Monthly Archives: April 2014

The “Daily” Struggle

I love sports cars, my driveway does not. Here is just a quick video of the daily punishment my lowered 90′ Mazda Mx-5 takes…And some Sisqo.

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7 Things Crohn’s disease taught me about life.

7 Things Crohn’s disease taught me about life.

Chronic disease is difficult, it involves; complete lifestyle changes, hardships of every kind, mental and emotional challenges, all placed in situations you never knew existed. There are a lot of downsides to focus on, but chronic disease can also be helpful by forcing you to become a better person. Creating a new outlook and perspective on life through challenging everything you ever thought you knew about pain, both emotional and physical. My journey has been travelled by many and under many different names. Auto immune diseases, disabilities, and disorders can be a few of those names.  Although the specifics and extremity of each disease or challenge may differ, the journey can be compared. Your challenges will not feel like anyone has ever, or could ever, deal with them. It’s true only you can feel what you feel, but there is no harm to hear someone else’s chosen path and thoughts, to use and apply to your own adventure.

Here is just 7 of the many things my journey has taught me so far:

(1) Life Is Not Fair.
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Life is not the same for everyone; it is completely different for every person on this planet, comparing lives is useless. Fairness and justice should be practiced by everyone, but situations of one’s life are infinite and often do not follow that theory. Expecting anything from this world or thinking it owes you, will leave you right where you are, when you think like that, unhappy and defeated. You may be sick, you may not be a millionaire, you may not have what you want, doesn’t matter. You control your destiny and your direction in life. You did not choose the situation and body you were born into but that was just your starting point. You took over the wheel of life and can drive where ever you let yourself. Sitting in the backseat and complaining won’t get you out of the parking lot, grab the keys to life, smash the gas pedal and run free to where you want to go. You may encounter flat tires and fried piston rings; these can be fixed and overcome if you are willing. These problems are also a great excuse to upgrade to drag slicks and forged pistons, to travel even faster towards your goals.

(2) Go To The Doctor.
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That weird thing happening to your arm, that odd feeling in your stomach, or in my case that toilet full of blood and vomit, means you should probably go to the person how knows what it means. Our best guess and self-diagnosis are not an acceptable cure. Even if you feel you do know what is going on, you should double check your answers with someone formally educated. Doctors and medicine are there to help. You can create excuses all day to mask your fear but doctors became doctors to help people. If you feel yours specialist isn’t there to help, go find one who you feel does care about you and your best interests. Hospitals are not scary places, everything they do is to help you get better and get out of there. The hospital is the best place to be when sick, every test they do is necessary and should be welcomed. Always remember there are a lot of people sick and the medical field is full of real people, not perfect robots. Instead of trusting everything they do, keep track of your treatment, ask questions, and call out anything you feel is forgot or wrong. Care takers cannot read your mind, you have to voice your opinion and it is not their fault if you do not tell them the treatment they pick, might not be right for you. How do they, or could they know. The doctors and hospitals need to be a happy place and frequent part of your life, if you have chronic issues, not places you avoid because it reminds you of bad memories or out of fear of what might happen. You are strong; you can deal with it, so go deal with it.

(3) Shadow Boxing.
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The person you spend the most time with is unfortunately you. Might as well make that person the most interesting and well-rounded person you can. Challenge and compete with THAT person, not anyone else. Your life is unique; comparing yourself to anyone else is a waste of time for variables of life are infinitely different. When I compete with my bicycle or write an article, I push myself and I push against the last time I jumped on my bike or the last article I wrote, not anyone else’s tricks or writing. Using other people for energy, ideas, or motivation can be very helpful, but make sure you are never competing against them. Just seeing where you stand among someone else’s journey, then using that to beat yourself and your best time, not theirs. Try it; it will change your life. 

