Feelin’ good? So is Phelan Good

This is another in an occasional series about people at Penn Manor who have changed themselves for the better.

By Amber Brenner –

Phelan Good, a junior at Penn Manor, knows what he is.

“I’m a fat kid,” said Good, “and I know that. I always have been. I hate exercise and love food. I’m like a human teletubby.”

Good hates sports and even walking fast can knock the wind out of him. He loves his food, and the less healthy the food, the better it tastes to him. He learned his eating habits from his family.

“We loved KFC, smorgasbords and beef burgers. You know the greasy, big, disgusting ones,” admitted Good.

The only vegetables he even remotely liked were carrots, potatoes, corn and peas, only two of which are legitimate vegetables and not starches in the “bread” food group.

Penn Manor student Phelan Good has made big changes in his life. Photo by Amber Brenner

“No rabbit food for me,” Good chuckled, “I like the ice cream that gives you phlegm when you eat it.”

But in February of 2010, something changed his life forever. He almost lost his mother.

“The missus had a heart attack last February,” Good said. “She almost didn’t make it and I love her too much to lose her.”

His mother was rushed to the hospital by her oldest son just a few days after returning from a family vacation in Key West.  This was only after describing her symptoms over the phone to her husband, who was at work for PPL Electric. He advised she needed to see a doctor immediately.

“She was feeling fine and the next thing you know… it went down the drain. It hit the fan,” commented Good.

Good was not at home when the heart attack happened. He was at school. When he returned home, he knew something wasn’t right.

“The lights were on, her car was in the drive and the cooking was still hot. I knew something was wrong. I was eating leftover spaghetti when my dad called the house phone. He told me not to worry, which made me worry.”

Good was taken to the hospital by his older sister and her husband.

“It was the scariest moment of my life,” Good recalled, “not knowing whether I was going to have a mother the next day. I cried for the first time in a while.”

His mother was in the hospital for what seemed like a long time, and Good remembers that stretch clearly.

“I spent too many sleepless nights worrying and thinking, ‘What would we all do if anything happened?’  I’m always worrying about those two people,” said Good, referring to his parents.

But his mother made it. She survived.  However it was clear to the Good family that changes had to be made in their lifestyle.

So the whole family committed.

The three of them, Phelan, his mother and his father began a revolution in their daily habits and routines.

“We eat stuff like chicken, turkey, rabbit food, fruit, frozen yogurt, fat-free milk and whole wheat bread. The milk is watered down,” Good chortled.

The Good family spends more time outside now. They now walk the perimeters of their neighborhood.

“I definitely feel a lot different. I don’t have to breathe as hard or much now,” said Good,”I’m definitely happier now. I have some good and bad days, but mostly good.”

Good suspects that he has lost weight, but he doesn’t keep track. That’s not what he’s worried about.

“We don’t call it a diet,” Good said with a laugh, “to us, a diet is something skinny people say when they eat next to nothing to lose weight. It might still happen either way, but I’m just trying to avoid a heart attack. I don’t want to be some statistic, so I guess sometimes sacrifice is best.”

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