Prayers Needed For My Obesity-Battling Brother Kevin, Given One Year To Live
Posted Aug 24 2008 3:02pm
Are these the final days of my brother Kevin's life?
My heart is very heavy and saddened today with even more grim news about my only full-blooded brother named Kevin. I just blogged about him two weeks ago with an update on his weight and health , but I received some news this week that doesn't sound good at all. The doctors have basically given Kevin one year to live. His morbid obesity, despite his recent efforts to bring it under control, has become too much of a burden on his struggling heart and now it's only a matter of time.
For those readers who haven't heard about the history behind my brother Kevin's before, he suffered three straight heart attacks at the age of 32 back in 1999 that nearly killed him primarily from his poor eating habits which ballooned him into morbid obesity. He and I both had struggled with this most of our lives and it was this event that really got me to thinking about my own health and led me to make the necessary changes in my life to prevent this from happening to me, too. Kevin's heart function got down to 15% and he was told to lose weight or die before the age of 40.
Here are some blog posts about Kevin I have previously written:
Well, today Kevin is 40 (he will turn 41 on August 22nd if he survives that long) and still weighs upwards of 350 or so pounds. He's been on and off various diets the past few years, including stints on low-carb and most recently his cardiologist's highly-recommended low-fat, low-salt, low-cholesterol, and HIGH-CARB diet. UGH! It's disappointing and frustrating to see my own brother, who also has Type 2 diabetes, doing this to himself when his health is already teetering on the brink of disaster. The way he's currently eating, it's a death trap just waiting to snatch him from us.
The fragility of Kevin's health was made abundantly apparent just two weeks ago when he had to rush himself to the hospital with major chest pains. I was just on the phone with him two hours before this happened and we were joking about how he lived halfway between two hospitals in case something ever happened. It did and this was no laughing matter. The doctors put THREE stints in his heart to open up the only remaining passageway that was unblocked providing blood to this most vital organ of them all. Three of his arteries are COMPLETELY clogged up and the other one is almost all the way blocked. It didn't look good at the time and we knew something like this could happen again at any moment.
And it did not sooner than we thought.
Kevin went home after a few days in the hospital and then he had to call an ambulance to come get him soon thereafter because he couldn't breathe and his heart felt like it was about to explode. The stints hadn't worked and they rushed him into the critical care unit to attempt yet another stint. This time, the doctor was very concerned that the blockage is just too severe and has now given Kevin less than a year to live unless something miraculous happens with his arteries. They're so clogged up now that there is really nothing the medical experts can do for him. He's just run out of time and the clock is ticking on his life.
Now, I truly believe in the great healing power of Jesus Christ to do virtually anything--including the impossible--because I've seen it time and time again in my lifetime. But at the same time I am pragmatic about things like this that happen in life too knowing that this day would be coming sooner rather than later most likely. Kevin has already lived even longer than the doctors had originally expected him to despite his failure to lose the weight as he was told to. Even still, coming to grips with the fact that my brother may not be with us much longer is a devastating blow to me and my family. But I'm ready for it whenever God wills it to take place--whether that's years, months, weeks, or even days.
I've spoken with both my mom and my dad about this and they are in the same mindset as I am. This was inevitable and we're ready for it when it does happen. I can't imagine what it's like for them to see one of their own children near his deathbed at such an early age. The pain that comes with losing a child especially in a way that was clearly preventable many years ago cannot be adequately measured. It's gonna be a sad day when Kevin leaves this world and I hope that God spares him just a little longer so we will have the chance to spend just a few more moments with him. He's truly a good man who deserves so much better than the hand life dealt him.
Kevin called me yesterday and wanted to talk to his "little bro" as he calls me. He said he's going home from the hospital today and he can't wait to get out of there. I told him how much I loved him and was praying for him through this experience. You could almost sense that he knows the end is near and it's an emotional time for all of us right now. We cherish your thoughts and prayers and offer our sincerest THANKS to all the readers at the "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" blog for staying interested in how Kevin is doing. Your notes of care and compassion have been an incredible source of encouragement to me over the past few years, so THANK YOU for your loving support.
I'll let you know if anything else changes for the better or for the worse. In the meantime, if you could share this prayer request with your church group, we'd certainly appreciate it. When the good Lord decides to take Kevin home, I pray even now that we can find peace in the midst of the pain that will come. He's still here with us and I'm gonna make the most of every moment I have left with Kevin.
6-26-08 UPDATE: I just got a call from my mom today. She said my brother Kevin went home from the hospital on Tuesday and then went back to the doctor today to see how he's doing. The physician said Kevin needs to get his affairs in order and hospice has been called in. There's nothing more they can do for him at this point.
When my half-sister Beverly who Kevin and I grew up with heard about this, she lost it. Mom was upset as I was talking to her, but pretty steady considering the gravity of this. She said it could be days or he could live as much as a few more months or a year. But it looks like Kevin's been on borrowed time for a while according to his doctor.
His physician noted that the event last week that put him in the hospital should have been the end of Kevin's life, but he's been given a little extra time for which I am thankful. I asked my mom if Christine and I need to come down to Florida to spend Kevin's last days together with him and she didn't think that was necessary since it could be months before he's gone. We have a planned trip to Durham, NC and a one-day stint in New York City coming up the week after the 4th of July and will likely drive down to Pensacola, Florida to be with Kevin and basically say goodbye.