Monday, September 27, 2010

Operation Elderly 20's: workout 1

This is huge. 5 days after back surgery, I did my first major workout to get back to ultramarathon shape. I'm talking huge people!

I spun for 5 minutes.

Heck ya I did! I changed the skewer on my bike, pulled out the trainer, and set it the bike in all by myself. Bam! 5 minutes of spinning later and I was starting to get sore, but it felt so good to get moving. This got me thinking, what workout can you do in 5 minutes that will absolutely sap you and get you in ultra-shape?

The up down. Burpee. Whatever. Many ways to do it, but here's a video of the basics.

Another class is the football up down.
1. drive your feet! (chop your feet, run in place, whatever)
2. drop to your chest, in the low part of the pushup position
3. pop back up to your feet.
4. repeat until you hate yourself

Friday, September 24, 2010

Operation Elderly 20's

It's been 3 days since surgery. All I can think about is running. And skiing... climbing too... oh mountain biking... even weightlifting. Basically, I really, really want to get back to working out, and working out at the upper echelon that I've been used to. I've been working out of 9 straight years, with very little time off, and I can say that the last 2 weeks of forced no working out has been amazingly aggravating/satisfying.

My groin hasn't hurt in months. My knees are lively. My abs have not hurt for 4 days straight (which is amazing when they've been actively contracting for several months to hold your back in position as not to further damage the disc). Heck, I don't even have any big calluses or blisters on my feet!

It's killing me. My body feels great, my mind feels terrible. I just want to get out on the trails, feel lactic acid rip through my muscles, and then I want to chug victory chocolate milk like there's no tomorrow. Not going to happen though. Another 12 days until I may be able to get in the pool... feels long but I know it's not that bad really.

So I'm starting Operation Elderly 20's. My goal is to get my body back into big mountain shape by this coming March 22. That's the goal. We'll see what happens though!

I'll be putting every single major workout under this headline. I'm not gonna put stuff like "today I ran 4 miles". It's going to be big days, like bricks, huge runs, and... God willing... a big first descent skiing with my little brother. The plan has been laid, now we'll see how fast we can get back to xterra and ultra shape.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Malachi 3:10. Shut up, brain.

Many of you have read and commented to Mrs. J and I on God's faithfulness through my back surgery and the obvious miracles that God did for us. I'm absolutely ashamed to tell you that the next day, feeling absolutely amazing, my first thought and emotion when confronted with what could be an absolute medical insurance fiasco, was fear and extreme stress.

Why so embarrassing? Well, God did just save my physical body from what could have ultimately amounted to paralysis and/or death, but when it came to money, I freaked out. It's not that I didn't worry quite a bit about the back, but after just having lived through a literal miracle, I didn't just instantly trust that God would take care of our current situation. That's embarrassing.

To sum it up, it looks as if our insurance may have some incredibly awkward clause and stance on spinal injuries, and we're desperately hoping that this doesn't apply to what was a medical emergency surgery. Then we got a call from our ob gyn's office that our med insurance has some ridiculously low maternity coverage (put it this way, the ideal delivery would still leave us 18,000 uncovered). I'm finding the maternity rider hilarious, because we've actually paid more cash for the rider than the insurance company will be paying out for coverage. I won't pretend to love Obama-care, but I got a quick slap in the face on how twisted we've allowed medical insurance to become. This hits straight at home, you know, since I'm a year out from being a doctor myself. This definitely makes me much more sympathetic to my future patients.

So where does Malachi 3:10 come in? God blatantly says test me! I'm not going to go out and tell the reader our tithe and giving, I don't think that's appropriate, yet let it be known that we now know that God will be faithful. He's a gracious God. I can't wait to share with you how God works in the future months.

I can't wait to put up pics of my almost born son, too. God will be faithful. He's going to take care. The storehouses of heaven will be opened up.

After all, saving my life is much more impressive than paying some medical bills. And we've already seen God save my life just this past Tuesday.

Here we go!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

wow. bad injury. surgery. God's MIRACLES!

I've never taken this blog to my faith side of life. I didn't plan on ever doing that, as this thing is supposed to focus on work outs, gear reviews, and outdoor sport tips and tricks. I can't comfortably ignore the miracles of healing that God has been doing the past several weeks, specifically during surgery yesterday.

Let's get up to speed. For 6 months I've had back problems. I ignored them (ski season), I put ice on it (running season), and lied to myself (climbing season) that the pain wasn't that bad. Things finally went crashing down (wakeboarding) and I knew that the injury went from ignorable to horrible. Running became miserable, sitting sucked, and all I could do was swim.

