My short bio (copied from original thread): I am 21, male, 5'6 and weigh 63kg (~135lbs). When I was 17 I suffered from myelitis which rendered my on a wheelchair for 2 months with paralyzed fingers and toes and severe weakness in my body. Due to this disease, I had to relearn how to walk, then jog and cycle, and after six months, run. Since then I have recovered fully, but my shoulders have really bad issues due to my posture and the weakening of the shoulder muscles. I started going to gym about two years ago, but never took it seriously, as my muscles were too weak and I was embarrassed.

In August I posted a thread on /r/fitness about my success in squatting 100kg for one rep. Since then I have put on 2kg (back to 63kg), and have fulfilled my goals of deadlifting 140kg and benching 80kg.

My Proof: Here is the original thread posted on /r/fitness

Here is an article written about me in Men's Health Magazine, following my post on /r/Fitness (with a slightly exaggerated title):

Here is me (potato quality photo)

Feel free to ask me any questions, I live in Australia (different time zone) so I apologize in advance if I don't answer quickly enough.

Edit: I'm going to bed now. Feel free to keep asking questions, i'll do my best to answer them in the morning!

edit 2: wow, this blew up while I was sleeping. I'm back now. I'll try answer more questions!

Edit 3: thank you all for your kind words and support, I hope I've answered your questions... I tried my bestestest. Now I have to go to uni and then hit the gym! Just kidding, it's rest day.

Comments: 259 • Responses: 39  • Date: 

TripleSnipe93 karma

What was your biggest fear during the process?

DeadlyCords189 karma

I genuinely didn't realize the severity of my situation until I started physiotherapy to walk again... While I was in hospital I didn't understand that the paralysis could have been permanent. When I started to learn to walk again, my biggest fear was that I wouldn't be able to run. When I started running, my biggest fear was that the illness would come back.

TobiasFunke0351 karma

Could it come back?

DeadlyCords10 karma

No, thank God

Jacasta62 karma

Do you intend on going for even heavier lifts?

I also wanted to congratulate you on an absolutely incredible achievement. Go you dude! :)

DeadlyCords57 karma

Thanks man! I'm currently squatting 3x5 at 95kg. I could probably squat 110-115kg now. I'm going to keep working hard and eating healthy, so yeah, bigger heavier lifts are happening almost every session

Pvt_Hammer34 karma

Congrats on the recovery! What is your favorite lift?

DeadlyCords72 karma

Deadlifts are my favourite by far. I wish every day could be deadlift day.

roo323227 karma

Who/What was your biggest source of motivation throughout your recovery?

DeadlyCords66 karma

Definitely my mum, she's a doctor, so she knew how severe my illness was, but she kept a very positive attitude. I also kept telling myself that I would get stronger, promising myself I would become as strong as genetically possible. That was a huge motivation

chaosfreak224 karma

Congrats man! I hope you use your story as an encouragement to others who might go through the same thing as you

What would you say was the hardest part about recovering?

DeadlyCords53 karma

Hardest part was being in a wheelchair for a month. Being pushed around by my friends was fun for a while, but people treated me as an inferior person. That muscle atrophy. Fuck that!

Kwotter3 karma

Can you elaborate on what they did to view you as inferior? Was there a sense of pity coming from them?

DeadlyCords3 karma

Pity is the perfect word. I now understand how people who are permanently wheelchair bound would feel. Just treat them like normal people, because they are!

Buttfacepoohead19 karma

Do you still have any residual effects from myelitis (numbness/paralysis)? Just wanted to tell you, you're inspiring, well done on all your achievements and many more to come. I'd love to train with ya so if you ever get a chance or would like to, shoot me a message. I train with bunch of powerlifters at our gym in sunshine.

DeadlyCords22 karma

The only residual effects I have are bad shoulders... But otherwise I'm ten times stronger than before the illness. Thanks for the invite, I'll be sure to hit you up when I'm your neck of the woods (a bit far from where I live)

PerhapsLater_13 karma

What was the cause of your illness? Also, how difficult was your physiotherapy?

