i love(d) running. no really, i did! i enjoyed working out, and even found time to do it in med school! and i was pretty health conscious (that was sometimes an understatement…ask megan…vegetables with a side of vegetables anyone?). so, all that combined, i was in pretty good shape. and then, i had my stroke. within a few days, i was unrecognizable. i saw my legs which were muscular just a few days ago, were now toothpicks, skin and bones. i felt like the insides of my limbs were sucked out. it was like all my muscles had dissolved overnight. my body just felt like a useless pile. gross. i thought things would change once i started eating. but pureed eggs, pureed peas, and pureed pinto beans that i forced down didnt do anything but make me vomit. maybe things would be different? after months of practicing swallowing, failing 3 or 4 swallow studies (yes, first test i ever failed), and having no hope of swallowing normally zgain, i passed my swallow study! i got my last artificial attachment out, my PEG tube, and i could have regular food and drink. i shouldve felt more normal, right? false. i was filling up on pasta and pizza, but i felt and looked so empty. i realized my muscles werent just hidden, they were all gone… and i would have to start from scratch. and it was really from scratch…my first evaluation, every single muscle, from my head down to my toes, was rated as a zero out of five. so my therapists and i, not knowing where to start, went to work. for 6 hrs a day for 5 months, i worked, trying to reignite these lifeless limbs. by the time i left the hospital, every single was at least a one out of five, meaning they had all turned on! so my next goal was to make them stronger. though my muscles had turned on, i still looked deflated. i knew i had A LOT of work ahead… now, a few days ago, my good friend manoj was here. he casually said, \’u look good, do u work out?\” i laughed because i was thinking, \’yea, obvi, only every second everyday!\’ but it really got me thinking. ever since the stroke, ive looked sick, weak, and emaciated, but never good. while i was thinking about this later on, i had reached out to grab my armrest and pull me over. i looked down and there i saw it….a bicep! i could see a little muscle belly poking through! though i definitely still have a lot of work, my hair is still wild, and im paler than my white, eminem-esque trainer, the real me is slowly poking through. so eventually, totally and completely, from head to toe, its gonna be me.