(4) Health Is Life.
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Feeling good is the best thing in the world. If you are healthy you tend to forget that quickly. All of a sudden escaping your reality and hurting your health becomes as fun thing to do. If I had normal health I would probably do the same because you can’t imagine the challenges life can throw your way in the blink of an eye. Getting drunk can be a fun time and make me dance, but why am I afraid to dance and be sociable without a drink? I challenge myself in every way I can.  If I’m scared, unsure or even annoyed by something, I try my best to understand it, instead of turning and running away. I run into the things that offset me and knock down those small bumps of fears and problems before they become walls. I gain a lot of knowledge, wisdom and understanding in the process.  So I’m going dancing, not drinking, and will embarrass myself and have a sober mind to deal with it. Challenging myself makes me stronger and able to perform under a lot of adverse situations. THC for some people can take away your pain, stress, reality and make you creative. I will never pay for my creativity. I would rather force myself to think outside of the box and try new things than to let a chemical do it for me. Pain is part of my life I should probably learn to deal with it instead of running away and hiding behind a release. I know enough about chemicals to figure out I will need more and more of those chemicals to make me feel the same. My body stops producing chemicals naturally after abuse, when I come back to reality those chemicals will be missing and the pain is going to hurt 10x as much. Of course when you feel good you feel GOOD! So realize that and if I was healthy I might indulge in those things, if I didn’t see the uglier side of life. Like shadow boxing, don’t judge people who do enjoy their chosen releases responsibly because you have no idea of the journey they are on and their priorities, so be healthy as possible for yourself and enjoy the days you feel even a little bit better than the last.

(5) Family.
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Go hug your family…RIGHT NOW, I don’t even care if this is as far as you read, just go. Family does not need to be blood; it can be your friends, teammates, Hell even your country men or the person beside you in your hospital room. If you don’t feel you have family and want something go become a big brother or sister to some children in need and let your “family” grow within a program. Someone else’s definition of family does not need to be your definition. When the time comes family will be the only thing you have in life that is important. You have to be really, really, close to death to fully understand, but when you think your eyes might not open in the morning. all you care about is that your family is at peace and knows that you love them, not your cars, bikes, house, or closest pet. Do not let your family break apart, be the bigger person take the emotional or moral hit and fix that shit, if you aren’t talking with one or a few of your family and can’t agree or forgive. Man (or Crohn’s) the fuck up, problem solve, and fix it. Family is more important than you can understand and if you do not maintain or fix those relationships right now and put it off, in that last moment you have in the end, may not be long enough, when you finally realize how foolish everyone acts in the naivety of health.

(6) Toughen Up.
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There is a huge difference between having the flu for 2 weeks a year and having to live with a long term illness, do not try to mix behaviours of the two. It is perfectly acceptable for a family member to whine, complain, and be a big baby when sick with a cough for a week. It is not alright for you to act the same way for a year. The person with the flu isn’t used of feeling sick. The symptoms they feel can be scary and taxing on them, just like yours. Do not trivialize or belittle them by comparing problems to your own disease, it is not the same. You do not want people to see your disability as just another common cold, so don’t act like a person with a common cold. Your life is not here to be easy, get up and get your own food and fill out your own forms, book your appointments, be polite and thankful and do every possible task you are capable. Don’t let the disease win and let you become a burden on the people who love you. Now that is a generalization, for some people writing, eating and planning are implausible tasks due to real physical or mental restrictions, that does not make you a burden at all. I’m saying do the most you can and challenge yourself. The people around you will love and care for you but show them some respect and respect yourself by not acting like this is the first time you have been sick and cannot deal with the menial tasks and need to be catered to. Being unpleasant, whining or being negative to your care takers while acting like the world owes you something is terrible and is just making two lives harder. The people around you will always care for you, but if someone doesn’t appreciate my help I have a much less fun time helping them again, same goes for most people.  

(7) Make Every Day Count.
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Think about the worst part of your day, if it wasn’t A) getting sand in your wet jeans then stepping on Lego an falling down the stairs landing in the splits with kneecaps touching your ears, after finding out you are related to your spouse (and didn’t plan it…weirdo) or (b) literally going blind after seeing the movie Gili and having to drive home yourself, without eyes, in a car full of venomous animals and hedgehogs. Your day wasn’t bad and your problems aren’t that big. You make your problems big. Your issues might seem very real and impossible, but in the reality of it, you are breathing and alive, there are 1000’s of people who actually stopped breathing today and I imagine they would take all the; embarrassing moments, gossip, failures, asshole people and messed up food orders in stride. Just to breath once more and experience another day. Cherish what you have and realize that what you have is this entire world!

