Ok to recap in my last entry I left you all and myself wondering what the outcome of my bloods would be. Shortly after that post I picked up some Bronchitis which left me out the game for 10 days and due to the meds I was on (not anti-biotics which I refuse to take) I had to wait a further week to do the bloods.
That being said I have done them and consulted with my endocrinologist as well as a specialist. Why a specialist I hear you ask? Well reader, my results weren’t as flattering as I had hoped. So I am not diabetic and I am not hypothyroidal, BUT I do have a serious Vitamin D deficiency which is causing the lethargy and falling asleep I was experiencing.
I had put lot of thought into whether I want to reveal the next bit of information or not, but after much internal-reflection and deliberation I have decided that I will tell you something that came up on my tests. IF I did not reveal it I would not be staying true to my word to both you my readers as well as myself. When I started the blog I told myself I would be totally open and honest about all aspects of my bodybuilding experience.
After all I judge you guys on stage so by right, I should give you the opportunity to do the same. I am also going to take the opportunity to try and use this as an educational opportunity so bear with me if this post gets a bit longer than the usual diary entries.
Part of my extensive tests included Renal Tests to check the health and functioning of my kidneys. This is what came back:
So let me interpret this for you.
My Creatinine level is above the preferred level. Creatinine is a chemical waste product of creatine. Your kidneys filter it and you pass it our through your urine. The eGFR (Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate) test shows poorly with a healthy level being above 90 and closer to 120. Creatinine in your blood could mean a number of things.
- If you lift or do rigorous, you should have a certain amount of creatinine in your blood. If you are dehydrated your creatinine levels could also be affected i.e. raised. I took the test after fasting overnight and with no water from about 10pm the previous night. So my levels were expected to be affected.
- What this means for me though is this. I have to now monitor my renal function going forward since as the comment indicates I could possibly be in the first stages of Renal/Kidney disease. The end result of this if not taken care of is kidney failure where you require dialysis or ultimately a kidney transplant.
This absolutely blind-sided me. I have always been a person that took care of my kidney health while training and on cycle. I went in taking the tests expecting to be told something like “You have insulin resistance” or “You’re hypothyroidal” not “You COULD be in the early stages of kidney disease”. As an impatient person I got the results from Lancet before I saw my doctor and having a bit of knowledge in reading bloods and physiology I knew exactly what this meant. But I still thought to myself that I would wait for the professional opinions. Remember this does not mean I have kidney disease but there is most likely a level of impaired kidney function.
I started analysing my life and habits and yes before you all jump up and down, I did take the gear aspect into account. I had an agonising week waiting to see the endo to get an official opinion. In that time I went through positivity, negativity, anger, sadness, questioning “What more do I have to experience in my life, haven’t I experienced enough already?”
I have come to the conclusion that this is a cumulative effect of many years of abusing my body. Let me be clear I am not referring exclusively to gear. In my 2nd diary entry I wrote, and I quote
“After the second year I started to realise that pain killers 2 to 3 times a day had to be having an effect on my kidneys”
I made use of mainly but not exclusively Synap Forte for 5 years till I got pain relief from my physio. This was a schedule 5 pain drug and I had at any given time between 30 to 100 tabs in my home. I would never allow myself to run out. So 5 years of painkillers varying from 3 times a day to once a day probably didn’t help my kidney function. Let’s not even take into account the fact that it was removed from the market since long term studies showed that it caused heart problems.
Along with this I have generally always had a raised blood pressure. Which could have been caused not only by the consumption of the pain killers but by my deteriorating level of activity and worsening diet. Believe it or not at one point during my life my body composition was vastly different and I was pretty out of shape. This resulted in my worst BP being 180/100 and 160/90 on a good day. High BP over an extended period of time also damage your kidneys and can impair function. And yes I admit the use of gear probably made a condition I was predisposed to more likely to happen.
I contemplated many outcomes. My mind always goes to the worst case scenario, it’s the way I am wired. Everything from making a financial purchases to driving to supplement choices. My mind is an analytical, risk reward engine much to the dismay of my free spirited, almost hippy wife. So I ran through all the scenarios especially the worst one, of my mortality and quality of life as I get older.
Fortunately seeing the doctor proved to be uplifting. A second opinion from an internalist physician also confirmed the positive outlook. When I say positive I don’t mean I don’t have issues. I redid the test a bit more hydrated and after taking a further week off training. My creatinine level was lowered and my eGFR was better. I will take the test again in January to monitor things since I have officially started my prep and will be subjecting my body to a lot of stress in the coming months.
I haven’t hit my desired weight that I had planned to but I have decided that I would give myself more time on a prep diet to try and protect my body and not have to push it as much as I might have on a shorter prep.
Some of you might ask me why I would still do this at all? In my head I am not ready to give up on this dream. I may only step on stage once or compete for one year but just as my issues may be a culmination of years of circumstances and conscious and unconscious choices, so is my desire to see this through. It’s funny how things happen in life and the one thing that comforts me is that through this blog I will always have a connection to Bodybuilding even if it doesn’t replace the feeling of being on stage.
At the end of the day this is my choice even though there are some who may not support it. But believe it or not I don’t have a death wish. I want to see my daughter walk down the aisle and I want to live long enough to leave a legacy.
For me life is not measured by the moments or any of those other clichéd quotes we all see flying around social media. Life is measured by the amount of people you touch and help during your lifetime. To quote Will Smith
“If you’re not making someone else’s life better, then you’re wasting your time. Your life will become better by making other lives better.”
So you can be damn sure that I will be doing everything to manage things and make sure I maintain a healthy body through all this and many more years to come, because I have by no means achieved what I feel I am destined to.
In conclusion. To those of you out there who are pursuing this amazing, life changing, soul searching and sometimes monumental pursuit we call the Art of Bodybuilding. Learn from me, don’t be stubborn as I am and get your full bloods done on a regular basis to make sure that you are not doing yourself too much harm. To anyone out there who doesn’t bodybuild and is reading this get it done anyways because I can guarantee you we live in a world full of toxins that can also result in the exact same position that I am in.
So here we go, the time has finally come to prep!
I will continue to fill you in as I go be it good or bad and have also undertaken that I will start doing some steroid profiles and their actual endocrine impacts and the effect on the body.
Till next time
Your Brother in Iron