3 years ago today
3 years ago today my life started a new chapter, I was getting fatter and fatter. I had started to get bloated and breathless and it got worst and worst, I felt tired all the time. Before I arrived to Thailand I kept fit and was skinny, it was only after a few years here that Pattaya took its toll as usual.
I had lived in sattahip for 6 years, to avoid the pitfalls of Pattaya, but I was still drinking heavy around 3 times a week, one of the nights was to make money, the other night was networking and any other nights were just fun. I was no angel, I drank for 12 hours and seemed to out drink everyone.
I got so tired and fed up and bloated that i became 136 kg. On sullys birthday 5th of April 3 years ago I had my last night drinking, I woke up on the 6th and said to my wife, I need to stop drinking, stop smoking (only did when i was drunk) and I needed to get fit, but there are a million parties in Pattaya and its very tough to stop drinking because of the demand to go out, I don’t have a problem not drinking at home or away from Pattaya.
I woke up sick, bloated and tired. I decided the only way I could sort myself out was to go to a health detox resort in Koh Phangan, basically its an 11 day fast. I dropped my kid off in Korat, took my wife with me and we stopped near Hua Hin. Amazingly my wife agreed to do it with me and be by my side, she lasted the full 11 days of no food, there was no Thai that went there that lasted more than 1 day lol. My problems were getting worst and I could barely walk!
Here is what I looked like the day i arrived on Koh Phangan
As i started 11 day my fast (one carrot juice per day only) my breathing got a little better but i still felt like i was about to drop dead! After 11 days I had lost a lot of bloating but my breathing was still bad. During my stay I did liver function tests and all normal. I was worried about the binge drinking. The fast reset my body and I started eating healthy food again, when you starve like that even vegetables start to look tasty!
When I returned to Pattaya I checked my liver on the ultrasound, thickened gallbladder but liver was ok. The doctor said stop drinking for a month and the thickened gallbladder will be gone, this was a great excuse to stop drinking. I always felt pressured to drink alcohol in Pattaya and I needed an excuse so people would leave me alone, but it was a genuine reason. I no longer have a weak mind thanks to not drinking and working on my personality. When you stop drinking you start to reflect on all the alcohol fueled bad decisions, arguments with my wife, i was deeply ashamed of it all.
I continued with my ketosis diet and staying off the drink, but as I started to eat normal food again my breathing got worst, I thought what the hell is happening to my breathing! I tried going on a nebuliser, I tried running as fast as i could despite barely unable to walk up the stairs, i was going to the gym twice a day, i wanted to fight it but I was losing. I hate losing and my fitness was getting worst and worst. Little did i know it was a very bad idea doing all that.
One day I went to the doctors to complain about my lungs again (many people confuse heart symptoms with lungs) I had done lots of research (sometimes 12 hours a day) and I couldn’t understand what was going on. The doctor gave me an EKG and immediately said go straight to hospital. I went straight to Bangkok Pattaya and they did an echocardiogram and said he thinks some pipes are blocked, he said its going to cost 300k approximately to fix, i had no money and no insurance, well at least not that sort of money. They tried to keep me in hospital saying I could die at home, but i didn’t want to get sucked in, they would have kept me in a month and threw every test at me, it would have cost 1-1.5m baht if i followed their advice. I came back the next day for a heart catheter, where they shove a tube up the vein in your groin up into your heart. It was weird being naked with 3 Thai girls but not doing anything lol.
The heart catheter was bad news, there was no blockage, it was heart failure at that moment, (diagnosed as myocarditis) my heart wasn’t strong enough to pump so fluid gets dumped off and i was gaining weight. He said i had a 33% chance of dying, 33% chance of it slowly getting worst and a 33% chance I will improve. My wife was upset and i felt sorry looking at my kid playing around me, my life flashed before me. I went home with some tablets and decided to rethink, on the same day as this bad news I was told we lost 4 houses due to bank not giving us a loan, so we were going to lose 400k and all the effort we put in. (But I sorted that out later.) I also realised that all my drinking friends were just that and I do not blame them because that’s life, my solid real friends were there for me. But everyone assumes i don’t need/want help, well they are right but occasionally the offer would have been nice. When shit hits the fan, the lights come on and the party is over, your drinking friends have no use for you and they don’t want to face reality and I don’t blame them, the last thing they want is go to a hospital and worry about there our problems after. Now i am sober 247 I only have solid relationships.
I went home with a bunch of tablets and I couldn’t rest, I needed to fight this, I needed more opinions, i needed more care, i needed to tie up lose ends, I was motivated but i was told to rest as much as I could. I went to Sattahip hospital and they said the heart doctor comes every Thursday, I cant accept that, so i went to Bumrungrad in Bangkok, in my opinion the top hospital or at least top 2 or 3. By this time i was getting worst and worst, the doctor at BKK pattaya had put me on beta blockers and I was getting worst and worst. That was a bad decision, he had also told me to come back in 6 weeks, I think he sent me off to die because i said i didn’t have too much money. Besides he should be doing blood tests to check my kidney function because of the diuretics i was taking.
