The New Normal

March 12th – March 17th 

It took about 3 days to get the natural flow of things going at home. The wonderful Rosiak family came by on Sunday evening to drop off a homemade meal and spend some time. My first Monday and week with Rodney (I think that’s what I’m naming the rod that now resides in my right femur). Tuesday was toughest day yet, however got certified for CPR/AED. The beginning of March Madness basketball with Doom. Also a little review of mt follow-up appointment that took place on Friday.

Lazy Days

The lack of rest from being in the hospital had definitely caught up to me by the end of Saturday night…my new hangout spot, the bed, was definitely a welcome site for my tired-crutch walking body. I hated spending so much time in my bed at first however I had to keep reminding myself that this is an opportunity to rest. So plenty of time spent there for the foreseeable future whether I enjoy it or not. At least I know Apollo is enjoying the new rest-to-work ratio.

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😴🐶

The beginning of this week, my Crossfit Charleston family was out in full force supporting me. Kathryn Sykes, incredibly strong and awesome young woman who just joined the CC family a few months ago; decided to whip up and bring us over Spaghetti w/ protein noodles: Gains on gains! You’re already busy enough and you find the time to not only make the spaghetti but also drop it off? Unreal. Thank you so much Kathryn! I’m looking forward to getting back in there to see how much more you have improved!

The Rosiak’s

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Look at this beautiful family!

A few hours after that another Crossfit Charleston family, that took me under their wing from the beginning of my coaching, came over to visit. Scott & Debbie Rosiak along with their beautiful daughter’s Libby Scott and Langley brought us over a homemade Chicken Potpie dinner (The pie was phenomenal, and I ate it 4-5 different times in the week and surprisingly Scotty made the salad that was a HUGE hit…impressive bro!), accompanied by a bottle of wine, and chocolate cake 🙏🏼.  The new movie and edition of “Beauty and the Beast” recently came out in theaters. Libby Scott, so very sweet and thoughtful, presented a perfect rose to the “Beauty” of our castle, Mallory 😊. After that we spent some much-needed time hanging out and laughing. Again another couple that when I first started my career as coaching, really allowed me to flourish as a coach by accepting my coaching style and also asking me questions, giving me feedback on the coaching. The Rosiaks not only help develop me as a coach during class hours but also as a person, with our conversations before, during and after class about things that go beyond the box. I like to call it, “Life-living Advice”: Information that is obtained from day-to-day conversations, that helps one to improve his or her life by learning from other’s experiences as they share them. Not a message or a specific lesson that someone is trying to convey, but just something smart that comes up in a conversation. Something worth remembering and applying to your own life. Whether it be Debbie helping me out at the 8:30am morning class with ideas of how to be more efficient with scheduling and financing or Scotty coming in to the 4:30pm class helping me learn how to approach upcoming challenges by sharing some of his past experience’s that he’s had in his career. Not to specifically lecture or force learn something upon me, but just genuine words of life experience being shared and exchanged. Y’all may not remember the conversations but I do and they really have made and continue to make an impact on my life. Through the years we all have grown closer as a family. It is amazing to really take the time and think back on the first time you met someone or a family, to kind of audit everything that has changed since. One thing that has remained consistent through the years is the effort, support and love poured out by the Debbie and Scott. For all of those things I could never thank you both enough.

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Debbie and Mrs. Brenda, stunning, as always.

And if that family hadn’t already done enough, Brenda, Debbie and Scott’s mom ended up, later on in the week, dropping us off a huge homemade shepherds pie! Brenda is one of my 8:30am warrior-goddesses. She shows up ready to work hard each morning and inspires me as she crushes the workouts, gets up with a smile and a high-five, just to head out and conquer the rest of the day. I am truly blessed to have y’all as part of my family. We love y’all so much and look forward to what the years have in store for us all!

 

The rest of the week was full of resting and hitting physical therapy as much as I could before getting too sore. Besides going out to lunch with Grandma Dawley, the parents and Mallory once there was nothing to fancy here besides staying consistent on the effort of physical therapy and doing the things necessary for other part’s of life to facilitate. Downloaded some software for surveying, going to start drawing pretty soon here. Also worked quite a bit on this recovery blog…A LOT more goes into a website than just typing and picking out some pictures. So tedious sometimes.

