Back - Herniated discs
I have been working out, all my adult life. Then 18 months ago whilst I was weight training, I felt a sharp pain at the bottom of my back, which travelled down my leg and into my foot. This was the result of 2 herniated discs, one of which was protruding through my nerves and nearly out of the other side. The first consultant, a specialist back doctor, gave me 3 epidurals over 3 months, none of them worked. On holiday, when the pain was at its peak, there were times where I had to use a wheel chair, which left me thoroughly depressed and alarmed. With no movement without pain and not being able to train I realised I had to find another back specialist.
I soon consulted a Neuro surgeon who recommended a endoscopic microdisectomy, a form of non invasive surgery, removing the herniation from the nerve column. The day following the procedure, expecting pain as I planted my feet on the floor, I soon discovered that for the first time in 2 years, I was pain free. The consultant who performed this procedure advised me with the right form of physio and pilates, I should be able to get back into the gym, but on the basis I eliminate anything that exposes my back. He was right. With a change in my routine, I am still able to work out 5 days a week but with a mixture of weight training, pilates and cardio using a Peloton bike.
The search for the right treatment took some time, but I was lucky as I may have been left unable to exercise ever again. What also became apparent was that the years of performing deadlifts and squats with perfect form had left my back weakened, not stronger. My advice would be to be careful with all forms of lifting and don’t give up seeking the right treatment.
I lost 5kg in 3 months. My weight loss tool is walking steps, I try and walk 15,000 steps a day to assist creating a positive calorie balance every day. I absolutely hate the gym and working out, and find this works well for me. Sometimes, I will go out to top my steps up early evening but mainly get them all in during my lunchtime walk. My favourite gadget is my fitbit which has really helped me to obtain weight loss. It helps me monitor my steps and calories all in one easy place. I find the calorie consumption easy to manage on this device, especially breakfast and lunch - its not tedious at all.
I still tend to have a couple of nights of sharing a bottle of wine or too, but will offset these with playing golf.
Testicular cancer survivor
I checked my balls one day, as you do, and found a lump on my right testicle which seemed different: hard and a bit tender. “I wasn’t sure what it was but I hoped it would go away on its own,” I then made an appointment with a Doctor for further evaluation. Before that appointment, on a Saturday in June, I went with my wife on a 7 mile bike ride. Afterwards, I noticed that my testicle was feeling harder, it now felt heavier. An ultrasound was performed and a doctor told me they had found numerous tumors and I had testicular cancer.
Fortunately for me the cancer was confined to one testicle, unfortunately this meant the testicle being removed.
Luckily, I have made a full recovery and am now cancer free, I still check my other testicle daily just in case.
I was 40 when it happened, I lived a balanced life – running 25km a week and regularly using the gym, and also an active social life. The state of my heart was the last thing on my mind.
After having breakfast one morning, an uncomfortable feeling materialised in the centre of my chest. I put it down to overdoing it at the gym or indigestion, so I took some ibuprofen and the pain subsided. It just didn’t go away and I ended up at the hospital.
After some blood tests, a doctor informed me “Well, Chris, you aren’t presenting like you are, but you are having a heart attack.”
Everything stopped. It felt like forever. There was nothing. No noise. No thought. No feeling. A void. The words just hung there in the air.
And then bam! Every single feeling, emotion, and thought smashed my head at the same time. What? How? There must be some mistake. Not me! I’m fit!
I was transferred to a specialist heart unit for an emergency angioplasty performed under local anaesthetic, which was one of my most surreal experiences of all time. It made the pain disappear, which was a huge relief.
I can see now I had heart disease in my family history.
I struggled with depression and anxiety afterwards.
One year on, and things have begun to improve: not so much ‘back to normal’ but more a ‘new normal’. I run further and faster than I ever did before !
I was 42 and had no symptoms at all when I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I had recently lost my father to the disease and that spurred me on to visit the doctor, as I knew the family connection meant I was more likely to develop the disease.
I received treatment and have been living with prostate cancer for the last 12 years.
I definitely recommend getting a PSA blood checks regularly if you can.
Time was a premium at work which overrode my health. A visit to the doctor and a blood test, due to feeling dizzy, showed that my immune system and my spleen wasn't 100%. This lead me to look for a more natural approach to improve my immune system and found that by simply drinking a glass of Beetroot each morning would help. Four years on I am still doing this. This change has lead me to recalibrate my body and improve my work life balance. This has resulted in losing 10kg and being much more balanced.
After 25 years or so of working I realised I was never going to get any better at it, with that in mind I decided to stop !
My quest is now to try and fill the 18 hours that I am awake in a balanced way.