Busy couple days off

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After a very long stretch of worked shifts over the past 3 1/2 weeks I got a string of days off. I spent a majority of my time playing catch up with all the things that had been put on hold, but I did get to enjoy some of my time off.


 

I visited with my Mom, for a belated Mother’s Day. Got to sit and chat with her for a couple hours and take her out to lunch. I really need to do that more often.


 

Today I got to enjoy my two other passions, Weightlifting and Coaching. My 77kg athlete who’s already qualified for Nationals competed in the Allegheny Mountain Weightlifting Championships today. Not everything went as planned, but he still came out on top. He not only took first place in his weight class, but he set a new meet total PR of 253kg, which is 3kg greater than his qualifier back in March during the Arnold WL Championships.

He’s getting better each time he steps on that platform.

 

I’m very proud of his performance today, mostly because of the mental toughness that he’s had to develop over the past 5 months. Some of his toughest challenges are maintaining a positive mindset even when the chips are not falling in his favor. And he did a great job doing that today. Days like today makes me proud to be his coach.


 

I start another 4-day stretch tomorrow at work. Back to the grind.

Work hard.. play hard..

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Nurses are infamous for working hard. It’s what we do. We do it so well, we often volunteer for more work (can you say overtime?) Even though we should do just the opposite.

I’m a firm believer that nurse burn out, nurse job dissatisfaction and nurse’s leaving our profession have to do with not taking enough time for ourselves. We have to try playing just as hard as we work. And demanding that you don’t bring your job stress home.

Take time to smell the roses (yes, I know it’s cliche’) Find a lil’ “me” time in the chaos. Help your mind and your body reset before you tackle the hum of your job again and again.

Even if it’s only for a short time. A couple hours, or dedicating an entire day to you and yours. Make sure YOU matter in your life.

I’m married to a wonderful women who is also a nurse. We do our very best to make “we” time. Even if it’s just a simple leisure walk in the park. Breathing in the air, soaking up the sun and stretching our legs. It’s this time, where we reset. So that we have the strength to keep doing what we do.

Find your “me” time. You’ll be happier and healthier for it.


Love The Haters

There will be haters, doubters and non-believers. And there will be you proving them wrong -Anon

If you are pleasing 100% of the people, you’re doing something wrong. In your life pursuits, you will inevitably piss someone off. Congratulations. You stood for something. You made a choice. You maintained a stance. You weren’t swayed by the opinion of others.

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You need haters. You need the non-believers. You need the doubters.

* * *

Why, you ask?

Fuel for the fire. Motivation. To prove them wrong. To show them it can be done. To prove to yourself that the only person that really matters is you. The best test of your own mettle is plugging forward when its nothing but an uphill battle. Nothing worthwhile was ever easy. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. Get hit hard and keep moving.

So.

Thank you to all the haters, the past, the present and those who haven’t met me. It’s because of you that I keep pushing forward. I aim to make a difference while I’m here.

 

 

35 Kilograms in one Year

screenshotI started weightlifting as a full-time endeavor in December 2013. I increased my total by 35 kilos (that’s 77lbs)  over the course of this past year and I’m still growing as an athlete.

Yep, the first year was all about refining my technique and just learning how to use my body. It was also time for me to unlearn many bad habits. I’m feeling more and more comfortable with each lift each time I pick up the barbell. I hit a few snags along the way getting sidelined with a nasty hip injury for almost 3 months as well as battling through a couple illnesses and of course life gets in the way sometimes. But, all excuses aside. I’m still making improvements.

Here I am hitting a #205 Snatch.

My goal is to get as close to 100 kg (220lbs) as possible. I think with a little work, I could hit 100kg by the end of the year. Barring I can stay healthy and injury free.

Not too shabby for starting this journey late in life.

Now I have to focus more on my Clean & Jerk next.

My blog name: My Strong Medicine

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I’ve been blogging for…uhh… wow. I’ve been blogging for ~10 years. Officially have been blogging with a separate ‘dedicated’ blog for 8 of them and spent about a year-plus-or-so blogging on the old Yahoo 360 social network (which, in my humble opinion, is where the Facebook juggernaut got their inspiration and ideas) as well as tinkering with good ole’ Blogger (back when it was one a handful of blogging platforms) dating back to 2004-2005 era.

When I first created my blog ‘space’ back then I had intended to blog about health/wellness/fitness. In fact I did that for approx 18months (or so) under a different  blog name : 2bestrong.  I’m not quite sure why I chose that name.  Way back then I wanted to promote all-things health with the mental toughness to go along with it. Even back then I was all about mental ‘strength’.

