Random Thoughts, Injury Update

As I was clearing out a spam comment on a post last night, I happened to run across this comment in my progress post. Originally, I responded to this in typical ‘thanks’ fashion and didn’t think much more of it. But last night, the byline, ‘Matt P’, caught my attention. I looked closer at it and said “holy shit” pretty much out loud. Matthew Perryman is a name you may or may not be familiar with, but I’ve been following his blog for quite some time, and I hold him in pretty high regard. So to realize, late last night, that he had personally given me an ‘attaboy’ made me feel pretty awesome.
I then started thinking about it and realized that a heck of a lot of online guys I respect (some of whom, like Matt, are kind of a big deal) are following me on Fitocracy, and I have no idea why. Seriously.
Not putting myself down here, but I’m not doing anything anyone else hasn’t, I’m not talking about new techniques no one else has, and I’m not conducting formal research or anything. I’m basically just regurgitating info that has been around for years, with a slightly different spin based on my own understanding of things and personal experiences, and posting it up in the hopes that someone finds it useful. And, to borrow a train of thought from Jaime Lewis’ “I’m not a superhero” series, I’m not anything special otherwise. Nothing I’ve done is beyond the capabilities of anyone who is willing to be dedicated and work hard.
So while I consider it an honor to be followed by these guys, I really have no idea why they are doing it.
On other fronts, I’ve got some minor updates to my injury. Since the last update, I’ve started seeing a DC, Dr. Armen Agacanyan, that Dr. Brink recommended. He’s started me on the following regimen of treatment:

Since beginning these treatments, my numbness has faded some, though it tends to be improving in spurts as opposed to a more linear fashion. My strength has also risen in both my pec and my tricep. On the tri, I’ve been doing both EZ bar tri extensions (Skullcrushers) and dumbell tri extensions.
The Skullcrushers have gone from 55 x 10 x 2 to 65 x 10 x 3 in a month, which is a reasonable improvement, thought they are still a long way from the 120 x 10 I should be doing. The dumbell tri extensions are more telling, though. A month ago, I barely got 10 lbs for 5 reps, and my left arm was almost debilitated for the week afterwards. Today, I got 15 lbs for 15 reps, so that’s a fairly enormous improvement, though still pretty far off from 40 x 10.
So, while the improvement is slow, and the road is long and humbling, I am improving. So that’s a good sign. Now for the negative.
The Dr. I originally scheduled my surgery with, Dr. Cluck,  never actually got back up with me to schedule the pre-op. Since I’ll be out of town the week before the surgery at my little brother’s wedding, I really needed to take care of this. After my wife called and left no less than five messages to try and schedule this (evidently, humans never answer the phone there), I finally made the decision to simply cancel the surgery. Dr. Cluck might be a great surgeon, but the responsiveness of him and his staff leaves a lot to be desired.
I went for a second opinion with another surgeon, this time a Neurosurgeon (Dr. Cluck is an orthopedic surgeon). I found Dr Mehdizadeh through yelp, and was hopeful that he would be more positive and less pro-surgery than Dr. Cluck had. While Dr. Mehdizadeh’s bedside manner is impeccable, and he spent a lot of time explaining and educating me, his recommendation, frankly, scared the shit out of me.
First and foremost, he advised that I should not go anywhere without a cervical brace, as the pressure exerted on my spinal cord by the herniation is such that he believes a fall or car accident may leave me paralyzed. Furthermore, he recommended complete cessation of all weight training, and believes that I should give up heavy lifting for the rest of my life. He effectively said I should come to terms with a new set of limitations on what I can and cannot do.
I can’t describe how much of a blow this was. I spent a lot of time in the next few days considering this, and I came to the following conclusions. Regarding the collar, I will get the one he recommended, and wear it as much as possible, including while lifting and sleeping. I do not think a car accident or a fall is such a high risk at present, as Dr. Cluck did not seem to indicate that things were nearly that severe. That being said, Dr. Cluck honestly didn’t seem to care very much one way or the other.
Next Monday, I have an appointment with another Orthopedic surgeon that comes very highly recommended, Dr. Lettice, and this Friday I have an appointment with a neurologist to get an EMG to determine the degree of my nerve damage. I will let those appointments determine how I proceed with regard to surgery.
One way or the other, I will not stop lifting. I completely disagree, philosophically, with the idea of self limitation. The moment I say to myself “Self, you can’t do these things”, I have created a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Furthermore, if I quit lifting, not only am I throwing away something that has become very important to my way of life, I am relegating myself to being more and more unhealthy with every passing year.
Muscular strength is inversely associated with death from all causes. In other words, the stronger you are, and more lean mass you carry, the less likely you are to die…from anything. And you can’t get stronger unless you lift heavier and heavier shit.
In short, if I risk paralysis by continuing to lift, so be it. Virtual paralysis is almost assured if I go back to my previous way of life.
This doesn’t mean I’m going to take any unnecessary risks, but if I have to lift for the rest of my days in a neck brace, that’s acceptable. What is not acceptable is rolling over and just taking it out of fear that the worst might happen. That’s not how I’m going out.
Anyhow, this ran a lot longer than I planned for, so maybe on the next post I’ll discuss the news on my GT500 and give a mini review of the two rentals I had while it was in the shop this past week. Till then…


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