A Fat Man's Journey (Working my way back…)

An Attempt to Journey from Fat to Fit in a Lifetime. Eat right, Eat less, Move more

Injury, Depression, Life


I haven’t posted in a very long time. Much longer than I would have expected.

There are some reasons and some explanations and many excuses but the simple truth is I have been depressed and I have been injured and life has been in the way.

I injured my shoulder in a bike crash in June of 2014 and tried to ride through it. It hurt but it was tolerable. I got in about 3000 miles in 2014 but I should have come closer to 4000. AS the shoulder began to hurt more I rode less. I decided to take the winter off from all cycling, even trainer miles, to give the shoulder a rest. I believed (foolishly) that whatever was wrong with the shoulder would benefit from the rest and come spring all would be well.

It wasn’t. Come spring the pain was no better, may be worse, and I was popping ibuprofen like Chiclets. As the riding season began to ramp up my shoulder started to hurt to the point that riding was a chore. I was never able to get to the point where I could read the shop rides and I had to give up that particular pleasure.

I found that if I rode on Saturday my shoulder hurt too much to ride on Sunday. My fitness was not coming back because I was not riding enough to build it back.

The constant pain was making it hard to work at the bike shop on Sundays and I often had to ask for help to take bikes down off the racks to show customers.

In March I finally gave in and went to an orthopedist. An MRI showed damage to the labrum and possibly the clavicle. Also some arthritis. To be expected of a man my age (I was told).

Three cortisone shots over the next 5 months and physical therapy would help for only a short time and a cycling season was being lost. The less I rode, the deeper my depression was getting. It was affecting my home life and my work life and I was starting to eat more and more and sit more and more.

Finally in August a new image from the MRI showed the root of the issue and made it clear that there was only one option for healing the shoulder: Surgery. The tip of my clavicle was shattered. Going in to remove the bone chips and bone spurs, clean up the labrum and grind down the underside of the clavicle was the last and best course of action. I had the surgery October 20. I won’t go in to the gory details…

Unable to do any exercise at all I gained 18 pounds in the weeks following the surgery. I was in pain, sedentary and depressed. Bad combination.

Here we are now, 6 weeks after the surgery. The shoulder is gaining strength, the pain has become tolerable and the PT is restoring range of motion. And I am given an unusually warm December Saturday. I hope to go for a ride today. Short. Maybe ten miles. Easy pace. I am out of shape, I am over 250 pounds for the first time in three years, my cardio fitness is none existent but I am going to sit on the bike and I am going to try a short ride. Even if it goes poorly, even if the pain stops me or my fitness stops me, even if I walk the bike home, it is a milestone, it is a step forward. The very fact that the shoulder feels OK enough for me to contemplate being on my bike is a very good sign.

I can feel the depression lifting. I can feel a better mood coming on. I have been more effective at work, better at home. I have been able to hike. Mostly solo, once in a while with a friend. The shoulder doesn’t seem to mind that activity. This is lifting my spirits.

Back to activity and back to eating the way I prefer without the snacks and second dinners and I have dropped six pounds already. I have much further to go. I WILL get back to 210. That is what fits me, makes me feel right.

I have a long road back ahead of me. The shoulder will take a long time to feel RIGHT again. The fitness will take even longer. The weight that I fought so hard to take off came back much to easily and I now have fight my way back down.

The plan is to be back to my goal by the end of March. No question I can do it. I will do it.

By the way. It is good to be back here.

3 thoughts on “Injury, Depression, Life

  1. Welcome back Mark. I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been struggling with pain and depression. My husband has been going through a similar experience. After a year of 4 surgeries, numerous CAT and PET scans, and endless blood work he was very depressed and also gaining weight and not sleeping. He finally got an appointment with a psychiatrist and she’s put him on some new medication. He’s sleeping better and he seems less depressed. I personally know how difficult it is to maintain weight loss and I too have put about 15 pounds back on. I’m walking on average about 10 000 steps a day but it’s not enough. If our winter stays as mild as it has been so far I’ll try to get my husband to get back on his bike and I’ll join him on weekends. Come to think of it he hasn’t been on his bike since his last surgery in August. The truth of the matter is that for me I’ve got to be more aware of how much I eat. Calories in and calories out. Good luck Mark. I’ll keep following you. When you put your mind to something you can’t help but be successful.

  2. Mark, Welcome back old friend. It’s been too long, awaiting your return. Glad to see that your back in the saddle. Enjoyed reading this blog!

  3. I am SO glad that you went in to have it fixed. It’s so hard to stick with it, especially when you’re injured or ill. Hang in there. We are all glad that you’re back. I missed seeing your heartfelt updates. They give me courage.

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