As a new blogger I realized quickly how many fitness blogs were out there.. but not many nursing blogs. I wanted to find my niche’, but I wanted to keep blogging about my original topics. I thought, why not do both? I’ll blog about all-things health AND I’ll blog about all-things nursing. More specifically my journey as a nurse, and of course me being a MALE nurse (even back then I hated that connotation).

My topics of interest were all about the physical toughness, mental strength, metaphysical fortitude and of course my love for all-things nursing.

I’m pretty sure I took weeks, heck months to figure a name that was unique, had a ring to it, and of course had some good metadata draw for my blog’s SEO! (bet you didn’t think I knew or cared about SEO, did ya?!)

I wanted and loved the work ‘Strong’, but I just couldn’t find the ‘hook’ that I wanted for my blog. I started using domain name generator websites that would take keywords and mash them up into a ‘name’ for your website/blog. After A LOT of wasted hours I stumbled upon the phrase ‘Strong Medicine’. Ironically there was a TV show named ‘Strong Medicine’ that literally had just ended around the time I was creating this blog – not that the TV show has any application or relationship to my blog – just a fun fact for ya.

Needless to say, Strong Medicine, the domain name was taken (back then).

*sidebar – just did a quick Google search and that particular domain is no longer active. Weird?

But a little trick that many websites were utilizing back then (and still do to this day) was to ‘personalize’ your website’s name by adding ‘my’ to the front of the name.

Presto-chango… and POOF…

MY STRONG MEDICINE was born, circa 2008.

I liked it because the name could apply and be an umbrella to all the above words, terms and intentions of my blog: physical toughness, mental strength, metaphysical fortitude and of course my love for all-things nursing.

The only stretch of the imagination is the play on words between my world of nursing and the term medicine. Ehh, splitting hairs if you ask me. Medicine is nursing and nursing is medicine. But my life is more than nursing, and the term medicine can encapsulate so much about my life:

-medication, medicament, drug, prescription, pharmaceutical, dose, treatment, remedy, cure; nostrum, panacea, cure-all; informal meds; archaic physic.

-the science or practice of the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease (in technical use often taken to exclude surgery).

-a compound or preparation used for the treatment or prevention of disease

-a spell, charm, or fetish believed to have healing, protective, or other power:

Six years later, and I’m still pretty happy with the name.

 

Image source: http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-116169541/stock-vector-strong-heart.html

 

Focus on the people that get it

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“It doesn’t matter how many people don’t get it, focus on the people that do”

Thank you Mr. Ferriss, for the advice on dealing with the haters.

Ferriss’ 7 Principles:

  1. It doesn’t matter how many people don’t get it, focus on the people that do
  2. 10% of people will find a way to hate you – don’t take it personally
  3. When you try to please everyone, you end up alienating the more valuable people
  4. If 95% of the people like you, you’re not doing it right
  5. You want to practice being foolish and stupid
  6. Living well is the best revenge
  7. Keep calm and carry on

It’s been an interesting couple weeks for me. I’m doing the work thang. I’m doing the coaching thang… and now the YouTube endeavor with scrubsBeat is slowly gaining some momentum in the popularity department.

– Sidebar: the popularity is due mostly in part to the amazing people over at Scrubs Magazine coupled with the raving popularity of Katie Duke. I can’t say I garnish a lot of ‘followers’ or readers.

With this new found public interest (traffic) comes the good …… aaaand the bad. The ‘haters’ are cropping up. I guess I’ve been lucky over the years being the ‘invisible’ (behind the scenes) blogger. I dodged the hater bullet. Or maybe I just never payed much attention? Either way. I’m noticing it now. There are some seriously mean people out there, let me tell ya. Isn’t the catch-phrase internet trolls?

I have a new-found respect for Katie Duke and others who are in the public eye. I don’t think anyone looks good under a microscope. And when your every move is judged and critiqued.. I can completely understand how one can get negative. Yet Katie and others continue to plug away, navigating through the crap maintaining their composure with great poise, sharing all things positive.

I started to let the ‘meanness’ get to me…

Then I realized, I don’t blog, tweet, post updates or record video with the intent of pleasing the masses. I do all of it as a way of sharing my story. Sharing my experiences. And while I’m at it, maybe even impart some knowledge (droppin’ knowledge bombs peeps). I started this whole blogging thing years ago (hard to believe I’ve been blogging for over 8 years!) because I wanted to ‘get things off my chest’.. and I wanted to find out if all these crazy things that I had been experiencing were unique to my corner of the world, or that perhaps I wasn’t alone. Along the way I’ve gained a tad bit of experience, and have met some pretty awesome people.