The doctors at Bumrungrad refered me to a heart physio therapist, I was skeptical but it was the best thing that could have happened, they gave me exercise targets, using pulse meters. I had an exercise plan and I went to bangkok every week for them to check over the space of 6 months, i was slowly making improvements with all my efforts.
After a year of battling my heart problem ( took me 8 months of that to lose 40 kg) my heart was now 100% again, ok its not as good as before but its within normal parameters. I stopped all the medicines and within a week I was barely able to walk, the water had come back, the heart doctor said its not your heart now, its coming from somewhere else, so the doctor referred me to a lung doctor and he looked at my chest with an xray and he said its ok, but it looks like i had TB before. He said the water much be coming from below and he sent me to a liver doctor and i was told i had the tests said i had portal hypertension and heavy fibrosis possibly cirrhosis. I wasn’t very happy at all and over the years i had lots of hospital visits and lots of bad news, I am normally silent for a few hours and think heavily, the next morning i am full of energy and ready to fight again. I don’t want to bore people with some of the hospital visits or problems, i am just talking in general about the big things that happened to me. I cant even to big to describe the anger and frustration I felt, it really wears you down, pain after pain from procedures and you start to get fed up of it lol
The doctors couldn’t prove I had TB before, (they drained my lungs and tested the fluid also ) and they think TB was what destroyed my liver. Normally people die from this and they find out after. So a difficult decision was made, 9 months of liver raping antibiotics was prescribed, we were unsure if my liver could tolerate it but I was ok. I was (and still ) battling my ascites (water problem), just a little bit of sodium and it comes back then I can’t breath again!
My liver improved when I took the TB meds and my function came back to normal, I went to 11 hospitals including one in the UK to get answers and to get fixed, i tried acupuncture, Chinese medicine. No one can fix cirrhosis, every doctor says its cirrhosis but my doctor over seeing me is an associate professor and is arguably the best in Thailand. (educated in Liverpool) he refuses to say its cirrhosis, he says its border line fibrosis/cirrosis and it may or may not get better, cirrhosis is a progressive disease in some cases, but luckily I am not one of them. I’ve been waiting almost 2 years after diagnosis and my liver physically has improved alot (its not bumpy like an alcoholic liver, its smooth and enlarged but damaged inside) but I feel it might be a few more years to get fixed. (wishful thinking but i need hope) I am just hoping its fibrosis and not cirrhosis. Some doctors are saying that my cirrhosis was caused by heart failure, because it caused liver congestion. But one thing i can say to all the people saying it was alcohol that did it, i have a ultrasound scan and results from 3 years ago. (one month after i stopped drinking) and my liver was ok then.
The best thing about being sick was becoming hugely driven, tying up lose ends, having a perfect reason why I cant drink alcohol. I can only name 2 people that have tried to talk me into drinking, i was very open about all my problems on my facebook and it made it easier for people to understand. I had alot of time at home, i didn’t feel strong enough to go out most of the time, i got alot of support from our soi 6 team and not one person complained about my lack of help. I had many other associated problems like a hernia caused by the water pressure and probably muay thai kicks didnt help.
I’ve had some very painful procedures done, like draining off fluid from lungs 4 times, fluid draining from stomach, I had water go into one of my balls I think and I was in absolute agony, (i call it suicide pain) I’ve avoided pain killers due to my liver being sick. At one stage i was so pissed off and frustrated that i couldn’t even exercise and i went to a learn Thai school and did 5-7 hours per day private lessons. I felt like i was making progress again and was happier. I was still able to expand our business during all this, i just wasnt able to hang out and do too much.
I have tried to be short because its a big story, now today I am alot fitter, train very often and I have started stem cell therapy, maybe it will or wont work, I have to keep fighting. The trick is to stamp on every problem quickly, research all day, shop around, become your own doctor. (i mean you see many doctors but you need to know everything going on) These things can spiral out of control, if i never see the heart physio therapist then im not sure if i would have made it.
Some photos of me after I lost most of the fat.
I train muay Thai 3-6 times a week, western boxing 1-2 times a week, i jog every 2nd day and I am starting lifting some weights.
The benefits of stopping binge drinking is I have more free time, i went out 3 times a week, 12 hours each time, plus next days being useless. I am now available 247, cognizant 247, feel strong and fresh. I have also become a better husband, better father and a better boss. I also get alot more respect from people for staying sober, which is hard in a town like this. When i think back my drinking used up 50 hours a week, now that time goes into work. This is why we are expanding so fast because I have more time to do my thing and more time for different projects.
I am no longer worried about how many years I have left, providing I look after myself and i don’t get any complications I think i will be fine, but now i am more aware of things, i get more checks and i will never ignore problems ever again, I worked in a hospital before and i found most people ended up in there by neglecting a health problem. Its much easier to nip it in the bud or things spiral out of control, i am also a strong believer of keeping a purpose, keep moving, don’t give up and end up staying in bed, keep that energy flowing. If a doctor says you cannot do something that needs doing, go elsewhere. 2 or 3 doctors refused to fix my hernia because of my ascites, so i went to more hospitals until i found a doctor that will do it, if i didn’t do this my hernia may have got worst and created more danger for me. I stamped that fire out.
Thats my health stuff and personal development over the last 3 years.