My neck has been bothering me on and off since March of this year, and I wanted to nip it in the bud. Throughout the year, I have gone to chiropractors, an acupuncturist, massage therapists, and even seen a medical doctor friend of mine. Unfortunately, none of these specialists were able to solve my problem. I decided to shell out the cash and go in for a MRI. A few days later, I went to see a physiatrist who was referred to me by my general practitioner.
The diagnosis was not good. I have a herniated disk that is pinching a nerver pushing into my spinal cord. A couple of days ago, I received an epidural injection into the herniated disk in hopes of reducing the inflammation. I will be taking a couple of months off. Over the last few days, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on what has happened.
The thought of me never grappling again is a hard pill to swallow. I have been active in some combat sport since I was 19 years old. If you count my high school wrestling, then I have been active in combat sports since I was 15 years old.
BJJ, boxing, and MMA have been a big part of most of my adult life. It was what turned me from an introvert to a more outgoing person. It gave me something to look forward to as I don’t like drinking beers that much or smoking marijuana, crack, or heroin for fun. I don’t like going to bars or robbing houses or people either. I’ve met a lot of interesting people and made a lot of friends throughout the years by being involved in those sports. You can’t understand it unless you’ve participated in these sports yourself. You establish connections like no other sport.
I’m likely done with competing in MMA and boxing, but like I said before, the thought of never grappling again is a hard pill to swallow. I had a scare like this back in 2001 and 2002, and I contemplated stopping back then. Miraculously, the condition just disappeared over the next few months, and I went on to fight pro boxing and MMA fights over the next six years. Those are some memories that I can cherish for the rest of my life.
I’ve heard some feedback from a few of my friends telling me that I am no spring chicken anymore. I hear that I can’t keep grappling anymore because I’m not a young man. It saddens me to think that I am getting old and cannot do this anymore. I want to get a black belt in BJJ. That is a bucket list goal of mine. I would like to be a man of my word and finish my journey. I know there comes a time where I must stop. Is that time now? George Bernard Shaw says we don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.