Most of these points I made you have probably seen on a motivational poster hanging in an institution or heard a personal trainer say. Words like that bounce off you conscious like they were never even there. It takes life experience and challenges to appreciate such cheesy and cliché words, but there is a reason and truth behind them. If you can learn these lessons, I have written about, without having to truly experience them first hand I envy you. I hope that just one person reads this and can miss out on the bad experiences and appreciate some of these lessons without the hardship attached, like in my journey, or if you are sick maybe these things I’m saying might help you figure out something you were already on the way to discovering yourself, I just helped put your finger on it. Anyways these are just a very few things I learnt and there is something new to learn everyday so I’m sure more posts will touch on the lessons of my life.

Who owns your car? Not you…

own, not preserve.
Who owns your car? Not you.

You are probably asking yourself “What do you mean I don’t own my car? Of course I do, I make payments or paid it off!” That is true. I won’t be talking about banks, insurance, local laws or monetary ownership of your car at all. Your car, huh? Why not fix that stupid part of the dash you always hated? Or paint it the color you really wanted? You might say “I don’t know how to do it professionally” or “Well one day I want to…” That second thought is my issue. One day you might what to what; sell the car, give it your child or you feel it will become a collector’s item (if it isn’t one already)?

If you love cars, usually, you LOVE cars and they are a main focus of your life. Why let a general society view of cars dictate the direction of your passion? If a seemly average person had their car scratched by a kid they get mad because it now makes an unfavorable impression upon them to their peers. Will cost time and money to repair, also affect the resale value. It is not because they love their car, it is because the car is a tool, that to them is now broken, resulting in anger and blaming a child for clumsiness or ignorance. If you love cars and your car is scratched, that child just hurt your child and you go into a blind rage, which you have the right to do, but if you really do love your vehicle what is the real damage? If it is because the resale value of your car and what it might be “worth” to a theoretical future buyer, or because it was perfect. It probably wasn’t your car getting damaged even if you pay for the gas and plates; you are just a custodian, taking care of an object for others to enjoy at your expense.

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Take a look at your hot wheels collection, still in the package aren’t they? Why the fuck are they still in the package? Is it because one day they will be “worth” something or will be impressive to someone? Worth something and impressive to who? Not to your, your kids, or peers, since they will never touch them. If you truly own it, what is it worth to you, what is its value to you, what would you do with it? That’s the only person’s opinion that matters. Die cast cars in packages sitting in a glass case on a shelf, not able to be touched by you or anyone else. Something you stress when your wife vacuums the room. All because these .99 cent objects could be worth $1.50 in 20 years? If that is your goal that is fine, but I think most of us want to interact and share the joys of motorsport, not the smug and stressed over protective side of motorsports. By trying to reserve these metal works of art for the future, we turn ourselves into that grumpy old man who looks at children as a threat to his paint. Not a future hot rodder trying to explore his own journey into car life.

Can I play with those toys downstairs Mr.? Can I sit in your car? Or if you have a do not touch sign by your car at a show, why the hell do you even enjoy cars? Your car isn’t perfect; if you love it, you know every intimate problem with it; the squeak if the rear seat is folded or the dirt behind the door jamb you can’t get at. You don’t get mad at those problems because you enjoy the car and maybe it even came with that character when you bought it. But now this new scratch is a major problem, if you love something you will respect every story with it won’t you? Especially if received under use. You can fix it if it really bothers you that much, so that is a problem borrowed from general society car ownership, and if you can’t fix it, you should probably learn. Learning on your own car is one of the most enjoyable experiences I have had so far, besides letting people rev my car up, or taking them for a spin.

snowman

It is my car; I own it and can do anything I want. Goodbye Mr. Back seats. Crap I hit a garbage can, oh well time to learn how to pop a dent anyways. Brake booster is leaking? Pull it apart and find out why, not just buy a new one. If a Kid at the car show wants to touch my car he can go right ahead; strap himself into the racing seats, hell, lay on the hood if he wants as long as he is respectful and self-aware. Sharing your passion is important, the next generation is just as important. You may scoff at people who don’t drive their cars saying “they don’t enjoy them” or “cars are meant to be driven”. Although you share a lot with that guy whether you like it or not, he doesn’t drive them because he loves them so much he doesn’t want to risk someone else damaging it or putting more mileage on the ODO. It removes the object from the community and the joy of the ownership along with it, all because what the car might be worth to someone else in the future. Well same goes when you tell a kid he can’t touch your car or you get mad and stressed over things with your pride and joy. Instead of portraying your thoughts about cars, you instead portray only your actions and words of trying to protect something. Instead of what is important, sharing your passion, wisdom and having fun with these pieces of metal!

