Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Physicality Update

Not meant as a brag here, but my brother showed my a picture of me up in a tree from about 1987 or so. "Jesus", I said, "I look like Tarzan". Yeah, those days are gone... maybe.

It is now seven weeks and five days on since my nephrectomy. At my four week checkup, the doctors said "Wait six weeks before you start running again, and maybe slowly ramp up to your regular workouts". Well, at the six week checkup, the doctors were delighted at how my wounds had healed (told you I was a werewolf), but there was no way I was ready to do my regular workouts again.

I have to say that that nice big spiral cut honey baked ham slice they'd taken out of my internal lower left quadrant still felt like a ham slice. A friend of mine in the medical field told me "Dude, don't kid yourself about the minimal invasive procedure with the laproscopy, they did major carpentry work inside you. I've seen the procedure and it's pretty brutal". Yeah, and that's how it felt: like they had beat the living shit out of me, just kicked me in the nads over and over.

The doctor himself admitted as much. "We moved a lot of stuff around. You did have a football-sized dead kidney in there. It was occupying half your abdomen".

(You may want to skip this paragraph as it contains intimate personal details). It's true, the swolled up bag of piss did a major constriction on my sigmoid colon and other organs down there. I was pooping out either watery stuff or strings of spaghetti at random pretty much every waking hour of the day towards the end there. And now? Friggin' Burmese pythons coming out of my hind end. Good solid, regular bowel movements. Oh yeah!

A student of mine who is into street fighting martial arts* gave me another clue about what happened. He confirmed that the kick-in-the-nads feeling can happen from a kidney punch or flat heeled kick to the kidney, what with the neural wiring in there. "But don't get the wrong idea, it's not so much the nerves per se as it is the neuromyofascial connections that have been upset."

Right, all the connective tissue, it's been abused and shoved around, and that portion of my extracellular matrix that contains my organs and surrounds my belly took a nasty beating.  More on all this in a minute.

So, I tried working out last week. I did 50% of my normal workout, substituting vigorous turn on an elliptical machine for my running. But I did core workouts no problem. Medicine ball, free weights, pull ups, etc. with no problem and no guts shooting out all over the floor. I was sore - as expected - for three days, but then went back at it, and ramped it up to 90%. Threw in a kettle bell workout, kip rope, and the usual postural stretch routines, and it all felt pretty good. So there's that.

Thing is, I am re-evaluating how I am going to stay in shape in the future, and for awhile flirted with the idea of taking a parkour class. Someone suggested I hold off on that.

But here's the interesting thing. Through the usual serendipitous synchroncity that informs my readings and interactions, I've been exploring various aspects of the Natural Movement exercises. So, someone mentions Feldenkrais, and I say, isn't that funny that's about the third time people have talked about it in as many months. Then, I'm talking to martial arts guy, and he's going on and on about connective tissue, and I'm like, huh, I'm hearing about this too. And then, I get a book from the library by Chris McDougall (author of Born to Run), and about halfway in to this book Natural Born Heroes, and he starts talking about fascia.

So, I'm like, oh, okay, well when enough people tell you don't look so hot, maybe you are sick.

So, I'm researching an organized routine for that. I'm still gonna run, because that's what I do, and still gonna lift weights, because that's also what I do, but now I'm going to work on becoming an animal, because it would nice to be Tarzan again after that year of... nothing.


  1. *This guy is a killer, the mellowest most laid-back killer you've ever met. Not that he's killed anyone that I know of, but he could. I found from his daughter that his ex-wife would violently sleepwalk and used to try kill him in his sleep. I'd say that counts for something. He is like the Twins, the British street fighters described in the book Natural Born Heroes. I mentioned to him I tried various martial arts and boxing in one form or another, and he said "Waste of time. That's all peacock stuff, with rules and civilized behavior. If you try to use that stuff in a real conflict situation? You'll be dead. Or messed up".

  2. Research nothing. Dance, Johnny dance. That's a whole body ain't it?

  3. The foundational text ATM (Awareness Through Movement) is here: Feldenkrais explains the purpose and objectives of
    the system.These are audio files (mp3’s) You click on one and it will play. You listen to it in background. If serious, you lay on the floor and follow his instructions. the kindly Dr. Feldenkrais talking through the exercises in Awareness
    through movement.
    Fundamental Properties 1
    Fundamental Properties 2 - Posture is distorted by handedness and habit
    Breathing – We forget to breathe correctly
    Flexors and Extensors – white meat vs. dark meat of the two legged chicken
    Free Hip Joints – Breathing to stretch your hips
    Head Fixes Muscle Tone
    Perfecting Self-Image
    Nimble Head for Nimble Action
    Swift Eyes Smart Body
    Generalize Your Skills
    Additional 10 exercises close to the fundamental 10 in ATM
    Lower Back
    Bending More Easily
    Arm and Shoulder Comfort
    New Hip Joints
    Jelly Pudding Pelvis
    Hip and Shoulder Integration
    Better Side Bending
    Improving Chest Mobility
    More Flexible Feet
    This is view rights to all folders – texts and audio files.

  4. If you find yourself feeling and enjoying the foundationals, we'll move ahead to the texts on unarmed combat, judo, and advanced judo..., oh, the foundationals are best done at bedtime. You'll fall asleep on the floor a few times, no harm done there. You won't find them at all taxing, but strangely illuminating and with a significant impact on your established habitual workouts, as these workouts are collections of postures, movements, and exertions.

    Somatic training is self-observation and self-remembering. Coming to it in the middle years - gives you a lot of accumulated material to work with.

  5. I used to go to the gym 3 days a week and an hour of yoga once a week. I've given up the gym. it's all yoga now. a short warm up every morning and a twice a week intensive workout. and I don't run but I do take the dog for a walk every day.

    but yah. the body is a whole, everything's connected and affects everything else. that's one of the reason western medicine doesn't seem able to cure anything, relying on managing symptoms instead.