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In this story I'll go through three months of my sports life and a severe injury, which could've ended it.

The Injury

On August 22nd I was training harder than usual, because I was going on a journey to the French Alps the next day. Since I wasn't going to train couple of days and I couldn't train recently because if getting cold, I wanted to make up for the lost days. This is what turned out to be a very bad idea combined with the fact, that I've noticed pain during the training, but didn't held. I got home in pain to wake up in the next day almost paralysed, because anywhere I move, I felt huge pain. Travelling to Alps wasn't going to work that day, so I went to the hospital to be checked. There I got the typical offer "do you want injection?", which I declined and was sent home with prescription for 3 drugs and was told everything should be OK in couple of days. So despite feeling bad I decided to go to the Alps and to be honest had a great journey despite having constant pain and very reduced degree of mobility, especially applied to my right arm.

Seeking for Answers

After coming back a week later, the first think I wanted to do, was to find a doctor. Since I am no regular attendant to such places I searched in google for someone nearby. This turned out to be a bad idea, since I found couple of really shitty doctors, which prescribed me without even looking at me the typical Ibuprofen drug and send me back home, because it was nothing unusual. Then again I went for a three week vacation, where I still had numb arm and was suffering huge power withdraw.

Again on my way back I've already booked an appointment on September 27th with a very good rated orthopaedic doctor by the name of Holger Gross, who took me an X-ray to seek for an answer. Note that the other doctors even didn't bother making me a X-ray. So Dr. Gross saw that couple of cervical vertebral bodies were very tight nearby, so this could meant an eventual disk defects in the future if those happen to clash over the time. For the other symptoms he couldn't deduce something very bad, besides the usual drawn picture, but told me to for a MRI scan to make things sure. Well I went a week later on October 3rd to make my MRI Scan.

Meanwhile

In the beginning there was simply no way to come in shape with whatever upper-body training, so I started to ride my hard-tail mountain bike very frequently. Then before having a holidays in my home country Bulgaria, I've decided to complete a intriguing feat - 200 km in one day! Well it was a big challenge, which I completed with my neighbour, who got me into buying a decent bike three years ago.

While still trying to find the injury cause, I was training as much as I could, trying to get in some shape to compete in November 29th. I also wanted to be ready for the winter bouldering season and to be able to get on the rings again.

The Answer

So I went with the CD of my MRI to the orthopaedic and as he saw the image he was pretty frightened and wondered how the hell I am still moving my right side of the body pretty well. The news were bad - I had a severe spinal disc herniation as you can see on the image and it was most likely I would need a surgery and still might not recover well. The other dumb thing is that all of this knowledge came two whole months after my injury. So after weighting the positives versus the negatives I decided to go on without surgery.


My spinal disc herniation surrounded with red circle

One Year Later

During the first year after the injury I experienced my arm partially numb, yet it started regaining its power. I took part in competitions and trained to get it back in shape. Unfortunately my shoulder was weak, so I injured it pretty bad, which slowed my recovery rate a lot. Overall, it was pretty bad year in terms of performance, but the good thing is I learned a lot of new techniques to me, which I wasn't aware of, just because I was not able to do my typical style with my arm fit.

Two Years Later

Writing this on two years later I can now be happy, that my arm has fully recovered. I could do all of my strength feats, I've been doing before, my arm is strong as my left one, and even I can do some new stuff. I am having a great year of grappling competitions too! Bottom line is that this injury was important experience for me and I would like to wish everyone to never give up on injury, whatever it might be!