Monday, May 28, 2012

Blood Thinner, BJJ and Breakthroughs

I have been off the chemotherapy treatment for a little of 3 weeks and I have noticed some significant changes in the way I feel now. I have gone from just eating my little healthy snacks to craving food. I feel like the cookie monster!

Anything that stands in my way is getting devoured.. I have found out the end result of nearly three weeks of scarfing ( yes scarfing, for all you TMNT fans out there) down food have netted me nearly a 15lb weight gain. Fifteen pounds!!!

Also with me being on chemotherapy my PT/INR has been out of whack. That is what I have to get checked monthly to make sure my blood is thin enough to help reduce a blood clot or pulmonary embolism. The normal range for blood thickness should be 1-2 and someone on blood thinners, like me, should have 2-3 range.

When I went to the doctor on Friday, I overheard an excited,"Wow" the doctor had apparently discovered my blood thickness was 6.7. That is double what it should be, which meant I could have suffered internal bleeding or hemorrhaging in the head.

We scheduled a follow up for Monday and he took me off the blood thinners for a couple days and warned
me not to do any extreme projects or get punched in the head to avoid any type of bleeding.

So after a weekend with taking no blood thinners, I go back to the doctor on my day off, Memorial Day, to be told that my blood level was at 1.0 , which is now to thick and leaves me susceptible to blood clots. Now, I have to resume my medication a originally prescribed and continue to get my blood thickness checked on a weekly basis until it levels out! Yay!!

Well, since I was not at risk of bleeding I decided to hit the mats for a Memorial Day roll, we did a
couple techniques and then we commenced to roll.

I think I identified a couple breakthroughs while rolling.
1)I am allowing my hips to stay flat and I am not moving them as well as I should. I am sure there are a hundred other things I am doing wrong, but I cannot fix everything at once.
2)My posture lacks something to be desired. I need to work on keeping my head up and chest forward.
3) I seem to be allowing my opponent to get dominant grips and I am falling into their game, mostly spider guard. This leads me to be swept and the end result, they end up in dominant position working for the

I am going to work on some different hip escapes and to work on keeping moving during the roll. I think that will give me the biggest benefit of all right now and start to pull me out of this slump.

Then I will try to attack the rest of the items that I have found to give me trouble. I'll see how this work out.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Back by Popular Demand!

Well, as you can tell I haven't been very active with my blog. I have kind of been in a funk the past several months, but everyone at the academy has been on me to post some sort of random sentences. I guess it is time to feed the here it is.

I finally finished my six months of chemotherapy and that was draining me of a lot of energy and basically all I wanted to do was to lay on the couch and veg. I am starting to feel somewhat normal again, and by normal I mean not being nauseated and tired. The doctor said it would take 3-6 months for my immune system to return to normal, but instead they are going to start me on a at home injection of a new medicine called Acthar Gel, which will destroy my immune system again. Exciting!!
Also... I still hate needles after all I have been through, so you can't imagine my reaction to an at home injection.

If this medicine doesn't work I am going to either Duke university or MUSC for further tests. Yay more needles!!!

Yep, I have been struggling mentally and physically with this over past several weeks and months. A couple things have helped me cope and not slip into a downward spiral. Those things are coming home and seeing my 7 month old smiling and just starting to crawl towards me, my wife, who came to see me and bring me lunches during my chemo treatments and the the best outlet of all the mats. My BJJ buddies at Swampfox are always encouraging and keep me in good spirits. They are always amazed when I show up to the academy the day after I have had a treatment or that I am even attempting to roll.

I think all the outside influences on my health has impacted me mentally on the mats. I feel I have plateaued and I am not sure why. I have recently ran across several encouraging blogs and forum posts that talk about enjoying the roll and not worrying about the tap.

My teammates have really been encouraging and are constantly reminding me that they struggled as well. It is all part of the development. That eases my mind a little and makes me wonder when will I see the other side of the mountain. I am sure one day it will click, but as of right now in the words of Rickson Gracie, I am just going to " Flow with the go," and enjoy my rolls.

Have you ever plateaued? How did you handle it mentally?