Being blessed is a choice!

My Chiari

My Chiari

Jul 6, 2011

I’m a Chiari patient. What does that mean? It means that I was born with a congenital birth defect where my skull is smaller than my brain. This caused intense pressure on the back of my brain and cerebellum. In my case, it actually pushed the cerebellum downward, out of the skull and into the spinal cord. I had just slowly grown accustom to my symptoms over my lifetime. I thought I just had headaches and balance issues. I thought short term memory lapses and temporary situational confusion were just part of my make up. It wasn’t until they intensified that I began to suspect something wasn’t right but I wasn’t sure what. Then, suddenly, almost overnight, my blood pressure would become erratic from literally minute to minute, at times giving crazy readings. I began blacking out and passing out. That is when I passed out at work and was taken to the hospital. In January of 2009 I underwent a Post Fossa Craniectomy with Dr. John M. Tew Jr. M.D. (Neurosurgeon at Mayfield Clinic, Cincinnati, OH). The surgery is not a cure. It is simply to relieve pressure, and hopefully relieve symptoms. The first couple of days were scary. At one point, I almost lost the use of my legs completely. We now however suspect that an allergic reaction to the pain medicine prescribed was the culprit. I still experience symptoms from time to time. In May of 2010, after an increase in symptoms again, I underwent a spinal tap that threw me literally into a 3 week tailspin that can best be described as a bad psychadelic trip. I literally could not walk. Light, sound, smells, food made me nauseous and I would vomit. Ironically, Shakeology is literally the only thing that kept me alive for the five days that I spend in bed during that time. However, I refuse to be a victim to my condition. I do not let it define me. So much so that initially I shyed away from interacting with other Chiari patients. I think it was to distance myself from my condition. Now, however, I embrace it. It is a part of who I am, but...

My Transformation

My Transformation

Jul 6, 2011

  In January 2009, I had brain surgery (Post Fossa Craniectomy) to relieve pressure and reduce impact of symptoms. (Read more about this uncurable condition here). Long story short, I was a physical wreck. Weak, overweight, out of shape and depressed I needed to prepare to get fit for duty. After years of coaching and training some of Indiana’s top youth basketball players, and an intense interest in personal training, I began looking to devise my own plan to get back in shape. After hours on the internet doing reseach, I found P90X. Within minutes I knew it was literally the perfect functional workout for anyone and I ordered. When we first started, I remember telling Michele that all I wanted was to lose about 20 lbs. I thought that coming from a family of large, “barrel chested men” that I was destined to just be big and even said, “I could never have abs that show” because of my build.Well, I lost 15 lbs in the first round and couldn’t believe how good I felt after the first 90 days! This was even NOT doing Plyometrics through the first 90 days and even only being able to do 20 minutes of Yoga the very first Yoga X day. We took some time off during the summer before starting again. This time I was determined to put the Plyometrics DVD in, even though I couldn’t do it all the way through. I lost another 10 lbs the second 90 days. I hadn’t felt this good in years! That’s when I made up my mind to sign as a Beachbody Coach. Round 3. This is when things really began to change for me. The first two rounds were amazing and brought me out of my darkness from surgery. This round is the round that I found myself doing the workouts all the way through. I felt strong when I walked. I had amazing stamina. I was becoming a different person. I was moving beyond my own expectations. I dropped another 10 lbs but now was beginning to see an amazing transformation in my body.   In March of 2010 I was ready to step up...