I’m normally a pretty private person & my fiancee gives me a hard time about a steely exterior.
With all I’ve gained from the Agoge crew, everybody who has been part of it & the hill we all just conquered (+ the ones ahead of us), wanted to share my thanks + a bit of my own story…
First, my sincere thanks to Nick, Josh, Alison & Gerry for the program, the structure, the motivation & the accountability.
I’m also truly thankful to every member here who shared their daily triumphs, struggles, action shots, encouraging words, tips, tricks & recipes.
Candidly, knowing myself, I didn’t expect to get much from an online community but that was quickly proven incorrect.
Some of us have chewed some of the same dirt, played in some of the same sand, faced similar losses, found similar brotherhoods…
Some of us on the surface have nothing in common but found a shared commitment.
Thank you all for the inspiration, accountability & tribe. Now, a bit of a long ramble… pic descriptions at bottom if you want to jump to that.
Today’s finish line was a bit emotional for me as I sifted through pics to find the before/after & to remind myself of the path here.
As Nick worded in on 03/21, I was an old fart who just got out when he & Josh were setting a whole new bar.
I stayed fit for a while but life, a desk job & complacency let that all go. A few years ago, I decided to get back in shape just to have life turned upside down. A numbness in my leg 2.5yrs ago was said to be an arterial block that required vascular surgery & a stent so knocked that out & got back to training.
Three months later, I suddenly went from 170lbs to 120 in 3 weeks. Turned out to be Crohn’s Disease, an auto-immune condition that attacks the G/I system.
Lived in a hospital for a month+, emergency surgery to remove large intestine which doc said would have disintegrated & killed me if they waited a few more hours.
Lived for 6 months with an ostomy (intestine sticking out my abdomen into a bag) before 2 more surgeries to rebuild me. Was told it would be a month or more before I could walk a block & struggled to go up stairs at all.
But I was stubborn…
I could barely lift 3lb weights, walking ½ mile was excruciating but 90 days later, ran my first 5k in years & kept pushing forward.
There have been a hell of a lot of ups & downs along the way.
Turned out I never needed the arterial stent but it itself caused a blockage that led to 2 more surgeries & one that came within 15min of them amputating my leg.
Drugs to treat the Crohn’s caused most of my teeth to crumble out & when we went to docs to rebuild that, they discovered a tumor that had eaten through my jaw.
Between it all, been 13 surgeries now in 30 months, including one on the jaw on day 8 of the challenge when they took all my lower teeth to get at the growth in my jaw (I’ll be getting new teeth when the tumor is fully gone) & at least two more surgeries this year.
I share all of this not in any way looking for sympathy.
I share because all of you have been part of one of the most powerful chapters that has helped me jump-start a new era, press through some challenges & set the stage for life ahead. Despite the challenges the last few years, truly, I have been blessed.
I had a partner (girlfriend then, now fiancee) who literally lived at the hospital with me for weeks & months. I have a career that allowed me the time to get treatment & to recover; insurance to cover the nearly $1mm in hospital bills & $25k/mo in medications; friends & family who traveled from across the country to be with us, help around the house & give me a kick in the ass when I needed.
I also had 45+ years of life experience including some tough battles & tougher losses to give me the strength to push through.
Today, I have an amazing fiancee & 2 beautiful step-kids.
This fall we’ll go to my childhood home of Kaua’i to be married then over to Hawai’i to play (Josh, plate lunch, coffee or drink?).
In 2 weeks we’ll head down to our 2ndhome in FL for me to spend a month skydiving & playing on the water with friends.
As I do all of this, I’ll be carrying the strength of this group, of this month, of all of you in my heart & each of you, all of this, become a part of what gives me strength & what makes this amazing, wild ride called life so damn incredible.
A few pics: Before/after the Challenge – Left mid Feb in FL, Right this morning; At 120lbs close to death & living in a hospital; Rebuilding – when 5lbs was tough to lift, walking excruciating & determination was all I had; The amazing woman who has been by my side through everything for 10+ years.
Thank you all! Would welcome staying connected with any/everybody & whether we stay in touch or paths part, you’ll all be with me on my journey & I’ll be cheering for all of you in everything you do!
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