The Road to Recovery: Volume II

The Road to Recovery: Volume II

Difficult things in life become incredibly easy when you don't have a choice. People love to say, "You always have a choice." Well, let me tell you that sentiment is crap. Quitting is not an option when you have already decided what it is you want or need. I have a fucked up knee and a borderline useless leg. Am I happy about that? No. I want my leg to be back at 100%. But far beyond my personal happiness lies the fact that I need my leg back.

As a result, I don't have to think about whether or not I'm going to wake up today and work toward fixing it; I've already decided that I will do every damn thing I can. And it's for that reason that I don't have to wonder whether I will be back at 100%. A friend once told me that confidence comes from doing. I can't tell you how many times I've replayed that line in my head. I've seen it proven true each and every day I have resolved to DO–do something I did not do the day before like bend my leg a little further, move it another inch unassisted, use one crutch, open the brace another notch.

At 4 weeks post-op, I still had my leg locked straight. Showering was a chore and I had to piss into a gallon jug while taking a shit because I couldn't get far enough on the toilet without bending my leg. Now at 6 weeks, I can bend it 90 degrees, walk without a brace, manage to get around with only one crutch, and no longer have to piss into a used milk jug. I'm happy about all of those small things, things most people take for granted. Yesterday I drove for the first time since getting injured. Each day I put a little more weight on my leg with it fully flexed. I'm currently looking forward to ditching the remaining crutch and walking upstairs using my injured leg.

You have to be realistic in life. My goal is not to squat 405 next week. If I could hang my leg off the side of my bed and raise it without any assistance, it would be a massive victory. Every morning when I get out of bed, I let my leg hang and I move it another inch. There is something to be said for developing reasonable goals. Reasonable goals take time. Now don't get me wrong here–squatting 5 plates for 12 reps at the end of a future leg workout is kicking around somewhere at the back of my brain. But it means nothing to me right now.

The parallel between injury "recovery" and body "building" is amazing. Simple effort happens every single day and progress happens little by little. Fundamentally speaking though, I want it. Which reminds me of a conversation I had with a guy when I was at the gym the other day. A guy in his early thirties approached me and asked, "What advice would you give to someone who has a hard time following through?" I looked at him not really knowing what to say. He tried to clarify by saying, "You know how it is. I don't always feel like following the diet or doing cardio and I'm often too tired to get to the gym."

I gave him my simple advice: if you don't want to do something, don't do it. Instead, find that something you really want to do and do it. I always wanted to build this physique of mine. Even if certain things didn't appeal to me about the sport, I STILL wanted to do them if it meant I'd be one step closer to my dream. Motherfucker, if someone punched you in the face every time they handed you a big lump of cash, you just might start to like getting punched in the face. Even if at first you don't love the thing that brings you results, that might change in time. If it doesn't, the result doesn't mean that much to you. I have no reason to actually like going to physical therapy but it means progress so it's therefore one of my favorite things to do at the moment.

I've been amazed that people have found my coming back from this injury to be inspiring. Honestly, I'm just rehabbing a torn tendon, not battling a life-threatening illness. I'm not facing financial ruin and I'm of sound mind (at least I think I am). I'm lucky to have an incredibly supportive group of people behind me in the form of family, friends, and ANIMAL.

In short, I feel like a lucky son of a bitch and I'd be an ungrateful fuck to think otherwise. But beyond all that, I WANT it. If you see me at the gym, it's because I want to be there. I can't wait to get to physical therapy on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and my diet has been solid since the injury occurred. I don't have to TRY to do those things. I decided a long time ago that I was going to be a bodybuilder. Everything else is just a formality–just another part of the process that leads me back to being 100%. I don't have a choice. That's why this difficult process is easy.