1 year ago, I got extremely ill. Ill to the point that I could not stand, could not eat, could not control my body and its functions. Up until that point I was living an extremely fit and healthy lifestyle – or so I thought. I was running in the mornings 4 times a week at 6 am, and training at Muay Thai 5 days a week for 2 hours each evening. I ate healthy, but I was not supplementing my diet with protein. After work I would hang around downtown Toronto for 1.5 hours before my Muay Thai classes began at 6:30, and I wouldn’t get home till after 9 pm. In retrospect I was not living that healthy. In terms of fitness – yes I was; but in terms of overall health and well being I wasn’t.
That may have been what tipped me over the edge, but at the end of July I came down with pneumonia. Since I wasn’t able to physically bring myself to a doctor my symptoms got so bad until it attacked my kidneys and my kidneys stopped working. By that point my HR from work took me to the hospital where they said I would probably have to stay a few days – not what I was expecting. Those few days actually turned into 7, and they were the hardest times of my life.
I did not eat a single thing for several days. I drank tea, water and once in a while milk but I could not eat. I could not walk either, I had someone help me go to the bathroom and I had a wheelchair that I got pushed around in. My insides were always hurting and I could never sleep at night because I was so uncomfortable. I had nurses taking samples from my blood every few hours and had two different IV’s in me at one time. I no longer fear needles like I once used to.
When I finally got out of the hospital 7 days later, I looked like a completely different person. I lost over 15 lbs and I was tired, gaunt, and pale. All the muscle I had gained from all the training was gone and I still could not eat properly. When I came back to Calgary with my parents I wanted to start getting back to normal as soon as possible. But this was the saddest and hardest thing I have had to come back from, and I’ve had to come back from a LOT of injuries. I would go on slow walks around my neighbourhood with my pants literally falling down because they were so loose (funny to imagine now). I could not walk for longer than 15 minutes because I would get so exhausted. When I came back to Toronto a week later I was healthier and stronger, but still very weak.
I remember going for a ‘run’ in the morning 3 weeks after I had gotten out of hospital and pretty much crying the entire way. I couldn’t run. I could run for 30 seconds and then I would walk for 5 minutes because I had no energy. It was like this for many weeks. Going from a person who runs 5km easily to someone who can jog slowly for 30 seconds is one of the most defeating and depressing feelings that I have experienced. So how do you come back from that?
Determination and perseverance was everything. I went on those 30 second jog/walks until they turned into 1 min jog/walk, until they turned into 5 min jog/walk until I could run the entire way. I went back to Muay Thai but very slowly to start, and I would only train for 30 minutes and then leave. I was smart about it this time too – I stopped pushing my body past limits that were unhealthy and cut down on the number of times I would run in the morning or go to training.
It took many weeks but soon I was back to my old self, but smarter and with more knowledge. It was an extremely difficult time for me, but with determination and commitment I was able to get back up onto my feet. If you’re just starting out and feel like you’ll never make it to where you want to be, keep at it. Keep at it every day, both mentally and physically, because you will get there. I went from being fitter than I’ve ever been, to sicker than I’ve ever been, and managed to climb out of that hole. And if I can do it, then you can do it too.