I wanted to write this down instead of mentioning it again in another vlog – I really feel that I may bang on about it a bit too often! Anyway, if you’re subscribed to my channel (thanks very much!) but you may have noticed that while I’ve never been Grimm-Green strict with my upload schedule I do always try to get in 3 product reviews a week in-between my Sunday/Monday vlogs, and recently, that’s just not been happening.
First of all, I want to apologise for that, but secondly I think I deserve to give you as subscribers, and any people that have sent products on to me an explanation of what’s been happening – as it’s on the website, you get to choose to read it or not rather than a vlog when you may get bored hearing me moaning on waiting for the good stuff!
So, here’s some background – and I’m gonna warn you, this may not be a five minute read!
Back in 2001 I suffered from an unpleasant bout of ‘Reactive Arthritis’ after a rather unpleasant kidney infection. From what I’m aware, it’s something that can lay dormant in a lot of predominantly men completely unnoticed, and some kind of infection can kick it off. Also from what I’m told, if it’s caught and treated within a very specific time scale, it has the potential to be reversed – my situation however was not that positive. Many trips to doctors and ‘consultants’ left me getting treated for individual aspects of what was going wrong which led to not being able to walk for a few months, a cancer scare, keyhole knee operation, and quite the considerable amount of pain.
The only way this was rectified was when I paid to go to a private consultant who highlighted the issue immediately – unfortunately, it was too late to be reversed, and was something I was stuck with.
Prior to this issue, I was a very healthy living strong chap, won a British Champion medal in powerlifting in an 82.5kg weight category with the British Powerlifting Association, as well as a record. I spent years developing strength and some kind of conditioning and it came hard but I loved it. I loved free weights, and I loved hitting the gym (you wouldn’t know it to look at me now!).
Moving forward a little way, I’d been told that I wasn’t going to be working out any more, and I was probably not going to be walking without a stick forever which sucked. My world came crashing down, and all the things that had given me confidence, health, and a certain focus had all been taken away. It was devastating, but after a while I decided not to accept the doctor’s opinion and through my qualifications with the World Amateur BodyBuilding Association, and others, I was going to build the muscles around the joints with issues and take the pressure off. Now bearing in mind that I’d been so strong before, it makes sense to think it wouldn’t be too much of a problem right? Wrong. By this time my right leg had essentially melted, I had no muscle to speak of, and was quite frankly offended at looking at my own body and how much had wasted away.
Things had to change, and they had to change quickly.
I got back to the gym, worked hard, trained with amazing people, and got myself to the best physical shape of my life and was proud, confident (if a bit too much if I’m honest), and healthy once more.
Now, why does this have anything to do with the current situation?
Since 2001 somewhere along the way my reactive arthritis that was being controlled with medication developed into Ankylosing Spondylitis, quite possibly something you’ve never heard of, and yet a massive amount of men and women are affected by it and it’s not nice. It’s a disease that piggy backs on your immune system, and causes terrible pain and swelling potentially any of the joints of the body, but predominantly lower back and everything south and it can be pretty debilitating, you can also have the added throw in bonuses of it affecting your stomach, eyes, and other random stuff as well – fun times as I’m sure you can imagine.
15 years on, my illness has developed into ‘Chronic’ Ankylosing Spondylitis, Fibromyalgia, a sliding Hiatus Hernia from the meds, and small dose of degenerative issues in the lower portion of the spine. Luckily, while I have had a LOT of pretty rubbish experiences with doctors and consultants, it’s ‘most of the time’ controlled with a pretty angry cocktail of pills every day, and injections I give myself weekly so I’m incredibly thankful for that.
Generally I’ll have a ‘flare up’ maybe once a year or even two, when my knee thinks it should be rhino sized, and a sore back and ankle, it happens, and it only stops me really being out of action a little, and I can more often than not carry on but with a grimace here and there and a little more than just old man groans when I get off the couch LOL
This year, in fact the last month has been somewhat more than that. It started with a big flare up on the right knee which needed draining and steroids injecting into it, which let me tell you, wasn’t a hoot, what feels like a scaffold pole going under the kneecap and having a ball of oily steroid hitting the nerves is not my idea of mid-week jollies. After coming back from hospital, I had a couple of days of having to stay off it, feeling a bit drained, and not having my energy but it was going to be OK – or so I thought. Literally a few days after this, my left leg went this time, and not just the knee, but the knee and everything down to my toes – it was quite frankly bonkers. Everything from the knee down was swollen to seemingly twice the size of normal and just horrifically painful – again I tried to power through, but sitting in an office chair in my studio with the leg bent just really wasn’t helping so off we went back to hospital. A great doctor treated me, and we went for an X-ray and I got another knee injection of steroids but obviously in the left this time.
