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Aging and our siblings
Old 09-20-2018, 01:34 PM   #1
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Aging and our siblings

When I saw my sister’s married name on the ringing cell phone I immediately said Oh-oh. It was mid day and this cant be good - it wasn’t. My younger brother who lives 20 hours away in the Deep South had a heart attack. I learned later that he had taken on a big client and was rushing to meet a deadline. His employee came in morning found him at his desk in pain, sweaty and ashen. She then convinced him to go to the hospital. Jump ahead 24 hours later and he is the recipient of a new stent and a diagnosis of “off the chart diabetes”.

I cant say I was surprised by all this because my brother had been a in an awful car accident years ago, been in great deal of pain for a extended period and was carrying a good 60lbs of extra weight (my guess). Single and a ‘Good time Charlie’ kind of guy. Im sure we all know the recipe all too well.

Call me crazy but I am thinking this episode could actually add years to his life. He now knows the enemy and can take steps. In three months he can be a totally different person. Change your diet and the simple act of walking twice a day and the pounds will melt away. He’s a grown man it will be up to him.

I shared the story with my colleagues one of whom is another ticking time bomb -he knows why i told him. I hope he will forgive me.

Anyone out there know of ‘I found religion’ story that they care to share?
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....move to other thread?
Old 09-20-2018, 01:56 PM   #2
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....move to other thread?

you might have a better response if you had posted in the “Health and Early Retirement” section. I know that from the thread title that I expected something else...

IME, others need to make changes that they initiate.... cannot really be forced onto them or it won’t last
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Old 09-20-2018, 02:05 PM   #3
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It wasn’t really found religion, but it did take until I felt really bad and luckily ended up at a Dr. that gave me the right information. I was at a point of willingness to listen by then. My other doctor had told me to eat better, but gave me a few prescriptions. Of course, that didn’t fully work and I ended up at a holistic Dr. that changed my life. Not perfect, but eating better, on basic supplements, off all prescriptions and doing much better. Unfortunately, I think it is common to end up pretty bad before one gets better. Again, a willingness to listen and act.
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Old 09-20-2018, 02:40 PM   #4
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Funny how things work. I'll never understand.

I got tachycardia and it was a great motivation to lose weight and exercise. Really sucked to exercise when your heart rate is already over 100 when you start. Worked out ok, wife and I lost a bunch of weight and routinely exercise now.

Other folks aren't so lucky. A former co-w*rker was recently riffed, used the opportunity to retire early and improve his health. He'd been overweight for years and knew how to lose weight. They found him dead on a trail on his way to the gym.
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Old 09-20-2018, 03:01 PM   #5
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I had a religious moment at 35.... I was fit most of my life till work (the career).. began at 28. Each year added 2-5 lbs. each kid 10 lbs. then at 35 when I had had my blood work done. My HDL was very low and my ratio wasn’t desirable. I looked in the mirror and realized that I had let myself go. That was a pivot point to eating healthier ((sodas mostly eliminated). HFCF and trans fat eliminated. ... exercise a little but not as much due to home and work loads. My numbers have been much better since.
Phase 2 after FIRE is to rediscover my love for running (I’m fortunate to have healthy knees) and the outdoors. The goal is to be as fit as I was when I left college.
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Old 09-20-2018, 04:53 PM   #6
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When my mother passed away about 10 years ago I finally got serious about losing weight. She and I were close but had communication issues, so her attempts to get me to take action earlier hadn't worked in the least. Then I lost 60lbs over about 18 months, and I have stayed within 20 lbs of that (usually more like 10, except for post-vacation) ever since. Early this year I added heavy aerobic exercise.
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Old 09-20-2018, 05:48 PM   #7
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An older relative who was a heavy drinker and chain smoker most of his life had a ministroke when he was about 60 years old. He gave up both vices cold turkey and lived until age 75 when cancer took him. But we were pleased that he lived that long given his previous history.

He and his wife had a developmentally disabled son. His wife complained about her husbands drinking and smoking for years and told him after his ministroke that if he had bad stroke in the future and needed care, she would have to put him in a nursing home. There was no way she could take care of both of them which was the truth. She thought that was a big motivator.
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Old 09-20-2018, 06:34 PM   #8
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One brother died at 53. Had all the symptoms and characteristics mentioned by others above. Also, enough male relatives died early enough to make the point.
I have managed to keep my weight down for 15 years, but too many numbers slowly rise to keep one wondering. I'm at a crossroads, and going to new specialists to sort out various problems. Probably leaving the w*rkplace early next year, and I know I'll be able to focus on losing more weight and lowering the bad numbers.
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Old 09-20-2018, 06:53 PM   #9
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I'm overweight, despite watching what I eat and lots of exercise. Fortunately, no family history of heart disease.... My family tends to get the wake up call with cancer. My brother was in incredible condition - had ridden in "ride the rockies" and "tour de Wyoming" one summer - both 6-7 day bike rides crossing the continental divide multiple times - only to get a terminal dx of cancer on labor day weekend. He was dead a few days before Christmas. He was 48. So aging and our siblings.... I'm down a sibling.

