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A better plan for good health

surgery.jpgThe old me did not want to know what was going on inside my body.  I figured that if I were not feeling pain or discomfort that if something bad was brewing that it would eventually go away.

The new me wants to know everything that is going on in my body. If I am not feeling pain or discomfort today that it could eventually hit me.

Which is the smarter strategy for good long term health?

You guess it. Option two.

On Thursday I will be under the gas at Beaumont Hospital while doctors figure out why my stomach started leaking blood. I look forward to the procedure because obviously I want to know what the hell is wrong also.

My doctor said to pray that it is an early stage ulcer. I feel no pain. There is no blood in bowel movements. It’s as if everything is normal. If we decided to ignore it and let nature take care if things I would be doubled over in pain eventually and would face serious health risks.

Doc said we caught it “very, very early” which means it should be treated and I will be bugging you guys for a long time on twitter and which ever platform awaits in the future.

The procedure is called an Esophago Gastro Duodenosopy. In plain English it means they drop a camera with a flash light into my stomach and look for the tear..  Doctors will either fix the problem or prescribe medication to mend it.

That’s if it is an ulcer. If it is something else surgery down the road is possible. But I’m told that we caught the problem so early that surgery is not likely. I will be fine.

I will carry your thoughts and well wishes into the hospital. Thank you.

I write this blog for the many men and women who believe that if they are feeling fine then everything must be good inside. I felt really good the day my doctor said my blood work came back with a problem.

My numbers were really good, except my blood levels were lower than they should be. It was not a problem in December. It was a problem in May.

I had sprung a leak some where.

Now it is time to fix it and move on.

Now we patch it up and we move on.

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Dan Gilbert illness hits close to home

gilbertWhen business man Dan Gilbert experienced stroke like symptoms it hit close to home.

I wondered what those symptoms were and how he felt at the time. I experienced similar symptoms nearly three years ago when my blood pressure hit the ceiling and I suffered what was considered a mild stroke. Although I lost my voice for a while and could not step or type I feel close to normal now.

I don’t feel like the old guy that used to dance around and act a fool. That guy died and was replaced by a calmer, less aggressive and not quite as sharp version of the old guy.

I am still Terry Foster. But perhaps it would be more accurate to call me Terry Foster lite.

I am not the same old guy, but at least my family can still hug and love a version of me. I can still love and feel love. And that’s not all bad.

Every time somebody I know of gets a stroke I relive the anguish of my two strokes.  It troubled me to learn of the death of film maker John Sngleton who died in April at age 51 of a stroke. I cried when my childhood friend Lamont died of a stroke about four months after mine.

I feel fortunate that I am still here to kick it with friends, watch my children grow and to bug and hug my wife. I can still do a lot of things, but at a slower pace and in more moderation.

One of my doctors said that I have done a wonderful job in eating correctly and working the body. But he said I needed to exercise the brain more. He recommended that I do similar things that I loved prior to the stroke. So I blogged more and did podcasts and posted videos on face book and twitter.

I did too much. My blood pressure shot up again and I began feeling sluggish and feeble. I had plans to go out with friends for the holidays. But I called everybody up to post pone our dates and hoped they understood.

I must do something to keep the brain sharp or doctors feel that depression could set in. I must still live my life, but not at break neck speed.

When I go out with my pals Melissa,  Trevor, Wojo and my new pals at the gym I do it for more than having a good time. It is part of my new therapy to engage and keep sharp. My first inclination most days is to stay to myself and not interact with society.

That is not good for me.

Dan Gilbert is a very important man with a plate full of projects and ideas. Here is my advice to him. Do not do too much, but you still must remain active and keep moving Detroit forward at a pace you feel comfortable with.

Take your blood pressure daily and monitor your numbers like never before.

A stroke is a deadly disease, but there is life after stroke for some of us. There is a second chance and a second life for some of us.

Let’s take advantage of it.

 

 

Trying to sound right, not white

fresh nation3My Saturday mornings are spent at the old Tiger Stadium site where the Detroit Police Athletic League holds shop.

PAL hosts baseball, soccer and football games which provides entertainment outside the windows during our morning sessions. I am not there for the games. Rather I help out with PAL’s Fresh Nation project designed to expose  middle school and high school kids to broadcasting and journalism.