DeadlyCords16 karma

Myelitis has a number of causes. We think I got it as a side effect of a gastrointestinal sickness. It's very rare. Physiotherapy was depressing at first. I was surrounded by old people who had had falls or surgeries... But the physios were excited that I was young, and so it became more fun than difficult. Of course, relearning to walk wasn't easy, and more days than not I would be really upset about my progress, but I reminded myself of my promise to get as strong as possible and got through it

GoodCatholicBoy12 karma

What is your daily routine?

DeadlyCords23 karma

I was doing stronglifts for about 3 months. Now I do 4 days a week, one compound each day, with accessories. E.g. Sunday bench chest and triceps , Monday Squats, Wednesday deadlift, Friday OHP and shoulders and biceps. I do 3 sets of 5 reps for each compound exercise, with a linear progression model. I also do HIIT rowing or cycling once or twice a week, and play soccer once a week.

GoodCatholicBoy14 karma

Damn son. You are active as fuuuuck.

DeadlyCords33 karma

I love it, every moment of it. It's like someone took away my ability to be active, and then I got it back. Of course I'm going to make the most out of it!

BrakemanBob9 karma

My dad had his neck hyper extended by anesthesiologist during an operation and shattered two of his vertebra. The bike shards were pinching his spinal column. They removed the shards a couple hours later, but he was completely paralyzed for 5 months then slowly got movement back over the next year. He never regain his fine motor skills though.

Even though he eventually got back to 95%, my mom tested him like he was made of glass. Drove him nuts.

Is your family ever worried about you getting hurt more so now than they did before?

DeadlyCords1 karma

My mum is very supportive of my gym habits. My dad keeps telling me to slow down with my lifting. There is definitely anxiety every time I get a cold or something more serious. But it gets better as time passes

okletstryanother7 karma

Do you do facepulls on shoulder day? They helped me with posture issues... But the best thing for posture correction is to constantly check yourself throughout the day. Although, I think you know that. :) best of luck OP

DeadlyCords4 karma

What are facepulls?

okletstryanother5 karma

Cable exercise for rear delts, YouTube it.. These and band pull-aparts, along with plenty of rowing and deadlifts are great for shoulder health.. Check it out..

DeadlyCords8 karma

I will do that first thing in the morning, thanks!

ideasware6 karma

I just want to say how exciting it is that you've made it this far. As a 53-year old man, who's suffering from a major stroke as of 3 years ago; not even speaking for six months, essentially having to start everything from scratch, you inspire me. Each morning I wake up renewed, and ready to get busy, and it's folks like you and what you've accomplished that re-invigorate me.

Do you think that you have to look deep inside, and really determine for yourself what you will accomplish, positive or negative, or is it something different, something external?

DeadlyCords1 karma

That is incredible to hear. I wish you the very best! I don't know where the motivation comes from. Sometimes I don't have to do anything, and I get to gym and feel like I could lift a pb. Other days I have to listen to motivational talks, or music, or remind myself what I went through just before a big set. But I anyways find a way to get motivated... I believe its always in your power to do so, either from deep within, or from externally

sivyan5 karma

can you teach me how to lift?

DeadlyCords32 karma

I am by no means qualified to do that. But yes, yes I can.

redditeando4 karma

wow you're handsome! What's your next goal?

DeadlyCords2 karma

Thank you! My next goal is 3 plate squat (140kg), 4 plate deadlift (180kg). Will take a while,but I ain't going nowhere

vervii3 karma

Do you happen to know the causative factor behind the myelitis? What was the treatment course that worked to reduce it? Do you have any other major comorbidities that could have attributed to the myelitis? Did they pinpoint where the myelitis was in particular? Were autoimmune conditions adequately ruled out for you?

DeadlyCords1 karma

And I don't think I have anything else wrong with me due to the illness... I hope I'm right !

DeadlyCords1 karma

The Myelitis was probably a side effect of a gastrointestinal bug. It affected my C5-C7, if I remember correctly and other parts. I think I explained it more on depth in the r/fitness thread. The treatment was steroids... For the first month through an iv, then oral. I believe myelitis is an autoimmunity disease, but they did find traces of guillian-barre in my hands

dharlem393 karma

Do you just work out every day? I need to know so that I don't feel as much of a lazy turd. Also it's past midnight, don't have to answer any questions now!

DeadlyCords1 karma

4 times a week! I do cardio once or twice on top of that

Two_Payments_of_19993 karma

Was there anybody who told you that you couldn't do it? Also, congrats man! Determination and motivation FTW!

