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My Nephew Wendell

Posted on 08/30/2011

Every time I hear his name all I can think of is, "Man on the floor! Man on the floor!" That might not mean too much to younger readers, but for those of you who are my age or older it resonates if you have been to college. You see, in those days, we did not have co-ed dormitories. There were men's dorms and women's dorms, but there were no co-ed dorms. When a man came to pick up his date, they were normally announced as such. So, when my young nephew -- all of about 4 years old -- came to visit me at Jamestown College with my mother, they would call out the same to him..."Man on the floor! Man on the floor!" As you can imagine, a boy of that age being called a man made him grin from ear to ear.

Oh, my little nephew Wendell...those are great memories! I still fondly look back at those days with delight and they bring a smile to my face every time. I know my roommates remember them too. In fact, when we get together it still comes up.

My nephew Wendell lives in North Dakota, like so many of my family members still do today.  That is where I was born and raised, Gackle, North Dakota. That was home until I met my husband and we settled in Illinois. Illinois is now my adoptive home, although I still consider myself from North Dakota. We raised five children here and many of our grandchildren are here and across the country...14 in all, and 2 great grandchildren, so far.

Wendell is like so many people I come in contact with. He's busy and doesn't always make the right food choices. He's also obese. He needs to lose weight or he could die. It's that serious. It's not a cosmetic thing. It's a life and death thing. I so worry about him and all the others out there just like him. They remind me so much of my own obese father. We said good-bye to him way too soon. He died from complications of his obesity. I sure hope it doesn't take my little nephew Wendell.

Wendell is my sister Alaine's oldest boy. He has two siblings, his brother Rick and sister, Bonnie. They feel like my own kids really. Wendell was even our ring bearer at our wedding 57 years ago. My sister battled breast cancer and lost her battle in 1990. I guess that's why the kids feel like my own.

He's such a great nephew and a hard worker. Maybe it's the Midwest blood that runs through his veins or it's the strong work ethic our family passed down from generation to generation. That's why I so want to help him. I know he's been through a lot in his life, after all, he is a Vietnam veteran, and has experienced so much in his lifetime.

Without a change in direction from what he's doing right now, it may be too late for him. So you can imagine that I was so thrilled when he recently went on our meals. You know, it hadn't even crossed his mind before. He is suffering from so many afflictions and on numerous medications. I just know if he could lose the weight, safely and once and for all, then he would continue to reduce those all together. I've seen it time and again. Lifestyle plays a huge role in it and often changes labels like "type II diabetic" into "non-diabetic."

I'm so happy Wendell has taken the first step and trying to make a lifestyle change to improve his overall health. He feels better, has more energy, and is learning to eat proper portions and what to eat. He is losing weight! He really wants to get off his medications in time. I foresee him doing so, if he continues the course he's on now.

To date, Wendell has lost a total of 17 pounds in 4 weeks! Way to go Wendell. You're doing a great job, keep it up. Just remember that slow and steady wins the race. Please continue to update us on your progress. We're here for you and rooting for your success!

As he continues on his journey, I'll update you here about little nephew Wendell or like I think of him as, "Man on the floor! Man on the floor!"

post-author

Seattle Sutton, BSN, RN

She made healthy eating her mission in life long before anyone else did, in hopes of helping her own obese father. A registered nurse by training and entrepreneur at heart, she lives, eats and breathes everything about healthy eating and helping to improve people’s eating habits and overall health. She enjoys never having to bother with grocery shopping, cooking and counting calories. Her favorite SSHE meal, although it’s hard to pick just one, is the Potato Gnocchi with Basil Pesto Sauce.

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