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    Posted May 13, 2014 by
    Elmont, New York
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Your 'Aha' weight-loss moments

    I Choose to Live

    My name is Tom Firshing I am 44 and live in New York. I have been in a battle with obesity for most of my life. I started using food at a young age for comfort . I would attribute my food addiction to my fathers drug and alcohol addiction. Just as he used drugs to run from what was bothering him, I used food to run from him. Thankfully I had a great Mother and sister, but even at a young age I hated seeing anyone upset so instead of confronting anyone with a problem that might be upsetting , I would hold it in and turn to my old pal food. This carried into my teen years and as a young adult, even though my father had passed away my ways were pretty much set in stone.I managed to stay pretty active into my 20's but even still i would fluctuate between 250-320lbs . My down fall began about 10yrs ago,After many opportunities at some great jobs and always trying to take the easy way out I found myself with no job and nothing on the horizon. Following true to suit I started driving livery cars I figured that was the easiest way to go, but it soon turned into a death sentence. I was driving 12 to 16 hrs a night smoking 3 packs of cigarettes and eating fast food, a true recipe for disaster.I drove for a little over a year until I basically grew out of the car.I had no idea what i weighed at this point but I couldn't even perform simple task's, such as putting someones bag in the trunk at the airport. It wasn't long after that medical problems started occuring more often. In 2011 I found myself being rushed to the hospital with blood clots in both legs and congestive heart failure. I woke up to find a priest in the room and my mom and sister in the hallway crying and I heard the doctor say there is really nothing we can do for him at this point. Somehow by the grace of God I made it through.When I was finally alert after about a week I found out they took about 60lbs of water out of me and now i weighed 702lbs. I was truly in disbelief that i had let myself get this way. During my 45 day stay I had managed to loose 100lbs and give up the cigarettes, One doctor had told me that I would probably die if I did not go for the surgery so they were trying to get me a bed in a weight loss clinic where they prep you for bypass surgery. But in the end i choose to go home. After a few weeks home I started going back to my old ways and my mom and sister seeing this convinced me to see this doctor my sister had read about who was a heart doctor who also specialized in weight loss. This would turn out to be the turning point for me, the experience at the doctors was horrible i found out that i was back up to 642lbs and had a 78inch waist. As i sat in the lobby of the doctors, sweating and trying to catch my breath so i could make it back to the car, in walks this guy who right away looks familiar to me.He was talking to the receptionist and on his way out he stopped in front of me and says how are you my name is Chris. So i looked up and and as i was saying hello i noticed he had a UFC shirt on,Then I realized how i knew him he is a professional MMA fighter. So I said your Chris Cope I'm a fan. he basically stopped me in my tracks and said enough with that, what are you here for?We talked for ten minutes and briefly told him a little about what i was going through,at the end of our conversation he said i have one more question for you,do you want to live ,or do you want to die?I said with a tear in my eye i want to live.He asked me for my cell number then he gave me his card and said I'll talk to you soon. When he left I looked at his card and it said membership specialist and the gym he was working for. So i said to myself great just another guy looking to sign the fat guy up at the gym.So i gathered myself up and after 15mins finally made it back to the car. As we were about to leave I got a text, it was Chris making sure i got to the car okay. When we got home my mother asked how was the doctor? I said it was a disaster never even mentioning meeting Chris. I had gone to sleep that night thinking there's no hope , i was basically at the end of my rope.When I woke up the next morning I was sitting on the edge of my bed and i remember it was 9:00am exactly because i got a text and i said who the heck is texting me at 9am. I did'nt recognize the number and it said whats your address? I replied who's this? It's Chris, do you still want to live?Then send me your address.Next thing I know hes at my front door getting me out of bed and walking in the backyard. We started with 10-15 steps at a time from bench to bench. One year later I am in the gym 5 days a week and I take TRX classes 3 times a week and soon starting boxing.I have a total weight loss of 231lbs and 171lbs of that was lost in 9 months with Chris. Although i am only half way through my journey I wanted to share it hoping that i would reach at least one person who was in my position and at the end of their rope. Please choose to live, your life is worth saving , and just as I thought it was impossible and no hope, Im here to tell you there is, everyday is still a battle for me, even though I still weigh 471lbs every morning I wake up and choose to live. There is no magic pill and its not easy but you can do it. Woooooooooooo!!!!!!
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