DeadlyCords1 karma

Everyone was very supportive.. But they were all realistic. Before the steroids started helping me (not like the steroids you take at gym) people were worried I wouldn't regain much movement. Once the treatment started working, they were worried it would take years to get back to 100%. But I did it anyway, I didn't care about their worries

Ryanoceros123 karma

You are a the guy?

DeadlyCords1 karma

I saw it as soon as I posted it. :-(

John-Woos-Kid3 karma

I broke my neck about 3 years ago and was also temporarily paralyzed. Like you, I had to relearn how to walk and use my arms. The only thing is my overall body strength is limited with some balance and dexterity issues. I've never been one who liked to work out or lift before the injury and didn't really know how to get motivated to try to build the muscle back but I think I would like to start trying again and at least get back to a "normal" strength level.

So I have a few questions for you.

What type of workout were you doing when you were at this stage?

What should my focus be regarding arms/legs?

Does your condition cause you to have muscle spasms and if so, how do you deal with it?

How did you build up to being able to run again?

I'm at a point now where just being strong enough to get around isn't really cutting it anymore. I hope my post makes sense, I'm not very eloquent in type. Also, congratulations on such a huge achievement!

DeadlyCords2 karma

It was really hard for me to find the right workout. I didn't know anything about lifting. So I mucked around in gym doing Bicep Curls and stuff for a couple of years. Then, while in America, I decided to take it seriously. So i read up a lot on different programs, and decided to do stronglifts. Everything from there on is history.

Before I could get to that level, there was a lot of cycling, running and arm exercises, such as band pulling and low weights. This got me to a point where I could start a real program

DeadlyCords2 karma

I went from learning to walk, to walking, to cycling (this made a huge difference for me) to jogging, and finally to sprinting

oreesama2 karma

how did it start the disease for you personally do you remember?

DeadlyCords1 karma

I remember lying on the couch, mum was in the shower, no one else home. Doorbell rang, went to get up to get it. Bam, fell on the floor, had to drag myself up by my hands and waddle to the door, I collapsed twice in the space of 10 meters. It was awful

wajikay2 karma

Great job man. Trying to get my squat up, it's truly terrible. After doing some research I'm starting my program over (SL5x5) with high bar squats, any tips or cues? Knees keep tracking in, even on lighter weights now.

DeadlyCords2 karma

There's an awesome exercise you can do. Squat down with just your bodyweight. Get parallel. Once you're there, push your knees out with your elbows. This will help you track your knees outwards instead of inwards. Do this all the time, and you'll see better results.

AaronUFOs2 karma

Could you have sex during this 4 year period?

Did you have sex during this 4 year period?

DeadlyCords1 karma

Yes and yes. I had a girlfriend after a couple of years, for three years.

Pastorof_Disaster2 karma

Couldn't help but feel moved by your story, congrats on the success of all your hard work. I am a 22yr male who was very active before a recent diagnosis. I went from sports and fitness being my life, to struggling to make it out of bed on some days. I am not looking for sympathy, only insight. So my question is, how often did you have set backs during recovery and how did you overcome them?

Edit: wording and such

DeadlyCords1 karma

Setbacks were a normal part of my recovery. But I just treated them as another challenge to overcome. There were days I couldn't find the energy of resolve to do what was required. Sometimes a specific exercise was taking much longer than anticipated to work. I just wanted to be stronger... That's the same attitude I have at gym

res30stupid2 karma

What are the chances of you competing internationally? Seriously, I think that you winning gold at the Olympics would definitely get you a biopic.

DeadlyCords2 karma

I'd have to be able to squat almost triple what I do now... Give me a few years!

crushinrussian2 karma

That's amazing! Congrats! I actually want to do my graduate work on how the motor neurons and the skeletal muscle communicate with each other, I think there's still a lot of unexplored potential there that can be used to improve therapies for lots of awful diseases and recoveries for people like you. Great work!

Anyway some questions: have you considered doing yoga? I think it is really great for supplementing lifting and learning to control muscles of your body you never even knew existed, which may be very beneficial in your case with your shoulders. I guess my main question is Do you know why exactly you still have problems there and not your legs or chest? I'm curious if there is a medical reason.

