The Weigh-in

The Weigh-in

I am 84 years old and starting the Whole Body Challenge.  I am dealing with residuals from encephalitis, a virus in the spine and brain wall fluids, that I had when I was 15.  The virus left me almost completely paralyzed and with muscle weakness and atrophy, muscle spasticity, loss of balance, and unequal muscle tension that gradually caused severe scoliosis.

The first challenge was the weigh-in.  Not having a scale, Betty went to Walmart and bought a digital scale.

Because I have a poor sense of balance,  I cannot stand or walk without holding on to something.  Holding on to the kitchen sink I stepped on the scale, and lifted my hands a little, but quickly.  The scale read: E  — for Error.

Multiple attempts all read: E    Betty got on the scale, and it worked fine.  Apparently I could not stand still enough to get a weight recorded.

We traded the scale with a friend who had a mechanical scale with a slightly bigger platform.  Hurrah, we got a reading, almost — I think.

The scale was too close to the sink for me to balance more than a couple of seconds, but did read 132 pounds.  Last week, we did a little better and got a reading of 133 pounds.  This week, February 20, we got the scale positioned where I could balance better, and we got another reading of 133 pounds.  Hurrah!

One of my Challenge goals is to GAIN weight, not lose weight,  so I’m off to a good start! ?

If you are curious what the “Whole Body Challenge” is –  or would like to join me in the Challenge – check it out.   Big Prizes!


I met my Valentine Feb 14, 1965

I met my Valentine Feb 14, 1965

My position as an Instructor at Penn State was contingent on my working on a doctoral degree.  After 2 1/2 years, my doctoral program was not going well, and I was looking for a job at a small college.

A colleague acquaintance, used a transparent ploy to “set me up” to meet a graduate student friend of hers.  In November, she gave me a college bulletin which had an article about the speech department at a small college in Ohio, and told me I had to return it “in person!”.   It took me several months of praying to get up the courage to call the girl.  By “coincidence”, I arranged to return the bulletin on February 14th, 1965, Valentine’s Day, when the graduate women’s dorm was having an open house.

When I met Betty, I knew immediately that my prayer was answered!  We talked for a couple of hours about things we had in common, then I walked across campus to a pay phone and called my mother in Michigan.  “Guess what Mom, I just met the girl I’m going to marry.”

Mom’s response was, “don’t get hurt.” 

After my carefully planned courtship, I proposed to Betty May 1st, 76 days later.  We married August 14, on her birthday.  Now, 55 years later, I can safely say — I didn’t get hurt, I got blessed! 

Happy Valentine’s Day Betty!

My Whole Body Challenge

My Whole Body Challenge

I decided to take The Whole Body Challenge because I need to increase my mobility and strength in order to drive to our company Convention in Orlando in August.

I am starting with residuals from encephalitis, a virus in the spine and brain wall fluids, when I was 15.  The virus left me almost completely paralyzed and with muscle weakness and atrophy, muscle spasticity, loss of balance, and unequal muscle tension that gradually caused severe scoliosis.

Twenty years later, climbing the mountain of recovery, I could walk without crutches or cane, and was completely functional again.  Regrettably, apparently the brain remembers and starts recreating the symptoms of the virus, now called post-encephalitic syndrome.  Loss of balance started in 1980, followed by a slow downhill slide when I needed a cane, then crutches, then a walker, and finally a power chair for mobility.

After another near death experience with heart attack, congestive heart failure, and blocked coronary arteries in 2016, I was again left nearly paralyzed and was sent home under Hospice care with the expectation that I would die!   I could not sit up in bed without help.  The first time I got off the bed, with 2 men holding me up, I could not lift my foot off the floor!  

God answers prayers, and I “graduated” from Hospice.  After a gradual comeback in the last three years, and adding the Gel to our nutritional regime, I can walk with a four wheel walker up to 120 feet, with someone acting as a safety catcher holding me with a gait belt.

By adding the KG4, KetoDay and KetoNight, that have nutrition for the brain, I hope to offset the post encephalitic syndrome, and gain 2 lbs. of muscle weight.

My first goal in the Challenge is to walk with the walker 300 feet, or 100 yards.

For leg strength, do 25 squats while holding on to the kitchen sink.  I can now do 7. AND, do 100 steps on a stepper. I started at 20.

For upper body strength, do 3 sets of 10 lifts on the leg lift tower.  I can now do 1 set of 10. 

I am grateful for our company for providing an amazing incentive to motivate me to make a huge leap forward in regaining and maintaining strength and mobility.  I am excited to be in the company of real “mountain climbers”!

If I can inspire someone or challenge someone to make changes for better health, I would consider that a blessing.  

For more information about the “ Whole Body Challenge” and the training and incentives — check out

19. At the End of His Day

19.  At the End of His Day

 “As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.  The wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.” (Psalm 103:15-16 KJ)

Daddy lived for 92 years in an amazing time in history.  Born in the 19th century, his life spanned from the first flight of the Wright brothers airplane, to seeing live on TV,  the first man step on the moon.  In his youth, his family traveled by horse and buggy, and he eventually drove home in a Buick LeSabre.

Daddy was an amazing man.  He was gentle, honest, kind to everyone, he trusted people because he was trustworthy.  A few times he was taken advantage of.  I never heard him raise his voice.  Daddy was generous to everyone.  He did tax returns for neighbors, mostly free of charge. 

He volunteered for the Michigan National Guard, and was deployed as a medic to Germany in WWI. Wounded and decorated with a Purple Heart medal, I’d call Daddy a hero.  He rarely spoke of wartime experiences.

Daddy was faithful to go to church and Sunday school; we were the Sunday school orchestra, with Daddy playing his violin, Mom on the piano, Jan played sax, and I my trumpet.

Daddy was indeed a “flower” who flourished in his day.  Now he is gone, and I wanted to be sure that he would be remembered.   I promised my sister Jan that I would write, “Memories of Daddy.”  I regret that it took so long, and that I can’t send her a copy.  I hope she can read it from where she is, and know that our memories of Daddy has been written as promised, to be passed on to future generations.

Robert Z. Hicks, 2020