If you completely disagree with me that is alright. You can keep taking overboard care of that stress pile sitting under a cover in the garage half the year you call a release. Hopefully one day someone like me might get a hold of that pristine 1986 Porsche 911, that was babied its whole life, But instead I floor that flat 6 at every chance I can get, take it shopping, take sweaty little kids with their skateboards for a ride of their life and inspire them to have fun with these infinitely beautiful and complex machines. I own my car, not the next person or even my future self. I have this beautiful experience in my hands today, not a second to waste. If it ever does transfer ownership, the next person won’t care as much about how it was used as I would think, society doesn’t care as much as we think. 80% of kids say nice car whether it is a rat rod or a matching numbers Hemi Cuda, but the car you hear run and get permission to touch will make an infinite more positive memory. It might make someone love the ricer burner they sat in a lot more than all the perfect 350’s behind glass.

autobahn

P.S. Matching numbers, who actually values that in reality, is it because it is rare? Have you ever driven a 56 Chevy? That shit is bumpy, loud, uncomfortable, and slow as hell, who wants that? Give me the Chevy that can run 9’s with air conditioning, over the; matching numbers, glove touched, childhood crisis, someone will pay $1 million for because they are trying to relive the past, before they sold their soul for money, any day of the week.

**EDIT** I feel some people are having a hard time, due to my paragraph structure, finding the point I’m trying to convey and misinterpret it with ignorance. I will work on my writing skills and in the mean time give a TL;DR:

The message I was trying to convey was, keeping things safe from danger is impossible, trying to, hurts our passions with over protective and negative behaviors borrowed from non-car society, when sharing and understanding will make our passion grow exponentially.

F**ck Crohn’s: Guide to becoming athletic with Crohn’s disease.

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Crohn’s disease sucks, to put it lightly; but it has also taught me more about life than I would have ever pursued or understood until much later in life. My journey through Crohn’s will never end in my life; only evolve, so there is no use trying to wish differently. I just have to roll with the punches and that’s ok because I never play video games on easy mode either, why should life be any different?

The problem I found with the amount I researched, read, and discussed about Crohn’s was what process to take to beat this disease myself. I read numerous stories about individuals that fought through this syndrome; they won competitions, travelled the world, or went to school and got their dream job. The stories were inspirational and motivating, but that is where it stopped. If you have an IBS problem, sooner or later you will come to realize that ignoring the problems of this disease and focusing on the positive parts of your life, may be the only option to help you fight through this diagnoses. Having one negative thought about your disease can turn into 50 negative thoughts instantly. There is no shortage of downsides to focus on, but those negative thoughts will destroy you like a cancer if you feed them. Sooner or later I think people mature and realize that positive thinking is going to help you, much more then feeling down on yourself and hurting the people around you. If you have a bowel problem you do not really need to look for motivation, you have it in you already; you just have to find it. No one wants to accept the limitations placed on you by the world with this diagnoses and you do not have to, EVER.

Although it is nice to read that Frank had Crohn’s, then won a marathon and was happy forever. The real information needed is; how did frank do it? Frank didn’t just wish he was well, tell himself he wasn’t sick, get up, and go for a light jog into the horizon. Crohn’s may be an “invisible” disease (as you cannot pick us out of a crowd, unless looking at the line for the washroom) but the symptoms are not in your head!No matter how much some naive people would like to think. Mentality is not going to heal you, only give you the tools and motivation to heal yourself and persevere through the cards you are dealt with.

I will try to give you my background, symptoms, a bit of story and the process I have taken, that has made an amazing change in my life. This process helped me get from bed ridden, obese and dying, to racing cars, riding bikes, and flying. I will not to go too deep into my own story (saving that for a later date) it helps keep this a little shorter, so you can read it while in the bathroom (well I guess I could still make it a novel then). I should try to keep the motivational speech to a minimum, because you are already a strong person. When I was feeling down, some author was not going to understand my struggles or give me any help by telling me to just be happy and joyful, it’s not that easy. Although some of my mentality will bleed into my words, try to tolerate it if you can.

For the people reading this that don’t have an IBS problem or do not know someone with it, give Crohn’s, Colitis, or IBS a Google/Wikipedia search and educate yourself about a very misunderstood disease. Who knows, maybe you can be the person who makes a breakthrough with this ailment. The auto immune disease in short; makes your intestinal track bleed, you have to use the washroom a lot, it destroys your body, and pain is more intense than what is explainable.

