We’re coming up on a pretty significant milestone in my life. I was going to wait to write about it, but this quarantine has expedited the timeline.
On April 13th, it will have been five years since I had surgery to repair a perforation in my small intestine. My scar is a daily reminder – even now, not a day goes by that I don’t think about it. So when I say it out loud (or write it), I cannot believe it’s been five years. There was a time, as I was in the Hospital waiting, that I didn’t think I’d make it here. With all this ‘Social Distancing’ going on recently, I’ve had a lot of time to sit with my own thoughts. I’m not sure I can come up with a better description of what that day was like than I did for one of the very first posts I made for the CrossFit Webster blog:
“When I heard the words come out of the surgeon’s mouth, they were muffled – like she was talking to me, and I was underwater.
“You’ve got air loose in your abdomen, and we can’t figure out where it’s coming from. We’ve got to get you in to surgery as soon as we can.”
I’ve heard people discuss out of body experiences but had never had one myself. In that moment, I could actually see myself. I know that sounds like a bit much. I can’t explain it any better than that. This was the first time I had ever been faced with my own mortality (it was the first time I had ever needed surgery!). I was absolutely terrified. I had never contemplated not waking up tomorrow. My family was terrified – apparently the doctor told them I might not make it. They didn’t tell me that. They didn’t have to. I could see it in their faces. I could hear it in the way they talked to me. I couldn’t believe how sudden it was. Two days earlier I was at the gym, doing a 3-person partner WOD with Jake and Earl. I imagine it is similar having a heart attack, or another unexpected health scare. The difference is, if you’re lucky enough to make it through a heart attack, you’re already through. I wasn’t there yet. I was stuck in the hospital, waiting for a surgery that I didn’t expect, hoping that I would make it to tomorrow. Stuck thinking about all the life that I hadn’t lived. Forced to face the inevitability of the end of the road.
When I woke up on the other side, I realized I had just been given this incredible gift – the rest of my life – and I didn’t want to take that for granted.
We’ve all heard people say it, and an experience like that really does force you take stock of, and revaluate your entire life. One thing was very clear – moving forward, I was going to take every step that I could to ensure that my health would not be negatively impacted by the effort I put in. I could control what I eat, and how much time I dedicate to taking care of myself.”
I was given a new lease on life that day. While I’m sure I’ve taken a couple of days for granted between then and now, I’d like to think I’ve lived exactly the way I said I was going to when I left the Hospital. I own a gym. I get to help people every day – even if I have to go long stretches of time without seeing anyone (thanks, Coronavirus).
I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out the transformation picture above. The ‘Olde Webby’ crew witnessed it and lived through it with me as I came back to the gym and recovered. I am eternally grateful for those friendships. Many of our members didn’t know me then. They didn’t see the transformation. I’ve written about it several times – “trust the process.” The results will come if you are patient. They take time. I’m not a natural, and I wasn’t born with any special gene or abilities. There is no substitute for hard work. That picture on the right is the result of five years of dedication, learning about nutrition, and implementing it in a way that made sense for me. I had the support of my coaches, friends, and the other members at the gym. This gym is my way to help others reach their goals. To change lives, the same way it has mine. I want to provide you the tools and knowledge necessary to build a foundation of strength, to help discover your passion for fitness, and to develop a sustainable, healthy lifestyle. You can do this. I believe in you. We believe in you.