Home » Weight Loss » The Tale of the Six Pulmonary Embolisms & The Wake Up Call

The Tale of the Six Pulmonary Embolisms & The Wake Up Call

This first part is reprinted and was written in 2010:


“Okay, last Saturday I go to my Great Nephews birthday party in Worcester. We stopped at toysrus on the way and I got out of the car to go in and by the time I made it in I was out of breath. Now, because it was single digits out I figured it was the cold air.

Sunday I laid low and still felt not myself but figured it would pass.

Monday, I walk to the laundry and when I make it there I was so winded and gasping for air that I had to wait before walking back (75 feet)

Tuesday I wake up with a cough, felt pretty week & finally got a little worried. Do I call my Dr.? No, I rest. Tuesday night, I wake up and have hard time breathing and cough-cough-cough. I start sweating and tell myself that tomorrow I will have this checked out. (In my head it is phenomena, asthma or bronchitis) (Forgive my spelling, lol)

Wednesday I wake up and can’t breathe or walk without a few feet before sitting. So Dave takes me to the emergency room. They do some tests and I wait…then the doctor comes in and lets me know that I am being taken to Baystate and admitted and the reason is multiple blood clots in my lungs. I arrive at Baystate and my breathing was getting worse (of course been on oxygen since morning) by the end of that night my breathing was really bad and my heart rate was taken a hit too.

A little while later I awaken to 5 doctors standing over me. They tell me that I had flat lined and thankfully was back but the 6 clots in my lungs-each around 5″ long were life threatening and needed to be taken care of now. I was told either I was going to go into a medically induced coma or a clot busting surgery. I chose the risky ‘clot-busters’ choice. So they prepped me for surgery and went over the risks again before I signed my life away. They went in through my groin to reach my lungs and then used this ‘high-risk’ chemical in my lungs, I had to be awake during this and hold my breath while they blasted it. They attacked each clot and then put a filter in below my heart so no more clots could seek refuge there.

After the surgery I was back in ICU, I was on ‘complete bed rest & no food at all’ and could not get out for anything. They brought my urinal to me and asked me to use it as there was a small chance the procedure could disrupt the normal flow of the intestines (and kidneys & liver as well) Being as modest as I could be I went and went…my happiness of being able to go was shattered when I looked down at my hands and container were all covered with blood. They tried to take blood in my hands and arms but they didn’t produce any good blood. They hurried and put a triple iv into my neck. They were able to get good blood from that height. They put a catheter in to stop the bleeding out of my ‘insert male anatomy term of your choice) and soon found out I had ruptured and created a second opening. 😦 They said I’ll need catheter another week and my body should realize that the second opening is not needed and close it up. I finally slept for about 2 hours before Friday arrived and the tests began again.

I realized after waking up at how well I was breathing…granted it was with oxygen…but still felt more full. My blood pressure was back to normal and amazingly the urine in my catheter was yellow! So they ran more tests and continued to give me a drug to destroy the clot that was sitting in my leg. By the end of the afternoon my breathing had almost returned to 100% and they allowed my to have a drink and order actual food.

Saturday, they came in in the morning and took one of my 3 IVs out and removed my oxygen and heart monitor and then said I would be allowed to stand and walk! I walked up and down the halls with such a huge smile on my face…a sight not normally seen on a guy with a johnny an IV and a catheter. I was able to walk out and visit my family in the visitor area and that was great as well. Early evening a guy came to remove to monster IV in my neck!

Sunday morning they let me resume my walking, did their normal tests and allowed me to shower! It was heaven! In the evening I was moved to yet another room, but each room is a step closer to the exit.”


“When you face your greatest fear, losing all that you hold near, open up your eyes my dear-oh how mercy looks from here” ~Amy Grant


Once I was released from the hospital I would carefully walk 3/4 of a mile twice a day. I was still not sure what type of long-term damage I had done to my heart and lungs. A few weeks later I had gone in for tests on my heart and had a scan on my lungs. You really can’t help but think the worse as you wait for the results. 3 days later the Doctor calls. There was NO damage to either the lungs and heart! Upon hearing that news I immediately upped my walking to 1 1/2 miles, twice a day. 