The disease has no cure, and isn’t well understood for treatment, leading to a lot of misinformation and “do-good” mentality homeopathic cures, that in my case are equivalent to pissing on a bonfire and calling it a miracle. So no, with me, eating four fish tails a day, while doing yoga, on a tree, at midnight will not help. I do however, appreciate that you care and want to help me, but informing yourself will help everyone much more. This article is mostly directed at people fighting the disease or close to someone who is. It should go without saying: I’m not a doctor and nothing I say should be taking as literal advice. I’m just sharing my story. Discuss any changes you would like to try with your doctor(s).

A summary of my history is; I was diagnosed with Colitis at age nine. It was a moderate case, and I went into remission around age thirteen. I received a brain injury from a BMX accident around age seventeen and as a result, forgot I had the disease due to memory loss. At nineteen I started getting symptoms of Crohn’s, although not knowing what it was. I felt comfortable with the early symptoms because subconsciously I had dealt with it before; I just didn’t remember. I didn’t take it as serious as I should of as a result. My Symptoms of Crohn’s slowly got worse and worse over the next while, making myself pull away from activities, friends, and influenced me in to staying home more and more, but still I didn’t see a doctor. At twenty I went from 160lbs to 110lbs, lost most of my blood, was in the most pain of my life, and starting falling into a coma, All while I was still trying to work! I thought I could pull though and was scared of what was happening. I tried to ignore the disease until it almost killed me. I ended up getting diagnosed with Crohn’s, and then a hybrid called Crohn’s Colitis, and now I’m at chronic Crohn’s Colitis meaning my flare up has lasted 4 years instead of a more common 1-2 weeks. I went from knowing nothing about IBS to getting informed about the disease, what is was, it’s diet, and getting used of lengthy hospital stays.

I’m currently on Predisone, Imuran, Mezvant, Remicade, Humaria, Zoloft, all on doses above recommended and even maxed out on others. I have been through every available approved medication and am a part of ongoing studies for yet to be approved medications. I have tried a huge amount of naturopathic treatments and take a regiment of vitamins and supplements. My symptoms at worse are; 40-50 bowel movements a day, while anemic with substantial blood loss, ulcers affect my entire G.I. tract, and often reach my esophagus, resulting in infection and I.V. feeding. My G.I. tract is too weak and the infection too lengthy for; reconstruction, J pouch, colostomy bag, or any operations, other than a temporary colostomy, to give my bowel a week long break. My case is not common for someone of my age (24) but not unheard of, and I have been told of people with it worse than I. Although I feel, with this disease, the mild, moderate, and sever cases all are challenging. If it is a mild case, you won’t take the health threating meds, if it is moderate you won’t get approved for the hard core biological drugs, and if it is severe, well its severe. I feel at any stage you may not get the help you may need to live unaffected. I have empathy for every stage of disease.

Another summary is my lifestyle. I love BMX biking, more than anything. Being active has always been a big part of my life from; running, working out, gymnastics, diving, swimming, snowboarding, road biking, climbing, hiking, horseback riding, camping, and travelling are all things I participate in often. I never drank, tried recreational drugs, or smoked. I love challenging myself, and things that seem like an escape or a break from life, do not interest me. I would much rather challenge myself and learn something new then to get high, feel funny, and accept myself for not pushing my limits, all the while creating chemical imbalances and over usages of my own biochemicals. I try to not judge people who do enjoy those vices, but moderation and responsibility transcend all aspects of life, so if those substances are abused I will not respect it, or dismiss it simply because of an altered state of mind. I think everyone needs a break from their lives, healthy or not, but for myself I would rather find my release through art or activity and knowledge, than through a change in mental state. I almost regret having such strong mental defense walls built up against marijuana; it seems to help a huge number of IBS sufferers. I have been offered THC legally through medical prescriptions; I just feel the side effects of that drug are not worth the positive effects, when I look at it from neutral point of view, just like any other medication I consider. Most activities I participate in stopped because of my health and situation for about 3 years, But I did take steps to get back to it every day and never gave up for more than one cry. Here is how I got my life back…

I will separate this into; Part 1: Diet, Part 2: Exercise, Part 3: Symptoms along with mentality.

Part 1: Diet.