Over the years I learned that I’m not alone. That my crazy life is not all that unique. That as a nurse practitioner, my journey has been shared by many others before and after me. That my  crazy journey with my weight, my exercising, my eating was more common than I imagined. That my discovery and ‘passion’ for CrossFit (and its overall message) was part of something bigger than I ever imagined.

So, I ramble on today just to validate that while there are a crap-ton of haters and negative Nate’s & Nelly’s, there are an infinitely larger number of positive change agents out there. People who are doing what I do. Trying what I am trying. Putting themselves out there. Sharing their stories.

Those are the ones that matter.

An old friend of mine has been trading positivity with me lately on Facebook. We both came across a great saying:

“Iron sharpens Iron”

While the quote has a strong ‘exercise/fitness’ undertone to it, it can and does apply to everything in my life (and yours too). Be the light, (and)or be the mirror. Whatever you do, don’t let the darkness swallow you up. Some people just don’t get ‘it’. Focus on the ones that do.

Stay strong gang.

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/stephenjohnbryde/

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The Day I Should Have Died | Happy Re-birthday To Me

I consider myself a pretty luck man. Heck, I’d call myself blessed. I know the value of my life and continually appreciate it, no matter how ‘tough’ things may get. Today is my re-birthday. 13 years ago on September 15, 2001 I was given a wonderful gift. I had someone attempt to take my life away from me. (Wow, 13 years?)

I’ll admit it. Before that fateful day, I was just as jaded, jagged and miserable as many other human beings who occupy this earth are. I was always pissed off at the world. I continually wanted to know when the universe would stop shitting on me. I bitched at everything and everyone. My temper roller-coastered like it was my full-time job. I had your typical bad luck, bad girlfriends, bad relationships, bad jobs, etc, etc. Yeah, I was a miserable ole’ cuss. I can’t say ‘positivity’ was part of my repertoire. I was going nowhere fast, and I just couldn’t seem to get a leg up. I was simply treading water.

Then someone tried to kill me. I blogged about it in 2008 on this very blog (hard to believe). Every year I re-share the original blog post. It’s cathartic for me and my loved ones. It’s important to me, because I want the reminder. And I’d like you to have the reminder too, life is fleeting.

Let me tell you a story (that I wrote many moons ago)…

It’s been 7 years.

This time of the year always has a special place in most of America’s hearts. September 11, 2001 is a date none of us will soon forget. It changed the face of our nation and impacted our world in a way none of us could have ever imagined. Emily (crzegrl) shared here views of how it impacted her.

At the risk of diminishing or making that day any less than it really was. This time of the year has a very different meaning for me. I do remember September 11th. I do remember what I was doing that day. I do remember how I felt and how the world around me changed. But it’s not what is in the forefront of my mind.

September 15, 2001

My Re-Birthday.

It’s been 7 years.

It was a Saturday. (Yes I remember it that well)

There was a time in my life when I was not active in healthcare (It was a short time). I had stepped away from the healthcare setting and returned to my career in retail. Retail had helped pay my way through college, and then it was the way to put food on the table after college was over. My career in healthcare wasn’t paying the bills, and retail was a better option (at the time).

It was a typical Saturday night. I was one of the midnight managers on duty. Part of my responsibility as a manager was to hold the night-shift meeting with the over-night employees.

This particular night we decided to have an open forum concerning the difficulties people may or may not be having with the current state of affairs. The terrorists attacks were affecting everyone, and we wanted to let our employees know we cared.


I can’t say I remember how it happened.

I can’t say I was prepared for it.

It happened in time ‘slices’.


I was talking with the over-night group of employees. It was me in front of approximately 20 others. Half-way through the meeting and in mid-sentence I can vaguely remember an ‘itching’ or ‘biting’ feeling on my neck.

….??

It wasn’t anything out the ordinary. I chalked it up to one of the bodily aches or pains I have no explanation for. (Like when I get a shooting pain in my finger that comes a goes in a matter of 7 seconds)

It got more quiet. It was like I could only hear the fans of the air conditioning running. I guess the only way to explain it… is things seemed to slow down.. immensely. Like the slo-mo option on a VCR/DVD player.

I don’t know what happened next. Or should I say I don’t know which came first. The banshee-like shrieking screams or the shadow of a person coming out of my left peripheral vision. All I know is that it was a startling moment.

The Scream.

The Shadow.

And I reflexively look to my left.

I remember saying to my self, “Hmm, why is Jane (we’ll call her Jane for identity purposes) standing so close to me. She should be sitting out in the crowd with the rest of the group.”

She’s now advancing towards me. “What is she doing?”

Her left arm is raised in the air. I think she’s going to take a swing at me. So out of reflex, I block her left arm. I block her arm with my R arm and grab her swinging arm with my L hand. Then I grasp her swinging arm with both hands.

