Ian Kauffman And Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia
I was born with a rare disease called Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH). At the time of my birth, it was very rare so most people had never heard of it. I was originally misdiagnosed as having severe allergies and sent on my way home. After three years of living life sick and 15 doctors who could find nothing wrong with me, my mother finally succeeded: she found a Doctor with an answer!
Now, before we had found this doctor my mother thinks I had two adrenal crises, which are potentially deadly for people with CAH. I had both on the same day and only a few hours apart. Once my family finally got me to the hospital, they said I was having seizures. Remember, this was before I was diagnosed, and I could have died in the hospital, no one the wiser. After we found this miracle needle-in-a-haystack doctor she ran tests.
During which time I had my third crisis. I was put under, as was the protocol for children, to get a CT scan. I remember them asking me if I was tired, I'd say no, and they'd give me a little bit more to help me fall asleep. I didn't wake up for two days. My mother told me recently, that she is fairly sure I had a crisis while I was under. Eventually, the doctor found the answer and explained to my parents that there were very few diagnosed cases of CAH, and that there was a doctor starting research at the Children's Hospital. She suggested that would be our best bet if not our only choice.
So, I was set on my journey through this research program. I continued with the miracle doctor and started on this research grant with an endocrinologist. The drug they were researching, Buserelin, is a drug that is used as hormone therapy for people who suffer from prostate cancer.
I would spend the occasional week throughout the year in a hospital hooked up to an IV getting blood draws every couple of hours to test my testosterone and other levels. Every few months I was given a bone age x-ray. At the same time the Buserelin was started they put me on the "drugs of life" for people who suffer what I suffer: Hydrocortisone and Fludricortisone. These two drugs will be a part of my life until I die.
Sometimes it's hard to admit to yourself that you need to depend on pills or any kind of medication to keep you alive, because it's hard to think about how fragile you are. Eventually, most days it's just life for you, and you don't think twice about it, but like everything else, some days it just gets old. You wonder if you can do without them. Then after your brief venture into nonsense, you remember, if I do not take them, it will be all over.
Eventually, we moved and my mother swore she wouldn't put me on another research grant, if she could find me a new treatment. She had seen enough of me being treated like a lab rat. I spent days at a time in the hospital trying new dosages, having blood tests, rinse and repeat.
Interns and Residents were usually sent in to examine me. Looking back, I was treated like a circus freak most of the time. The research I was part of was published in medical journals. I think she just had enough. So, she followed up at the Children's Hospital near our new home, but found nothing promising.
She then tried the UCONN Medical Center, where she found a doctor who would treat me without any more research protocols. I was put on a new injection that was to be taken monthly, as opposed to daily. So, I started Lupron for my new therapy. I was on that until my late teens, when finally I was only on the daily pills that I have been and will be a permanent part of my life.
Now, with all these therapies and treatments, including the terminal use of Corticosteroids, I began to gain weight. If anyone reading this has ever been treated for asthma on used an inhaler and noticed a sudden increase in appetite it is from the corticosteroids they contain, so you know what I mean.
I was starving, everyday, all day. I could never eat enough to feel satisfied. Now, I do not blame all the weight I gained on my medicine. I could have shown more self control, but I have to tell you, taking medicines that mess with your brain and your stomach is not such an easy thing to deal with or to control. All of my life, every doctor has always said "we need to get that weight off of you" and my mother has always sort of said "yeah, right, you try that".
Did I mention I was a grumpy little jerk most of the time? I slowly ate my way up to 295 pounds. That's right, five foot six inches and two hundred ninety-five pounds. I couldn't take it anymore. I didn't like what I saw when I looked in a mirror or how I felt. I decided to drop some pounds.
Ian Hits The Gym
I joined a gym attempting to train, but in my ignorance, I more or less starved myself. I wasn't eating much and I definitely wasn't going about it the right way, but in the end I lost 100 pounds. I got comments, and compliments about how I looked and even asked what I was doing. Though they all saw a great change in me, I still wasn't happy. I was weaker than ever and so tired all the time. In the end I gave in, and ate. I didn't eat right since I was still lacking knowledge about nutrition. I gained back about 50 lbs mostly in fat. Eventually, I got my first trainer.
My trainer taught me a lot about lifting and form. She pushed me really hard with the programs she set up, and I learned a lot from her. Just when I started to get going on the road to a new and improved way of life, she left the gym I was training at. I kept at it. My one ace is that I have always been stronger than I look. I've never been ridiculously stronger, but always stronger than I look, and through that I started meeting people at the gym. I started training with two people that eventually became my friends and for a full year we pushed each other.