Everyone’s diet is going to be different, just like your symptoms; you will have to find what is right for you. I started my diet from scratch, I would eat only white rice, soy, tofu, and would mix (with the rice) either a small amount of; sliced turkey breast, tuna, and ham, egg, and sometimes add unpasteurized honey for taste. I took supplements and had blood tests every week, to watch that I wasn’t going to get scurvy or some shit. I drank either sports drinks or water, also would have a banana as a snack. The theory was no spice, gluten, preservatives, or dairy and everything I was eating would digest easily and pass through my colon without tearing it apart. I would say first set up a base diet, so you can control all the factors of what you eat. Setup a diet of your choosing and eat only that for say 2-3 weeks ( I was so sick I went for 1, 1/2 years) and when you feel you are adventurous enough, or can take couple days of rest if you get sick, add one and only one thing to your diet that will benefit your body (don’t add Oreos because you miss them, try adding some better protein or some oats etc.) and watch that change for a week and see how it affects you. I kept a daily planner and wrote down every bowel movement, the time and described it (mostly Texas chainsaw massacre or saw IV as descriptions) also what I ate and at what time, any emotional changes or stress or activities were also logged. The point is to remove as many variables as possible, so you can learn your body and what affects you, the goal is to find a diet that works for you or makes you feel alright and not get sicker, that also provides you with the nutrients your body needs to repair and function, so you can focus on other things.
Food may no longer be a joy of life while sick or flaring up, but through self-control and experimentation you can find a diet that you tolerate and that keeps you healthy. We all slip on a diet, with myself sometimes, I would realize that I was going to be destroyed by a food I wanted to eat, but if it bugged me for more than a month and started to bum me out, I would eat it and accept the consequences of a bad week or two after. Self-control is key, if you trivialize cheating by eating something bad every month or week, you will ruin your progress and health. Mental health is just as important and if it is making you sad, depressed or angry, when you can’t have something, go out and have it, just accept the consequences that may include.

Part 2: Exercise

I’m 5’11’’ and normally 155 lbs, when no muscle is built. Prednisone can cause weight loss or gain (Among every other shitty side effect known to man) and got me to a point where I was 210lbs and hated myself. Even though my weight was mostly water retention and wasn’t my fault, I took responsibility for it and decided to say fuck what the doctors say, I’m working out and will find a way to BMX again.
There is no way, in my mind, that sitting in a bed and letting your body waste away for 3 years, is better for me than pushing my limits and trying to learn to work out within my limitations.
PREDNISONE again was the main culprit here; it drained my bone density, told my hormones to gain and keep weight, turned my emotions into a rollercoaster of highs and lows, disintegrated muscle and didn’t want to build muscle either. I focused most my attention of defeating Prednisone; I researched the drug, talked to doctors, personal trainers, got information and made some theories of my own.
When I was healthy I could push myself in a workout, past the burn and past my limits, it would be ok. On Prednisone I won’t repair as quickly, I will injure myself and take 5x as long as a normal body to heal just from pushing into muscle fatigue, so I work out to the point of burn, then slow or maintain that and play with the burn, but do not push into it or through it. I stay at a level of slight burn and exhausting myself. Light headedness will happen a lot with low blood levels, low iron and anemia, so I was always careful to have a place to rest and spotter, or work out partner, because I passed out quite a few times, even when I thought I would be alright and didn’t feel I was pushing myself.

I stayed away from weight training or anything even close to heavy and focused purely on cardio. Once your cardio is up, you can recover faster, move easier, and for longer periods. More muscle, takes more energy, where energy is the most important resource to me. Screw looking good, I want to preform good. I started with the elliptical machine, it was low impact. Running put me in pain and was too harsh on my body with weak joints, osteoporosis, and arthritis. Our bodies are fighting to heal themselves, but also not getting nutrients, it’s digesting blood and the medications are fighting us (Wow we have a lot to use as excuses to back down, but a true test of a person will be finding the answers to step up). Do not think to yourself you will perform or progress anywhere close to a healthy person. Do not set their goals as your own. I use an example quite frequently: If a normal person did pushup, as many as they could, 3 times a day, every day, they could most likely go from 1 completed push up to 20 pushups in a month…It took me 8 months to get from 1 push up (barley) and wanting to cry to 10 pushups (also if you can’t push up, try planking and lowering yourself down and in a month or so you should be able to start pushing back up) So yes progress will be slow, but only slow compared to someone else. You are you; this is your life, other people’s progress does not matter. I have seen the change activity made, it was beyond worth it. My g/f can go to gym 2 times a week and destroy every progress record set for myself over the year, within the first month. I see it as we are both healthy and that is beautiful. I started with elliptical, stretching and stationary bike, all low impact and cardio focused. I graduated to a road bike, running on sand/walking/jogging, yoga, and swimming. After a couple months of those activities, your inner muscles are much stronger and able to take impact while recovering quicker. I moved on to; weight lifting, BMX-ing, running on treadmill, and advance yoga. The process took about a two years and I never gave up, usually about 3-6 days a week 3 hour workouts.

