Journal entry, 4-1-06
Great News!!! I am down to 339 lbs as of today
Today we got up at 7 am. We are to meet the 60 minute crew at 8:30 am. After we showered and got dressed it was
going on 8:30 when the crew showed up. We rode to the edge of town and filmed me walking, retracing some of the
road that I had walked earlier. We did several takes of this. Then we drove to the Walbash Bridge that I had crossed
when I came into Indiana. We filmed there for several hours and then we went down by the river where they filmed
Cheryl and me by the water. That lasted for about an hour or so. Then we all drove back to Montgomery, Indiana
where we filmed the last segment.
I want to mention that they were very nice and I was very happy to do the film for them. I told them if it helps bring
attention to Obesity in their country, and maybe help someone to lose weight, then it was worth all the time that I
invested making the documentary. We wrapped up the filming at around 3 pm and they left.
I can tell you it always is hard to say goodbye to people when you get to know them. I can say that after filming for 2
days, Cheryl and I got to know them pretty good. I want to thank you guys for being so professional and being so nice
to us. We will not forget you guys.
After that Cheryl and I went on into Bedford, Indiana. The weather turned terrible so we decided to stay in a Motel
again. It ended up being terrible weather for two days with tornadoes and a lot of rain. I will up date you on the
events that took place soon.
Now for the shocker. I have been keeping a secret about my health because I did not want the public to find
out. I did not need the added pressure from everyone telling me that I could or should not do this walk. I have talked
with my Doctor and he said it is okay to bring out my medical problems and he would be more than happy to explain
things to the media. My Doctor is Dr. Maged Haikal, a Cardiologist from St. Lukes Hospital in St. Louis, Mo.
I have had congestive heart failure now for 5 years. My heart is enlarged (nearly twice the size as normal) and I am a
diabetic. I take 9 different medications for my conditions. I also had a heart attack about 7 years ago.
My Doctor told me to walk 20 minutes a day 3 times a day for exercise. I was also told not to lift more than 20 lbs.
When I was told this over 3 years ago I felt that my life was over. So I made up my mind that I was going to die. Then
3.5 months ago I decided to began this journey even if it would kill me because it would be better to die trying to lose
weight as to just wait to die without trying.
Now 41 lbs lighter and able to walk 12 - 14 miles a day carrying 50 lbs and my health improving everyday, my Doctor
gave me a green light to continue walking like this and is very excited about my progress. He had to adjust my
medicine because I don't need as much anymore.
Now I am confident that I will be able to complete my walk no matter what others may think. I do not recommend
everyone on medication to do what I am doing because it was a big risk for me to take.
I will stay focused on what I am doing and stay in the guide lines of what my Doctor tells me. I hope you folks
understand why I felt a need for keeping this under wraps. Take care everyone, Gary, "Keep on Walking, one foot in
front of the other."
Journal entry, 4-14-06
I would like to apologize for not updating my journal now for some time. I know many readers are very interested
about my journey and want to know how I am doing, so I will bring everyone up to date now.
When Cheryl came down for the 60 minute filming the weather got very bad. For several days it rained nearly non
stop and the tornadoes were all over. I thought that might be a great opportunity to go back to St. Louis and see my
Cardiologist. I had been talking with him many times over the phone but he insisted that I come back in for an exam.
The reason that I have been in contact with him and seeing him was so important is because as I continued my
journey an irregular heart beat that I've had for 2 years started getting worse. It seemed to get worse each day that I
walked. I have been on medication for this condition and it has been under control up until now. That is why I went to
get a check up in Olney, Illinois. Dr. Haikal, my Cardiologist from St. Louis, wanted me to get blood work done so he
could determine if my potassium level was normal. After the exam I was put on a higher dose of potassium. That
seemed to help but did not stop the condition. So when the bad weather kicked in and the opportunity was there, I
felt it might be a good time to go back and see Dr. Haikal.
When I got back to St. Louis it took a few days for Dr. Haikal to see me. An appointment would have taken several
weeks but he wanted to see me so he squeezed me in. After a check up he adjusted my medication again to see if
that would help the condition. After about a week I went to St. Lukes Emergency Care Center in Fenton to get an
EKG and more blood work for Dr. Haikal. There I was seen by Dr. Edward Buschmiller who had worked with Cheryl for
several years in the emergency room at St. Lukes Hospital. After an EKG and exam I was assured that my condition
wasn't life threatening and I could continue my journey. I really enjoyed meeting everyone there.
Dr. Haikal did another adjustment to my medication and now I am set to continue my journey. I feel that with these
Doctors that really go out of their way to help me, I can count on their help as I need it throughout my journey. I want
to thank them from the bottom of my heart for all their efforts to ensure that I receive the best medical care possible.
As I continue my journey I will keep you updated on my condition. Being reassured that my condition is not life
threatening makes a big difference. I want to make it clear again that I aim to finish this journey. I will not stop until
this fat is gone and I return to St. Louis to walk under the Arch. I appreciate all the prayers that go out for me across
the world. I pray that God gives me the health and strength to finish this walk. I have accepted Jesus as my personal
saviour and I am not afraid to die. I can honestly say that I feel he is with me every step of this journey. I also feel
that as my weight goes down my health will continue to improve and my condition will as well.
As far as the diabetes and congestive heart failure, I don't need much medication anymore for this. It seems the
walking has brought these pretty much under control. I do check my blood sugar level and my blood pressure about
3 times a day. As far as the enlarged heart is concerned, it has been no problem at all. As far as I am concerned it is
just more heart to love everyone with.
Also for some more great news. I received an email from Nick Young, owner of the St. Louis Fitness Center. He
pledged 6 months of personal training for Cheryl and myself when I am done with my walk. He said that he was happy
to do this because of what I am doing to bring attention to obesity in America.
Their Website is:www.stlfit.com
Cheryl is looking forward to getting in there. I will be looking forward to doing it when I get back from my walk. I will
give you folks updates as to Cheryl's progress.
Many people have asked me if I could sell something like a hat or tee shirt so they can help support me. So Cheryl
has opened an online gift store called "Cheryl's Gift Gallery." The website is: www.cherylsgiftgallery.com
All profits from the sell of items on her website will go to help support me on my journey walking across America.
So there you have it. Take care all, Gary, "Keep on Walking, one foot in front of the other."
Dr. Maged Haikal, My Cardiologist
from St. Louis, Mo. He is the Chief
Cardiologist at St. Lukes Hospital. Dr
Haikal is renowned as one of the best
Cardiologist in the Country
Dr. Edward Buschmiller,
Karen Ellis, Rn and Dana
Strategier, Rn at St.
Lukes Emergency Care
Center in Fenton, Mo
Nick Young, owner of the
St. Louis Fittness Center