Finally, even though my diet wasn't great things were happening. I was dropping fat, super slowly, but it was happening at least. During this time, I went to see my current Endocrinologist. I was curious about the skin and fat that seemed a permanent hurdle I could never overcome. I asked if it would ever go away. I was told then that the only way to get rid of some of the weight was to have plastic surgery. I was shocked, and upset.
It was just one more thing to add to my worries. I went and got a consultation done by a recommended surgeon, and he too told me the same thing. I didn't want to believe them, so I put it on the back burner for over a year. Eventually, work and other commitments got in our way, and we had a hard time getting together to lift and to make things worse, the gym we were all at was starting to lose its shine in our eyes. They left first, and tried other gyms. Shortly after, I left too.
I started a new way at a new gym. It was there my life would really take a major turn. After months and months of fighting to improve my health and well being a road block would present itself. It was a Friday night in the winter of 2006. I was coming home in a carpool from work. My stomach started to get really upset, I tried to ignore it, but it wouldn't stop. We finally got home, and I went straight to bed.
I was at home with my parents, having just suffered a break up and a herniated disc. Anyway, stress is deadly to me because my body can't handle it. Suddenly, I was throwing up uncontrollably. My mother ran and got me some water and some cranberry juice. I was starting to feel weak and tired. It had been years since I had my last Adrenal Crisis, and I had just started to educate myself some more on my condition. I had no idea what was going on, or how close I would come to losing it all. Things started to get hazy, and I had been basically puking for hours.
I finally asked my mother to read up on the details of an adrenal crisis. A few minutes later, she came running upstairs, shook me awake and told me to get up or they were going to call an ambulance. I wanted to go to the hospital where my endocrinologist was, but the ambulance would take to me to the nearest, without a choice. So the fight against my own body began. I asked for my shoes and help to sit up. I slowly got dressed and slid my shoes on. I had gotten so weak and dehydrated that I could barely walk. I started my slow and painful trip down three flights of steps. I stopped on the first landing to sit and rest after only five steps. I sat at my father's desk on the second floor.
I went to the bathroom to throw some cold water on my face, as I was so hot by this point. As I stood in front of the mirror, my eyes barely open, I noticed I had turned a gray color. I almost looked like a corpse. I got to the first floor and I sat on the last step to rest. Meanwhile, there was a snowstorm going on outside. It was like mother nature was out to get me that night. My father tried to pull his van around, but the snow was too deep, so he had to switch to my truck. I took my last breath, stood up, and did my best to charge my way out to the car.
In all, it took me about 30 minutes to get down all those steps, all the while one phrase echoed in my head "get up, and move your @ss or you are going to die". I basically get shoved into the back of my truck. My parents had brought a bucket and blanket for me. I was falling in and out of sleep while trying my best to fight it all off. At this point, all I could think about was how thirsty I felt and how weak I was. We finally pull up to my hospitals E.R., my mother runs in and grabs a wheelchair for me, and I crawl out of the back and basically fall into the chair. We rush inside; I get pushed up to the counter.
My stupid pride back then kept me from having a life alert necklace of any kind, so when they tried to talk to me, I could only say "thirsty, tired". My mother sat down, and started answering everything they threw at us. All I could do was beg for water. Eventually I got a cup of ice to chew on, but it was never enough. They put me in a room after only a few minutes. I was shivering uncontrollably so they had to put seven heated blankets on me to get that to stop.
The nurses told my mother my temperature was 103.9, my heart rate was through the ceiling, and my blood pressure was through the floor. My parents took turns yelling at the doctor, explaining that I needed a hydrocortisone shot, but she swore it was a bad virus, nothing more. After hours of this arguing, they finally gave me my shot, and changed my saline over to sugared saline. I was so dehydrated that it took them hours of IV liquids to get me back to somewhat normal.
All night I would fall asleep for five to ten minutes, but it would seem like days. I swore I was done, but I survived. I eventually got home but it took me 5 days to get back to my normal self. This is just one of my survival stories, but you know all I could think about was getting healthy and getting back into the gym to continue my journey. Eventually, I was back on my feet and training harder than ever.
After months of doing my own research and asking advice from people who knew better than I did, I met someone. She is just as driven as I am. She knew more about nutrition, and I knew more about the weights which made us a great team. We started training together and from there we developed a relationship outside the gym. She was already in great shape, and I was starting to really get somewhere. We provided support and motivation to one another, but when she noticed that my body was not shaping up the way she expected I had to explain my situation to her. She supported me in going through the plastic surgery, and even stayed at my side while I recovered.