(FWIW - I walk and hike with my remaining sibling, my sister... I'm trying to get her to come lap swimming with me at the YMCA. But the main thing is we talk regularly - something we can't do anymore with our brother.)

I hope your brother makes the lifestyle changes you'd like him too... But his case is specific to him, and your common family history. It's not a one size fits all as far as health and lifestyle issues.
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Aging and our siblings
Old 09-21-2018, 06:18 AM   #10
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Aging and our siblings

Quote:
Originally Posted by target2019 View Post
One brother died at 53.
Probably leaving the w*rkplace early next year, and I know I'll be able to focus on losing more weight and lowering the bad numbers.

Target: I lost my older brother at 53 too and Im leaving the job on 1/6/2019 3 months away. I recognize our bodies wont wait for our job clock.. Im walking 2x a day for usually at least 40 minutes.
Lost 15lbs in the bat of an eye.. feeling pretty good.

Don’t wait for the job get out there...
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Old 09-21-2018, 06:35 AM   #11
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Two years ago last week my elite-level athlete brother (marathons, iron mans, biked 200 miles a week, swam 25 laps every morning) had a massive stroke; no previous symptoms. If it happened to him, nobody is safe!

He can't talk, is marginally competent and has no use of his right side. With no other family than myself (and 89 year old mom), I've become his main life manager and guardian.

He's 64, two years younger than me but for many reasons, one being that I don't want to leave DW with this mess, I'm now highly motivated to outlive him.

Losing weight, eating better, getting all those 'tomorrow' health things (minor skin damage, digestive issues, slightly high BP etc) taken care of. I've still got a long way to go (the flesh is weak) but I've got to do this.
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Old 09-21-2018, 06:43 AM   #12
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Two years ago last week my elite-level athlete brother (marathons, iron mans, biked 200 miles a week, swam 25 laps every morning) had a massive stroke; no previous symptoms. If it happened to him, nobody is safe!

He can't talk and has no use of his right side. With no other family than myself (and 89 year old mom), I've become his main life manager and guardian.

He's two years younger than me but for many reasons, one being that I don't want to leave DW with this mess, I'm now highly motivated to outlive him.

Losing weight, eating better, getting all those 'tomorrow' health things (minor skin damage, digestive issues etc) taken care of.
Sorry to hear about your brother. There's a relatively high incidence of AFib among endurance athletes like your brother. I wonder was that the cause. Many times it goes unnoticed.

My brother, rather the opposite of yours in a sense that he ate what he wanted, didn't exercise and smoked had a stroke last year as well. Happened post surgery, which I gather isn't that uncommon.

I can't imagine how I would handle the challenges of a stroke like that.
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Old 09-21-2018, 07:48 AM   #13
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Sorry to hear about your brother. There's a relatively high incidence of AFib among endurance athletes like your brother. I wonder was that the cause. Many times it goes unnoticed.

My brother, rather the opposite of yours in a sense that he ate what he wanted, didn't exercise and smoked had a stroke last year as well. Happened post surgery, which I gather isn't that uncommon.

I can't imagine how I would handle the challenges of a stroke like that.
Thanks.
Turns out it was AFib. He's doing well and living semi-independently with mom. Strokes are a 'mean' injury. I've learned more about strokes, hospitals, social services, SNF's, and legal issues than I ever wanted to.

We've settled into a routine and it's good. Not the retirement he was planning (he planned to retire 2 months before his stroke) but he continues to improve and we're glad he's still with us.
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Old 09-21-2018, 07:49 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by rayinpenn View Post
Target: I lost my older brother at 53 too and Im leaving the job on 1/6/2019 3 months away. I recognize our bodies wont wait for our job clock.. Im walking 2x a day for usually at least 40 minutes.
Lost 15lbs in the bat of an eye.. feeling pretty good.

Don’t wait for the job get out there...
I hear ya loud and clear. I will be out of there 1-2 months after you leave yours. The work is not so stressful, but the drive, or should I say crawl, home is a b*tch. Yesterday was about 60 minutes.
I take a telecommuting day every other week. Just doing things at my pace is a nice benefit. Also, daily I'm able to go out for walks, but weather has been really difficult this summer.
In 2014/2015 I had multiple layoffs, and practiced retirement. So I know I'll be really good at the real thing.
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Old 09-21-2018, 08:25 AM   #15
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Ray--sorry to hear about your brother, I hope he continues to improve.
Two of my siblings have diabetes, another one had one kidney removed due to a large growth, which luckily ended up benign, to the surprise of both the surgeon and the pathologist. I have battled weight since age 30 and two pregnancies. Never had a problem until then! We work on healthier eating and exercise daily. I thought after retirement, it would be so easy to get out for a walk every day, somehow I get distracted!
I enjoy reading posts on the forum with others trials and successes--keeps me motivated.
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Old 09-21-2018, 08:48 AM   #16
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And it isn't always heart, stroke, or cancer. My brother, in great shape, has spent the past two years dealing with an incredibly rare disorder, so rare that if I told you what it was and you Googled it you'd know who I am. He's still in good health physically, and still has all of his faculties, but it's been a devastating blow that nearly cost him his job and has impacted his life and his family's greatly. And yet, he knows life could be worse.

