Page Falkinburg—better known by his wrestling name, “Diamond” Dallas Page, or simply “DDP”—was 35 years old when he became a wrestler. Naysayers told him it was “impossible” to enter the ring at that age, but he did it.
In 1998, he won his first championship belt when he was in his early 40s, after being told by many that his short career would be comprised of being a “jobber,” someone who wrestles the big names to make them look good, but whom are never known themselves.
He broke his back later that year, and again was told by the naysayers, “you don’t come back from an injury like that.” Yet he did.
In 2002, he injured himself again and retired from professional wrestling.
Then he turned to what helped him come back from his debilitating injuries, yoga, and decided to create his own brand. He nearly went bankrupt doing so, but it eventually caught on, and now is not only a millionaire for his efforts, but more importantly (and he says so, too), he has helped multitudes of people come back from injuries and severe physical infirmities.
So when I read about the DDP Yoga program, Rebuild, I was intrigued. Rebuild was specifically created for people over the age of 60 (I’m not there yet), those who are recovering from surgery (thankfully, this is not me, either) and/or people who experience debilitating pain (THAT’S me). I discovered this type of yoga starts out with “bed workouts,” doing mainly stretches, eventually working up to “chair warrior workouts,” all preparing you for more strenuous workouts on the exercise mat when you’re ready.
My wife and I have been doing the “bed workout” for three weeks now, and I’m already getting stronger and more agile. Now, by “more agile,” I mean I can tie my left shoe a little easier, with a little less pain. Not a big deal to some, but to me, it’s huge.
You see, I went to the Vance Chiropractic and Wellness Center (https://vancechiro.net/) a month or so ago, and Dr. Josh Vance (an amazing, Christian man who is on a mission to help people, not suck them dry financially) enlightened me on some interesting aspects of the chronic pain I’ve suffered for nearly 40 years.
I already knew I had advanced scoliosis.
I was also aware of the spinal stenosis.
I’d been told about having degenerative disc disease many years ago.
Finally, I also knew about the arthritis in my back, hips and legs.
But Dr. Vance took some x-rays, and even I was surprised when I saw them.
This is the front view of my spine. The vertical black line shows the straightness of a “normal” spine, and the lighter color below the blue line shows the cage they put in my back in the early 2000s, along with eight large screws. You can plainly tell the extreme curvature to the left.
This is a shot from the side. Again, you can see the cage and the screws, and the black line shows how straight a “normal” should be. This was shocking to me, as my lower spine not only bends to the left, but back.
Dr. Vance also informed me:
My left hip is smaller than my right.
I have a mass—a wadded up bundle—of muscles on the left side just above my beltline.
My L5 disc is much more debilitated on the left side than the right.
Finally, Dr. Vance told me the surgeon who performed my quadruple fusion fused my spine going to the left, its natural curve, instead of straight. This makes trying to straighten it even tougher.
All this adds up to my unnerving pain coming from the left side and shooting out all over my body.
I know there are many people worse off than me, but these are my struggles.
“While we can never ‘fix’ you, or fully straighten your spine,” Dr. Vance stated, “I think we can help lessen your pain and give you a better quality of life.”
So I’m following his advice. It’s helping a little for now, but I’m working hard and believing I’ll have much more pain relief in the future.
I refuse to give up, man. It’s not in my nature, and it’s not in my family’s nature, but more on them in a minute.
It would’ve been easier for me (in a way) to give up many years ago, refuse to work and sit at home nursing my wounds. I feel like if there’s even the slightest hope of bettering yourself, however, it is your responsibility to seek it out.
God rewards heart and effort.
A small example of this is that, more than two decades after graduating high school, I completed my Bachelor of Science Degree in Communications in 2006, at the age of 39. A couple years later I once again found myself in school, finishing my graduate work in 2011 when I was 44, earning a Master of Science Degree in Criminal Justice.
Please don’t mistake this for bragging. These two college degrees and 4-bucks can get me a tall Cinnamon Dolce Latte at Starbucks. Big deal.
I’m merely stating that I praise God for the strength to never give up.
Let me introduce you to a couple of my heroes. On the left is Uncle Bill, and on the right is Aunt Ann.
They’re my mama’s little brother and sister, twins.
Now, if you didn’t know or hadn’t guessed by this article and the above picture, chronic pain, debilitating physicality and surgeries run in my family. It’s the family curse.
But you know where this pic was taken? At the mall. Yeah, they were walking the mall. Pain, masks and walkers be damned, they were walking the mall.
They could have just as easily sat at home, weeping and moaning about the pain, but they didn’t.
THIS is an example of never giving up, despite the circumstances. The smiles and laughter of people in MUCH worse shape than me propels me to keep going, to never quit!
People like Uncle Bill and Aunt Ann are why my wife Laura and I started DDP’s Rebuild program in the first place, along with the inspiration I’d garnered from DDP himself in the documentaries, The Resurrection of Jake “The Snake” Roberts and Relentless. Laura could’ve chosen to start with a tougher workout, but instead she’s doing the “bed workout” right along beside me, encouraging me, believing someday I’ll be on the mat doing much tougher stretches and moves.
Gotta start somewhere, right? Why not start with a “bed workout?”
Seek the light, seek the Lord, seek the laughter, keep reaching for the stars and don’t give up. Get up and move, even if it’s to the mailbox and back.
Yup, gotta start somewhere.
Did you know that inspirational speaker Zig Ziglar, an avid runner until his death, didn’t start jogging until he was 46 years old? The first time he went out, 50 pounds overweight and fully out of shape, he ran one block. ONE BLOCK. But he kept pushing himself, and soon he was running a few miles a day, along with sit-ups, push-ups and other exercises.
Get up, get moving. Do something. If you sit there, you’ll die, I guarantee it. Work through the pain and the depression. As Doc Holliday told Wyatt Earp in Tombstone:
In doing this, you can join my family in saying, “Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”
Many blessings. Prayin’ for ya!