The Cat Chronicles 

His name is Mango, (ask Mallory about the name – his personality is more like Aslan). He is the inquisitive, scientist of the group. He loves to sing the song of his people in the early morning hours from 2:00 to 4:00am. Always watching, observing, recording data. The first feline to approach my new leg, at the best time of course: when I was sleep…by walking directly on it. Felt so good. After that I have slept with a huge pillow on top of leg guarding it. Nights after he has tried to lay on the lower part of my leg. Hypothesizing and then testing, night after night. Mallory is now armed with a spray-water bottle on the nightstand. It’s not over…

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Mango is watching.
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He is always…
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…watching.

Tiffany Peltier

Back to my Crossfit Charleston family being there for me in full force this week. Let me discuss Tiffany Peltier, aka Sweet T aka Coach Tiff! She took the time out of her busy schedule to give me a First-Aid/CPR/AED certification course on Tuesday the 14th that I had to obtain by Wednesday the 15th. This is just a small example of Tiffany’s kindness. Time and time again you are going out of your way to help someone else. You are one of the most driven and inspiring people who I have ever met. Your own story of going through recovery to becoming stronger and better than before is incredible enough but the size of your heart and your capacity to care is something I admire and strive to emulate one day. You’re an incredible athlete, coach, and person. Thank you for everything you have done to help me throughout my coaching career. I look up to you so much as an individual and leader. I must also congratulate on your recent retirement from 20+ years of serving in the Coast Guard! Thank you for your time and sacrifice all those years. Continue living the life you love with the passion you have and you will achieve anything you want. We all love you.

 

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Crazy eyes because she be pulling metal out my thighs.

The Follow-Up 

Friday came rolling around! Very excited about the day. It was the first check point after being released from the hospital to see where I was going to be along in the healing process. I had my staples removed…WARNING if your don’t like gross things: scroll fast until you get to the pictures of x-ray’s with orange boxes! I broke down the follow-up appointment on my x-rays so it would be little easier to understand.

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Took about 10 minutes for all the staples to be taken out.

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The doctor said I needed to keep doing the same movements that I have been doing for the next three weeks in order to allow the screws to set. Last thing we want is anyone of those 3 screws backing out…can’t just secure them back down with my DeWalt 18v drill. After the 3 weeks when screws are set, that I could start doing more movements with my upper body, core, and back. Hopefully I will be able to go to one crutch before then. Three weeks after the screws set (6 weeks total) the bones will have hopefully completely healed. When that happens I will be able to start really working that leg and use “pain as a gauge” as the doctor put it, to do as much as I can while still listening to my body.

After the enlightening doctors visit we decided that we needed to go see the movie “Logan”…it was a great movie, probably the best of the X-men franchise. Even if you don’t know the whole story line it’s a strong enough movie to stand on its own. Felt real nice to be out doing some normal things. Perfect way to end the night and begin the weekend.

“By your own efforts waken yourself, watch yourself. And live joyfully. You are the master.” -Buddha

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The Return Home and Apollo

Thursday, March 9th –  Saturday, March 11th

Thursday night and finally my first two days back home! So nice to be sleeping in my own bed. Got up to the restaurant for some pre-March Madness basketball…Forgot about fractured rib…PAIN. Hit first few sessions of physical therapy in the home. Got back to some normal life stuff but mainly back to Apollo, my pup 😊. Being back home with him is something that can’t be matched as far as being comfortable and at home. Again thank you to everyone that have and continues to reach out and support me and my family. Love y’all!

 

Thursday night ended up being my best night of sleep yet, felt like I finally earned a little of the rest after doing physical therapy, a mentality I would slowly have to adjust after being used to doing some much physical activity in a day – to almost a dead halt in activity.    It took me a day or two to realize how much energy the process of healing takes not only trying to heal a snapped femur but to accept this new addition of a metal rod into my body. Mentally the body needs rest as well so when I viewed it as a rest for both my body and mind, I understood how much of an opportunity I have that most people don’t get to have, especially for such an extended period of time. Yeah I’d be on crutches a lot of the time and would need a lot of help…but there are too many good things around to be that upset about a broken bone. For example: returning home to my best friend, to my bub, the one, the only: Apollo. He had a spend-the-night with my sister, Meghan and her dog, Alaulua (Ah-LOO-LAH) 😁 while I was in the hospital. Apollo was dropped off right before my Mom and I pulled up to home. He was so excited to see me until he saw how slowly I was moving getting out of the vehicle, so from barking behind the front entrance windows, ‘DAD! DAD! DAD!” and excitement it went to gently walking up to me, smelling, and being real docile “Hey Dad…are you okay?” Wouldn’t leave my right side when I was sitting down. So very curious, sniffing about and around the ‘weird skin-stickers that covered 3 of Dad’s metal-staple cuts’. Also, we have a lot of pets, animals that reside here that you will get to read about and see in the future… 3 cats. 2 dogs. 1 Max 🤣. So I think Apollo was hovering around that right side to be a little protective of anyone or thing getting too close. One thing that stinks the most about being one leg-down is not being to wrestle with the big dude. Soon enough.