I managed to get to Vapefest and slept and sat down a lot – it was a brilliant time as always, but marred somewhat by constant pain, and that it ‘should’ have started reducing in size by the Friday before – which sadly happened a tiny bit in the calf but not really anywhere else. So a few days after VF, I was back in hospital, this time getting checked for a blood clot in the leg, I’m happy to report one wasn’t found. ANOTHER steroid injection, this time in the ankle (remember I mentioned how much fun the knee one was? In-between the bones of your ankle is an absolute hoot as you can imagine!), and one just above my bum/below my lower back (the least painful of the recent stabbings).
The swelling in the leg really all but went away – AWESOME but unfortunately, I was left with an elephant ankle/foot (cankle of magnificent proportions if you will), and was back in hospital yesterday.
After yesterday, it was decided that the biologics medication of ‘Humira’ wasn’t doing it’s job, so I’m now going to be going with a once or twice yearly infusion. Sat with a drip in my arm for a few hours sounds fun if you’re not a fan a needles LOL, hopefully though, this is going to be somewhat life changing. Also, I’ve been given a heavy dose of oral steroids which I started today with my now 11 tablets at breakfast! 60mg of Prednisolone I think it is, and tapering down over the next 6 weeks, and as I said, started today and felt utter utter poop all day.
So, all in all, the last month has been THE WORST luck with health, pretty much all of it has been full of pain, not being able to sleep, and not really being able to walk that well at all, which has sucked pretty hard in all honesty. I’ve never had this much rubbish going on within such a small time frame, and to be frank (who’s frank? 😉 ) normal daily stuff hasn’t been easy, and sitting in a chair doing reviews without passing out, throwing up, or having a little cry because of all the hurts half way through has been pretty impossible. All in all it’s been a pretty horrific few weeks.
HERE’S THE POSITIVE STUFF!!!
So that’s the back story, that’s what has been going on and it’s been tough, but, while I’ve mentioned it in a vlog or two in the past, I didn’t want to be ‘one of those guys’ that sits and whinges about it all the time. Because of this I’ve put up reviews when I can, and have spent my time wisely by testing the crap out of a whole bunch of equipment. Now it’s time to get my shit together, and stop letting a bit of a broken body stop things happening. Just like I did all those years ago when I decided enough was enough, that time has come once again.
I WILL be putting out more content, and if it means I can’t do it sitting in the studio or walking the dog etc, you’ll be getting them while my leg is up and resting but I honestly believe the new course of meds is going to get me back on track and living a normal life again. I’ve got stuff to do, empires to build and motorbikes to ride, so I’m not letting a rebellious body get in the way of it getting done.
Positivity, thought, and working smartly is the future, and after so many people being kind enough to watch my content, you deserve to see more of what you signed up for! I’m incredibly appreciative that people like what I throw up on the internet, and it’s been frustrating because this recent malarky has happened just as I was getting all creative (and including the bike more!).
I’m coming back to normal, and I’ll be giving it my all to make sure that happens, so thank you for those of you that have read this, that have stuck with the channel, and for so many brilliant emails and messages. The one thing I’ve learned since 2001 and continue to learn is to never give up, never let something get in the way of your passion, and while we’ll all hit a hump in the road, a blip in the matrix, or however you’d describe it, none of that defines who you are and what you can achieve – some people just have to get a little more creative about how they reach their goals.
I also obviously must thank my wife Vicky for her amazing support, and Dizzy – you can’t beat some spaniel cuddles when you’re feeling rotten LOL.
Thank you all again, and if you’ve got this far in what was supposed to be a few quick notes, treat yourself to a strong drink and a damn good vape – and go and cuddle your nearest and dearest and dogs.
‘AVE IT LARGE PEOPLE!
The Vaping Biker
Oh and if anyone wonders about meds, if you’re on any of these that are my daily/weekly, I feel your pain!
Arcoxia, Sulfasalazine, Humira injections, Methotrexate injections, Prednisolone and Omeprazole, – keep strong, you’ll get it managed at some point!