Two years ago got very ill. At one point I passed out in the middle of my running store and had to be hospitalized. I made several additional visits to the E.R. before finding out I had a tumor in my intestine. Although the tumor was benign it sure brought havoc on my life for what I believe was many years.
So I have asked myself, why would a perfectly healthy and active thirty something year old male grow a tumor in my intestine? Without diving in too personally I wasn’t happy or even comfortable in my own skin. Some major life changing experiences that I wasn’t expecting nor ready for. I believe the combination of certain depression meds and my head saying I wish I was dead made my body find its own way to make it happen. Die that is. It is interesting as I really didn’t want to die, I just didn’t want to go on living the life I was experiencing. I am usually quite good at controlling my life's decisions, but something or I shall I say someone got me off my typical direction.
Anyway, this tumor first showed its intent when I got my first blood clot in my left leg. This was my first of two clots over a two year ordeal and this was just the beginning of my hell. I remember almost passing out at a friends wedding party. I had to excuse myself and find a couch for about 20 minutes as I sweated like a rain forest. After a long battle of trying to stay in some kind of athletic shape despite my calves cramping regularly due to the clots . As I mentioned May 25th, 2017 I passed out in Runnergy my running store. I owe a great amount of appreciation for my staff Gen which was there and made me feel I was going to be okay. Just her presents was all I needed, at least until the ambulance arrived. The tumor was causing me to be anemic, low on iron. Seems like an easy fix, right? Eat more iron and I’ll be okay. Not knowing at the time of the tumor at this time. And so I took iron supplements and felt somewhat better, not completely and only until my next step to what I call my ultimate hell.
After my scare in May I was back to what was my “normal” during this time. Not a normal “normal”. On meds for my depression and now on more meds for my clots, plus iron. At this time I had been wishing to die for a while. I eventually bought a gun which thankfully came up during therapy and was taken from my possession. Yes, it got pretty dark. The worst part of it was when my stomach just couldn’t hold food down anymore and we couldn’t figure out why. This went on for 4 months. I honestly don’t know how I was working all day with my stomach cramping and then make it home only to vomit what little to nothing that was in there. I would even go for a walk/run with different groups with my stomach and my calves cramping then I would go home after and vomit before falling asleep. I remember once I drove across the valley to run with the Pitfire Run Group which I had to turn around and just barely make it home it in time to, well you know throw up. I even threw up my birthday dinner in early December 2017, at that time I had lost over 20lbs. I am not a big guy, 145lbs, so I was 125lbs.
I know it sounds crazy, but on January 4th, 2018 on a Thursday I actually went to the gym in hope of some kind of feeling “old normal” by getting on the treadmill at 24 Hour Fitness near me. I cried the whole time, all ten minutes until I couldn’t take anymore. (crying right now), sorry. Two days later I was back in the E.R. getting a scan which showed a blockage. Thank you to my dad for taking me again. We joked about making sure I don’t throw up in his car. As much as he loves his car he made very clear he didn’t care.
I don’t remember much after the scan other than the doctor saying there is a blockage and we need to go in immediately.
I woke up in the hospital with only the second scar I have ever had and tube down my nose and throat. I really hope to never experience that again. Really! All the mediation practice I had done the last couple years truly gave me the skills to stay calm. And boy did I need it. Opening me up revealed a tumor that was causing the blockage. By removing it I lost approximately 6 inches of my intestine, but gained back my life and love of running. 3 months after surgery I tried my first attempt to get back to running and a customer at Runnergy who happened to be a registered nurse and suggested to me be careful and wait at least 6 months to a year and darn it she was so right. It was about 9 months until I could run with little pins and needles where my surgery was.
The road to recovery and redemption begins. It was January 6th, 2019 exactly a year after my surgery I ran my first race the Resolution Relays which is put on by my old time running club New Basin Blues and yes, no pins and needles. I felt winded and pushed in that good way, not like I was going to die or wish I would. It wasn’t till about June 2019 (18 months after surgery) that I really felt my body was on the way back and I mean way back to, like 15 years ago or even longer. September is when I began feeling like I think I can do this and start pushing it. With motivation and inspiration by other amazing athletes mainly being Rich Roll who is a vegan athlete, author, motivational speaker and content creator. I began eating a mostly vegetable diet, hitting the gym 3-4 times a week and I am learning to train like old times again. Vegetable diet for me is tricky as I have very thick blood and have to be careful with my vitamin K and I am prone to blood clots. I really don’t want to be on blood meds again.
Although I know there are many people who have lived with much more harsh and life changing situations living in what was “my hell” taught me I am stronger and tougher than I believed I was. Something I would never had believed before. After this experience I now know I can handle more discomfort and in some odd way I am in search of it. I guess it is true as they say “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”.
What’s next for me? Will I just ran my first half marathon the Griffith Park Trail Half. My first half in like 10+ years and felt amazing. Okay I walk/hike/run. Like I said I am not fast. My goal now is to stay healthy, get faster, go farther and be a lot stronger because I know I may not get another chance. Thank you so very much for reading this. It wasn’t easy to write. I hope you come back for my future blogs, videos and more.