July 2001…. I went to the ER because I had tremendous pain in my side. After hours of tests and blood work and other procedures I learned that I was type 2 diabetic. I guess I was not very shocked because I never watched what I ate and I could drink a six pack of Coke in a sitting. But I just didn’t believe it. It was not a concern for me, so I casually took the medicine that I was prescribed and even bought the blood sugar tester and strips. I checked my levels on and off but still did not take it very seriously. I felt like I was bullet proof and I would be fine…..
Over time I developed neuropathy in both of my feet and to be honest it still did not motivate me to get myself fixed. At one point I stepped on a needle that was on the floor and did not notice it was stuck in my foot for over a week. Guess what?? I still did not make any changes. Dumb.
Over the next couple of years I battled the same foot issues, mostly cellulitis. Cellulitis is a skin infection caused by bacteria. Normally, your skin helps protect you from infection. But if you have a cut, sore, or insect bite, bacteria can get into the skin and spread to deeper tissues. If it is not treated with antibiotics, the infection can spread to the blood or lymph nodes. This can be deadly.
In February of this year, while taping an episode of The Pro Wrestling Report, I hated the way I looked on tv. I decided then that enough was enough and I had to make some life changes. I enrolled in a gym and changed my eating habits. I started to do my work. It was not easy, 40 years of bad eating habits had to be changed immediately. I started off barely doing 5 minutes on the elliptical machine, finally building up to 10 minutes, then 20 minutes and eventually 45 minutes. I was slowly getting stronger and healthier.
It took how I looked on TV instead of healing my body to finally get healthy. How selfish and stupid am I?? I am just happy something motivated me to make some changes... I need to make them quick
This past April after returning from Wrestlemania in NYC, I had some dry skin on my feet and I bought a skin shaver to remove the skin. I thought that was the best way to do it, nice and easy….. Unfortunately, I nicked both feet in the same place, both under the pinky toes. Once again…. Cellulitis set in. So again I went straight to the ER and got antibiotic IV. My primary doctor had me go to a foot doctor immediately. Right away I was started on antibiotics and wearing post op shoes to relieve the stress and pressure off my feet.
The doctor made it clear I needed to be off my feet, but I am stubborn and I was on a mission to get healthy. So I continued going to the gym every day and pounding my feet on the treadmill and elliptical machine. As much good as the doctors were doing for me I was going backwards by constantly going to the gym. But I was determined to lose the weight and get healthy, I was afraid this would hurt my chances of achieving my goal. Did I mention I am stubborn?
Summer of 2013 may have been my busiest ever for GLCW. We had over 15 live events and appearances scheduled. Did I mention I was supposed to stay off my feet?? After a long weekend in July with my dear, good, personal, and longtime friend Al Snow (5 events in 3 days) I went back to my wound clinic doctor and he was not pleased. He could tell that I was not staying off my feet and put ly left foot in a total contact cast that has to be replaced every week. The cast keeps the weight and pressure off my foot and lets the wound heal. Every Monday I would spend 3 hours in the clinic getting the cast changed. I continued to go to the gym and live my life, I figured the cast would do all the work. Unfortunately the right foot did not have cast on it and continued to stay the same or get gradually worse.
In the middle of August I had to cancel the second show of my 16 year GLCW career because my foot was not healing properly and the doctor said I need to stay off my right foot. Shortly after I had both my left and right feet in the casts. According to my doctor he had never had a patient with both feet in casts, I reminded him I am a #SuperHerro. Did I mention I am stubborn??
I kept going forward still going to the gym with both casts on. I was achieving my goals I had dropped almost 60 pounds since April and I got my A1C from a 9.5 to a 5.2 which means I was no longer “diabetic” but I still have and will always have diabetic feet. My doctor was very pleased and thought I was gonna be in the clear. After all I had my left foot in the cast for almost 13 weeks and was almost healed and now the right foot would be on the way.
My right foot lasted one week (last week) in the cast before I felt it swelling up and I went straight to the ER on Sunday night to have the cast removed. The ER doctor saw how red my foot was and I knew it was cellulitis again. The doctor immediately set up and MRI on my foot for Monday morning and wound care doctor to immediately follow. The MRI showed that the infection had worked its way into the bone in my foot and surgery was immediately required. The doctor sent me straight to the hospital and had me hooked up to IV for two straight days to help fight the infection before the surgery.
I checked into the hospital on Tuesday morning and was immediately taken for all different kinds of tests. They even put in a IV picc in my right arm so that I could receive IV antibiotics for the next six weeks, every day… The surgeon’s assistant came to see me to go over the game plan and told me that the plan was to remove about 2 to 3 inches of the bone under my right pinky toe. He then asked if I wanted to have the pinky sewn to my other toe or just have it removed all together… What?!?!? He said because if they take the three inches of bone, I would not have any support for the pinky and it would “flop around”. All the years of terrible diet and no exercise went thru my mind… All those Cokes, cookies, and cakes was going to cost me a toe….
Thursday morning I woke at 3am because I had surgery scheduled for 230pm. My last meal was my Quest protein bar (2g of sugar). Then it was time to wait…. I am such an impatient person it is ridiculous. Kal says I need to work on that… Speaking of Kal, he was all I could think about and how he would react to everything. I did not want him to worry or to be scared.
So at 2pm, the nurse came to get me and rolled me down to the operating room. I met my doctor and he assured me that because I had worked on my weight and got my blood sugars in check along with two days of IV antibiotics that I would be able to keep my pinky toe and it would not need to be sewn to the other toe. I would lose about two inches of bone and that a skin graph would cover the wound. If I stay off my feet I can be good to go in 4 to 6 weeks. Twenty minutes later I had the anesthesiologist work his magic and I was out. I woke up two hours later in the recovery room and I laughed. I couldn’t believe how fast that gas worked.
The doctor came to see me and said that everything went great and that I need to stay off my feet for everything to work. He told me that there is a chance I would not need the IV pick and I could just take oral antibiotics but I would need to spend another night in the hospital. Three nights in the hospital was a nightmare for me, all I could do was lay in that bed. It turned out to be the best thing for me.
Friday morning the docs took some more blood tests and were amazed that my white blood cells had dropped to where they were supposed to be and that the infection was gone. The IV pick was removed, what a relief. I was able to come home on Friday late afternoon and I had dodged a bullet.
All I can say is that I was very blessed and very lucky. The years of sugar abuse I have done to my body should have taken my foot. That still could happen, but I am determined to Go Forward and beat this battle. No longer will I eat they way I have in the past and drink all those sugary drinks anymore. Diabetes is no joke. I hope that some of you take this as a lesson and make life changes if you need to. Get healthy. There is no reason to lose body parts because of a Snickers or a Twinkie. Eat in moderation not excess.
Kal is my number one priority and I made a promise that I will not fail him. I never want him to have to answer the question.. “Do you want us to sew your two toes together or just remove the pinky toe”. Since April I made changes I should have made years ago, I just was not ready for it. Kal and I both live healthier lifestyles and will continue to do so.
I am sorry that this blog is so long, but I want to thank each and every one of my #SuperFriends for reaching out and wishing me well. I am sorry that I have to postpone GLCW Shenanigans on October 4th but I promise with this time off to heal I will guarantee that this year’s BlizzardBrawl on Saturday, December 7th will be tremendous.
Much love and appreciation to you all.
Top photo April 2013 and bottom on June 28th 2013