My back is plagued by a host of problems; DISH (Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis) disease (so bad that my neck and spine are like glass), two severe curvatures of the spine, numerous bulging discs, several degenerative discs, benign tumors up and down my spine, and two exposed nerve roots. In September of 2022, I began having trouble walking on my own and requiring a rollator to get around and although I am now at a healthy weight less than a year later, that has not changed at all. Over this time, I’ve come to terms with the fact that at 45 years old, even in great health and with 30 + years of Martial arts experience, my condition will see to it that I’ll never be the all-valley under 18 Karate champion… I blame Daniel-San again!
…but I digress…
I’m getting in better shape than ever, Aqua rehab and joining the gym with the heated pool and 7-foot deep pool, along with the sauna and whirlpool have done wonders for my pain levels and life. My wife who has arthritis in both of her knees and I both signed up at the gym and are there six days a week, working on our fitness and health goals. We love how working out has improved our life, how it makes us feel, how it has mitigated a lot of pain and symptoms from our health issues… and we’ve become gym rats, all in!
I’m able to be more active in my life too and have been fishing weekly with my youngest son, engaging more with our Jewish community, fingerboarding more, and doing more Juggalo… stuff. Best of all, I can see how much I’m advancing very quickly and it’s only driving me to want to somehow do it more, though I need one day off for Shabbat (Friday night to Saturday night). Already 9 hours a week are gym hours for my wife and me, and my trainers and rehab therapists say I am an overachiever and go above and beyond expectations.
I wouldn’t be able to work out without the gravity being taken off of my spine in the pools at the gym, and being in the water gives me a freedom I haven’t felt since losing my ability to navigate the world without my rollator. I can work out in the pool, I can engage muscles I haven’t been able to in a long time, and it feels phenomenal on both a physical and mental level. This has almost altogether given me a new lease on life, or at least a feeling of such honestly… especially coming from such a rich martial arts background.
Working out has become an integral part of our life, that we rely on to function physically and mentally it has made me feel more complete in spite of my condition.