I wanted to share an email I received the other day that really hit home as to why I write this blog. I asked him if I could share it with everyone else, but he asked to remain anonymous due to a public position that he wished to not disclose even to me. Fair enough, but I’m very happy he was willing to share in the hopes of possibly motivating someone else.
Hi Dean. I wanted to send you an email for a long time now, and I guess I just finally decided to do it today. I’ve been reading your blog for a long time now, probably since you started off, and have found your delivery and content to be far above most of the other fitness bloggers out there. Great job on finding a voice to be heard from.
The main reason I started reading your site is that in 2005 I was in a really bad car accident which left me partially paralyzed from a compression fracture at T-6. I had no idea I had a T, let alone 6 of them, so that was my first foray into being a medical guinea pig. The spinal chord was compressed, but thankfully not severed, and the next three years were spent in and out of surgeries in an attempt to repair the damage and give me some semblance of possible function once all the healing was done.
In 2008, I had my last surgery, but was still not able to walk due to complete atrophy of all my core muscles and disuse of my legs from the accident and subsequent recovery. I was in physical therapy on an almost daily basis, even going so far as having a personal physical therapist with me when I traveled. The treatments were long, cumbersome, occasionally painful, and always frustrating to see how bad I was from a physical perspective seeing as how all my life I’ve been very physically active and prided myself on a level of athletic ability.
2 years later I had become a sponge, trying to find every tidbit of information I could find on getting more core strength, improving movement capabilities, and just returning to a point of somewhat normalcy. I still couldn’t walk without the use of a walker or a cane, and even then it was only for very short times.
I stumbled on your site after a simple Google search pulled up an article you did on spinal stability progressions, and how you could gain some motor control while laying on your back doing some seemingly basic movements.
At least they looked basic. I tried them in my hotel room that evening and found core muscle I’d forgotten about, and also a new-found hate/love for core training. I then saw an article you put out on T-Nation that was on different types of core training, and I was hooked. I even decided to pick up a copy of Post Rehab Essentials to see what else you could teach me regarding how my spine worked and what I should do about it. In honesty, I skipped through the shoulders and knees and went right to what I wanted the most. Wow.
Since then, I’ve been able to ditch the walker and cane, have given up physical therapy completely, and have been able to be essentially “pain-free” for about 6 or 8 months. This is the longest stretch I’ve had since the accident. I’ve even started deadlifting, using some of the progressions you’ve discussed in various posts, and have a goal of getting body weight from the floor hopefully by the end of 2013. Not bad for a guy in his late fifties!
So that’s my story, and I just wanted to say thank you for putting out quality information that is truly helping others. I know writing a website like this can sometimes seem thankless, especially as you are making your beginnings in the industry and have a small degree of fame compared to some of the big guys, but I just wanted you to know that it does matter, and there are a lot of people who listen to what you say even if you don’t see it.
Keep up the great work.
One day we’ll meet up and get some deadlifts in.