It’s Been a While…the journey to a healthier CRMHobbit

As the title of this blog post states, it has been quite a while since my last blog post. The mission of this blog has always been to share my experiences with Microsoft Dynamics CRM with the community. Unfortunately, a number of issues have prevented me from fulfilling that mission. First, like many of you, I was working well over 70 hours a week on a major CRM implementation. Second, I was not the most health conscious little Hobbit. I mean, it is customary for a Hobbit to have breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner and supper.

However, that did not fare well on my health. Last November, I began getting short of breath when playing with my daughter or going up the stairs. My weight at that point was 206 lbs…and I was pretty much sedentary. I only ran if someone was chasing me! Soon later, the shortness of breath was accompanied by a tingling feeling in my shoulder, then arm, then jaw. It was at this point I went to the doctor. After months of tests and more tests, it was determined that I had over a 95% blockage of one of my arteries. I was headed for what my new cardiologist called “The Widowmaker”.

Obviously, at this point, I was MORE than willing to change my eating and exercise habits. Sadly, before I could exercise, I had to have a procedure to insert a coronary stent in that artery to remove the blockage. Immediately after the procedure, I could feel the difference. After about a week, I began the road back to better health. Several years ago, I had really enjoyed endurance running and seemed to actually be good at it. I made a goal for myself that I would once again run a half marathon distance and lose 50 pounds. My cardiologist recommended that I avoid eating meat for the first 30 days after my procedure and focus on a plant based diet. I read a book Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrmann and started my 30 days without meat of any kind…a first for me. I didn’t really eat a lot of red meat historically, but I REALLY enjoyed chicken, turkey, pork and the occasional seafood.

As I looked at the calendar to map out when my 30 days would be over, I noticed that week two fell right on the week of Convergence 2013 in of all places…New Orleans. Fantastic, I thought. Bourbon Street, some of the best restaurants in the world, every possible Dynamics CRM partner having a party…and “stent boy” has to eat like a rabbit. Well, I vented about my plight to my colleague and best friend that a guy could have, Brian Balboni. Affirming my last statement, he volunteers to join me in being a vegetarian for the week and forego all of the wonderful food that N’awlins offers. We get to the hotel the day we arrive and wouldn’t you know it, we are right across the street from Luke…one of John Besh’s restaurants. It was killing me. I am a big fan of John Besh and his cooking and here I am in walking distance…and I can have salad. One of the tenants of Eat to Live is a 90/10 proportion of plant to animal based diet. I didn’t go the full 10%, but I did go to Luke…and I did have the Shrimp and Grits (which were AMAZING), but I also had a great spinach salad. Other than that, I was a strict vegetarian on that trip…well 90% of one. J

The last day of Convergence, I had noticed that my left hand was feeling a bit puffy…I didn’t really pay any attention to it until we were at dinner before the final night concert with Matchbox Twenty. During dinner, it started to swell even more…so I took some Benadryl, assuming it was an allergic reaction to the shellfish I had earlier in the trip. By the end of the concert, if you painted my hands white, they would have looked like Mickey Mouse gloves.

I paid a visit to the walk in clinic close to the hotel the next morning where a good ol’ country doctor gave me an epi shot and had to cut my wedding ring off my finger due to the swelling. The doctor also assumed that it was a shellfish allergy. Long story longer…after my face swelled up like a melon, the walk in clinic back home in Tampa told me it was an allergic reaction to my blood pressure medicine. Again…fantastic.

Now that all of that was behind me, I then began focusing on my health and my family. Something that I had neglected for far too long. I am happy to report that I have stayed with a vegetarian diet (well, occasionally pescetarian) and have lost a whopping 40 pounds. I have since run another half marathon and shaved a full 5 minutes off of my previous best time. I have also joined the Hitachi Solutions America CRM practice and could not be happier. I feel like I have finally found a work/life balance…and enjoy both. Actually, I don’t see my work as “work”. It has been enhanced by my new found health and happiness, enabling the pursuit of my passion in CRM.

I will be returning to more frequent blog posting and hope that you find that my posts are informative and entertaining!

Shawn…the CRMHobbit