive to prove it true. Live life to the fullest while you can (regardless of when you're going to die). Treat every day like your last.

    And if it scares friends off that you're going to die in a few years (if that's exactly what is going to happen, which no one knows for sure), don't tell them. You could as easily be hit by a bus tomorrow, so not telling them isn't that big of a deal. And if you do die, it's not like you'll be around to put up with their upset. If they're real friends, then even if you do tell them, it won't scare them off. And in terms of your family, I would say that you should plan for your eventual death (as everyone should), but it doesn't seem out of line that you should continually remind your family that you're not dead yet.

    In terms of the fitness stuff, find something that you enjoy doing. That will go a long way. Try to find a friend to do it with. A training partner. Doesn't have to be weights even. Play frisbee even, or go for 2 hour walks every night. Take up dancing or something else that burns calories. And keep in mind that the healthier you get your body, the more energy you'll have. It's kind of funny to think of it that way, but it's hard to get started but it gets easier and easier to actually be fit.
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    Oct 17, 2008 8:18 PM GMT
    Hey Tony Listen to these guys. They are good people. I agree with barenuckles and shortnsexystu. Look at them they obviously know what they are talking about. I especially like (focus all your energy on what you can do and not on what you can't) that is so very true.
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    Oct 18, 2008 3:02 AM GMT
    Hi Rangerboy !!! First off it appears to me that you have a lot of healthy "Will to Live", so you've got a positive attitude going for you, which is a great base to start from. I Have some debilitating health problems and I've adhered to much of what these guys have been suggesting, with great success. Every day I do what I can, something constructive so I can see an accomplishment, I have to keep moving to feel good, so this is what works for me. >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> I'll bet that by planning to "LIVE" rather than planning for "death" will be an immense help to you, and as these guys have mentioned your mental attitude has a tremendous influence on your body, and mind. Don't be too hard on yourself by setting the bar to high, with regard to your weight loss goals, take it by small bites, a few pounds every ten days or so. Drink lots of water, cranberry juice, grape juice, these are good for your liver. Every morning when you wake up have a reason for the day, something you want to accomplish, some fun thing you want to squeese into the day. One day at a time, small progresses per day, per week, little successes turn into big ones, they add up to make you proud of who you are and what you've done for yourself. Pretty soon by planning to live, planning every day for some small accomplishment that is reasonable for you, some enjoyment, some time for friendship, and I'll bet one day you'll look at the calendar, and see that several years have passed and rather than being worse your better off, and before you know it, you've passed some doctors deadline because you've PLANNED TO LIVE !!! Good luck to you !!! you can "holler at me" anytime too, if you need yet another ear !!! Dennis
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    Oct 18, 2008 4:11 AM GMT
    My friend you can WIN this battle!!

    I know it's possible to reverse the damage that has happened to you and even correct if not heal your body from the parasites that have hit you.

    I would learn as much on holistic healing as possible.

    You can really make some good head ways with these. There are a lot of things I would do if I were you.

    1. I would do an entire body cleansing. If you have tried this..do it again...

    The system above will work miracles for you. Try it and see. Just follow it faithfully!

    2. I would also do a pomegranate and blueberry diet drink 3 times a day.

    3. You should also do some GRAPEFRUIT SEED extract with lemon juice nightly.

    This will not burn your stomach and will rid your body of these viruses.

    There are other things too. Find a herbologist and get some help. I never felt that any doctor with all their artificial chemical drugs would ever help me. I have helped myself...you can cure yourself too!!

    It's also a mind thing. Stop thinking anything about death...Don't talk about it. Start living life in the now zone and really focus on being healthy. Say daily over..and over...your healthy and are getting even healthier!! Try it and see.

    I wish you the best. Let me know how things go. I am really interested in see others find good health!!

