Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Blog 020 - telling stories

Medicine is supposed to be a “scientific” endeavor, and it mostly is. But practicing medicine means also being a bit of a philosopher, a friend, a parent, an advocate, a teacher, a student, and, most important, a listener.

Telling stories is how we humans bond with one another and understand the world around us. Stories reach us in a way that other forms of communication cannot. Stories can teach us, inspire us, and either strengthen our convictions or invite us to reconsider our beliefs.

Somewhere in my medical training and practice I learned that if I listened to the stories that patients told me long enough, they would tell me what was wrong with them, and what to do about it.

I believe in the power of telling stories, and the power of listening to them.

This week on Fitness Rocks I interviewed a remarkable woman. She tells a wonderful story of strength and courage and determination to change a set of bad lifestyle habits into good ones.

Listen to what she has to say. I know you’ll find something in it that will touch you, and maybe even change you, no matter who you are, or whom you think you are.

For all of us our life is our story. We can write it better if we listen to the one’s that other people are telling.

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Monte Ladner


Dave Edwards said...

"Life Changing, changing life"

Dear Dr. Monte,

I am always inspired by your podcast. And on a couple of occasions you have be quick to reply to a question of mine, thank you. I trust this note finds you well and that this holiday season is filled with joy.

Recently you interviewed my mentor and coach, Coach Adam Krajchir. This coupled with an almost back to back interview with Tory Klemensten. This got me thinking about testimonials, along with the hard core drive to "better".

As I learn more about fitness and health, and what positive improvement it has on ones life, I am compelled to want this for anyone and everyone who is interested. The one thing that none of us can change is our gene source. Yes, our parents are our parents, and the things that ails them, are the health things that will haunt us. Thus, many of us are waking up to the fact that if we do not change our habits, routines, eating pattern, lack of exercise, we will fall victim to our own gene pool.

So, tying this together….. Tory, at some point came face to face with her future and she did something about it. She found that through fitness and balanced diet in her life, that the quality of her life is better, and potentially longer, given that her obesity was taking years off of her life, she can reverse the effect and may be able to collect on more life years.

Now, I am trying not to make this a testimonial, but my story is not to far from Tory’s or any other listener in your audience who has made a change for the better through health and fitness.

Just shy of three years ago, I did not know an Adam Krajchir, and a marathon was something I watched on TV the first weekend in November, the NYC Marathon, mentioning to my wife, “You know, someday we should go hang out on the Marathon route”. This, as I would head outside for a cigarette during the commercial breaks. In March of 2005, I found myself pondering quitting… again. In February, just a month before I found myself buying a pair of running shoes, and some track pants. My family asked “what are you doing?”, I replied, “when I quit smoking, I wanna be ready to run, just in case I start to gain weight.” After 22 years, March 16, 2005, I quit, and I started running, run a quarter mile, walk a quarter mile. I joined a gym, and with that comes that ‘free trainer’ session. The trainer asked “what do I think I will get out of running?”, in a cocky response I replied, “I don’t know, maybe I’ll run a marathon”. And seven months later, I completed my first marathon, the ING NYC Marathon 2005. During this time is when I met Adam Krajchir, (I) having to use a charity entry to acquire entry into the marathon, and needing training, I turned to a program that offered this, Adam was the Sr. Coach. Adam’s Training Guidelines and Philosophy WORKS!!! During that past two and a half years, I have run 10 marathons, 17 half marathons, a many races of various distances, along with some 1500 miles of training. This while raising funds for youth fitness and wellness programs, and contributing much of my free time to helping kid’s and helping adult first time marathoners along the training courses.

What clicked? Seeing my father stricken by and passing away at 72 due to poor health; diabetes, heart disease problems, parkinsens. I don’t want my wife or children to look down on my coffin, only to say “if dad had only quit smoking, and took better care of himself”

Yes, my life is very different today. I guess the thing that I can’t stand is when someone asks if I still crave a cigarette? I am courteous, and respond, “no, it’s really not a need in my life”. Along with many other things, yes, I am more focused person. Recently, my Doctor advised me that I had substantially improved the condition of my lungs, and that all of this exercise has begun to repair the damage of the years of abuse by smoking. So, yes, I believe you can change the clock.

So, in my diatribe here…. Listening to Adam’s interview reminds me of valuable training and cross training I am blessed to have under his training guidance. And as each of us goes through variations of training cycles to achieve our fitness goals (marathon, ½, 5k) what ever they maybe, yes we learn more about our race, our running, our ability, our purpose, ourself.

Now for you, the Doctor. I would love to explore your thoughts on transformation, or what ever we might want to call it. I found myself asking (myself) why I don’t crave or seek out the old Dave life style. It is safe to say that I have O.C.D., in fact I joke about it, “Dave’s O.C.D. Tour” as I pursue 50 states-50 marathons-by age 50. But, I do not consider my running an addiction, and I don’t consider that I swapped one addiction for another. I don’t run every day, and I don’t turn to running to suppress some hidden -whatever. I run because I like it and I am getting pretty good at it. What I have discovered is the things that use to bring me pleasure or comfort aren’t part of my realm. Which is a good thing. I deal with thing very differently these days. So Doctor, as I get better at running, am I getting better at life? Why is this?

Finally, and in closing, we, as your listeners have made these life changes, and we feed on the information you provide to better ourselves and hopefully prevent injury and live healthier lives. What tools can you offer each of us to impact someone else’s life? Someone who can begin to benefit from a healthier and a fitness filled life? Someone who may not have an interest in your podcast yet.

A lot to cover, but I hope topics worth exploring.

Thanks for your continued effort in your media to encourage and improve our lives.

Gotta Run…

Dave Edwards

PS; Maybe others in your listening audiance and blog-asphere can relate to questions raised and have a persective. (Thanks fellow Fitnessrock-ers)

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