CrossFit 7220 is much more than a gym. It's a place where lifelong friendships have blossomed, where self-confidence has been restored, and where better health has been discovered. Sure, some days you may just come in and workout and go on with your busy life; but we hope you all realize the amazing individuals that work beside you each day. Many have struggles that they're still trying to overcome, others have trials yet to come. CrossFit 7220 is a place to find strength, healing, and support. We thank all of you for being part of this special community in your own special way.
Speaking of special..... thank you Bob Hooker for sharing his very personal and inspiring story!
I am an addict. I start and end every day saying that to myself so it’s relatively easy to say in a post for CrossFit 7220. I think about cocaine every day. Sometimes when I think about it, it’s in a healthy way, sometimes it is not. I made it to 20 years of being cocaine-free on Sunday, December 10th, 2017. I marked that date by attending Gretchen and Jon’s Sunday CrossFit WOD. It felt good to be there doing that WOD instead of sticking a cocaine filled needle into my arm. So why am I sharing this? Because of my past lifestyle came along some major damage to my body. One being me developing Adult Onset Type II diabetes. I have no family history of diabetes, and the heaviest I’ve ever weighed was 160 pounds. The thinking is that in my madness, I put some substance(s) into my body that damaged either my spleen or my pancreas or both. When I was diagnosed diabetic in May of 1999 my first blood glucose level was well over 800 and my A-1(C) was 12.9. It was shortly thereafter that my left eye was removed from complications of the disease. And I was put on insulin - a lot of insulin and a whole new way of eating. Gone were the days of orange juice, cookies, and just about any food that is white; sugar, rice, pasta, bread, etc. Many of the CrossFit 7220 community just finished the sugar detox month and I applaud you. You see, I discovered that changing my eating habits was actually harder than stopping using cocaine. Eventually my body and brain made it to the point where my desire for cocaine was manageable. The human body on the other hand needs food. If you don’t shoot up, it’s hard, but you will survive. If you don’t eat, your days are numbered.
It didn’t take long after my diabetes diagnosis and having to inject insulin twice daily that my addiction to cocaine was in a small but scary way rearing its ugly head. Part of the rush of injecting recreational drugs is the “ritual” of getting the entire paraphernalia ready: getting the drug out, mixing it with water, filling the syringe and then the “bite” of the needle going into my veins. All of this leading to the real fun; getting high. For me, prepping for insulin injections was becoming a flashback trigger. Once while sitting on the edge of my bed drawing up a syringe of insulin that fact hit me hard. I knew I needed to address my diabetes in a different way. So I began to lift weights. I had bought a cheap weight bench, weights and bars at K-Mart when I was in college. I pulled them out of storage and started to workout. I had no clue what I was doing but soon my daily blood sugar reading were getting better as were my quarterly lab work numbers. I saved up money and slowly added better equipment and increased the weights and times per week I was exercising. My Doctor was pleased and encouraging and best of all my insulin dosage was decreasing. One morning shortly after I gave myself my first insulin injection of the day I immediately had severe tunnel vision along with cold sweats. The room started to go fuzzy, and I easily could have laid down and went back to sleep. I literally crawled to the kitchen on my hands and knees and took my blood sugar levels again. It was 22. I had overdosed on insulin. I keep real Coca Cola in the cabinet and was able to get my blood sugar up and called my Doctor as soon as her office opened. I was feeding an insulin habit and in 2 weeks I was insulin free and have been ever since. No more syringes and the ritual that came with the injections. I tried my best to switch up my weight lifting routines, but due to the constraints of space, I got into a rut. There was only so much space for me to work out in and only limited things I could do with what equipment I had. But my numbers were great and I was enjoying being as active as I could with what I had. Then I hurt my rotator cuff doing bench presses. I knew if I kept at what I was doing, rotator cuff surgery would be a given, but I didn’t want to stop exercising and go back on insulin.
That’s where Kayleigh Kenik comes into my story. She had been telling me about CrossFit 7220 and that I should come and try CrossFit. Quite frankly the thought of going into a gym and exercising around strangers scared the heck out of me, but I agreed to go if she would go with me. Kayleigh being Kayleigh, of course she rearranged her schedule and came with me. I struggled through the WOD clueless about all of it, unable to keep up, but hearing people I had never seen before cheering me on. I went home, took a shower and felt like I had been run over by an 18-wheeler for the rest of the day. The next day muscles I didn’t even know I had were sore but I wanted to do it again. It was then that I contacted Mike and Nicole and started coming to the “box”. I have met so many great people who encourage me in ways that I never imagined, Coaches who take time to guide me and make me feel like I’m the only person in the gym when they are talking to me, and for the first time in my life Toby called me an “athlete.” It wasn’t long until my Doctor visits proved that being a member of CrossFit 7220 was the best gift I ever gave myself.
At my last Doctor visit this past January, a couple of humorous and positive things happened: when the new CNA took my pulse she asked me “Are you dizzy? Your heart rate is very low.” It was 42 bpm and my blood pressure was 102/57. My A-1(C ) is now a steady 4.9 and my Doctor tells me that if she didn’t know I was diabetic, she wouldn’t think I was. I am currently under the care of Jon and his team at High Country Physical Therapy to help me with my rotator cuff injury so I can avoid surgery. Several people at the gym ask me if I will ever fill in the rest of the tattoos on my arms to make full sleeves. The reason I won’t do that is because I always want to be able to see the scars in my arms where I used to inject cocaine.
I know I won’t be like so many of the athletes who train at CrossFit 7220 who astonish and motivate me by their strength, endurance and skills, but I will always keep trying and keep learning and I won’t stop. Because as I said at the start of this post:
I am an addict.