My eating habits were improving, if it wasn’t whole grain it didn’t get purchased. The weight was coming off slowly and I kept reading and studying food and diets and tried to make sense of it all. I began drinking green tea, which I wasn’t a fan of but the benefits of it were worth it. A few months into it I went for a 60 day check up and had lost 40 lbs. (that put me at 471, as my hospital weight had been 511)

I kept walking and increased my water drinking and drank less Diet Coke (I drank over a 2 liter bottle a day, in my head it was calorie free so it couldn’t be bad for me, right?) I lost a little more weight and come that October the loss had slowed down to only 1 or 2 lbs a week.

“It takes a little time sometimes To get your feet back on the ground It takes a little time sometimes To get the titanic turned back around It takes a little time sometimes But baby you’re not going down It takes more than you’ve got right now Give it time” ~ Amy Grant

The week before thanksgiving my roommate and I decided that reducing my carb intake would probably be the key to kicking my loss into high gear. So I stopped eating bread, potatoes and pasta and started a ‘treat day’ where one day a week I could have a meal of ANYTHING that I had been craving. I went to the Doctors 1 week after thanksgiving and had lost 15 lbs in a little over 2 weeks!

I made a pact with myself that the only way I would have any diet soda was when I had had my 8 glasses of water and a quart of green tea. By the time may arrived, which was 6 months of low carb I had lost 80 lbs, which meant for the first time in a long time I was under 400 lbs!

I continued walking, increased my 1 1/2  mile walks to 3 or 4 times per day. I introduced almonds into my diet, to eat in between meals if I felt hungry.

August came and I could walk the 1 1/2  miles pretty fast and now even get winded. I upped it to 2 miles and set a time as I left the driveway seeing if I could beat my best time.

That November when I want to the Doctors for the checkup I had lost another 65 lbs, which meant I was still over 300, but I could deal with that!

One of my New Years resolutions was to drop my Diet Coke drinking to one 2 liter per week, so I did. I also wanted to add flax seed to my diet; the Omega 3 was something I knew I wasn’t getting enough of.

My other New Years resolution was to join a gym. That may I finally got health insurance again and in June I joined the gym. I had session with the trainer to set up a routine and make sure I understood what I was doing. (I’d spent more time at hospital that I had gyms, so I was a NEWB, lol)

I began drinking more water and decided that I would drop drinking soda completely. So in July I had my last sip of Diet Coke and said goodbye to it. For the record, I DON’T miss it AT ALL!

I averaged 3 days a week going to the gym. 2 days working on upper body and 1 day lower body. If I do go a 4th day I do both upper and lower.

I lost another 55 lbs by this January; putting me at 235 at last weigh-in. I have been putting on muscle and some weeks up an lb and some week down an lb, etc.

I’m still a work in progress, but each day I am closer to reaching my goal.

In early 2013 I joined an awesome site called Fitocracy. It is a social media but with health and diet and excersize being the focus. I had been posting status updates to Facebook and felt that I was ‘one of them’ that hogged the feeds. <g> I had shared this blog on fito and began a Facebook page.

1/10: Weight 511 lbs, shirt size 5 XL, pant size 64

9/13: Weight 209 lbs, shirt size L, pant size 38

Thanks for reading!

Les S.



12 thoughts on “The Tale of the Six Pulmonary Embolisms & The Wake Up Call

  1. What an uplifting story! You’re almost disappearing now though, so maybe it’s time to build some muscle and make it more of Les. 😉

  2. So inspiring- thank you for sharing your story! Did most of the weight loss come from walking? Would you mind sharing your exercise routine? Thanks again!

    • Yes, the first 2 years came from walking and calorie reduction. For the last year I have been walking and doing the gym. (Exercise machines) eventually I’ll move on to dumbbells when I am confident I won’t look like one. I’ve been trying to hit all my muscle groups, sometimes all in one day ( when I know I won’t be able to get back there for a few) and other times just focusing on upper or lower.

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