Weight loss saves local man's life

© 2018-Ogle County Life

DAVIS JUNCTION – Len Soderblom knew something had to change.

In 2013, the Davis Junction resident had had enough. Diagnosed with diabetes and pushing 300 pounds, Soderblom said he decided to make some changes.

Those changes saved his life in more ways than one.

Soderblom changed his diet and began exercising. He got his sugar numbers under control and dropped to about 162 pounds. He said he knew he had to do it for his health, and that keeping the right attitude, “has everything to do with it.”

“I don’t quit when I’m tired,” he said. “I quit when I’m done.”

He became a runner and now runs between 1,500 and 2,000 miles a year, he said. His goal is to run a marathon.

And that exercise and eating right paid off for him in 2016.

Soderblom, who works on computers, went for his normal 10-mile run on a warm April day that year. As a volunteer with a local fire department, he got a call to an accident scene where he worked for hours in the heat. He then went back to the station and was in the restroom cleaning up when everything went dark.

Soderblom was taken to SwedishAmerican’s emergency room after suffering from an acute subdural hematoma (SDH), a clot of blood that develops between the surface of the brain and the brain’s tough outer covering.

“The next thing I remember is waking up probably a few weeks later because of a coma,” Soderblom said.

“Because Len was found by fellow firefighters who knew how urgent his situation was, Len was raced to the ER where his injury could be promptly diagnosed and life saving measures started,” said SwedishAmerican Neurosurgeon Dr. Martin Gryfinski.

“Len fully recovered from his surgery, and as the saying goes, Len got a second lease on life,” Gryfinski said. “By staying physically active and eating healthy, Len will reap many health benefits.”

Soderblom said he is sure that the work he had done to better his health before the subdural hematoma, which was caused by an apparent fall, helped save him.

“I would say more than likely, it could have been and would have been fatal,” he said.

Since that incident, Soderblom has remained active and healthy. He said people looking to make a positive change to their health have to make the time for it and stick to the plan. He said it is also important to find someone to help you through the process.

“Find somebody they can talk to that is willing to … kick them in the butt,” he said. “Whatever it takes to keep to them going.”

While he did get a new lease on life, Soderblom said what he does with it is up to him. Living a healthy life is not something that can be done only when you feel like it.

“This is something you are going to do the rest of your life,” he said.

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