I can’t quite figure out why she’s trying to hit me?

Another handful of screams.

Through the tussle and wrestling of her arm I realize my hand is full of blood??? In fact I have blood on both my hands?

“OK. Who’s blood is this?”, I blurt out with a sense of sarcasm.

… ??

More screams.

… ??

Wait a minute.

What’s that in Jane’s hand?

Is that..?

No way.

Wholly SH#T. Jane has a knife in her hand.

“The blood is YOURS! She cut your throat. Your bleeding from your neck!!!!!!”, a voice from the crowd cries out hysterically.

Now, I’m no idiot. I know the inner workings of the human body. I’m pretty well versed in what anatomical structures are located in the neck.

I know I’m still breathing. I’m not chocking. Not having any trouble moving air.

???

At the same time Jane is tackled by a single employee from behind. Then another, then another. And then more. It takes close to 5 people to get her down.

I put my hand on my neck.. and sure enough … nothing but blood.



Yep. It’s a true story. I was attacked from behind with a swiss army knife by an employee of mine, in front of approximately 20 people. She sliced my neck almost from ear to ear.

Here are the finer points of the story:

– she used a very dull and old swiss army knife

– she did not use the blade side of the knife and drag it across my neck to cut me. She used the knife in a stabbing motion and scraped the tip of the knife across the length of my neck

– she never spent a night in jail. She had a psychiatric evaluation. Her medications were adjusted. And that’s the last thing I was told (Please don’t ask.. I don’t know what the heck happen concerning her lawful conviction)

– Yes, I have a Keloid scar that has taken 7 yrs to slowly diminish on my neck. (The intent of the ED physician was to use the smallest/thinnest suture possible so to NOT leave a scar, and it did the exact opposite)

-The only entertaining piece of all this was that when the 911 call was made. All the EMS arrived expecting to see a decapitated man. And I mean ALL of the EMS. For the small town I was in, I think I counted 4 Ambulances and 6 marked Police and 2 unmarked Police cars.


There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about that day. It changed my life. We always whine and complain about some of the most ridiculous things in life that seem so very important at the time. Everything from being late for work, being stuck in traffic, having to wait in line in the grocery store, having a poor wait staff wait on you at the restaurant, or having to sit in coach for a 4hr flight… the list is endless. Everyone hates having a bad day.

I touched on my theory about life and how bad your day really was in a previous blog post: Blinking & Breathing, I can’t complain.

I’m not perfect. I do have stress in my life. I do have those ‘Pull out your hair’ moments and those “all I wanna do is scream” moments. But I’m always grounded and reminded by my profession and by my past that maybe you and/or I not having THAT bad of a day.

September 15th is my Re-Birthday. I was given a second chance at life. For some strange reason, I survived that incident. I will never know why. I questioned it for a long time, and never got the answer I wanted until I realized there was no answer. I’m here. I’m staying here. I’m not going anywhere. And while I’m here, I’m making the most of my stay.

Here’s what scares me sometimes when I think about my attack.

As an employee for the retail store I worked for, each employee is issued a box cutter. The only reason I’m still here is because Jane had bad aim, and a dull swiss army knife.

What if she would have used the box cutter instead of her swiss army knife?

Nope.

I don’t have bad days anymore.

Carpe Diem

Via Happy Re-Birthday To Me | My Strong Medicine

Last summer we moved to a new city. With the move came new friends. When my face was still new, I had a friend comment on my ‘positivity’ and being ‘always happy’. I told her there was a story behind my obsessive passion for being happy, but that I’d it to her later. I plan on sharing this post with her (Thanks Allison).

This is the reason I’m always positive. Why I greet every morning with my:

“Gewwwwwwd morning”

I get to be here another day.

Many great things have happened to me since that scary day.

I became a Registered Nurse, I met and married my soul mate, and now I’m working as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, a job I truly love. I’ve re-kindled my love for teaching as well as coaching. My love for exercise and fitness has blossomed into becoming a CF-L1 Trainer at my new CrossFit gym. They truly are my extended family.

I’m not too sure where I’d be today had I not gone ‘under the knife’ so-to-speak. I can admit that I wouldn’t have the abundance of happiness I possess now. What I do know is that I took a tragic, frightening and possibly life-paralyzing event and turned it into something positive. Positive for me, and hopefully positive for anyone who’s around me.

This might sound a bit cliche’… or it might sound a bit phony.. but I needed someone to try and steal my most prize possession (my life) for me to truly appreciate its merit. And for that, I couldn’t be happier.

Thank you all for being a part of my life.