What Ryan Davis Taught Me

Posted by The_Boots (102 posts) -

As the latest Giant Bomb Community Endurance Run draws to a close, I'm reminded of Ryan, his life, death and how it affected me. You should understand, when my own grandmother died, I was sad-- but that's it. When Ryan passed, I cried like a baby. So did my wife. The fact of the matter was that we spend more time watching the Giant Bomb crew than just about anything else. Even though he never knew who I was, it was like losing a dear friend. In this, I am no different from anyone else here at Giant Bomb.

Here's where it gets different:

Early last year, I was diagnosed with sleep apnea. When Ryan tweeted a picture of himself wired up to an EEG, it looked exactly the same as one I took of myself only a short while before during my own sleep study. When he talked about adjusting to a CPAP, I commiserated, because I was going through precisely the same thing at the same time.

When he died, I deliberately didn't try to find out how he died since the information wasn't forthcoming, and it didn't seem right to dig any deeper. So that was that. Ryan was gone, and any similarities between us were now rendered moot.

Fast forward a few months to last November. For no reason in particular, I decided that maybe it would be okay if I checked to see if anyone had spoken out about how Ryan passed and I found out that it was pretty well accepted that he died from some kind of complication from sleep apnea. The pattern of similarities now had a very scary twist.

A great many things hit me at once. I had just checked my weight, and I had topped 300 lbs for the first time in my life. I thought about Ryan's widow's tweets following his death, and thought of my own wife writing similar messages if I kept following in his footsteps. I thought of the pain that Ryan's family and friends expressed, and what their statements would sound like if Ryan's name were replaced with my own. All of a sudden, the threat of death caused by my weight and lifestyle became more chillingly real than it ever had before.

And so, I made a decision that day. I couldn't let a death so great as Ryan's go to waste. His death held a potentially life-saving lesson for me, and to ignore it would essentially involve me turning my back on someone who worked so hard to bring joy to my life and the life of all of us in the Giant Bomb family. It would be downright disrespectful. I couldn't let that happen.

So here we are, four more months down the line. I watch what I eat and count my calories carefully. I have a treadmill that I use no less than four times a week. I'm up to nearly 4 miles per workout, half running half walking. I've started strength training on days that I don't run, too. In short, I've lost nearly 30 pounds, and I'm aiming for more. And every time I turn on the treadmill, and every time I grab the weights, and every time I say no to seconds when I'm not hungry it's Ryan's face that I see. His memory (along with the support of my wonderful and beautiful wife) gives me the strength to do the things I never used to be able to. I've kept it up for 4 full months. I have a long way to go, but I've started down this path, and I never would have even gotten started without the lesson Ryan taught me.

Ryan, I dearly miss you and the joy you brought to the world around you, but I honor your death in working to make sure that the same thing doesn't happen to me and the people I love. As long as I keep going, I'm heading to a better, more stable place that I have been in years.

In a very real sense, you have saved my life.

Thank you.

#1 Posted by Ben_H (3647 posts) -

Very thoughtful. Thank you for posting that.

I too have been thinking about Ryan a whole bunch the last few months or so. When he died it didn't really hit me just how much he influenced me (obviously I was shocked by it like most. I found out on the way home at the start of a few days off. I ended up spending the next day staring at a wall), but as time goes on I realize that he has a lot more than I thought. This is doubly so hitting me as I go through old Bombcasts and videos. My sense of humour was heavily influenced by him.

Losing weight is tough business. I spent a good chunk of last year doing it and have been working hard to maintain ever since. I lost 50 pounds. For the first time in my life I am not considered overweight. It is well worth it to stick through the whole process. You feel so much better in the end. I certainly do.

#2 Posted by Raven_Sword (4085 posts) -

Yeah brother, I hear you. I too have sleep apnea and I'm not taking it as seriously as I should. Seeing your post and remembering Ryan, I'm going to take it more seriously. I'm unsure if my apnea is due to weight, since I'm only like 240 pounds. But still, I need to be healthier.

I guess rya had that effect on both if us. Man I miss that guy.

#3 Posted by Wilshere (396 posts) -

Keep at it! I am glad you came to that conclusion. Excess weight is a dangerous thing. Now i am going out to burn some energy with a friend.

#4 Posted by CptBedlam (4485 posts) -

That's good to hear. Keep at it.

Ryan's passing also reinforced the notion for me that life is too short to waste any time being miserable and discontented with life (I did waste a couple of years that way). Do the things you want to do immediately and make yourself feel as comfortable as possible - that includes being in shape in my opinion.

#5 Posted by The_Boots (102 posts) -

Thanks guys. I'm just glad that I've stuck with it this long. I've never been very good at anything that requires such a constant stream of willpower. Without that extra push from what happened, I don't know if I could. Having people to back you up has really helped, too.

Man, I miss that guy...

#6 Posted by Demoskinos (16442 posts) -

@the_boots: Keep at it man that is awesome you are doing do well.

#7 Posted by Akyho (1821 posts) -

Dont worry everybody is a pretty wishy washy about their health. Alot of the times people genetic's keep the outside appearance looking healthy and so there is no motivation to maintain.

However when a prominent figure of your life dies and their medical history mirrors your own. its almost as someone has given you a road map to death. A very chilling thought that you would be an idiot to continue the road.

Does any of the other roads lead to a better life? we dont know you need to take them to find out, its a damn site better knowing you might not die than knowing YOU WILL.

The game of life we all roll the dice in health, mental and day to day decisions. Key thing is to not weigh those dice against you get then weighted for you to win.

#8 Posted by ReddenBlack (140 posts) -

Congratulations on losing 30lbs. I know how hard it can be. Keep up the great work!

#9 Edited by Vahleticar (235 posts) -

Hang in there duder, sometimes you can't change what will be, you can keep healthy. I was watching the Xbox one reveal last night for pure expert insider knowledge, laughed so hard when Ryan began shouting "xbox 25! xbox 25! xbox 25! xbox 25! Giantbomb.com! I miss him

#10 Posted by mrfluke (5677 posts) -

Keep Hanging in there duder.

#11 Posted by development (2948 posts) -

Congrats, you deserve respect for making it this far. You don't have to look very hard to see that many people never make it past that first 10 Lbs. Don't stop, though. You can do better.

#12 Edited by ZolRoyce (1154 posts) -

Good job so far! And as a fellow duder who is also losing weight, I can only speak from my experience but at some point it just becomes second nature. Running on the treadmill for an hour is no longer that thing I have to force myself to do, it's just that thing I wake up and do in the morning, it's just part of life now.
And I can hardly remember what my fridge used to look like, these days it's fruits and vegetables and that's just my diet, whatever unhealthy crap used to be in there is hardly a memory at this point. Not that I don't eat unhealthy sometimes, but it's a lot easier not to, because at some point my healthy routine just became normal.

Don't feel shy about updating us on your progress every once and a while either! There was a 'gamer exercise' thread a little while ago and everyone in it was so supportive to each other.

I will now leave you with a little bit of inspiration...


#13 Posted by Mortuss_Zero (594 posts) -

That's fantastic man, It's great you can take something positive from a tragedy.

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