I am a mentor along with Stephanie Davis of WWJ 950 AM. The two hours there are easily the highlight of my week. Some of the students are so good that we nicknamed them “The Dream Team” and I am hoping some of them break into the mass media in Detroit or nationwide.

One boy said he has switched his career goals from being a scientist to a sports journalist.

I have a disturbing story however. We asked students to record a news cast and all went well until we got to one of the eighth graders. She covered her ears when we played her tape back.

I was taken back because I thought her opening was pretty solid. I asked why she didn’t want to hear the recording.

“Kids make fun of me because they say I talk proper,” she said. “They say that I am trying to sound white.”

I identified with the girl. It was the same crap I heard as a child growing up on Detroit’s west side. Has nothing changed in the last 50 years?

This girl was not trying to sound white. She wanted to sound right. She has potential and she is not going to get a broadcast job splitting her verbs or trying to be street.

As Don King would say. Only in America.

Black kids. We must do better. Those who try to better themselves are not trying to be white. They are trying to make it in the world and you do a disservice by making fun of them and trying to discourage them from greatness.

I used to catch all kinds of crap for reading books on the front porch in the summer. Books were my escape from my neighborhood and the noise that filled it. I read because I wanted to know what was outside my tiny world on Vancouver street.

Even some adults teased me and accused me of wanting to be a white boy.

So are you telling me that being black in the hood means being stupid and less than? I don’t buy that.

When I was a kid I did not want a job. I wanted a career. That is what I fought for in the class room and by reading books. I talked the way I did because the old women that raised me demanded that I not butcher the English language.

They made demands of me and I tried to meet them. There are so many ridiculous demands that some black people put on blacks who are trying to escape poverty and the hood.

A few years ago I wrote a story on black boys that loved to play baseball on Detroit’s east ide. But they kept their passion on the down low from friends, who made fun of them for liking baseball.

And do you know what they were accused of? You guessed it.

Trying to be white.

The clock is ticking on Harbaugh

goofy harbaughThe The clock never strikes zero on some games.

Michigan’s 62-39 loss to Ohio State is one of them. In other words Wolverine nation, the world and our entire community will live that game for years to come. It was a statement game that we won’t soon forget.

It still runs in our minds which means the clock has yet to strike zero.

Michigan seems to have a lot of those games because the program is so well established and followed and does not live up to expectations.

One game that never struck zero was the stunning loss to Appalachian State in 2007.

Who was like me and believed Michigan had a decent chance to win the OSU game? Who was like me wondering what the heck is going on as the points kept rolling for the Buckeyes?

You can’t blame the refs or bad weather or bad luck for this one. This was a bullet between the eyes.

This is not just another loss to Ohio State. This is a black eye. This is a dagger and this opens up debates that will haunt the program.

For instance, if the losses to OSU continue Michigan must fire the man the administration and most of its fan base believed was the savior. Harbaugh received a pass that no other coach in the nation would receive in Ann Arbor. He kept losing to the States (Ohio State and Michigan State) and folks kept believing he’d turn this around.

He was beyond criticism in Wolverine nation.

For instance Harbaugh made a huge tactical error in 2015 against MSU when he sent two gunners out to defend the last punt of the game instead of using maximum protection. The play resulted in a bobbled snap, muffed punt and a last second touchdown by the Spartans Jalen Watts-Jackson.

Most Michigan fans called the play a fluke and refused to lay blame on Harbaugh.

Now the honeymoon is officially over for Harbaugh. He must realize that winning 10 games without beating Ohio State or at least winning a Big Ten title is not good enough. There are different expectations at UM.

This is supposed to be a football power, not Iowa with better uniforms.

You must beat your rival now and then. Bo Schembechler was a hero for going 5-4-1 against Woody Hayes in the 10-year war. Bo, by the way, was a heavy underdog in his first game against Ohio State but found a way to win.

Harbaugh is now being compared to former Ohio State Coach John Cooper — except Cooper accomplished more. Cooper was 111-43-1 at Ohio State, won three Big Ten titles, a Rose Bowl and Sugar Bowl. But his 2-10-1 record against Michigan got him fired. Three times Michigan beat unbeaten Buckeye teams under Cooper.

Michigan fans clamored for Ohio State to keep Cooper just like Buckeyes are screaming for Michigan to keep Harbaugh.

