Before I really get into this piece I need to clarify that I am not writing this particular piece looking for a pity party. I’ve never been that guy and never will be. But I also happen to be the kind of guy that wears my heart on sleeve. Anybody that really knows me would agree and say that I’m really easy to read.
In the past I have documented my 18 year fight with various health issues. I know that I don’t have a terminal illness or need to be in palliative care but I have been plagued with battle after battle and it really does seems never-ending. The past 18 years has seen me go through numerous Transient Ischemic Attacks, a scare that saw me go ever so close to renal failure, a near amputation of my right leg and numerous cardiac issues not to mention Diabetes. Most of these issues have really come within the last six years. Ironically enough, this is the period of time when I decided to try this golf thing as a professional. The results never came and I am not the least bit ashamed of it… if anything I would have regrets if I never tried.
I guess the point that I’m trying to make is that in life you have a choice. Quit and feel sorry for yourself or you can fight and grind and make the most of life. I’m definitely in the latter category and I think this is why I get “pissed” at guys when they withdraw from tournaments because they’re playing bad. I remember my first event… I was stressed out or at least I think that I was. I cold-topped my first ever tee shot as a professional which unceremoniously never made it past the forward tees. Then I topped my recovery shot as well out of the lush rough. By the time I was walking up the third hole at FireRock Golf Club in Komoka, Ontario I was having an angina episode. I never withdrew then and played out the tournament. I was playing okay in a U.S. Open Local Qualifier one year at Mendon Country Club in Victor, NY. On the 8th hole I suffered a real “doozer” of an angina attack. Maybe I should have applied for a cart but I didn’t want to be “that guy”. This one was so bad that I couldn’t really lift my arm over my head because of weakness. I played that one out too and got the “letter of death”. In fact, I had one withdrawal from a tournament when I was carted off of the course and taken by ambulance from Tarandowah Golfer’s Club in Avon, Ontario. This was also on the Great Lakes Tour like the FireRock event. I didn’t want to quit but I had no choice. Flee or fight right?
Over the last few months I’ve been fighting some issues that have gotten worse than I’ve ever had. Weakness, chest palpitations and light-headedness. I’ve gone through a battery of tests recently and an Ultrasound (Doppler) of my lower body revealed that I have severe blockages of the Iliac, Renal ,Femoral and Tibial arteries. It explains a lot like the strain and pain that I feel in my legs all too often. Also, I had a Carotid Doppler (Ultrasound) last week and I found out that I have a moderate to severe blockage of my Right Innominate Artery which comes off of the Carotid Artery. This also explains a lot of things like the light-headedness. In the next two weeks I have more tests like a Holter Monitor for a few days, an exercise stress test and an Echocardiogram. Hopefully, we can get all of our ducks in a row and start making me feel at least a little better.
In the meantime I have a choice to make. Fight or feel sorry for myself. Of course in typical fashion I choose to fight and grind. I’ve been trying to get to the range to practice but I haven’t been able to go because I’ve had a ton of bad days recently. Today I had a good day and felt good enough to go. So off to the range I went at Legends On The Niagara and spent three hours working on short game, putting and full swing taking full advantage of my good day. While I was at it I was testing products from VICE Golf, Loudmouth Golf, Skechers and SwingOil for upcoming reviews. It was an okay session that ended real strong. I had some rust and I made some horrible passes where I was topping my 7-iron. It drove me nuts and then I realized the problem. Here’s a little tip kids…
Check your grip pressure and arm tightness. If it’s too tight a lot of bad will come of it. No wrist hinging and you’ll likely stand up during the backswing. A loss of spine angle and a flip later and you’re cold-topping 7-irons. Loose hands and spaghetti arms.
It was so nice being out there today. I just sat out there on a bench on the range and took it all in. The sounds, the sights and the smells. All of these things are the reason why I love this game. If you’re down… #fightandgrind
Until The Next Tee!