"When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change."
It's been a long time since I last posted. A lot has happened. What began as an ankle injury to start my summer, spiraled into limb and life threatening conditions. As an athlete for most of the 35 years of my life, it turned my world upside down.
pulmonary embolism in my right lung (blood clot). I was hospitalized for a week on IV heparin to prevent further clotting and to prevent further complications (See also: death). They determined that Xarelto had failed for me, and that a piece of my clot broke off and went to my lung. I was placed on Warfarin (a very aggressive blood thinner) and Lovenox upon discharge from the hospital. My oxygen would drop into the 80s with activity and with heat. Lightheadedness and lethargy became commonplace.
At the beginning of August, I was diagnosed with post pulmonary embolic pleurisy (inflammation of the linings of the the lung) after waking up with crushing chest pain. Pain that would increase with any activity. It would hurt to laugh, sneeze, talk, and cough. Going up the stairs left me breathless and in agony. At first they thought it was my heart. Two more ER visits, a stress test, and multiple outpatient appointments have ruled out the major players , but the feeling of having a heart attack was constant. Fortunately, it was determined that my heart and lungs are now healthy and that the pain was pleuritic in nature. It's uncomfortable, but not not damaging or life threatening.
4/7/2019 USAPL deadlift 457lbs. 2 months before my injury.
There is still a long way to go. My return to be an athlete is limited by my musculoskeletal issues, as well as my vascular and pulmonary compromises. Today, a 1 mile walk increased my heart rate to over 135 bpm and left me in 6/10 chest pain and a need for a two hour nap (previously that would be a heart rate I could only attain by running 2+ miles at an 8 minute mile pace). In addition, I have lost over 25 lbs of muscle, 8cm of thigh and 6cm of calf circumference. At minimum, I will be out for 2-3 more months due to being on continued anticoagulation therapy.
9/25/2019 BW squats x 6 reps (max effort). ~4 months following initial injury.
This has been truly a challenge. I have had to face identity crises at least once a week. I went from an active, athletic, and social member of society to a Netflix connoisseur. I lost my sense of passion, purpose, and provision. I battled depression and anxiety. I lost who I was, and who I wanted to be. Things could have always been worse. Fortunately, there is a light ahead.
9/27/2019 - Single leg extension with 1 plate. You can appreciate the quadriceps lag and weakness of my right leg.
Now that I am approaching the other side of recovery, I am finding the true value in my experiences this summer. I have learned about compassion for others in similar situations. I have learned patience. I have been able to slow down my life and reflect on who I want to be and how I want to live. I have been able to assess my pre-injury life and determine what factors led to the eventual downward spiral of my health. I have been able to identify what is most important in life...my relationships and the services I can provide for others. With this better perspective, I will aim to improve not only physically, but all facets of my life. I hope to take this arduous journey...learn from it...and come back stronger.
Rob is a Physical Therapist in Boston MA who specializes in outpatient orthopedics and sports medicine. Rob is SFMA Level 1 Certified and has extensive training in Trigger Point Dry Needling and IASTM. Rob enjoys treating athletes of all levels and of all sports. He has a specific interest in helping in those who like to challenge themselves at any level. He is a certified powerlifting coach through the USAPL, as well as an Obstacle Specialist and SGX Coach through Spartan Race. Rob is currently a Spartan Race Social Media Influencer and recipient of multiple Trifectas, annually. He also is an amateur powerlifter and hockey player.