10 years ago...

Ten years ago, I sat at a Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Maryland.  I was there to see one of the military's finest orthopedic surgeons.  Six years of ground pounding and knuckle dragging had taken their toll on my body.  After a short wait, the doctor, a commander...like a colonel in the army, walks in with an assistant.  He looked at my chart and supporting documents, then at me and proceeded to tell me that I was never going to be able to run or jump again and then told me about the surgery that he would do to replace my hip seven months later.  That was something that I refused to accept.  I had some choice words with him and told him what I thought of his diagnosis and then politely told him that I was going to get a second opinion.  With some luck, I did end up finding a great doctor who had invented a new type of hip surgery.  I had that surgery on February 20, 2008.  I had a great team helping me and they told me that with some luck, I might be able to start jogging in August or September...on June 26th, I ran my first triathlon.  I didn't set any records, but my goal was to not finish last...I accomplished my goal.  I failed to mention this to my physical therapist or doctor because I didn't want them to say don't do it...ironically enough, when I was at the start in the water, I looked to my right and my physical therapist was there.  Fortunately, she did not see me...  What I didn't realize about doing this particular triathlon was that it was an Xterra triathlon and riding a mountain bike on technical terrain is a lot different than riding on the road.  I also, should not have done it with a bike I bought at Walmart for $120.  I say this because the seat broke off at mile 3 of the bike, so for the next 15 miles, I ran the course carrying my bike. 

When I look back, there is a lot of lessons learned from that, but the big take away was that I refused to accept that diagnosis from the Navy doctor because I did not want to live my life with limitations imposed by someone else.  So after I did that, I had done a few more races and I loved it, but my time in the military was coming to an end.  It's a weird thing transitioning out.  I was trying to figure out my life and to make things more confusing was that friends and guys I served with starting to commit suicide....11 in three years.  Guys you never would have thought would do it.  It seems like such a long time ago when I look back.  

So when I transitioned out, I was trying to figure out my life, which I talked about in my previous post.  I had started gaining weight, eating and drinking whatever I wanted.  I was active, but not active like I was when I was in because I was in pain most of the time.  So the weight started coming on.  I would get cortisol injections at the VA and they would prescribe pain killers, that I wouldn't fill.  A few years had gone by and I was back at the VA for a checkup and I was overweight and hurting.  It would take me 30-45 minutes to get out of bed and I would ache, especially when it got cold.  The doctor at the VA told me that I was just going to have to get used to being in pain because I will be in it for the rest of my life, then asked me what kind of meds that I would like.  Furious by this, I walked out.  What sense does it make to tell someone that they will be in pain for the rest of their life and then give them something to mask the pain.  That's not a solution.  

A few years later, like I mentioned in a previous post, I discovered a different way of thinking about nutrition.  Once I embraced this, I started to lose weight...quickly.  My body doesn't hurt and my joints don't creak.  I don't have brain fog or cognitive issues.  The symptoms associated with my TBI went away and I can get out of bed as soon as I wake up.  I have started running again and I am looking to do something really crazy...ultra running.  Why ultra running?  Because someone at the VA told me that I would be stupid for trying to run again because it would destroy all of my joints and I would need hip and knee replacements within 5 years.  

I'm down over 100 lbs!  My weekly mileage goes between 50-60 miles and I'm still pain free.  What I want you to take away from this is simply....be defiant.  If your doctor tells you that you are going to be diabetic for the rest of your life...tell them to go to hell!  There's plenty of research out there that you can reverse type 2 diabetes.  If you have high cholesterol or high blood pressure, you can lower it with your diet...if you have created an echo chamber using some of the resources that I mention, you will find out how to do this.  You don't need to be in pain, you don't need to have a negative prognosis held over your head.  There is hope...