My name is Michael Krug. I am a 26-year-old, middle class, white male in the United States. I stand six feet tall, weigh 215 pounds, my blood pressure is 117 over 72, resting heart rate is 44, and my cholesterol is 136 (with and HDL count of 65!). My mental, emotional, spiritual, and occupational health follow suit of my physical health, and I am privileged and blessed to have amazing people in my life who uplift and support me each day. Though I am currently healthy in most aspects of my life, this was not always the case…
Self-love and optimal health evaded my being the first 20 years I spent on this planet. I was unhappy with my physical body, filled with self-doubt mentally, unstable emotionally, and completely lost spiritually. I suppressed and numbed this unhealthy spiral of self-loathing, which only made matters worse. Through food, drugs and alcohol, and false-validating external relationships, I sought an escape from the pain I experienced daily. To understand fully what I experienced, let’s start at the Summer of 2000.
Emotional trauma began between second and third grade. That is when my parents divorced and I began attending a new elementary school, ultimately separating me from my family, friends, and sense of self. I went from seeing familiar classmates every day and having dinner each night with my sister and parents, to a single parent household attending a school where I knew no one. To cope, I began binge-eating, which persisted for over 12 years. I vividly remember eating 2 entire packages of Kraft American Singles immediately after my Dad told me he would no longer be living at home with us. In a time of massive confusion and frustration, excessive food brought upon what I perceived as inner peace.
Fast forward 5 years. In eighth grade I was diagnosed with hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol, and weighed 200 pounds. I was prescribed Lisinopril to regulate my blood pressure and keep my heart functioning “normal.” Though I was very heavy, I played many sports, and those activities were my only escape from the dread and disdain my life had become.
Football, hockey, baseball, and golf were my passions, the only things I looked forward to each day. These activities showed me true joy in a time when I was unsure if joy existed. Then, when I was a junior in high school, the ability to participate in these activities was stripped from my life, leaving me feeling completely empty, depressed, lost and alone
At age 17 I was diagnosed with Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) in my left knee. To sum up my case of OCD, the lateral condyle of my left femur (outside part of the head near the knee) never fully developed, and hence was cracked and jagged. I drew a picture and included it for reference. Through years of playing high contact sports, the bone shredded (literally) much of the cartilage in my knee. In February, 2009, I had bone graft and cartilage transplant surgery to smooth out the condyle and replace the minced cartilage floating in my knee. The doctor made it clear that I would no longer play sports. To cope, I turned to partying and alcohol. I was so far distant from myself that I tried to be friends with everyone I met as a sense of validation. Because I did not take care of myself, the first surgery was unsuccessful, and two years later the bone graft cracked out of my knee (side note: probably the most physically painful moment of my life). Round two of the surgeries occurred in March 2012, shortly after my 20th birthday.
I was 20 years old. I weighed 375 pounds, was prescribed to a high dose of medication for hypertension, had elevated cholesterol levels, dropped out of college, used alcohol daily, and had just come off my second major knee surgery. My friends and family worried about me, as they saw a once cheery young boy filled with happiness and imagination become a self-destructing alcoholic who had lost grip of myself and reality. I was in a state of deep depression, trying to escape the life I had created for myself. I would pray each night; to lose weight, find direction, and just be happy in the body I was gifted. Then one day I went to a chiropractic office…
My first experience with chiropractic care was amazing to say the least. Dr. Mark took time to meet with me, go over my health history, and do tests of my spine and nervous system. The pictures above show rolling thermal EMG scans. The left is an ideal scan; symmetry throughout the entire spine with little tension or bending. Dr. Mark did my first nervous system test in September 2012 (middle), and my most recent was done at Inspire Life in January 2018 (right). For reference, green bars are mild tension, blue are moderate, and red are severe. These pictures are a testament to the power of the human nervous system. Though my patterning is still similar, the tension in my spine has drastically reduced. My body and brain are communicating in an optimal way and I finally feel peace and ease with living. I can assuredly say that without chiropractic care in my life, I may not even be here, let alone be the person I am today.
When I reflect on who I was 6 years ago compared to now it’s hard for me to grasp. I moved from a state of constant symptoms to now experiencing full, sustained wellness. Though I did not realize it during the moments that catalyzed my transformation, I was embarking on a journey of learning how to fully and truly love myself.
I share my story for several reasons. First, it is an inspiration to many, which is something that I still have trouble accepting. I often downplay it in person, shrugging off comments about how good I look and how proud others are of me. This is something I still need to work on, accepting praise and compliments from others, as accepting and praising myself is still a new concept I am fully grasping.
Second, I am living, walking proof that for an individual to change and create a new sense of self, you DO NOT need to heal your past. Your past is a narrative that you can interpret and present anyway you want. By acknowledging it for what it is, learning from it, and moving forward, you can create the present and future you desire. Do not get caught up in what has been, rather use it as a catapult towards your goals and aspirations.
Finally, and most importantly, a healthy nervous system means a healthy individual. Everyone can benefit from getting their spine and nervous system checked. Sometimes getting started is the toughest part. If you ever have any questions about anything, from chiropractic to what I eat for breakfast, please reach out! It is our goal at Inspire Life to create the healthiest community possible, and a big component of that is communicating our needs to those who can help us get those things.
One breath at a time, the beauty of life unfolds.