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The Amazing Shrinking Man - Cyclelicious

The Amazing Shrinking Man

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Saturday, February 11, 2006
By Yokota Fritz

Tom Stormcrowe is the Amazing Shrinking Man. He's amazing because he has lost 325 pounds over the past year.

I first noticed Tom over at Jill's Arctic Glass blog. I asked him about his weight loss and he filled me in on his secrets.

He started out with bariatric surgery because of his morbid obesity. Tom tells me that surgery alone isn't enough to lose the weight.
"I would have lost weight as long as I stay on the diet required, but the exercise helped me not only lose weight faster, but also helped me with self image as I watched my physical capabilities increase. Exercise is also necessary believe it or not to relieve pain initially. It stimulates the production of endorphins and helps dissipate gas pockets that form shortly after surgery. I had the roux-N-Y procedure, which is a laporoscopic procedure. Part of the procedure is to inflate the abdominal cavity with a neutral gas to give the surgeon room to work. This gas, if you lie around after surgery, causes intense pain in of all places, your left shoulder and the only way to ease the pain is to get up and move around to dissipate the bubble."

Why cycling?
"I've tried everything, walking was too painfull, cycling was easier on my knees and a whole lot more fun. I was in pretty bad shape. I tried cycling because when I was much younger, I seriously enjoyed cycling. It was nothing for me to take off on a century, so I wanted to regain that capability. I really couldn't do a lot at first, I was winded and completely exhausted after 1/2 mile. I was determined to get back into life; however, and kept at it. Swimming would have been a good alternative as well as far as low impact, but I couldn't afford to get a membership anywhere. It was a hardship even buying a used bike!

"Cycling has helped me get healthier by helping me drop the weight, in addition to the surgery, along with giving me a tangible feeling of accomplishment. In losing the weight, among other benefits, I am off insulin and diet regulated as far as Diabetes goes. The exercise has helped bring my blood pressure down to normal range with no medication when before, I was holding the bottom end of high blood pressure through medication. In addition, my at rest heart rate is now down in the 60's and 70's from 109. I still have an enlarged heart, but the pumping action has gotten FAR better, I formerly had an outflow fraction of about 68%, and my heart efficiency has increased dramatically. I am also off of Oxygen except for night time use as I still have apnea, so I use oxygen and a Bipap when I sleep still. This is soon to be reevaluated, however. I had a blood oxygen saturation of 68% off of oxygen and had a rough time getting it above 82-85% even at 10 liters of Oxygen/minute. I am currently holding 97% at rest and 85%+ under stress(exercise). I can hold my heart rate at 180 for 30 minutes under exercise without discomfort as well. Before my surgery, I was only able to walk about 40-50 feet without extreme discomfort and chest pain. These are all direct results of the aerobic exercise cycling offers me. My peak weight was 581 pounds and I am currently at 260.

"I've definately learned the principle of 'No pain, no gain.' At first, it was discouraging when it hurt, but you get past that, and the feeling you get from pushing past another barrier is the best feeling on Earth.....BAR NONE! It's kind of like Zen to me, I get lost in the ride and get outside my body, and the next thing I realize, I'm 15-20 miles into the ride and feeling pretty good. I'm not the fastest rider in town, but I am steady! I've gone from a 5 mph pace being all I could do for a half mile at a time to 14-16 mph pace for the day! This is on a mountain bike converted to road, by the way, as I felt the mountain bike would hold up to me better with the heavier components. It boils down to the fact I wanted to stay alive as a reason I went through all this!"

Tom continues to chronicle his efforts and achievements at his blog, "The Amazing Shrinking Man." He's an amazingly positive individual and I'm glad he's blogging.

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Thanks for the kind words! Have a great one Fritz! Jill told me aboutnthe article here coming out!
T is an amazing shrinking man!! I met him a short while back when rolling through some blogs and have been visiting his site ever since. It is wonderful to watch a person like Tom, who is young and intelligent, and his great sense of humor brings out the best in any situation.
He is truly a gift and an inspiration to anyone who struggles with physcial or mental difficulties!
He IS my hero!!
Hi! I am Motherstormcrowe and have seen first hand the fall and rise of T. Stormcrowe. Last March, T was at death's door, the last chance for him was bariatric surgery. It took great courage on his part to go through with the surgery knowing the great risk of even having the surgery. With a great deal of prayer circling in the OR, T came through and after the first iffy 24 hours, surgery was deemed a success. T is my hero also, because he has stuck through through thick and thin - no pun intended. His 325 pound weight loss is phenomenal especially for his pudgy mother who has had a log of trouble losing 16 pounds and riding a bike around the block! I am so proud of him.
This man is a testament to faith in one's self! I feel pumped up everytime I visit his blog and read about his progress. He's a great role model for folks in his former condition and those who've gone through similar surgery and weight loss. He should be telling his story on Oprah! :)
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