Part 3: Symptoms and mentality

This is where I really need people to take my words with caution. Always put what you feel is right before anyone else’s advice. I don’t suggest this to anyone who hasn’t tried many other options, because it’s dangerous, but it worked for me. If you feel you absolutely have to try, start with much less extreme numbers.
I found that even though I was always extremely tired and could lie in bed and sleep for weeks upon weeks, I never felt rested. I also found if I went on the elliptical for 2 hours, I felt the same (I guess you can’t get more dead tired, than dead tired). I have found I can exert myself for as long as I want, as long as I don’t injure any muscles, push myself too hard and pass out, or things of that nature.
If I have a low impact, but cardio intensive workout, it does not change how I feel, I will still be weak the next morning. I could also not work out and sleep for the next decade, but if I stay in bed and rest I will still feel tired while wasting away. If I worked out, I lose nothing and gain a small improvement in cardio, in life.

Things change when you injure or rip muscle or try to build up too much at once. This process only works on activities you do often and are low impact. Your muscles are weak as fuck, so respect them. They will take 2 weeks to a month to heal, not just a 3 day turn around, like a personal trainer would suggest. An injury can be even worse, so be careful. Another thing I found was, if I ate food my symptoms would be bad and I wouldn’t be able to work out or be active. My diet daily is around 1500cal, which is very unhealthy, especially if doing 2500cal workouts, every couple days, but it is what I found worked. Underfeeding myself is not something I plan on doing forever, just until I can get healthy enough to eat again and handle it. With this technique I always have blood tests done, along with discussions with dietitians and doctors to watch I’m not lacking anything important in my body.

Another theory is, if Prednisone wants to make me fat it needs excess sugars and energy to turn into fat. Unhealthy as it may be I will undershoot myself with sugars and calories so that my hormones can’t grab onto anything to turn into fat, unhealthy yes, don’t do it. Losing weight helped me with my mentality and I saw it as progress, when I got back to my normal weight, vain as it might be. Now contradicting myself, the goal was, and always is health, not looks or weight. Low calorie intake was just how I got to the point that I could build off and could start from scratch yet again. Controlling the variables while I add one thing at a time, to get me back to healthy, while dealing with the restrictions I found along the way.
I’m not superman or invincible and no one is. The days I felt like sleeping, I did, or when I wanted some more food, I ate it. It is just as important to keep level headed and enjoy life. If you feel like you hate your life, you need to change something within the boundaries of what is possible to change. This process is, and was hard. I put myself first and my goals second. Instead of looking for a break and hoping things would change, I try to take steps to change my problem, but if the steps stress me out too much, I’m doing myself no favors. I do try to stay rational and still take at least one step towards my goal a day.

This is the basic outline of what I have done, It maybe be difficult process and never ending, but getting back on my BMX, running 10km, road biking 100km, or learning my first standing backflip made it 1000x worth it. Crohn’s and the process through it made me truly appreciate a lot of things in life and ignore, or not even recognize the small problems so many people tend to live their lives by. If your day is bad because someone cut you off on the way to work, guess your day was pretty amazing and you should be thankful. Literally no one important or worth your time and thought, cares if your car is scratched, or your phone is old. Live for you and live for your passions. Don’t worry about everyone else so much, they are not against you, they are just for themselves, and ya Crohn’s sucks, but a smooth sea, never made a skilled sailor! – Mitch Anderson (Rii)

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P.S. This is my first writing piece on Crohn’s and second public writing. I would really appreciate feedback, so I can improve. Hearing your thoughts will be very helpful. I have writing a book on my bucket list, so this might be something I can expand upon much more, if it helps people out in anyway. Excited to see how this is accepted and if it helps anyone else, but let me know! Communication can really help.