Now, understand, I did this surgery as a last resort. It took me over a year to decide to do this. Besides money, I was concerned that with my condition, I could honestly die. Luckily, when I decided to do it, the surgeon my endo had recommended knew about my condition. Even better, the day of the surgery, the anesthesiology nurse said he knew about it as well, having just been to a seminar about CAH, so I felt a lot safer. It cost me out of my own pocket, even though what I had done was clearly a direct effect of both my CAH and my medicine's side effects.
If you ask me, personally, having experienced the surgery myself, it is not a shortcut. It took a lot for me to heal and get through it. My doctor was amazed at how fast I healed, and how quickly, and probably born from my stubbornness, I was back on my feet walking. If you are considering any kind of plastic surgery, ask yourself if it's for your health, or your ego. If it's for your health, go for it, but be willing to suffer the consequences.
You can't get something for nothing, like Larry Scott said "The Universe is not designed to enable you to get something for nothing…will have to pay for it some time and some how." I basically had a tummy tuck and some liposuction done. Overall, I only lost 10 pounds from the surgery. It hopefully added some years to my life, and it has taken some strain off of my body.
While I was healing I focused on writing my program for when I could return to the gym. I continued to heal, and slowly worked my way back into training, starting with muscle groups that could be worked without fear of tearing or hurting my abs as they finished healing. Eventually, I was going full bore again, and loving it. Working out is my lifestyle, I love it and live for it. I would go on to lose another 15 lbs after the surgery. I had finally gotten to a point where I could try to bulk for the first time.
My style was more powerlifter before, but I was tired of lifting heavy weights, now I wanted to look the part. This time I saw something, an advertisement for free training. So, I decided to try it. I signed up with Team Scivation, and started my first bodybuilder style bulk.
Eventually, I became tired of your basic fitness center. I wanted more. I wanted to be surrounded by like minded people. So, I went searching for a new gym. I found a trainer there, a natural world champion: Luis Santiago, and under his guidance and with the support of my friends over at Team Scivation, I have been improving more and more with every week. I have been training there for about two months now, and show no signs of slowing or stopping.
Please, take the time to visit and read about others who have not been as lucky as I have. www.caresfoundation.org
Lifestyle Prior To Change
I was busy, but I ate whatever I wanted, and fairly often I would eat too much in one meal. My portion sizes were out of control, partly due to my meds and other variables. I am NEVER quite full.
What was your turning point?
Actually, I just got sick of looking how I looked. I wanted more out of life in general. I was playing in bands at the time and even that was getting difficult. I had no energy to perform on stage.
What Was Your Exercise Plan?
I started learning as much as I could. I've always been more of a 5-6 day split kind of guy. I had a wise trainer, tried to control my food a little better and went from there.
What is your current training split and routine?
Currently I train with my girlfriend and my best friend, who is a competitive natural bodybuilder (will hopefully be pro soon). We do pure volume training. Tend to do a split like legs, back, chest, off, arms, shoulders. And the girlfriend and I do a lot of a.m. fasted cardio. I do around 40 minutes 4-5 times a week or more.
What Was Your Diet Plan?
I started by controlling my portions. Now I get my diets from the nutritional genius and one of my inspirations, Luis Santiago.
Sample eating plan
This is my current meal plan:
- Breakfast: 6 egg whites 1 whole egg, 3/4 cup oats or Cream of Wheat, 1/4 cup blueberries.
- Mid-morning: 2 scoops whey protein, 1/2 cup oats, 1/4 cup blueberries.
- Lunch: 3/4 cup brown rice or two slices light wheat bread or medium sweet potato or 3/4 cup wheat pasta. 8oz of chicken, turkey breast, tilapia, cod, scrod or 2 turkey burgers. (Only have two slices of bread a day along with turkey burgers). 1/2 cup green veggies.
- Mid-afternoon: Any meat listed above in 8oz portion and 1 cup green veggies.
- Dinner: Same as lunch.
- Mid-evening: 5 egg whites and one whole egg.
What supplements did you use?
I use a ton of NRG-X Labs supps. Including Vital Core, Overdose, Maxx Pump, Beta Maxx, and Anabolic Raptor (for weight training). I also use Advanced Muscle Science's Body Mortar for my fasted cardio, the slight carb (30g) intake helps me out a lot in the morning.
What Is Your Life Like Now?
I'm a straight up gym freak. I love lifting - I am MORE than addicted to it. I'm happier and more fulfilled. I also help out a few friends. It's amazing and humbling when people ask me for advice or help.
Advice for others
Stick to it, no matter what. If you have the desire the rest will come. With every new workout, try to top your last training session.
More From Ian Kauffman
"Everything worth having, is worth the fight."