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Slingshot to Success

In 2013 I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease. I spent a month in denial that I had anything more than a bit of exhaustion and perhaps a touch of a viral infection, maybe the flu. After several weeks I gave in to my wife’s suggestions, urging me to go to the doctor. I was tested for everything from HIV to Lupus. Negative. But several markers came back positive for Lyme Disease.

Two rounds of Doxy and I was feeling myself again. I thought I was in the clear but two months later I started having strange ailments including dime-size water filled blisters covering my fingers and hands. Two weeks after that I was admitted to NYU Langone Tisch Center, quarantined with viral meningitis. And the next day I found myself moved to the ICU with an aggressive case of pneumonia. I was told I wasn’t going to make it. A psychologist came to visit. So did a priest (I’m not Catholic but it was a nice gesture of compassion). I didn’t feel like I was going to die but then again, I’ve never died before so what did I know.

They tried anti-virals, antibacterials and finally found a steroid that reduced the inflammation and eliminated the pneumonia in three days. On weak legs I walked out of the ICU! The medication continued as I was on 120mg of prednisone a day for several months and then slowly titrated off. As said, I was on prednisone for almost a year.

The lasting effect of the Lyme Disease and other ailments included asthma, recurring pneumonia and bizarre ailments like Bells Palsy, etc.

We moved from Manhattan and began our lives in the Philadelphia suburbs. I left everything behind except for my wife and first born child. (We only had one kid at the time; it wasn’t like I left others behind.) My career in advertising had come to a close after nearly two decades. I was starting over.

Fast forward. It’s six and a half years later as I begin to write this book. I have transitioned into the world of real estate. We have a second kid, a house, two cars. I spent much of this chapter of my life alone, rarely going into the office (why bother when I can work from home in my underwear and not spend money on gas).

I felt like a thoroughbred sent to pasture too early. So I got busy in the gym.

The gym has always been important to me. I was a gangly teenager. In college I played rugby and ate everything I could fit in my mouth, which increased my weight from 165lbs to 185lbs. Yet still I was still gangly. My girlfriend back then would make comments about the football players. In front of me. So I joined a hardcore gym and learned how to work out. I started drinking protein shakes when they tasted like shit. Hell, if they tasted good they weren’t real, right? At least that’s how it was in the 1990s.

After graduating I eventually made my way to NYC. My inner competitiveness combined with an unhealthy fear of failure, depression, OCD and a terrible self-image were all the fuel I needed to succeed quickly in the epicenter of the ad industry as well as in the gym.

My inner “Bro” monologue went something like this: “that guy there may be better looking but I’m going to lift more than him. And that guy over there may make more money than me but I’m going to be stronger…” And so on.

And then at 24 something happened. I don’t know what but within the course of a month I lost 20 pounds. Something was wrong. I went to the doctor.

I was diagnosed with hypogonadism. My body stopped producing testosterone. Snap. Just like that. My “test” levels dropped to the single digits. They should have been well into the hundreds. The doctor wanted me to give myself a weekly injection but I refused. The thought of having to do it, to puncture myself with a needle, was too much. After a few more months I gave in.

Let’s fast-forward to the present.

I had an extremely successful career in advertising, switched professions and became a REALTOR, a father, and now add to that an NPC competitive bodybuilder and fitness coach.

You can find me on Instagram (@therealmyleskellam) and Facebook. I put it all out there. I share my progress pics, my diet, and in return I get a ton of questions about fitness and motivation.

I hope you’ll gain insight into what motivates you, fitness knowledge, how to work out without injuries and how to be your best self.

You can do this.

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