Epsilon: PART 1

Here is an introduction to Rii’s first project car, Epsilon. Detailing what the project is, why I’m doing it and the progress so far.
Concept

Epsilon is the name of Japan’s newest space shuttle, so makes a fitting name for Rii’s newest drift missile, a 1992 Nissan 240sx. The goal of this project is to create a capable, “gangster ass” drift car, on a strict budget, learning as much as possible, while experimenting with modifications. Trying to use ideas and do things outside the box, that you wouldn’t normally try on a road going car. Also building community ties, trying to source everything locally, instead of buying Ebay/internet and killing local business in the process. The car may one day see the street, but for the near future it will most likely only see a farmyard, dirt roads and 100 kmp/h tops.
My Ae86s are my main car projects presently, juggling 3 of them is enough work already, I picked up this project because my brothers first car was a red 240sx hatch, unfortunately the whole car went horribly wrong, with him spending way too much money, and resulting in him not liking anything that wasn’t brand new with warranty. As soon as I found out he didn’t like mechanics and was paying shops to swap shitty overpriced engines and spending obscene amounts of money on labor I quickly found a buyer for his car and told him to use the money as a down payment and get a Scion FR-S, one of the few acceptable new cars in my world.

So being the guy I am and always wanting a new project or four, I acquired a quad, which I traded for a BMW E30, which I then traded for a 240sx coupe. The car my brother and I originally wanted to be his first car, but settled for a hatch because of the market at the time. I used this as an excuse to acquire the new to me car and start a project with him involved, to show cars can be fun and not always such deep money pits, sometimes only money pot holes, if you play your cards right.
My main goal right now is just to make the car look like I want. The mechanics can get dealt within the vision of my brothers goals. I really didn’t need this car just wanted it. Its like 4th in line of my projects and I can’t drive all of them at once, so if it is a nice piece of immobile art for awhile that’s OK with me and hopefully it will be moving by winter with some sort of Frankenstein engine we rig up for it, so we can tandem this year without a $30,000 car next to my door as the case was this past winter. Case in point – ( https://riiprojects.wordpress.com/2014/02/01/winter-fun/ )

The car was traded, and moved onto the trailer by way of ramming it with a secondary truck in true “ain’t care” style. It has no engine…or taillights…or diff…or transmission…or door handles…or wheels…OK there wasn’t much there, especially for a straight across trade for the complete BMW E30 with a dropped valve. Although I wouldn’t have touched the BMW because German engineering didn’t interest me unless it was made in Stuttgart, along with four doors, but I would work on a 240, traded it was.

It had a terrible body kit on it, covering a lot of rust. Metal plates glued to the floor to cover up rust holes, the wheel wells aren’t doing so hot either. The pop up head lights were a problem since I always wanted fixed headlights for a s13 , off they came. We started by stripped the interior and sound deadening, ripping off the body kit, and using a pipe and axe to beat out some 1/4 panel damage…with more damage (made sense at the moment).  We cut the springs to get it sitting right, and ordered some 15×8 -53 offset diamond racing rims for the look I wanted (couldn’t find a dealer to order from in town, so approached a local business, introduced them to the rim supplier online and they were happy to get involved, now my community has a source for rims, which is a first, and hopefully it can expand into some more aftermarket stuff!). Next we gave it a spray bomb and took a saw to a giant wing I had, mounted it with brackets, and had a new duck tail spoiler, which looks aggressive and awesome. I cut up some pipe and started to create a bash bar and fog light brackets, but it has yet to be welded, since that is a skill I’m currently working on, flux core MIG isn’t the easiest I’m finding. Did my first experimenting with fiberglass, which was extremely easy and I’m now regretting a lot of metal fabrication I have done in the past. A solution that worked out was that I could not source fiberglass mat locally or cheap enough, but could find resin. After some research on the resin and fiberglass I found the mat was just 100% polyester strands. Went to a fabric store and picked up a few yards of 100% polyester fabric…Worked great, but was a bit thick I will probably get the thinnest fabric I can find next time. Might be a trick you can use if you are from a smaller city like me.
Progress so far.

Next Epsilon will get the rust removed, body welded up, finish the paint job, bash bar and roll cage fabbed up, mount the diamond rims and some Bondo work over the fiberglass. Also I took out the seats and are cutting them up to make budget bucket seats. Pretty much just get it ready for a drive train, when the right deal comes up. Stay “Tuned”.