It’s 3:30a.m. and 6 hours of sleep is going to have to suffice.The importance of this day starts to weigh on me in my first seconds of semi-consciousness. What if I fail today? This isn’t for me, I have to give my fellow afflicted an example of what you can do with this disease. For Christ’s sake, the guy who set the California Deadlift record that I’ve made my life’s focus for three months is going to be there today. Just he and I in the 220lb Masters Division. My traitorous mind goes to the fact that even if I succeed and pull 572 or even more today it might be for nothing. Hell, when I first started this chase it would have been an American Record but someone got there first and shoved it all the way 660. Screw that. Get your mind right. This is a good thing. Sharpe being there today means I’ll have to attempt more than I would if it was just me and the weight. The American record being pushed so high has just given me a new drive. This bigger mission could be huge for those I want to help. Not just one national record but three now, with a 550 Squat and 1500 Total joining the 660 Deadlift. I should chase Bench Press too but these long arms and their worn out elbows will never push 400. But am I just being foolish? Is this even possible? I can tell I’m about to have trouble tying my shoes and brushing my teeth with this lame right hand and I’m going to try to chase national records? Screw that. Get your mind right.
I roll out of bed and start my systems check. Of my tremor there’s no sign. Hands are steady but my right leg is dragging and the right hand feels distant and unresponsive. That’s just the way it is now. The thought comes to me that it might start to interfere with my squat, make these new, overly ambitious goals impossible. Screw that. Get your mind right. Think about what you can change. No need for a shirt or shoes, I want to feel everything right now. Step outside in my gym shorts and the early morning air bites just a little. I approve. Through the breezeway I move from my studio to the main house. Check on Chase because he’s a 14 year old Lab and I swear he smiles at me. For the first time in a while there’s no need to step on the scale but I do. The number 223 reminds me of another goal. It’s time to be a serious athlete again and tighten this body up, but right now I need to start fueling. Twenty seconds in the microwave has turned the butter and raspberry of my danish into a pool of heaven. A small glass of orange juice to wash the first round of meds down. Damn these pills, I should still be sleeping. Screw that. Get your mind right. Caffeine. Two tablespoons of Kerrygold Irish butter and one tablespoon of coconut oil in a stainless milkshake cup turns coffee into a miracle drug. Can Bulletproof coffee cure Parkinson’s? Probably not but I’m going to test it.
Back out to the room and it’s time to mobilize. On my back for five minutes of 90/90 breathing. Relax. Get your mind right. I go to the computer and start this little blog piece while I start to try smash this busted body into something useful. Right away I can tell that Active Release therapy from Dr. Reading at Integrated Health is helping my right shoulder, but is that supposed to be the Pigeon Pose? It’s 4:30a.m. and I can Overhead Squat my broomstick, thanks doc. A few games of Hearthstone will be good to draw my focus from the weight of this day. The strategy required is a good distraction, but short-lived.
I check my gear bag again. Singlet, both pairs of shoes, belt,…nothing’s disappeared since I checked it last night. It will be time for eggs and oatmeal in a minute, but now it’s time to get my mind right. I let the weight sink onto my shoulders. That’s what they’re made for. My whole life has become about weight. Lifting it. Carrying it. Resisting it. I let my future sink in. One day I may not be able to walk, but today I can. Typing is already hard and my voice might be taken from me. How will I tell my story? How will I help my afflicted brothers and sisters then? I have to tell the story today. Tomorrow is nothing, Today is monumentally important to me, but it’s really only the first step. Maybe this first goal has been taken from me because it was too small. Truthfully it doesn’t matter. After today I could be a state record holder or I could have a silver medal in a local Powerlifting meet. My “impossible” goals may be out of reach, but the truth is it doesn’t matter. The work that I’ve put into this does. It’s made me better. I hold my hand out. Tremor is still hiding. I’m still kicking this thing’s ass. Almost time to get ready. The day feels heavy on my shoulders but I feel strong. The results are meaningless. This fight is fixed anyway. There’s no cure for what I’ve got. I’m supposed to take a dive, surrender to the way life is, but it’s not in me. Today I will feel that bar tear into my hands as I push as hard as I can. The weight will come up or it won’t. 570? 600? Record or silver medal? It doesn’t matter. What matters is that I push as hard as I can. Today and for all 7,447 tomorrows, what matters is that I fight. It’s time to get ready.