While Harbaugh prepares his team like he is Bo Jr. current OSU coach Urban Meyer has turned up the heat in Columbus with speedy and strong players that can compete with and beat anyone in the country outside of Alabama. And he long ago abandoned the three yards and a cloud of turf offense Harbaugh imposes.

Michigan can never beat Ohio State with this current style. OSU is 11-1 but played terrible football this season until it faced Michigan. The Buckeyes got run off the field at Purdue and were in dog fights with Maryland, Penn State and Nebraska.

Michigan was playing better football until it was on the same field with Ohio State.

The clock is now ticking on a game that will never end and on Harbaugh.

 

 

 

 

Toxic atmosphere prevented success for Ebron in Detroit

ebronTight end Eric Ebron was never going to work out in Detroit and we are all to blame for that.

The Detroit Lions, Lion fans, Ebron. Everybody. You name it.

For those of you who remain Detroit Lion fans, you often turn an angry eye south to grumble over the success Ebron is having with the Indianapolis Colts. His good fortune there angers you and many of you wonder why it could not happen in Detroit.

Ebron has nine touchdowns with the Indianapolis Colts which would make him the Lions team leader by a wide margin on a lethargic Lions offense. The Lions (3-6) not only fail to score but they are getting run quickly out of games by opponents.

Why couldn’t the Lions get the same production out of him? Why was he more known for drops than touchdowns with the Lions? He scored 11 touchdowns in four seasons with the Lions and the team released him last spring.

Five days later the Colts signed him to a two-year, $15 million contract. He became an instant hit there, but we were never going to see this production out in Detroit. The pubic never forgave him or the Lions for making him a first-round pick in the 2014 draft. The toxic atmosphere played on his mind and he could never play care free football in Detroit. In Indianapolis fans don’t care that the Lions made him a first round pick. It is never discussed or is the topic on talk radio and the rest of the media.

No matter how well Ebron played in Detroit, it was followed by a ” yeah but he was a first round pick and he remains a bust.”

It bothered Ebron. He never got into a comfort zone and Colts fans are benefitting by it.

 

Trump media war is out of control

trump mediaDonald Trump is right. Some of the news reported by the press is fake.

It is not right. It never happened. But deep down he realizes that much of it is accurate and dead on. His problem is the way the media analyzes the news that it gathers. He also does not like that the press ignores much of the good news coming out of the White House.

That’s why we witnessed the unprofessional exchange between Trump and the media the day after the mid term elections.  CNN reporter Jim Acosta lost his White House press credential because of it.

I’ve never witnessed a more hostile media-source environment than the one between Trump and the media.

Much of it is Trump’s fault. He created the environment and people who work for him are fueling it. Here is why I believe some of the news never happened. Most of it comes from unnamed sources. Sometimes those sources are wrong. Sometimes those sources only know part of the truth. Sometimes those sources have an agenda.

The reporter must trust that the source is telling the truth and knows the entire story. Most of the time they do. Some of the time they don’t.

From my years as a reporter I’ve found that leaks begin when people inside an organization don’t believe in the leader or in the product. There are people inside the West Wing who disagree with Trump’s policies and the way he is running the country.

I was not allowed to used unnamed sources most of the time. During the rare times I was allowed I had to name the source to my editor. That always made me nervous because if the source’s name got out they could lose their job and I could lose access.

The White House sources believe that they are doing what’s best for the country when they leak stories to the press. If Trump talks about something privately they deem to be bad for the people, they leak it in hopes that public pressure causes Trump to change his position or soften his view.

I do not believe that reporters from the Washington Post or the New York Times wake up in the morning looking to make up stories about Trump. But I do believe they look for dirt on Trump.

Trump created this environment by being rude to the press and his Republican opponents during the primary. Trump can’t be a bully and then when things blow back in his face plead for everybody to be civil. That’s not the way it works. People go by the  motto of I will treat you like you treat me.

For example. If you invite me over to your house and I am polite, how are you going to treat me?

If you invite me over to your house and I complain that the drapes and carpet are ugly and I grab the wife by the ass, would you treat me differently? I would guess yes.

Trump has been that rude and drunk guest for two years now. What does he expect?

Trump stirred up the hornets nest during the latest press conference by talking about the dishonest and fake media for the billionth time. That set the tone for a hostile meeting.

CNN reporter Jim Acosta did some grandstanding and should have relinquished his microphone after his first question. He brushed aside an interns attempt to take the microphone away. His actions were wrong but not enough to have his credentials revoked.

