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Nine Toe Joe

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Anyone who follows me knows that I write a personal blog at, where I share the daily trials and tribulations of my weight loss journey. The blog I'm sharing here is very personal and I'm debating whether I want to post on my personal website. It's about my dad. He's struggled with his weight his whole life and as a result, he has multiple medical conditions including diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, congestive heart failure and a multitude of other issues. He's been non-compliant with his treatment for years. I've been frustrated with him and in truth, I was afraid that one day I would turn out the exact same way. I would love to hear your thoughts on it and whether you think it's appropriate to share with the masses. Thanks for reading!

I grew up on a tiny street in Brooklyn, NY across from Teena’s Bakery. From my perspective, Teena was the Willy Wonka of the pastry world. She could create the most delicious and decadent desserts that you could ever imagine. Walking into Teena’s was like walking into a paradise of pastries, cookies, cakes and other sinful desserts. There was no place like it. The smell of butter, sugar and chocolate wafted through the air and hit you like a wall before you even opened the door. However, when you did - you couldn’t help but smile as the smell was so divine.

My dad loved Teena’s. He was friendly with Teena and her husband and would stop by the bakery on his way home from work most nights as every dinner called for dessert afterwards. Marie Antoinette would have loved our house - as we always ate cake - no matter the circumstances. I would often see my dad sitting at the kitchen table, drinking coffee and devouring something from a Teena’s cake box. At the time I didn’t know it, but my dad was an emotional eater. He didn’t cope well with stress so he chose to eat it.

His pattern of behavior continued year after year until he developed several complex and serious health conditions. The fact that he was a smoker, didn’t help his cause either. However, my dad, Mr. Invincible, rarely heeded his treatment plans. He continued to smoke, eat sweets and live a relatively sedentary lifestyle.

Writing this blog isn’t easy - and there is a part of me that feels really guilty about writing it because I feel like it’s a violation of his privacy.

At the same time, I feel like I have the right to share my thoughts and feelings without sharing the specifics about his health or his personal health information. I’m opting for the latter knowing that he’s not going to read this and ultimately, I don’t think that he would mind my sharing it.

My dads non-compliance and sedentary lifestyle caught up with him recently. He developed a complication that resulted in his having a toe amputated. Ultimately, it was only a toe - not a few toes, not a foot and not a leg. That’s the good news. However, just hearing that he was losing a toe made my break into tears. I had a lot of emotions and thoughts flying through my head.

I was worried about him - he has a cluster of medical conditions and I was afraid that he would not survive the surgery. I thought that this was the beginning of the end and I was not ready to say good-bye.

I was angry that he let himself get to this place. If he had taken better care of himself he wouldn’t be in this position. There was a part of me that didn’t want to understand why he couldn’t stop smoking or eating sweets or….but I did understand his struggles. I knew how hard it was. When I was overweight, I was on medication for a variety of issues: high blood pressure, high cholesterol and a few others. At the time, I was in denial- even though I was overweight and knew that I had to do something about my health, I didn’t.

I was concerned that even after the surgery, he would continue to be non-compliant which would result in more surgeries, more complications, more issues.

I also felt sad. I just felt sad for his loss and what he was going to have to go through. This wasn’t going to be easy for him and I felt awful that he had to go through it.

I guess my thought is that the struggle is inevitable. You either struggle to get yourself to lose the weight and get healthy, or you struggle to get back to health after your diagnosed, hospitalized or have a major health event. Which would you prefer?

My dad is a wonderful man and I want him to live a very long and happy life. I love him dearly and wish that he would have taken better care of himself. The good news is that he has the opportunity to make changes now. My hope is that he does.

Bee healthy. Bee happy.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Your story might be the one to inspire another to be compliant and save a life. Some will never change but maybe just one might!
    1456 days ago
    Prayers to you and your Dad. I would tell your Dad how you feel.

    Cheers to you for learning from his mistakes. emoticon
    1456 days ago
    Prayers for you dad. He is struggling just like the rest of us. Hopefully he will realize what he needs to do. We know how hard it is. If he could just start out with baby steps in the right direction it would help.
    1456 days ago
    OH I think this is a totally poignant blog. I think your message something everyone needs to think about. We ALL have to choose our "hard". Is it harder to change our lifestyle to be healthy OR live with the consequences of NOT adjusting our lifestyle.
    1456 days ago
  • no profile photo CD11276677
    I was born in Brooklyn. My husband sounds a lot like your dad. Doing whatever he wants to do instead of following dr's orders.
    1456 days ago
  • 1958TMC
    Part3) My dad smoked heavily for 65 years. Even as he was on oxygen full time, even as he was dying from lung cancer, even though I begged him to quit, he smoked up until 2 days before passing away.
    1456 days ago
  • 1958TMC
    Part 2) Maybe Dad doesn't really have the knowledge to change in way that he needs to. The older generation,especially, are most generally the folks who are not going to change their lifestyle.
    1456 days ago
  • 1958TMC
    Why don't you let Dad read what you just wrote, as it comes straight from your heart. Also take into consideration that for some people, for different reasons, are not acceptable to change.
    1456 days ago
    You may discuss it with him, it really isn't his story, it is how you feel. Many of us have been non compliant, or have spouses that are.

    My dad was a severe diabetic, and I would try to "help" him. He would get mad, and tell me that he would rather die. Eventually he did, at 76. I will miss him forever, but as I walk by the package of Oreo cookies, I always remember his, as that was his kryptonite.

    Just enjoy the time you have with him. How he lives is his choice, but let him know how much he means to you.

    1456 days ago
    I think it's fine to post, BUT I would definitely get his ok. I'm glad he seems to be doing better!
    1456 days ago
  • _BABE_
    Living with your dad is your story so I would share.
    1456 days ago
    I hope your dad will come to realize he needs to make changes to better his health. You're a good daughter for caring so much about him. emoticon
    1456 days ago
    I am sorry to hear of your father's struggles. You are correct, it is better to learn from his mistakes and take control of your issues now before they become more grave. You can do it. One day at a time. emoticon Prayers to you and your family emoticon
    1456 days ago
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