Over Labor Day weekend, Mrs. J and I went to visit my parents. Sunday evening I woke up to pee and knew instantly that the insane pain down my left leg was sciatica (I'll write up a post about the symptoms later). I woke up Monday morning to the most pain perhaps in my life... not a small feet (haha, podiatry joke), as I've broken something like 25 bones. Mrs. J took me to the ER that night, we got the shots in the butt, and then got an apt with Dr. Brad Hillard of University Hospitals (amazing doc!). Mrs J boss, Dr. Noel Aboud of Solon Spine and Wellness, sent us out to get an MRI, just to expedite things. Dr. Aboud called us Wednesday morning, telling us that'd I'd be needing back surgery. This was echoed to us by Dr. Hillard, who made sure we would be seen by one of North East Ohio's best spinal surgeons.

I went to see Dr. Hart of University Hospitals, one of the Cleve's best neurosurgeons, who was able to squeeze us in super early. At this point I knew I had a large fragment of my disc material that had squeezed out of the disc space to sit on my nerve. I'll explain all the science later. I heard that this was a pretty big fragment, which was reaffirmed by Dr. Hart when he said, "yah, so I hear that the Grand Canyon is a large hole in the ground".

To put things bluntly, I did this back injury big! The fragment measured 12mm on the MRI and was one of the biggest Dr. Hart has seen in 15 years. AWESOME! Bad news though. Dr. Hart was fairly certain that the fragment had popped into the thecal sack, part of the dura, and if it had, I was looking at about a week in the hospital with other surgeries to come. Oh yah, and if I got a bacterial or viral infection in the thecal sack, most likely it would go to my brain. That kills people.

I'm no stranger to almost dieing. I've looked down chutes while skiing that terrified me to no end. I've taken falls climbing where I probably should have died (also, didn't get injured... sooo... cool). This is the first time I've legitimately been scared while looking at the valley of the shadow of death. I have a wife. I have a little boy growing in the belly oven. That's responsibility! That's dependence! That's need! That's terrifying!

We set surgery for Tuesday, Sept 21st. Friends, family, pastors began to pray for us. We began to pray so intensively that sometimes I would wind up laying on the floor in tears, with pain and yearning. I can't quite share all the ways that God showed his face, but I will share my most obvious pre-surgery confirmation that all will be ok.

In my special prayer spot, the same one where God told me that all would be fine for med school boards, I took my shoes off out of reference for what had become a special place to me. After prayer, reading, and just talking to the Lord, I was clearly told to not turn around, to only focus forward. I was also told to expect something special. Pomegranate. That seems so trivial, but they're out of season, they're my favorite food, they're symbols of health, and God often demonstrates His glory by food. The most obvious example that comes to mind is manna delivered to the Isrealites during the exodus. I left and went to the grocery store to grab eggs and onions for my wife, and went to another grocery store than normal (the normal one was crazy busy). As I walked in and headed towards the onions... there they were. First of the year, not even fully ripe. Sitting off to the side, not in front, and only about 10 of them or so... were pomegranates. I knew right away that God was in control, that all was fine, and that'd I'd be holding my newborn son this December! I started to tear up in the middle of the grocery store, holding a pair of pomegranates. I bet that was hilarious to someone.

The next day was surgery day. Actually, that was yesterday, so you can probably guess right now that things went so well. They did. They went miraculously!
I was told that I'd be in surgery for at least 2 hours, probably more to prepare the thecal sack and keep me from you know... kicking the bucket. I was wheeled into surgery at 10:04.

At 11:05 Dr. Hart came out to the waiting room to talk to Mrs. J and my mom. You can imagine how terrified Mrs. J was. This was far too fast... something wrong had to happen... what horrible medical problem would we be facing.

Dr. Hart simply smiled. He said that the fragment was even bigger than they thought. He cut a little bit of it out and removed a very small bit of it. He went back in to continue removing piece by piece, but the 2 inch fragment decided to just come out in one piece, which is amazing. Dr. Hart spent a good bit of time searching for a thecal tear, tried several techniques to force cerebral spinal fluid to leak and show where the tear was... but none could be found.

A surgery that should have taken hours to finish took about 30 minutes of actual surgery, without prep and closure. That is a miracle. God is so good. I can't tell you how lucky I am. I should be at the hospital laying horizontal for several days but I'm at home, in minimal pain, able to walk, and I ate pizza last night! PIZZA!!!

I can't tell you how good God has been in the last several weeks without sitting down and really explaining the gravity of the situation. All I can say is that God gave me a miracle. I can't contain my joy and am more than wiling to talk to anyone about Jesus, about how He worked in my life, and how he can work in yours.

I'll be writing my journey back to ultra-marathon shape, back to xterra shape, and back to climbing Rainier (planned for next year, God wiling). I can't wait to share with you my journey as a father, also.

I'm just happy to be at home, happy to be alive, and happy that I serve a God who does answer prayer.