A weighty issue

Vivian Blevins - Contributing Columnist

What would be the impact on you and those you know if you lost 60 pounds in five months?

Research shows that weight loss of that magnitude gives the person little time to adjust, to make adaptations. Comments from friends range from. “What’s wrong? Are you sick? Are you going to be all right?” to “What is your secret? How did you do this? I need to lose weight, too.”

It’s so difficult for those asking the questions to be told that there was no weight loss surgery, no liquid diet, and no magic pill. When they learn it was diet modification and exercise, they are discouraged as they seek an easy solution.

What is the motivation for all that exercise and dietary changes? Try open-heart surgery.

Jim Copes, my longtime friend and former student, retired 10th grade English teacher and director of drama at Tecumseh High School — currently an exemplary photographer for Ohio newspapers as well as a volunteer photographer at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Museum — and I were talking one night about session two of his course in digital photography for national telecom employees.

He indicated that he didn’t feel well and my response was, ”Get to the nearest hospital, and I’ll teach your class tonight.”

When he entered Springfield Regional Medical Center and asked, “How do I sign in?” he was told , “Take a seat.”

His response was, “I think I’m having a heart attack.”

That changed everything, and before he knew it, he was on a gurney and hooked up to monitors. Tests followed. A cardiologist was called in, and he was scheduled for open-heart surgery within two days.

He wondered about the competence of his surgeon and was told that when a U.S. president is in Ohio, this surgeon is always on call.

Assured, he put his life in the hands of God — and the surgeon — and underwent the surgery.

During that whirlwind week, he says that at 6’2” and hitting close to 300 pounds, he was told he needed to lose 80 pounds. Copes says, “There’s nothing like open- heart surgery to motivate you to lose weight.”

His physicians tell him that he is a model patient, that few lose the weight they need to lose, few modify their behavior in terms of use of tobacco products or stress reduction.

The February/March 2016 edition of ARRP, the world’s largest-circulation magazine, reports in a feature “How To Survive Your First Heart Attack” that “Every 34 seconds, someone in the U.S. has a heart attack” and “Every 60 seconds, someone dies of one.”

Early intervention means less damage to the heart, and yet we find ourselves saying that our discomfort is coming from indigestion or a pulled muscle from a recent exercise session. Denial can mean death or a seriously-compromised life.

There are so many positives to weight loss: elimination of sleep apnea or diabetes or less pressure on the back and knees. There are negatives as well with mood changes, loose skin, or inability to see yourself as a person of normal size.

Only you can make a decision about your health. We’ve always known this, but today, I wanted to share a success story. Jim Copes is a model of success. He’s back to running hard to make amazing photographs of athletes, aircraft, and nature. What a great new life!


Vivian Blevins

Contributing Columnist

Vivian Blevins is a consultant for the Training Solutions Group Inc. who teaches courses in writing and literature for major telecom company employees. Reach her at (937) 778-3815 or [email protected]

Vivian Blevins is a consultant for the Training Solutions Group Inc. who teaches courses in writing and literature for major telecom company employees. Reach her at (937) 778-3815 or [email protected]


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