Tim Kaufman – Disabled to Ironman

Tim Kaufman - Disabled to Ironman
Tim Kaufman – Disabled to Ironman

Walking out of the doctor’s office, reality had finally sunk in. I was not going to be around for another year. My wife and kids would very likely not have a husband or father within the year. My blood pressure was 255/115, and I was on three medications to bring it down. My cholesterol (300 mg/dL, 7.8mmol/L) and triglycerides (279 mg/dL, 3.15mmol/L) were off the charts. Aside from a heavy load of prescribed medications, I was also self-medicating and struggling with addictions of all kinds.

My weight became so out of control that the doctor could no longer weigh me in his office. I had trouble breathing and suffered from severe sleep apnea.

I was born with a genetic disorder called Elhers-Danlos syndrome, and my joints are very loose and hypermobile. The excess weight was too much for my already destroyed joints to handle. I was constantly on crutches, canes, and immobilizers. I was cast and fitted for very expensive leg braces that would hold my legs from buckling. My wife was actually putting my socks and shoes on for me in the morning. Nothing was working, and my life was spiraling out of control.

I was going to die, and I don’t know if I really cared. Through a series of diets, I would cycle between losing some weight and then gaining it all back again. It was a vicious cycle. The more I hurt, the more I medicated; the more I medicated, the more I hurt, and as a result, I had lost my passion for life. I was just surviving, hoping I would wake up the next morning. I was committing a sort of slow suicide.

My weight became so out of control that the doctor could no longer weigh me in his office.

Every day I could see the hurt in my wife’s eyes as I grew more and more unhealthy. We were in the process of dealing with my father and her mother both being diagnosed with aggressive cancer. It was very hard to see the pain she was going through.

One night I realized that she would soon have to deal with the same pain as a result of the choices I was making. I had become an expert on excuses and reasoning why I had become who I was. In the back of my head I think I knew that at least some of what I was going through was self-induced. I finally decided that if I had even a chance to save my wife from more pain, I was determined to try.

Although I really didn’t care about myself, I realized it was pretty selfish to put her through another death. When you watch someone cling to life and struggle to stay alive, you can’t help but appreciate life no matter how bad you think you have it. While I complained about how bad my knees hurt, I watched as my loved ones struggled to just breathe. Perspective is an amazing thing!

Last updated on Saturday 18 March 2023 at 08:47 by administrators

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