Still on Two Feet. Still Swingin’

Still fighting

First, my apologies

…but, the promise (both to myself and others) to chronicle my recovery from the nasty Amoeba that tried to kil’t me, continues…

I understand that my readership may tank since I’m no longer that “inspirational runner dude”, and I certainly understand if peeps are tired of hearing about my drama; but its real. Very real, and I am lucky to have a select group of those in and around my life who do care, and who will offer me tremendous guidance and support. It’s for them (and me) that I continue to write.

I know that my experience will someday serve as knowledge for someone else. I just know it.

Plus, don’t count me out, man – I’ll be back.

I’m no “victim”

Here we are about two (2) months since my release from Saint Joseph’s hospital and freedom from that nasty ol’ Arthur.

A lot is changing in my life; but ironically, I’ve never been happier than I am today. Than I was yesterday, or Saturday as I peddled beach cruisers with my wife around the Peachtree Corners neighborhood.

Below is the latest in the saga of Christian vs. Entamoeba histolytica:

Leave it to me to stump the Medical community

Medically, I’m sort of stuck (read: any suggestions out there?).

After 3 MRIs, CT scans, and mountains of blood work, none of the specialists can pinpoint a problem – but the fact remains I continue to suffer from a paralyzed diaphragm and a winged scapula – both due to nerve damage in the phrenic and thoracic nerves.

The infectious disease dude is just glad he whooped Arthur. He is interested in my care, cuz he’s cool like dat, but is also limited in guidance since he’s not a neurologist.

The neurologist is cool, but he’s seemingly stumped. He’s working in tandem with others in his practice to review the ongoing MRIs, but cannot seem to find the source or cause to my ongoing nerve failure.

The pulmonary lady is way cool as well, but I sense she’s sorta disinterested, thinks my problems don’t really pertain to her, but is still working to get me a pulmonary stress test since I seem bound and determined to train my ass off regardless of said realities.

So here I sit.

Don’t know what to do. Don’t know where to turn. Can’t breathe…

And I feel it’s getting worse.


I never really had to pay attention to stuff before, so this is really hard. I’ve never had to stare at myself in the mirror and admit, “dude, you’re sick.”

Life for me has always been nauseatingly easy.

From finances to friendships, relationships to responsibility, it all just worked out for me. Health? puh-lease, whatever, that was for all those people who were just sick all the time. I wasn’t anything like those sicklies. I was invincible.

Last Sunday, I stared at myself in mirror and admitted, “dude, you’re sick.”

Then, everything became a little bit more clear.

I had to take control, or this was all going to control me.

Taking the reins

Changes in the way I eat

First and foremost, inflammation is not going to help me get better nor aid in my recovery in any way. I can no longer eat like a little stoner kid, binging and stuffing my face with sugary sweets, breads, jellies, fruit juices, etc… I’m almost 42 years old, man, with some serious issues, and it’s time to address these with the same responsibility I would invoke in taking care of my family.

This week, I started becoming serious about a more strict paleo style of eating, with a leaning towards a more gluten-free diet. Not to lose weight, nor for any other vanity-related reasons, but instead to help me breath better.

Sugar causes tremendous inflammation in my body, joints, and sinuses. Doesn’t matter if it’s wheat bread or Little Debbie’s Oatmeal Cream Pies, if I eat it, I do so in massive quantities, and I swell up, get nauseous, let it subside, then repeat.

It’s actually not that hard for me to eat Paleo. It’s the direction I naturally lean anyway, but I have a nasty habit of doing things like eating well all day and then coming home and binging – or carrying “cheat days” into “cheat weekends” or even “cheat weeks”.

Sorta my personality – I rarely participate in moderation.

Changes in the way I train

Gone are the days of 20-mile weekend mountain runs. Along with that goes some of the relationships that existed for me that, I guess, were only based on “running”, anyway.

Those kinds of realities always sting, but they are real.

Thinking I’d just “bounce back”, just like that, I had huge hopes of starting back to training, building up at shorter distances like the 5K, and perhaps becoming competitive there; however, with the current realities I’m facing, I think it’s safe to say that while I can and will get faster than where I am today, my aspirations regarding 17, 16, and Hell even 15 minute 5Ks are becoming more and more of a growing challenge.