DeadlyCords1 karma

I think I still have problems in my shoulders because I couldn't support a good posture for a while... So while every other part has gotten strong enough to support good posture, my shoulders have already had damage done to them.

A lot of people have been telling me to do yoga. I will give it a go, thanks

SouthLill2 karma

Hey man I just want to say you're awesome and keep it up! I got transverse myelitis back in January and from first hand experience I can say it is no joke. You're the first person I've come across so far that's had it (we won the lottery?) and I admire your drive and effort to not just get back to where you were, but to continue to thrive and get stronger than before. I got incredibly lucky, as did you from what I've read, that the majority of the damage was correctable and we're not wheelchair-bound for life. Strength and Progress Brother!!

If I have to ask a question, I guess what were some residual symptoms that you've actively worked on and that noticeably got better(besides muscle-loss and fatigue)?

DeadlyCords1 karma

Anxiety, especially surrounding illness was a huge issue from me, and was definitely a byproduct of myelitis. I have worked hard on that too, but it still resides within

NoNameForSteve2 karma

Are you on pain meds while doing this, or have you stopped taking them?

Someone I can share my story with! I had something similar happen to me 10 years ago, almost to the day actually.

I was in the same exact position with paralysis and going to rehab to learn to walk and function normally.

When I got out of rehab, I was in horrible shape. I dropped muscle and fat and weighed 140 lbs... I was skin and bones. After being hooked on painkillers for years after that, I gained massive amounts of fat. I wasn't able to really walk far --- a 1 mile walk would leave me very sore for days and out of breath. I ballooned up to 280 at my heaviest and decided after that it was time for a change!

I wish I had never stopped going to the gym. Stopping is what killed me. At my best I was benching 250lbs and squatting 315lbs, I was getting to where I wanted to be! I was able to run 10 miles and only stop out of boredom.

The only residuals I have pain-wise are that pins and needles feeling in most of my body, especially legs (From thigh to toes) and in my hands (wrists to fingers)

So I understand where you came from and what you're going through! Nice to see someone else powering through it, keep at it.

DeadlyCords1 karma

Wow man! I was going to say, gaining weight would have been awesome for you... So much easier to build muscle that way.

I am not on painkillers at all, aside from the occasional ibuprofen after a workout. I was on steroids during my treatment, again not the ones that are used in gym, which really helped my recovery

Szerspliex2 karma

My dad suffered a similar situation, except he did not fully recover however he is still able to walk some. My question to you is what would you have done if you didn't much better after re learning to walk?

DeadlyCords2 karma

I have never thought about that. I guess I would have found another way to get stronger, or better at something. Maybe I would have become mentally stronger rather than physically. I could have been Einstein

jaleCro2 karma

could squatting too much weight be dangeorous in your state?

DeadlyCords2 karma

Squatting too much is dangerous for anyone. I'm just like anyone else right now.

JackFapBlue2 karma

I would just like to add, even though it may have already been posted. You are truly an inspiration. Overcoming that much of a disability and coming out on top. My question for you, do you enjoy lifting on a regular basis?

DeadlyCords1 karma

More than jacking or fapping or being blue.

I love working out, Is the besht

PadovianChessiote1 karma

Hi, congratulations on your success. I am hugely inspired by you. I am 21, male and have haemophilia which put me into wheelchair a couple of years ago. Now I started to do some physiotherapy exercises to be able to walk again. But as I have haemophilia, it is way too difficult for me. I have to take care of my body against the bleeds while I am having little exercise. It could not even be called exercises cuz the whole thing is just extending and bending my legs five times. The physiotherapists said it will even take more than three years to have full motion of the legs back. My question is "how have you achieved it through all the hard times? Is there any source of motivation for you?"

DeadlyCords2 karma

Just think about it. You have everything you need to do whatever you want in life. You are luckier than most, because they don't get a kick in the head (or paralysis, or a serious illness) to wake them up from caring about insignificant things in life. This experience will toughen you up mentally, if not physically. This in itself should be motivation. Do the best you can, you're the only one who can do it - no one else will do it for you.

DeadlyCords2 karma

Please don't do anything to exacerbate your hemophilia. Let the people around you help you with that. You focus on your mental strength, eventually physical strength will come.