Health Comes First

I get emails all the time about people having this pain in the side or that pain in their chest and what I think they should do. My answer is always the same to all of them; go see your doctor!
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I think by the time you guys read this the Toronto show will have come and gone but I wanted to tell the story because I thought it could benefit some of you up and comers.

I get emails all the time about people having this pain in the side or that pain in their chest and what I think they should do.  My answer is always the same to all of them; go see your doctor!  We’re pro bodybuilders and granted we know more than most doctors about nutrition but that doesn’t mean we can diagnose your each and every pain.

Well this time I was the subject and was I going to take my own advice?  I started my prep for the Toronto about two weeks after the Arnold.  I took a couple weeks to chill and then it was back to work, but it wasn’t a hardcore diet, it was more of a grow into the show attitude. Fouad Abiad preparing for the 2013 Toronto Pro

Around the six week out mark I decided to add more fiber to my diet.  I had some fiber in my diet from various sources but I wasn’t supplementing with it, just from natural foods.  So when I started supplementing with it, my dose almost tripled but I thought it would help keep me satiated and keep things moving through my system.  Instead every time I took it I just got sick and couldn’t eat anything, not to mention I also got this pain under my heart, almost like indigestion. 

Actually that’s all I thought it was, I thought I had a gas build up from all the fiber and I would feel better when my body adjusted.  Problem is after four days my body still hadn’t adjusted and I was still having the same symptoms.  One thing I know about bodybuilding, if you can’t eat and your appetite is gone, then whatever you’re doing is no good.  So I dropped the fiber supplement altogether and went back to my old plan, I immediately felt better.

After a few days of feeling normal I decided to try again but only half the dose.  So I cut the fiber intake in half but it was still double what I was taking in before, I thought this would be the right amount.  After three days I realized the added fiber just wasn’t working with my body, even though I bought a different fiber supplement I was still getting the pains just under my chest.  My appetite was fine but the pain was there.  I thought again it was just indigestion and kept going thinking my body would adjust.  Finally after about four days my body had, had enough and it was going to let me know.

Friday, April 26 after my workout I came home and that pain was back and wasn’t going away.  My wife said we should go to the hospital and like a stubborn mule I said ‘its just indigestion’, I figured we’d wait till the morning and if it was still there I would go to the hospital.  The messed up part is, I was awake as the sun was coming up, actually, I was awake every minute of the night in agonizing pain.  The pain got worse and worse with each passing hour until finally at 6am I rolled over and woke up my wife.  I made her drive me to the ER.

As soon as I got there they brought me in (actually my wife had to yell at them first lol, gotta love it when a women fights your battles lol).  The first thing they did was take blood and then they hooked me up to an IV with fluids to rehydrate me and another IV with Morophine in it.  That was great, it wasn’t like the movies where people get all stupid but man it felt great for the pain to be gone.  I passed right out. 

Over the next 15hr stay in the ER they took blood three more times and kept stuffing me with more and more pain killers to keep me asleep.  Ok, so I know you’re all wondering what the hell was wrong with me.  For those of you who haven’t figured it out yet, it was acute pancreatitis.

Fouad Abiad to compete in the 2013 Toronto ProThe pancreas is the organ in the body that is responsible for producing and delivering all the enzymes we use to break down our food.  There is a duct running from the pancreas into the small intestine and also one from the gallbladder, when these ducts get clogged you end up with pancreatitis.  I’m sure this is a simplistic version of what actually happened but that’s how it was explained to me.

So what blocked the ducts?  No it wasn’t steroids, cuz I know you guys are thinking it, don’t worry I was too.  The first thing I said to the doctor is could it have been, this or that and was completely honest with him.  His first answer was not a chance, and went on to tell me it was food related.  I have small gallstones (for those of you who don’t know, gallstones are made up of mainly cholesterol and fats) that are in the way, I don’t know the size yet.  As of this moment I’m waiting to go see a surgeon for a scope to see how bad it is.  They did tell me however it wasn’t bad and I have no limitations on my training, diet or supplementation.

Now the problem is this; the night in the ER they made it sound life ending and the next day when the doc called me all they said was I have gallstones.  So for that week I decided I wasn’t going to do the show because things like diuretics and more fats healthy or not will effect my pancreas so I decided to shut it down and rest.  At the end of that week I went to the doctor to read the ER report and talk to the doc.  The ER report didn’t say anything horrible, it made it sound like the gallstones were miniscule and to top it off my doc said I was cleared.

So that brings us to today, just under four weeks out and feeling great.  My own theory is a little different then the docs.  I read a few studies about the overuse of fiber in a diet and how it can cause pancreatitis.  The Duedenom is the first part of your intestine leading into the small intestine.  It connects to the gallbladder and the pancreas.  The study said that too much fiber can expand in the Duedenom and actually block both ducts causing your lipase levels to rise (the levels they use to measure your pancreas activity).

I know some of you think I’m ignoring my body’s signals but I want to make a few things perfectly clear for those who are using this to justify getting themselves checked.

  1. I went to the doctor when the pain was bad and found out what the problem was.
  2. After finding out what was wrong I took the doctors advice and shut it down, I wasn’t stubborn and went against his word.
  3. Throughout the week off I did tons of research on the pancreas, how to keep it healthy, what foods are good and bad for it and just general info about it.  Educate yourselves about your condition.
  4. Lastly, I entered BEASTMODE two days ago, but only AFTER getting the doctors clearance and being completely open and honest about what I have to do for the TO Supershow.

I hope you guys stay healthy, educate yourselves and never stop learning.  Get huge and last but not least, Sacrifice Without Regret!

Fouad ‘Hoss’ Abiad

www.fouadabiad.com

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