However, he should have backed down no matter how mad he was. The media is not supposed to be part of the story.

On this day I am calling a double technical foul on Trump and Acosta along with two minutes in the penalty box.

 

 

 

 

CMU visit encourages me to new ventures

CMU in FlowersThis may sound corny, but I fell in love with my alma mater Central Michigan University all over again last weekend.

I felt love and self worth and ran into a bunch of people that wanted to remind me of what a great career I had in journalism and they want me to embrace a new journey during the golden age of life.

I’ve been encouraged to teach journalism, which I did to a little bit of this fall during a month long mentorship with the Detroit Police Athletic League at the old Tiger Stadium site.

After returning from my trip I heard from a doctor at Henry Ford Health System who wants permission to pass along my story and treatment to other physicians. My story might help push along a Wellness Center that the hospital wants to add to its West Bloomfield location.

By the way Doc, you have my permission to pass along my story.

I attended the Central Michigan University journalism Hall of Fame dinner in Mt. Pleasant and ran into current students and old pals during the weekend. No stop is complete without a trip to The Bird Bar and Grille downtown where we swapped tales both real and fabricated over beer and bourbon.

One young man grilled me for nearly an hour on my legacy. He said that I must know that I influenced a lot of people during my career in newspaper and radio. He was one of those people indirectly influenced because his journalism professor spoke highly of me and passed things I did to his students.

“So you must know how many people you influenced,” he said over and over again.

Actually I don’t. I was so busy with life that I never had time to take a breath and think about what I was doing and who I touched. And secondly social media does not allow you to think that way.

I’ve been called every shade of scum over the years for the transgression of rarely believing in the Detroit Lions. Or for saying that Michigan State played better football over the last decade than the University of Michigan.

Detroit sports fans are passionate, which I appreciate, but people make it personal. When you attack a team, people believe you are attacking them. So when people use four letter words to describe you, you don’t think about being this great guy spreading the word.

It stung a little bit a couple years ago when I became ill with a stroke. I did not read social media for six months. Doctors said that I needed a positive frame of mind to get through some tough stretches. They feared that depression would put me in a state of mind where I might not recover.

My childhood friend Lamont suffered a stroke two days after I did. He did not have the right frame of mind and died last winter.

After a while I began to read messages and was overwhelmed by the positive and supportive messages. They really made me happy and put me in the right frame of mind. But there were some creepers.

Some wrote that they hoped I had another stroke. Normally that would not bother me, but I went through some dark days where I was not certain I’d be able to talk and walk like a normal human being. I was not sure I’d ever be able to go out to dinner and laugh and talk with family and friends.

I was not sure I’d even be able to write a blog. And one doctor said that if I had another stroke that he believes I’d either die or regress so much that life might not be worth living.

But some bastards wants me to have another stroke? Nice.

At CMU I bummed around with my old pals from CM Life Gibby and Mickey Finn. We reminisced about the fun days of being a student. We enjoyed walking the campus and touring new spots in Mt. Pleasant. We restocked our supply of CMU sweat shirts and met with current students.

The Hall of Fame dinner was filled with friends and no one mumbled a discouraging word. That was encouraging.

Harbaugh places cone of silence around humbled Wolverines

michigan-vs-michigan-state.jpgI’m a bad husband.

I picked out the biggest Michigan Wolverine booster I could find and waited for him to be within listening distance of my wife Abs. Just to let you know,  Abs is a die hard Spartan. She is always nervous during Michigan-Michigan State week for fear that Michigan might beat her team by a ridiculous score of 82-0.

Any way this guy is strolling around Kroger with the biggest, boldest Michigan Wolverines shirt in history. I waited until he was near Abs to ask: “Who is going to win the big game this Saturday?”

In years past the Wolverine would pause for effect, take a stance like they were John Wayne before proclaiming: “We are going to kick some Sparty ass.”

This guy didn’t. My Wolverine friends at the gym didn’t either.

“Well you can tell who I am rooting for,” he said. “I think we should win but you just never know. I am worried.”

He went on to proclaim MSU coach Mark Dantonio to be some kind of magician who spins wins out of thin air. The Wolverine was nervous.

A Michigan writer asked Coach Jim Harbaugh can his team muster up enough energy to face a Spartan team who makes this game their Super Bowl and World Series all rolled into one.”

