Update On My Rhabdo Story
If you have been reading my blog for a while now, you know that back in late May of 2015, I was diagnosed with Rhabdomyolysis, which is a breakdown of muscle tissue that releases a damaging protein in the bloodstream. I got this injury during a very intense workout. If you are new to my blog, please find my original posts here & here before reading below so you have a better understanding of what I am talking about.
I was recently contacted by an old colleague who knew someone close to them that was getting treated for Rhabdo. They wanted to hear my experience so they can relate and feel better about the person's progress. After I got off the phone with them, I realized I never updated you all on whatever happened to me. I mean obviously, I am okay now. However, many people thought I was only in the hospital for 2-3 days. I wish it was that brief! So, I am here to tell you my post hopital and recovery story! Sorry it took me 8 months to update you all.
How Long Was I In The Hospital?
I was in the hospital for 8 days! If you read my previous posts, you know that I was admitted to the hospital with a CK level of over 87,000. A safe number for a healthy adult is around 300 CK. For those who know someone getting treated for Rhabdo, please do not panic if you do not see the numbers going down quickly. It takes a while to flush out all the damaging protein out of your bloodstream, especially if your numbers are way above 15,000 CK. I believe the first two days in the hospital, my numbers dropped every 10,000-15,000 CK. After that, the numbers dropped very slowly (6,000-7,000 CK). Now, this is just what I experienced. Everyone's body reacts to treatment differently. However, just know with high CK levels in the bloodstream, you will not be in and out of the hospital in a few days.
What Was My Treatment?
In order to flush out the high number of damaging proteins in my blood, I was hooked up to an IV, pumping at least 200 m/l of fluids in my veins every hour. The equivalent to that would be someone pumping two gallons of water into my veins every hour!
What if It Is Not Treated?
You can die! No, seriously and you would be in excruciating pain. Untreated Rhabdo can lead to Kidney failure. So get that shit treated!
Treatment & Injury Side Effects?
Nothing major except weight gain, low energy, dead muscle tissues, and muscle weakness (I couldn't lift anything heavier than 10lbs for about a month).
Under doctors orders, I could not exercise for at least for a month and I had to stay hydrated at all times to flush out any remaining CK's that wasn't flushed out in the hospital ( the doctor let me out with a little over 2,000 CK in my blood and the safe number is 300. So, I still had a little ways to go!). I was cleared to go to work once I reached around 600 CK which was a week after I left the hospital. See how slowly it took for my numbers to go down? Almost two weeks!
How Was I Emotionally?
I was depressed! I am a very active person so the fact that I couldn't workout killed me! I gained some weight from the IV treatment, I felt sluggish, and I ate whatever I wanted. My insurance didn't cover everything so I had a hospital bill to pay, which sucked because I had lost almost two weeks of work so my paycheck looked like crap for at least a month. It was my first time being hospitalized and I broke down. I honestly didn't know how to pick myself up and get back to the old me. I just stayed in this "i feel sorry for myself" state for 3 months! I know this might seem dramatic for some, because there are a lot of other people out there who have been hospitalized longer than my little 8 days and have larger hospital bills, but this is my story and I'm just sharing how I felt after my injury.
Back To The Old Me
In the beginning of September, I decided to workout again. I was honestly tired of feeling sorry for myself and being depressed so I took all my frustrations out on home workouts with the very popular Kayla Itsines. I did that for about a month and a half and then I decided to join a commercial gym and get personal training to increase my endurance & strength. I was extremely weak, out of shape and unmotivated so I needed a trainer to push me in the right direction for a few sessions until I was ready to go out on my own again. As of today, I am fully healed, have lots of energy, I'm no longer depressed and I am consistently working out again.
How To Avoid Rhabdo Based on Fitness (because Rhabdo can be caused in other ways as well)
- Stay hydrated before, during and after your workout at all times! Deyhration during your workout may cause Rhabdo like it did for me back in May 2015.
- Know when your body needs rest. Recovery is so important. When you workout, you are putting stress (the good kind of stress) on your muscles, and they need time to recover and repair before you beast it out again in the gym!
- If you are new to training, be careful with starting out with extreme exercise movements. Start out slow and work your way up to more difficult exercises as you increase your strength and endurance.
- If you have abnormal soreness anywhere on your body, go to the hospital immediately. For me, abnormal soreness was excruciating pain and extreme swelling in both of my arms. By the second day before going to the hospital, I lost almost all the mobility in my arms.
I hope this was a nice little update about my Rhabdo experience. Rhabdo is very rare. Even though it commonly happens in the fitness industry (Crossfit), not much is spoken about it in fitness books as a possible exercise injury! So I am glad I am able to share my story and spread awareness. I don't wish this syndrome on anyone! It is very painful and the treatment is even worse. I hope I never get it again.
Do you know anyone who has been treated for Rhabdo? Share your story below if you like!