... As in, he could be our cousin, a competitive triathlete for 20 years, who was just diagnosed with ALS. At 51. (or my husband, who died of cancer at 55)
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Old 09-21-2018, 08:53 AM   #17
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The truth is exercise and careful eating don’t buy a guarantee of good health. Eating and drinking to excess definitely do increase the odds of the early onset of health issues.
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Old 09-22-2018, 08:52 PM   #18
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When I saw my sister’s married name on the ringing cell phone I immediately said Oh-oh. It was mid day and this cant be good - it wasn’t. My younger brother who lives 20 hours away in the Deep South had a heart attack. I learned later that he had taken on a big client and was rushing to meet a deadline. His employee came in morning found him at his desk in pain, sweaty and ashen. She then convinced him to go to the hospital. Jump ahead 24 hours later and he is the recipient of a new stent and a diagnosis of “off the chart diabetes”. I cant say I was surprised by all this because my brother had been a in an awful car accident years ago, been in great deal of pain for a extended period and was carrying a good 60lbs of extra weight (my guess). Single and a ‘Good time Charlie’ kind of guy. Im sure we all know the recipe all too well.

Call me crazy but I am thinking this episode could actually add years to his life. He now knows the enemy and can take steps. In three months he can be a totally different person. Change your diet and the simple act of walking twice a day and the pounds will melt away. He’s a grown man it will be up to him.

Anyone out there know of ‘I found religion’ story that they care to share?
Ray, I just wanted to share this tale of my 2 siblings. My brother sounds a lot like your brother. He was overweight & out of shape most of his adult life until five years ago when, at 63, he had a heart attack. For him, it definitely was a wake-up call, & since then he has been the poster boy for healthy habits. He gradually lost 50+ pounds, and he still goes to the gym every morning to walk on a treadmill for 45 minutes (at 3.5 mph). He's very careful about what he eats - even when indulging in his favorite pizza, he'll have just one slice. His habits just completely changed, and he's in better shape now than he ever was. When his daughter got married a couple of years ago he proudly wore the same suit he wore when he was married more than 30 years ago!

Within a few weeks of his heart attack, my sister, who was then 68, had triple bypass surgery (after being rushed to the hospital when problems developed during a stress test). Like my brother, she was very overweight & went through extensive cardio rehab after the surgery. But unlike him, it didn't "take" - she's still overweight, doesn't exercise and has the same eating habits.

Our father died of a heart attack at 54 so you'd think we all would have gotten the message a long time ago. But everyone is different. Lecturing & logic won't help someone change habits that are deeply ingrained. That won't happen unless they are ready to.

Best of luck!
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Old 09-22-2018, 10:02 PM   #19
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you might have a better response if you had posted in the “Health and Early Retirement” section. I know that from the thread title that I expected something else...

IME, others need to make changes that they initiate.... cannot really be forced onto them or it won’t last
Yes, I thought it might be about siblings stealing money from elderly parents or something like that.
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Old 09-22-2018, 11:06 PM   #20
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My grandmother was an undiagnosed diabetic and she died of arteriosclerosis at age 66.
My uncle and my father were type II diabetics, and both were on hemodialysis for 4 years until they each threw a clot and died--ages 78 and 86.
My uncles daughter was an undiagnosed diabetic (and a health food nut), and she is on dialysis at age 60. She can barely walk even.
I am a stable type II diabetic on an insulin pump. I quit drinking and lead a pretty healthful life. And at age 68, I am about to go into a defensive mode to healthcare--not taking on any more heavy building projects other than cutting grass.
My wife has spinal stenosis, terrible arthritis and just had a knee replacement. She is a pain management patient that has gotten off 1/3 of her pain meds and Klonipan by taking CBD oil. She also had a very aggressive form of uterine cancer that was found on a routine yearly physical.
My son in law felt bad and never went to the doctor. He self medicated on illegal drugs spending $200K to $300K before finding he had multiple mylenoma. He died at 45.
Our 23 year old granddaughter (daughter of above) had Stage IV bone cancer, and she hadn't been going to the doctor. She only had 6 months to live when a meth dealer shot her dead.
My stepdaughter (wife of above SIL) had an Afib problem and didn't take her meds properly. She died at age 50--leaving behind a 3 year old granddaughter. She too hadn't been seeing the doctors through her adult life.
Our favorite niece lived in London, England, and she hadn't been getting regular physicals. She was discovered to have uterine cancer and the U.K. National Healthcare system didn't treat her aggressively enough. She died a year later.

There are so many examples of family members and friends that failed to get good yearly checkups including chest x-rays. Proactive health screenings are mandatory at every age, but especially approaching retirement age. My family this year has recently had 7 close friends that have died--some of which could have possibly been prevented.
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