Picture when I was 12 (left) and 16 (right). Picture from my parent’s catalog.

Life-Threatening Experiences can change your life

It’s vital

Have you wondered, I’m young and I have all these health problems, what’s the matter? It’s likely you eat poorly, lacking exercise, or you’re born with a hereditary condition. It happened to me three times. When I was overweight, had an inflamed appendix and kidney stone blockage.

My first health issue started from the moment I turned two. My family was real close to my grandparents, and there I would pick up eating habits would cause unnatural weight gain. My grandparents would tell me, “Do you want to eat more.” And of course I come back for seconds and possibly thirds. Many people joke about how they gain weight because their grandparents told them to. It isn’t funny when a disease cumulates in your body. Well, since I was a naïve child, I piled down the food, and I couldn’t stop eating. Every minute of every second I needed to eat something. Nothing I ate was healthy; I would eat chips, fries, burgers, pizza, chocolate, and many Mexican sweets; soda and juice was great too. Other members of my family partook in the terrible eating choices. Dad became incredibly overweight.

My parents controlled their eating habits, but kept on overeating. When I wake up, I eat breakfast and then pile down processed snacks till lunch and dinner came. My family and I would go to buffets, and after having a hefty portion, I still wanted to eat more. Luckily, my parents had self-control and stopped me. By the time I was 12, I weighed 200 pounds, and as much as I didn’t enjoy seeing my weight, I couldn’t stop.

When I entered my early teens, my parents would see a doctor who would examine every part of the body. Every time I went they would tell my mom, “I need to test Alexander’s blood pressure again.” No, they’re not taking blood, no way! No, I don’t have diabetes; I thought. The doctor said if I continue eating poorly I would develop a disease which can get severely worse if I do nothing about it. That statement made the back of my hairs stand up, and my blood curdle; no way wanted to get sick. From that moment, I cut down my meals. I stopped eating many snacks and drinking soda and juice. My efforts lowered my weight to 200 pounds; I weigh 240 when I lost weight.

Eating less wasn’t enough, I began to workout. I grabbed my mom’s old Tae Bo VHS’s and I started using those. I used to be active when I was younger, but running is nothing compared to Tae Bo. I did those for a while until I dropped to 180. The Tae Bo videos were fun, but I needed more of a challenge, and those 90s outfits were hard to look at. Around the time I started losing more weight, my mom began exercising; she enrolled us at a gym. At the gym I would drop another 30 pounds, putting me at 150; it’s an excellent weight for someone of my stature.

It felt great to exercise; it gave me a source of energy I never had when I was an adolescent. I exercised and ate less, but it wasn’t enough. I began developing a habit where I would eat and not eat until I’m hungry. I would starve myself for hours, and to make things worse, I still didn’t eat well. I couldn’t stomach vegetables or fruits, and I instead ate processed food. I ate many snacks and foods considered healthy or thin, but it’s only a marketing ploy to disguise as junk food, which I fell for. This habit of my would continue into my young adulthood and affect me to this very day.

Let’s backtrack to when I was 15. Even though I cut down on the junk, I enjoyed eating spicy food. When my parents made spicy food, I would increase the spiciness till the food became inedible. One day I told my mom, “I have a terrible pain on the right front of my body.” It made body thump and numb with each ache. Within a day the pain went away, and it was business as usual. In the proceeding months, the pain came back; it was worse this time. My mom took me to the doctor to check. When I arrived there, he message part of my body with the pain and asked if it hurts. Since I didn’t understand the intensity of the pain, I said it didn’t hurt.

I went to school with the pain and it only increased until I couldn’t stand. I told my mom to come get me as I couldn’t stand the agonizing pain. When I got home, I attempted to reduce the pain put kept on spiking till I starting yelling out obscenities. My mom was worried and took me to urgent care. From them I learned I had Appendicitis (an inflamed appendix). The doctors rushed me to the hospital, and on that day I had the surgery to remove my appendix. When it was all said and done, the surgeon who performed told my parents that the inflamed appendix stuck to my colon. Thankfully, the surgeon knew his trade well and secured my life. After the surgery, I heard stories of people whose appendix burst, and of people who died. If I didn’t go to urgent care that day, my appendix would’ve burst, and who knows what could’ve happened. I thought my days of surgery ended, but I was mistaken.

In 2019 (I’m 23 at the time) and I went to bathroom, you know, as you do, and I urinated blood. I was concerned, people don’t release red stream as I recall. I went to the doctor to examine my predicament. I the doctor told me I had kidney stones, and when I heard the news, my mind shut and went into orbit. How can I have kidney stones? Doesn’t it happen only to older people, I thought? I wasn’t to surprise as I continued to not eat for hours and consume processed food. My favorite processes food was granola cereal with almond milk. It’s a healthy meal, granola has plenty of nutrients as fiber, and almond milk has calcium and calcium good for the bones. Healthy, right?

The doctor asked for a kidney stone sample and set up an ultrasound. As I waited for the ultrasound, I aimed to collect a kidney stone with a round, triangular solid white plastic with a little strainer at the bottom. I couldn’t for the life of me produce a kidney stone; nothing wanted to come out. I eventually gave up trying and waiting till I got a call for an ultrasound. The ultrasound never came. I was hesitant to go to the doctor, so I played the waiting game, hoping my problem would go away. It didn’t. I still urinated blood and felt pressure in my bladder. I went to the doctor and ask for an ultrasound, and this time I got an appointment. I went to the ultrasound, and after I went for a follow up with a different doctor. The doctor I went for the follow up carefully viewed the ultrasound results and suggested I see urologist (It’s a doctor who specializes in the urinary-tract system).

I had my first appointment in January 2020 with the urologist. Upon seeing them, they suggested I get an x-ray of my bladder. When the results came in, the urologist found the answer to all my problems. I had a massive kidney stone blocking my flow, and I needed immediate surgery. At the time of the surgery, I went back to community college after years of failure, and something deadly was surging on the earth. I had my surgery late February; I stay home a week from school to recover. The surgeon told me mom who was with me I have the bladder of a 50-year-old man! That’s wonderful. For an entire month, I had a stent inserted into me, and it causes major discomfort. So discomforting, I could barely walk. It also took time to urinate properly. After the surgery, I continued to have pressure, and problem formed. Enlarged prostate is the recent problem. Man, what the hell am doing to my body?

It’s obvious why have this problem: I’ve been drinking many energy drinks because I work the graveyard shift, and I haven’t changed my eating habits. Considering my age, 25 now is a perfect time to change my habits. No one said it’s easy, but it’s possible. Currently, I changed my eating habits; I’m eating more fruits and vegetables, and stopped the energy drinks and substituted it for coffee and tea. I’m still seeing urologist to tackle my current problem until it’s solved. I have another x-ray and blood work to submit, so my visits would last possibly the rest of the year.

It wasn’t easy to change my ways, but when death was in the frame, change became the only option. If it wasn’t for these moments, I’ll probably continue my deadly habits. If you struggling with your weight or medical condition, and especially if your young, you’re not dead yet, you still have the potential to resolve it. I hope it doesn’t come to a point where your life is in danger, and if it does, may you grow from it.

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