I Choose To Live by Jeremy Hall

Through this past 6 months I’ve been continually searching for my purpose. My reasons to change. My reasons to live a better, healthier life. It’s been an interesting journey to this point, and those reasons have evolved along with the goals and achievements I’ve been making. I’ve rediscovered my better me, completely embracing the FENIX concept of the #X4ever program and product I’ve been using throughout the way. I’ve risen from the ashes of my old self and fueling my FENIX becoming a new me. But I still ask myself, why? What has driven me to keep on track where I’ve failed so often in recent years?

The short version has been, I choose to live. I choose to live a better life. I choose to live better each day and feel better doing it. In the last few days I’ve learned a little more as to the why, and why my body has been pushing me to get ready. I visited the doctor and found out I have a rough road ahead. My pathway has just been altered in a big way.

It’s Not Always Easy, But It’s Worth It

To say it’s all been rosy would be incorrect. It can be difficult at times pushing muscles to go beyond their comfort level in order to build them up. Reaching deeper into that lung capacity to find more endurance. But the results have been motivating as my entire body has leaned out, muscles grown and core tightened up. My posture has improved significantly. The chronic back issues I’ve had for many years have become far more under control and less frequent. All great signs.

Through my personal transformation, I’ve been somewhat obsessive about the details. How much food I eat and how many calories. The types of foods I’m choosing with which to fuel my body. My weight at various times of the day. And most importantly how I feel as I tune my body into a better me. I’ve taken note of weight loss as well as small gains. Of muscle growth and of joint pains. Most significantly, my digestion has been a key element I’ve watched with the switch from frequent lazy comfort foods (in large quantities) to fueling my body with cleaner, healthier options in reasonable portions.

What’s Driving the Drive

So back to my ongoing question, what has been driving me? 

Early this year I’ve felt a strong desire to change, to get back on track. The shape I’ve been in just wasn’t who I felt inside, and frankly I didn’t like how I felt physically and mentally. This summer the urge came on even stronger that now was the time to jump all in and make a course correction. I was locked into drive with no option to go back in reverse.

That drive is what has kept me going through the highs and lows of making a whole life transformation. Breaking bad habits and establishing good ones is only a part of this effort. Letting go of what I previously thought were necessary foods and lazy indulgences as rewards, instead finding enjoyment and passion again in an active lifestyle. Fueling my newly rediscovered self with motivation and looking forward.

With a tighter core and being more in tune with my body, I still continued to note some changes. In the last few months my focus has been to build muscle, so I’ve eaten more calories along with multiple OGX FENIX™ shakes a day for the protein and key nutrients to recover and build with my efforts. Just as with my weight loss, I have been able to see growth while maintaining my weight. In the last month I’ve hit a bit of a plateau. 

And Suddenly, My Whole World Changes

No problem I thought, just keep pushing forward. Stick with the plan. But in this last week the same efforts seemed to get harder and fatigue was setting in quicker. I took a hard look at my food intake, and while I’d had a few easy, indulgent meals on holidays, I had kept portion sizes reasonable and the types of foods in line with my efforts.

Yet, Christmas weekend I started really feeling bad. My stomach was really flaring up and I was worried I had been too indulgent on some foods. Man that was some bad indigestion. Sleep become hard because the pain was constant and increasing. I toughed it out the next day thinking this has to pass eventually, but I finally went and got some over the counter medications for acid blocking and gas. It has to be a blockage or my stomach is inflamed. Tuesday I’d had enough after 3 hours of sleep in two days I was a walking zombie with a gut pain that wouldn’t subside.

I visited my doctor and we began tests for intestinal blockages, stomach irritation, and possibly even gallbladder issues because of my rapid weight loss during this transition. In my mind, gallstones were the worst case scenario, so I was hoping for just a stomach acid issue.

Sitting in the radiology lab waiting on my ultrasound and CT Scan results my doctor called with the news. “I have to tell you up front, it’s not good news. You have a large growth in your abdomen. You have a tumor.”

Most of the rest of that call was a bit of a blur. My world spun a little and time seemed to stop all at once. This is what you really feel in a sudden paradigm shift. My life had changed, right in this moment. To say I was stunned is as extreme of an understatement as you can make.

The wheels were set in motion for an immediate biopsy the next day. Until we get those results, we simply don’t know the severity of what lies ahead. It could be benign or it could be a handful of different types of cancer. Some much worse than others. We just don’t yet know and won’t for a few days.

My family and close friends were informed, and waves of sympathy and positivity have followed. They are all good people and I would have expected nothing less. But in the end it’s my beautiful wife and kids that matter most. It was of course a shock to them as well, and the last 48 hours have been a whirlwind of emotions, ranging from denial to anger to hope. My supportive wife is of course the most amazing support and my kids are trying to understand what this all means. It’s a reminder that this situation isn’t just about me. It’s about everyone impacted by what the future holds.

Why? What’s Next?

In those quiet moments I’ve again asked myself, why? After all this effort to get to this point, why me? Why did I do it? Was it all in vain, or was it for a reason? After talking with some good people, I’ve come to realize I was acting in response to my body’s needs, crying out to get healthy, to get ready. I’m in the best shape I’ve been in many, many years. I’m prepared. This is where I need to be.

Rather than curl up in a ball and wallow, I’ve instead done my best to keep up my current routines. The morning after the diagnosis I had what I called my “angry weightlifting” workout. It wasn’t all that much, but it was me saying I’m not stopping. This morning I went again to spin class with my friend. While I had to keep my efforts at about 75% to not aggravate the biopsy puncture site, the best thing I can think to do is keep going. Keep pushing forward. Keep fighting. Keep fighting for life. Keeping fighting forever. #X4ever. My pathway has taken a new direction I would have never chosen, but the desire and effort remains the same. 

I share all of this this with one hope; life is precious – and to anyone out there struggling, it is never too late to change to enjoy life better. My cry is to everyone. There is no tomorrow, no next week or when it’s more convenient after a holiday to make life changes.

Right now is the perfect time amongst all the daily chaos we face to commit to finding our very best selves.

As for me – I choose to live.