I once had left side paralysis after Lyme disease. The leftover damage debilitates some people and only impairs others. For me, I had searing pain through my arm, shoulder, back, and neck mostly on left side starting September 2014. All joints felt like fire. My knees and hips set into inflammatory shutdown. It worsened for a year and a half, along with other issues too innumerable to cover here. In March of 2015, two weeks after my daughter was born, I completely detached my right pectoral muscle from the bone. The left arm was my only arm for months and it was already not great. In physical therapy one day it spontaneously lost 99% of strength. I couldn’t control it. No grip. Nothing. Down to A HALF of a functioning arm and one-and-half functioning legs was brutal. I was plagued with wondering if even normal function would again be possible. Would I be able to pickup my kids? Would I be able to get in and out of bed? Would I get better from permanent disability? And the answer seemed resoundingly clear: NO. Never. Not even close.
This was the backdrop for being the first person on earth over 240lbs to do a zero momentum muscle up (videos here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CIX9ivsHliL/). It was the runway for playing with 150lb dumbbells on pressing (scroll through the pages in prior link). It was the context for a 505 floor press. There’s a grand list of performances which I could not do in my 20s, long prior to injury, long before Lyme, which all came about in these past 3 years. Hitting a point lower than most people go before suicide was the bedrock upon which I’ve been building.
Where many injury-free athletes are poor shadows of their former selves with regard to capability, some injured people overshadow their former selves in the present. This is why I often share stories of amputee athletes/paraOlympians/older whose lifts and accomplishments far outstrip what we even think is possible for someone with no challenges. I share them because I know I need them. I figure someone somewhere is going through hell and needs evidence to keep going. I know I do.
What’s possible? We don’t really know. It’s more than you think. It’s more than you believe. It’s more than you know. It’s more than you hope. Now go out and find it.