    P.S. If someone told me...John, You have only 5 years left of your life...I would say..I have less than 5 years to find a way to LIVE!!
  • vindog

    Posts: 1440

    Oct 19, 2008 7:52 PM GMT
    I am with AZstreaker on this.....I can think of so many times Western doctors have told people I know that "you'll be wearing a colostomy bag in 2 months," "you will die in 2 years," etc and my friends/acquaintances cured themselves with nutrition and herbs....and POSITIVITY. Having a positive mental outlook and staying happy increases the body's ability to heal itself....FACT.

    I would go see a Chinese medicine doctor, herbalist...it really can't hurt at this point

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    Oct 22, 2008 10:01 AM GMT
    Thanks everyone. Am already starting to make small changes in my life. A friend of mine asked me yesterday what I've done because I seem a lot lighter of spirit. I told him I just want to stay alive longer ... was pretty great.

    Now, this is going to sound stupid, but have decided to give myself an outrageous goal of buying myself a new car for Christmas and giving my job a "purpose" as opposed to spending millions on medical bills, and have contacted a debt-relief counsellor who is going to take up my case with the State and Medical Aids regarding the fact that they're refusing to pay my medical bills.

    And finally, bareknuckles, I had to laugh at this quote. Where I live it's plain silly to leave the house after 6pm. My house and cars have bullet-proof windows :-) But great thoughts anyway!


    bareknuckles said
    Keep your chin up. If you are not active most days of the week, you need to be. You dont need to run marathons everyday but getting on the bike for a half hour or taking an hour walk around the neighborhood after yoru evening meal are simple ways to get the blood flowing. A little bit will go a long way. In the end its all about being active and moving your body.
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    Dec 10, 2008 7:52 PM GMT
    I tried DrNatura and it was ok, but I really didn't like some of the side-effects. There's a new one at http://www.drfloras.com that was a bit gentler and got some GROSS stuff out of my body that makes me shudder to think that it was inside me (they have excessively gross pics at the website, so be warned)
  • EricLA

    Posts: 3461

    Dec 10, 2008 8:10 PM GMT
    You need to find more supportive people to be around. And just because a medical "expert" has said you only have 4-5 years to live, don't believe it. There's so much about the body we don't understand. And I also believe the power of a positive outlook. At least it can't hurt, and it's better than living in misery. First, I'd find another doctor. You have no use for a doctor who has written you off. Try to find groups on the internet for what you have and try to find doctors in your area who can help. I'd even contact experts regardless of location to get some input from them. Maybe they can make recommendations about treatment or maybe doctors in your area. If you live near a university with a research hospital, you might even find some research program you can join. I'd say they could be a long shot, but it sounds like you want to live, so some experimental treatment might be worth exploring.

    And if your family is already acting like your death is a done-deal, I'd limit my contact with them. Interact your friends who lift you up. Of course, if I were you I'd tell all my family and friends that you need for them to be positive for you, and if they can't to keep those opinions to themselves. You have no room in your life for negativity.

    It sounds like you want to be motivated to lose the weight you've gained. Even healthy people can have trouble dragging themselves to their workouts (I know I have to push myself at times.). Do what you can. Even walking an hour or two a day can make a difference.

    Please keep us updated on your progress.
  • emailaddress

    Posts: 313

    Dec 13, 2008 7:33 AM GMT
    i am not sure how much of my suggestion is going to help, but it will definitely make things a little easier for you.

    If you can convince your doc to prescribe you anabolic steroids, you can loss weight and gain muscle a bit easier. Your doctor may not like the idea because it can exacerbate your liver damage (then again anabolic steroids have been observed to boost immune system to fight off viral infections), but do bring this up with your doc and do not be afraid to seek a second opinion. I understand anabolic steroids are legal for medical use in many countries. But still this is no magic pill.you still need to workout as hard, steroids just make it more effective.
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    Dec 16, 2008 7:09 AM GMT
    File for bankruptcy and screw all them money grubbing 'doctors'. Stress is a killer, gotta kill it first.