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“Just loving life, laying with sliced-open-broken-metal-leg Dad…”

Nothing like being back home. I felt an immediate wave of relief getting into the house. Also, once I maneuvered and navigated through the entire downstairs and upstairs, I got a little more confidence and reassurance that: this is the least amount of weight I’ll be able to put on and range of motion I will have in that right leg. Another testament to Crossfit Charleston, among the family-community that is established there, is the actual programming and training of the body and mind. The mental conditioning from facing that “fight or flight” mechanism we get from just even showing up to the box to hit a wod or lift is something that makes day to day tasks very manageable. Combined with that “fight or flight” mechanism being engaged, the effort that’s poured out by anyone at any certain level of fitness not only helps the body and mind develop but most importantly , I believe what all exercise in any shape or form should push and grow: your heart and soul. For me in this current situation, that previous mental fortification has me looking forward to the challenges of moving around with crutches, getting in and out of vehicles, and hitting my physical therapy…Yeah it’s going to be tiresome and going to wear me out because I’m not used to doing it but it’s all for the improvement, that next day of being a little bit stronger mentally and a little bit better physically. One day at a time, one step at a time. For me that’s where the beauty and purpose of the crossfit ideology really lies and is really nailed on the head by the Crossfit Charleston community and coaches. Not to mention the obvious physical benefits the programming has provided me of my left leg, upper body and core being strong enough for me to maneuver on the crutches (very similar to locking out at the top of a ring-dip or muscle up). Also making my physical therapy on the legs a lot easier when I can apply as much pressure as I want when stepping and walking on that right leg and foot because of the control I have with arms, back and core.

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Three of “Doom’s” favorite things: Clemson Tigers, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Budweiser. A little Christmas present from the kids this past year to Dad! Wild Wing Oakland has so much respect and love for Doom they let us hang the board over his corner booth.

With so much focus on my leg I kinda forgot about the fractured rib. So after a day of riding in a vehicle for the first time, we ended up going to Doom’s Corner (I’ll be referencing this spot in the future so I’ll explain it now to avoid confusion: My Dad’s fantasy football team name, also name of corner booth he always sits at👊🏼😎 in the Wild Wing Cafe @ Oakland ) – After laying in the hospital the last few days I couldn’t wait to just hang out and watch some basketball after all March Madness started in a week and these were all the conference championship tournaments being played, had to get some research-viewing in! It was great to hang out with Dad. Mallory and Mom headed to the store to get a few things we needed around the house. I could feel my rib on the way up to the restaurant, nothing more than just a slight point of really dull pressure. As time went on in the restaurant, I could feel that pressure building a little more – up against my lung as I was breathing. (Not really aware that the serious pain medication they had me hooked up to in the hospital was wearing off 😐)…After about two hours at Doom’s Corner, we headed home…by that time it was definitely more than pressure, the pain started showing up a tiny bit more with every breath. It seemed like laying down made it worse for a time, I was laying there in probably the most amount of pain I had been in since when they had to move my leg for the x-ray pre-surgery. After about 15 mins of real painful breathing, it started to dull and I was able to relax a little more and breathe a little deeper with each breath. Really freaked me out. I can deal with limb pain but pain when breathing is like a form of torture. From then on out: We  RESPECTED the fractured rib. I fell asleep thankful that night just to be able to breathe without pain.

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PT Session Day 2 Home! Crossover Symmetry seated to warm up shoulders, upper back, and arms for crutch-walks. Instagram 🎥!

