For me. Ronald Irwin. the overwhelming importance of good health and the inescapable message that I no longer possessed good health was delivered to me like a sledge hammer to the head at about 5:30 p.m. on December 18th2012. On that unforgettable day as I pushed back from my desk and stood up I could no longer breathe. Why couldn’t I breathe? At that moment I had no idea. All I knew is that no matter how hard I tried my ability to breathe had left my body and quickly I began to fade to black.
In an instant I realized that I needed medical attention NOW. So as I began to fall face forward to the floor I managed to punch 9 1 1 into my phone and as both my phone and I hit the floor I heard a faint voice say: “9 1 1 what’s your emergency” and those were the last words I heard for many days. Later I learned that on that fateful day I had drowned in my own bodily fluids. There I was 800 feet above sea level and drowning because I had been hit with Congestive Heart Failure. It is also important to note that on that day I weighed 315 pounds on my five foot nine-inch frame
I have only very vague and often wild memories of the next several days as I lay in a coma in the Intensive Care Unit of the Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Burbank, California. But one experience struck me very hard and will never be forgotten. An obese medical doctor came into the room and told my entire family “IF he survives you will have to put him in a home because he will never walk again.” I was in no condition to speak but my inner voice said to me: “F*** you lard ass.”
Each day brought slight improvement such that by the evening of my 25thday in the hospital I went out to the nurse’s station and told the nurse that I had a note for my file. She asked: “And what would that be?” and I said: “Make a note, I am leaving tomorrow.”
Early the next morning my attending physician came in wrote a couple of prescriptions and wished me well. Not long after I was placed in a wheel chair and taken to the front door of the hospital where I met my wife with our car. I got out of the chair and walked to our car and my beautiful bride drove us away. All I said to her was, “Please don’t crash. I do not want to go back there.” She laughed.
By the time we arrived at home the only thing I desperately wanted to do was to walk. To be sure getting up the fifteen stairs from the parking garage was a severe challenge and took maybe ten minutes. Then there were fourteen more stairs from the courtyard to our condo unit. But after about 30 minutes relaxing I announced that I was going for a walk and off I went at about the pace of a wounded turtle, but I was walking.
All in all I walked a wee bit more than two miles that day. The next day I walked more and the day after that even more. And so it went until I was walking an average of about ten miles every day and loving it. I was also taking total charge over my food consumption and did a lot of reading about developing a proper diet.Going on a diet didn’t interest me because that always results in failure. Rather I needed to restructure how I approached food. Both quantity and quality were important factors. Over the next few months I got under 200 pounds but then something else hit me. I was diagnosed with advanced stage prostate cancer.
The best course of action I was told by several medical doctors was radiation treatment, 42 radiation treatments to be exact. As it turned out the location of the facility where I would receive my 42 radiation treatments was 3.4 miles from my home. So I began walking to and from my radiation treatments. By the time that was over I was down to 170 pounds.
By the end of 2013 I was fairly worn out from the 26 miserable days in the hospital followed up with 42 radiation treatments and even a brief experience with some chemo which I rejected and replaced with CBD oil and it worked well. But I had completely transformed both my exercise and the quality and quantity of my food consumption and I was the healthiest I had been in decades.
So as the calendar flipped from 2013 to 2014 and then again to 2015 I was facing another special life moment – I was about to turn 70 and I wanted to commemorate that in a very special way; a way that could help spread my newly learned appreciation for good health by way of good diet and exercise while also having fun. So I thought a hike to Hollywood could accomplish that and well ahead of my birthday I walked the walk, all 14.2 miles of it.
The trip was beautiful in so many ways. Essentially it was San Fernando Road to Los Feliz and then Los Feliz through an area of beautiful homes until it turned left and became Western Avenue. I followed Western to Hollywood Boulevard and then turned right and walked to the Delphine Restaurant across the street from the Pantages Theatre. It was a very nice hike and that was the route for the first three annual hikes.
But in 2018 I changed the route. Now it starts from the same place on San Fernando Boulevard but the entire hike remains entirely within Burbank, a city many correctly call the “Real” Hollywood.
The hike remains my personal and ongoing war against life threatening obesity by focusing on positive energy and having fun. The new route takes us by most of the biggest names in film and television and provides a brief rest for lunch at the fabled Smoke House Restaurant before returning to our starting point.
This route is a bit shorter, only about 12 miles but it remains very enjoyable and a very positive health booster. So now I invite you to join me and often a celebrity or two on this, our 5thAnnual Hollywood Health Hike to take place on Sunday, April 28th2019.
There is nothing to buy — except your lunch at The Smoke House Restaurant but only if you want it — no forms to fill out, no donations to pledge; just have a great time as we hike through the real Hollywood — Burbank..
We will walk by Nickelodeon, Disney Studios, Warner Brothers and get a glimpse of Universal Studios backlot before returning to our place of origin on San Fernando Boulevard in Burbank. The only thing you need to do is let me know that you will be at the start point by 9 a.m. on the hike day, Sunday, April 28th, 2019. Please just send your email with the word YES and LUNCH or NO LUNCH to: email@example.com
Then show up on time with comfortable shoes and a happy attitude. You will have a great time and probably live a bit longer too. Oh and finally once I have your confirming email I will send you the exact location of our launch point. There is plenty of free parking nearby.
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I developed a diet plan based on abundant research. It served me very well so I wrote a book called “Lose Live” which provides the details. You may get that book if you wish by simply clicking here.
Top photo of Disney Studios by Ron Irwin
Ron Irwin was born in Chicago, Illinois a long time ago. He served in the Marine Corps in Vietnam, became a trial lawyer, TV and radio host, CEO of a public company and once held an Emmy. He never won an Emmy he just held one. Ron has written and published twelve books. His most important book to date is “Live, Die, Live Again” in which Ron tells of his early life and his unexpected and very temporary death in 2012. That experience dramatically refocused his life and within the pages of that book Ron reveals how he achieved a much healthier life, ridding himself of Diabetes, Cancer and Heart Failure. Now Ron enjoys writing about many things including health topics, travel [he has circled the globe several times], adventure, culinary experiences and the world of performing art. Ron’s motto is “Live better, live longer and live stronger because it feels great and annoys others.” Contact the author.