Remission is Control. The knowledge that I am in control of my body and even when I choose to abuse myself I have a bulletproof recovery plan to get be back in action quickly.
How long have I been sick?
I’m going to go out on a limb and say my entire life. I don’t remember much before 16, but my parents used to think it was “so cute” that I would sweat profusely while breastfeeding. And I was the kid with tubes in his ears, etc..
First memory of being ill?
16, I was working in a fishing lodge in the middle of the wilderness in Alaska. My dad had dropped me off there for the summer in hopes I’l learn some work ethic I think. The first memory is me lying on a cot in the “boiler room” above the kitchen with stomach pain and GI distress so painful I was curled up in a ball. I spent a month in that place, constantly trying to figure out how to sneak away to nap because I was in so much pain I wasn’t sleeping. I can remember waking up nauseous every morning, I just thought it was from the smell of the food that wafted up through the ceiling. Eventually, 20 years later I would spend a year vomiting blood in the shower from the same nauseous feelings.
“What is happening to me?” The fall… When did you know something was very wrong?
When I cleaned up everything about my health I knew how to do, followed medical assistance, and still felt worse than when I wasn’t eating being clean and making healthy choices. Even though I knew I didn’t feel well, I had gotten used to it and it was normal. I had never known what it felt like to live a day without pain or fear of pain from doing something wrong again. I blamed it on chewing tobacco, drinking alcohol, eating pizza, or anything I could wrap my head around. No one could find anything wrong with me in all the tests, but I knew something was very wrong. It was probably 2008 and I had just gone through the long process of detoxing from sugar, processed foods, etc. I started going to the gym and got really “healthy”. Except my energy was zapped almost always and my nutrition was better than it had ever been. I decided if I was going to figure out what was “wrong” with me, I had to do it full time, so I became a personal trainer and I studied fitness through the eyes of someone living with an invisible illness.
The struggle to the bottom
This one is hard because that’s what it was. A struggle to rock bottom, despite giving MY 100%. I did everything I could every day just to survive. The only thing that happened was I continued to fail at just about everything I was doing, regardless of how hard I was working or how much I planned. That mysterious invisible illness had control of me and there seemed like nothing I could do to stop it.
The bottom …….
This was more of a place in time for me than a single event. And it lasted for a few years off/on. If there was a single month I had to pick, I would have to say the first month I was homeless and living in the back of my truck. It was a choice and I had options, what I didn’t have was processing power or a comfortable place to sleep, which was what I desperately needed to finish college and be a very sick person. The most lost feeling I ever felt was locking the door to my house for the last time and realizing when I got in my truck, that I was exhausted, needed rest, and had no place to go. No one was expecting me and if I got in an accident, no one would miss me for months or a year, because that’s the life I had designed. Solitary, isolated, and comfortable not burdening others with my problems.
The choice to live or die
I made this alone, lying on the bathroom floor, naked, curled up in the fetal position shivering uncontrollably fading in/out of consciousness somewhere between the toilet and the shower. I don’t know why I chose to live that day on the cold tile floor because it would have been a lot easier to go to sleep and never wake up. Probably because I hate being cold even more than I hate being hot. So I got up. =)
I know what a surprise diagnosis can do to a relationship or a person who is healthy, let alone someone who is already struggling with illness. I’m not a weak man, but getting up and dusting myself off every time I had fallen was often more exhausting than the failure itself. Somewhere along the way, I decided that if I couldn’t find anyone to help me the way I needed to be helped then I would become that guy.
The struggle to rise
I had no idea how difficult it would be to navigate all the obstacles to maintain a level of health superior to that which I don’t ever remember feeling. From shamelessly removing toxic people from my life to changing the way I lived and ate, to overcoming the crippling debt created by chronic illness. It’s all there, and any one of them will push me off the ledge if I let it. That’s where the evolution of Remission comes in. I thought once I figured out how to get healthy, staying healthy would be easy. Well it is, but only if I do the work consistently
Rising up / linchpin
Intermittent fasting was the thing that brought it all together. The beautiful thing about IF is that I can apply just about everything I learned about any other “diet” I wanted to. Paleo, Vegan, Keto (clean & dirty), pescatarian, etc…. Once I learned that all my body needed was a long break in between each meal, I started to feel better every day.
This is an everyday awareness I have to embrace. It takes constant maintenance, but not exactly constantly. I mean I can eat terribly and recover quickly in a ratio. Say I want to eat a burger with cheese, onion, tomato, normal bun. That’s okay for a meal if I have been on point with my food for a few days. I can get lazy for an entire day if I want to be on point for 3 days prior and 3 days post. But if I continue to eat poorly and exercise intensely I will start to feel far more worn down then if I eat as I know I should.
New why in Remission?
Make it okay to share our story, remove the stigma of chronic illness in the fitness industry and help people like me get into the best place in their life physically, mentally, and spiritually. 6 in 10 Americans live with chronic illness. That’s enough to change the world if everyone can share their experience and teach others how to do it.