Article last updated: May 2019 by Oskar Faarkrog, ISSA Certified Trainer
Around 10 days ago I went to the cinema to watch Aquaman and as I walked there I felt a sharp pain in the right side of my chest.
I thought it was just muscular soreness and didn’t think much of it, however later that night I also started coughing blood.
Therefore the next morning I went to see a doctor.
After performing a lot of tests, the doctor there concluded I had Pulmonary Embolism which is a blood clot in the lung.
It’s a very serious condition with a significant mortality rate.
The doctor prescribed me blood thinning medications to resolve the blood clot and sent me home.
The next morning I woke up at 5 AM and the sharp chest pain had gone up to a 10/10 on the pain scale.
Every time I took a small breath, said a word or walked a step it felt like knives going into my rib cage.
It was so bad that I couldn’t lie down or even put on my own clothes, therefore I called an ambulance.
In the emergency room I got morphine and then I was admitted in the hospital for 6 days.
During my stay I got blood thinning injections and painkillers several times per day.
Even with the painkillers I was unable to lie down because it stretched out my lungs too much so I had to sleep in an incline position.
I’ve been out of the hospital for 2 days now and I still feel slight pain in my chest, but the blood thinning meds are slowly dissolving the blood clot and I’m off the painkillers.
I did my first workout in 16 days yesterday and I was able to comfortably use around 50% of the weight I normally use.
The interesting thing I noticed is that my muscle measurements barely changed.
I lost maybe 1 CM off the shoulders and 1 CM on the arms.
However I also lost 3 KG of bodyweight with 2 CM lost around the waist and 3 CM lost around the hips.
Therefore, during those 2 weeks of being inactive I just lost body-fat.
The take-away message is that you shouldn’t worry about losing muscle mass if you build your muscle mass without performance enhancing drugs.
Guys who go off steroids and stop training lose their muscle mass fast, however if you build your muscle naturally with hard training it’s there to stay.
I’m close to my genetic potential at 100 KG bodyweight and around 17% body-fat, but I didn’t lose any muscle in 2 weeks of being sick and while being in a big Caloric deficit.
I didn’t even eat a high amount of protein.
I just ate regular hospital meals which consisted of 70% carbs and 30% protein/fat.
Now, many of you asked me on my instagram and facebook how I got a blood clot at such a young age (I’m 26).
I have a few risk factors:
- Inactivity and weak immune system: Prior to the blood clot I had the flu for 5 days and I was in bed for 5 days. When you are inactive for a long period of time such as during a flight or during illness, your risk of getting a clot greatly increases. In addition to being inactive I had higher than normal blood pressure and a weak body because of the flu.
- Family history of cardiovascular disease: My mother recently had a stroke at age 51. She was in a coma for 2 weeks and the doctors almost pulled the plug on her because they said she won’t make it. Luckily she woke up from the coma, however once she woke up lost her ability to speak and move one side of her body. She has been hospitalized for several months now and she can understand what you say but she can only answer by nodding yes or no. Most of my family has high blood pressure, therefore that’s another risk factor.
- Period of high stress because of family illness and work: 1 week prior to getting the flu I had just visited my mom and I was very sad to see her in such a condition. I also run 2 businesses and had a very high workload the past year therefore I think my stress levels might have been higher than normal.
So the game plan now is to control my stress levels as much as I can and slowly get back into my training program.
Be proud but stay hungry!
Oskar Faarkrog, ISSA Certified Trainer