That is no longer true. The Spartans do not make this a life or death situation any more even though beating Michigan is important to them. They get riled up when Michigan players bombard them with “little brother” talk and other disrespectful terms. Harbaugh, who once guaranteed victory over Ohio State as a player, has put the cone of silence around his players this week and they followed his lead.

Harbaugh has won the week by his players not talking a lot of noise. MSU is already fired up about this game. Why add fuel to the fire?

Do your talking on the field.

And you know the media is dying for a Michigan player to utter the term “little brother.” So is Dantonio.

The Spartans have finally humbled the Wolverines. They’ve won eight of the last 10 meetings, won two Big Ten championships and been to the BCS national championship semi final.

Michigan, who used to rule the state, hasn’t even played in a Big Ten title game.

MSU also wins games it has no business winning. That is why the Michigan program is being more respectful and silent.

I’ve spent years snooping around the Spartan program as a journalist. MSU players would give us the standard “we hate Michigan” sound bites. Calm stuff. Then someone from Michigan would talk about little brother and suddenly State players had razor blades piercing from their eyes with anger.

My advice for Michigan players was to shut up and play the game. It looks like the humbled Wolverines learned their lesson and it is one of the reasons I pick them to win a dreadful, boring game over the Spartans.

 

 

I miss my tennis road dogs

burwellWe were drenched in sweat as we trudged into an Atlanta Buckhead restaurant with tennis rackets in hand for lunch and a refreshing drink.

We’d just completed a couple seats of doubles tennis in the Georgia heat during an off day during the opening round of the 1991 playoff series between the Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks.

I was enjoying an afternoon with my road dogs at the time. Later that night we’d create some devilish times also. Free Press sports writer Drew Sharp and Washington Post columnist Mike Wilbon sat across the table from Detroit News columnist Byron Burwell and myself.

I must have loved these guys because I never called any of them by their given names. Wilbon was “Bubbles” for reasons I can’t remember. I called Burwell Home Box Head because he had a gigantic head and appeared on HBO. Drew was Boodini.

We swapped NBA and newspaper stories and I’m sure Wilbon told Charles Barkley tale or two, which always cracked us up. Wilbon and Chuck were boys and worked on a couple books together. I’d had my funny moments with Barkley, including the time he allowed me to stay in the dressing room after the media was kicked out before a game at the Palace.

And there was the time Barkley went on a 20 minute filibuster on Manute Bol’s feet and ashy legs. I bent over in laughter as Bol, who stood a helpless 7-foot-7, tried to get Barkley to stop.

Between every joke Bol would raise his arms and say: “Come on Chuck. Stop it Chuck. Oh Charlie. You are not funny.”

He was.

Back to lunch. Wilbon, Sharp, Burwell and I ordered lunch and cold, refreshing home made lemonade. This was not Country Time or powdered lemonade. This was the real stuff with real pulp and real taste just like momma made.

The real lemonade was $1.25 a glass, which was worth every penny. After we sucked down our first glass Wilbon asked if we wanted refills. We all shook our head yes.

We flagged down the waitress and told here we wanted four refills. A petrified look flooded her face before she nervously told us it would cost 75 cents for a refill. We thought her reaction was strange but Wilbon quipped: “I think we got the money so fill us up.”

The Washington Post, Free Press and News were paying for these meals and lemonade.

“She probably thought four brothers were going to riot over a 75 cent glass of lemonade,” Burwell quipped.

That might have been the case. She later apologized for her reaction and said we seemed like good guys. If only she knew.

I miss those days of hanging with my boys on the road. And I miss my boys period. We could never recreate that championship doubles match. Burwell died at age 59 of skin cancer. Drew died at age 56 of a heart attack.

Wilbon is alive but suffered a heart attack in 2008 and I was downed by a stroke in 2016. We all had major health setbacks before the age of 60.

Being a sports writer is an exciting and rewarding profession. But the lifestyle is hazardless to your health. The food is too good, the drinks too plentiful and you don’t feel like working out at a Seattle hotel after flying in from Los Angeles that morning. Wilbon is still on the road for ESPN and admitted during the NABJ conference in Detroit that he has not been able to take care of himself like he wants because of it.

I miss my friends. I miss my life.  However, I am grateful because I am alive, walking and talking without assistance. I want to write again but you can have the road.

I’m just fine here in Detroit.

Tennis anyone?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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