But, I haven’t given up.

I’m participating in a much broader spectrum of training, including:

  • Martial arts
  • Boxing drills
  • Stand up paddle boarding
  • Strength training (if you can call it that)
  • Single speed cycling
  • Walking
  • Hill-climbing
  • Golf (blaaach)
  • Running, of course

The strength training is helping me to improve my mobility from the winged scapula, which is good, but I simply can’t endure Crossfit-style workouts anymore. I can handle the movements, but not with the intensity, power and finesse in which I could in the past. My entire kinetic chain is affected, so I’m simply doing what I can do nice and slowly, and building back up.

The boxing and martial arts are great for me. In all honesty, I wish the marital arts training I was doing was a bit more “involved”, but I’m still getting great mental, stretching, and technique training that I continue to build upon in private in “The Dawg Gym”, my awesome home gym.

I’m getting really good with the speed bag and my punching power has improved incredibly.

SUPing, walking, single-speeds, and golf are all “just keep moving” activities for me that also have the added benefit of including my wife. This has become so important to me as of late. My wife is my everything, and I have learned so much about her, myself, and “us” by simply taking the time to be involved.

Christian and Babette chillin on beach cruisers.

But it a’int all sunshine and kittens, kids

Running? well, that’s just frustrating. I wheeze when I run, and I run slowly. I wish I could say all kinds of sweet, knowledgeable stuff about how I’ve accepted my current disposition in the sport, but that would be a lie. I hate crossing the finish line in 27 minutes, or even 26 minutes as I did on Saturday.

I hate it.

Chasing sub-20s and getting them, THAT was fun. Getting passed by the old dude in tube socks, ain’t.

It’s so immature to care about such things, but I worked so hard to get where I was (just ask Sean Oh), and having it all erased just sucks. I know its not right and I know its something I need to work on so that I can find a way to enjoy the sport I love so much.

I run again Saturday. Hope to break 26. I am who I am.

5K with friends in Piedmont Park

Changing my complete disposition

Beyond diet and athletics, once I started on focusing on things other than myself and what I wanted, many other things in my life started to shine.

My relationship with my wife has never been better. We spend so much time together and I’m so lucky that she is also my best friend. I never used to believe in divorce because I’m a child of more than one of ’em, but I now can easily see that if one does not completely desire the one they are with, they should divorce – life is too short not to be happy – and lucky for me, my complete happiness has been right under my nose for the last 12 years, and I’m finally taking the time to wake up and explore just how deep it can go.

What else…?

I’m walking my dog to help her lose weight.

I’m delving deeper into the study of web analytics, educating myself in an area that I believe to be the most important tool in online education, consulting, and business strategy.

I’m cleaning up areas of my house, and de-crap-ifying.

I’m cleaning up my “financial” house by paying off stupid lingering debts, refinancing my mortgage, and trying to come up with strategic ways to ensure Babette and I will someday retire back to the beach.

I’m taking more of an active role in Austin’s whereabouts and working to spend more quality time with him. At 17, he’ll be gone in a blink and I want to take advantage of the time now.

I’m exploring faith, new relationships and new social outlets.

It’s sort of like being a kid again. Trying to keep an open mind to everything and anything, especially if I don’t have much experience with it, to see if perhaps it can become something really cool in my life.

You just never know.

All these changes are so weird. I sometimes just sit around and wonder why this is all happening. Why now? And what’s to come of it.

Phew, better just stop

It’s amazing. I look over this blog and see my fingers have been hammering. I’ve only been writing for 20 minutes, so it must just be pouring out of me.

I’m tempted NOT to edit it, nor re-read it, and just post as a sort of brain dump, but then Victor Zamudio will call me and heckle me for all my mistakes, ..and ol’ man Dan in Foresthill will pepper me with grammatical errors a’plenty.

Naw, I better at least try to look like I know what I’m doing.

But, most of you know I don’t, really.

No filter. I just blow.

Wayne "weezy" Downey and Christian at the Keys 100 Starting line

photo: I might not have been able to race, but I crewed my boy to the finish!