Lessons from Irv – Unlearning the life my father Lived

My journey for optimal health came from an incredibly unhealthy place: my upbringing.

My father, Irv, was unhealthy. He started out in life with some real psychological disadvantages that, no doubt, contributed to his physical ailments. His father was murdered and Irv only stuck with his education only through the 6th grade.

Irv smoked so much that he talked as if he always had a cigarette in his mouth and most of the time, he did. He had chronic migraines that he treated with daily doses of Valium and painkillers. That blue plastic bottle of Mylanta was always within reach as if it were a cold beer on a hot day. He drank it constantly to sooth the bleeding ulcers that plagued his stomach for years. His diet mimicked that of a nine-year-old with no parental supervision and without a lick of nutritional good sense. Oh, and he gambled. Impulsively.

His vice was the horse races and the racetrack was his refuge. The gym became mine. We each got the “high” we needed to counter the daily grind of our dysfunctional lives. We just got our endorphin rushes from different places and by the luck of the draw, my sanctuary was a healthy place; his was not.

Coming from such an “ill” home made me self-conscious. I was extremely insecure about all aspects of myself and puberty was really tough for me. Weight training was a way for me to combat my psychological deficiencies. I felt great in the gym. As my biceps got bigger, my confidence grew. I worked out incessantly. I stand 6’4” and my I became known for my 19” biceps and my 49” chest. I felt pretty good for a long time but when I was around 30, I hit a wall and I didn’t understand why.

Unable to weight-lift myself out of it, I sought the help of a renowned nutritionist and progressive endocrinologist. The nutritionist fine-tuned my diet but I still wasn’t getting the results I had been working so hard to achieve. The endocrinologist discovered the real reason: low testosterone. No way. Me? “Big Larry?” I couldn’t believe it but it was true.

Back then (1991), “normal” testosterone levels were between 300 and 800 for 30 – 40 year old men. At 32, mine was 150. To help normalize my levels, I was put on a synthetic, oil-based injectable testosterone. I started off with one weekly shot using a very large needle, about one and a half inches long, to get deep into the muscle. By age 42, I required one shot every four days. (In case you were wondering, that adds up to thousands of shots.) I became a human pincushion. I felt “better” which was apparently normal but “normal” wasn’t great. Yet, coming from 150 and making it to 600 made me feel like I didn’t have any right to complain.

Because my own body no longer produced testosterone, I was completely dependent on my shots. The problem with the synthetic injections (although I didn’t realize it at the time) was that I would feel great then hit rock bottom within a matter of days.

By now, I thought I knew as much as some medical professionals about testosterone and hormone therapy. In fact, I have had many practitioners on my radio show to discuss the subject. I had heard about all kinds of testosterone therapy, including bioidentical pellets. The average male required pellets every five – six months but I was told that I was not a good candidate for them. I was informed that my body would “swallow up the testosterone” and would require pellet insertion every other month. I never challenged that assumption and went another decade tethered to that myth.

With another stroke of luck, I again sidestepped the unhealthy life into which I had been born. I was introduced to Dr. Gary Donovitz, founder and CEO of BioTE® Medical. He is a leading expert on bioidentical hormone replacement therapy and he changed the trajectory of my life in one hour. I had Gary on my radio show and while he was talking, several things jumped out at me:

  1. Testosterone levels between 300 and 800 are archaic.
  2. “Normal” hormone levels are not “optimal” hormone levels.
  3. Optimal hormone levels are between 900 and 1100.
  4. And, I was actually a perfect candidate for BioTE® Medical’s bioidentical hormone replacement pellet therapy.

After listening to him, I made an appointment and traded in my synthetic hormone shots for BioTE®’s bioidentical pellets.

It’s been four months since I have been on BioTE®’s pellets. Six weeks out, my testosterone level was 968; now, it is 1058. I have more energy. I have more mental clarity. I react more calmly to things that used to get me riled up. I have accomplished more in the last four months than I have in the past 10 years. My workouts are better. I am leaner – yes, Mr. Fitness is leaner. People have noticed the difference and like being around me more. I look better and feel better. And, I am happier.

Bigger than all of this is something even deeper. I realized that none of us is condemned to the life into which we are born. My father died at age 63. He let his addictions and unhealthy habits take him down and rob him of a full life. I was lucky but it wasn’t just luck that brought me to where I am today. I refused to accept “normal” and chose to go after more, better, awesome, “optimized.” I never gave up. At 55, my new “normal” life is an “optimized” life. And, it was some tiny pellets that helped me finally do that. Who knew?

Here’s to a Better You,

Larry North

Host of the Larry North “Better You” radio show

CBS KRLD 1080 am

Sundays 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm Central Time

Listen wordwide at www.radio.com

or join the show by calling 214.787.1080

BioTE® Medical practitioners are nationwide. For a provider near you, visit www.biotemedical.com

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