Woke up the next morning feeling great! First night sleeping in my own bed, we have a very relaxing little setup in the bedroom. My sister Meghan lent me her essential oil diffuser and with the supplies of essential oils we have, there is a nice rotation of lavender oil to sooth and calm at night time and then lemon oil to wake up and breathe in the morning. Also had the thunderstorm sounds playing on youtube at night time, game-changer for resting. So I woke up and hit my physical therapy movements provided by my PT Mike upstairs and then came downstairs for upper body work and crutch-walks! It’s not an insane amount of work but the amount of energy it takes the body to heal is still surprising me, after the session I’m pretty darn tired. However it’s the best type of tired to feel.

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Sock game must remain on point. For this PT session: Darth Vader…after-all the dude got three of his limbs sliced off, burned up and was walking the next day. 😈

 

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CAT GRASS!, Mint, Sunflowers, Mini Roses, Parsley, Basil, and “Alicia” Aloe in that plastic terrarium

After my late morning of physical therapy, we put our little herb garden on the back patio and I posted up out there sitting next to them, trimming and watering the plants with the beautiful, warm low country sun radiating down…the outright highlight of the day. After being used to working outdoors for several hours a day every other day to going to almost no sunlight, it’s amazing how much that affects the psyche. After about 15-20 minutes I could feel my body and mind soaking up and enjoying the sun rays…similar to a thirsty person chugging a bottle of water, it felt like my body was doing the same with the sunlight. From here on out, 20 minutes minimum in the sun daily is required as part of my recovery plan. The human being is designed to be outside. Sweating and breathing the fresh air…Not sitting at a desk for 8 hours…in school or in the office. SO if you’re reading this and you’ve been sitting on your butt for more than an hour, stop reading. Get up. And go for a walk outside. “Pay now, or you will pay double later!” Plus it’ll make you that much more efficient  when you get back on the project or task you are working on or studying. Alright I’m off my soap box, done preaching. The only real negative thing that occurred Saturday was my stomach not being able to hold anything down. Threw up two different times trying to snack on relatively healthy food, a slice of ham and a sip of apple juice. Both came right back up 🤢. That was extremely frustrating, my love of food was being diminished by the pain medication…a necessary evil for now. To end on a positive note, at the very end of the night I was able to hold down a small bowl of chicken noodle soup and that made all the difference in the world.

The messages and the donations were still coming in throughout the Friday and Saturday, again the amount of support and love I am receiving is incredible. God is doing truly amazing things. I am so blessed and consider my self truly fortunate to be able to shine light on His love with this story of healing and recovery. Which wouldn’t be possible without people like y’all and my family, constantly pouring your prayers and love out for me. Just going to give a quick shoutout and inadequate Thank you to the following people…

These two giving within the first night!

  • Zan Elvington
  • Lindsay Coleman

Thank you so much for setting the tone and reaching out like that. The following day these friends and family reached out and gave:

  • Meg Taylor
  • T-Nic!
  • Gigi Collins
  • Sean Shevlino
  • Mary Kohlbeck
  • Brittany Dunne
  • Stephanie Corey
  • Brenda von Glahn
  • The Armstrong’s
  • Gigi Collins
  • Traynor’s
  • John Doble
  • Sandy Peabody

Again, this isn’t a big enough thank you but you all deserve a shoutout for be so unselfish and giving like you did…Another cluster of family and friends followed those days up:

  • Leslie Cole
  • Chris Harry
  • Michael Mitchell
  • Brookshire’s
  • Marci Mitchell
  • Davidson’s
  • Jessie Strozier
  • Mysterious Doner!

Some of you may have been strangers before this but now I just see this list as a combination of friends and family. If I missed anyone, I will catch it next post and won’t forget! To the one’s who personally messaged me with words and prayers, I look forward to continuing our conversations! This goes to everyone, reaching out and keeping me up and afloat, not just monetary wise but most importantly; spiritually and emotionally, something that you can’t put a price on. My family and myself would not be able to do this without all the help that y’all have provided. Like I said this is hardly thank you enough, but I just wanted each of y’all to know that, I know. And I’m going to do my best to contribute back the way y’all have contributed forward. So much love for this community. Thank you again, I look forward to it all with y’all.

 

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future… Because believing that the dots will  connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference… Your time is limited. So don’t waste it by living someone else’s life… Don’t be trapped by dogma: which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life. And the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work… and the only way to do great work: is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking and don’t settle. Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. ” -Steve Jobs-