Kettle and Kidneys


So in the last 14 months I dropped over 30lbs, leaned out to 14% body fat and obtained CMS in long cycle with 20kg kettlebell. I’ve never felt better in my entire life so needless to say I was shocked 3 months ago when I was denied life insurance. My husband and  I were refinancing our mortgage when our broker suggested getting life insurance instead of mortgage insurance. It was then discovered through their mandatory medical tests that the concentration of protein in my urine was too high (I should note that this was the only abnormal result in all of the tests they conducted). They repeated the tests 3 times before denying my claim. So I went to my family doctor who repeated the tests and came to the same conclusions. This all went down the weekend of the Chicago Kettlebell Classic in June. I was sitting in the Toronto airport talking to my family doctor on the phone who asked “Can you take the next month off training?” This was 2 months before the Bay Area Open. She completely understood when I said, “NOPE!” So we decided that assuming I don’t have kidney disease, this high urinary protein could be due to either dehydration or intense training. Since I wasn’t going to change my training schedule 2 months before the most important competition of my year, she encouraged me to increase my water intake and repeat the tests in a month. So we did…only to get the same result. That only leaves taking a break from my training before sending me to a nephrologist to run more comprehensive tests. So here I am for the next month (or more) significantly reducing my training.

I still think there could be a link to dehydration. It’s funny because I feel like this is payback. Almost 15 years ago, right out of grad school I worked as a research associate conducting clinical trials in breast cancer prevention. I remember working on this study with flaxseed and my study subjects had to drink a certain volume of water each day or it messed up our results. I had this one client who was super non-compliant. She was a teacher and ranted at me how it was impossible for her to drink more than a litre of water a day. I remember in my head mocking her and thinking she was weak for not giving more effort (I’m so embarrassed at what a c–t I was!!). Now that I am a teacher I wish I could track her down and apologize. I’m sure I’m chronically in a dehydrated state. She’s right. I’m legally in charge of 35 students in a climate where schools are underfunded, understaffed and over populated, and people are just dying to sue and blame teachers for everything (I mean come on, we get a salary for life and our summers off so what do I have to complain about right?). I don’t have the luxury to leave the classroom whenever I want and leave my students unattended so that I can go relieve myself. Nope. It’s pretty much like I’m in the desert when I’m at school. I have maybe 3 opportunities during the day to go to the washroom – if I don’t have meeting or coaching. I definitely restrict my intake so I can make it through the day. Not smart for an athlete and I’m definitely going to try to change this in the new school year.

My best case scenario is that this increased urinary protein is somehow exercise-induced and taking a month off will lower levels to a concentration that will at least help me pass the insurance quota. Then I can go back to the business of kettle. Only time will tell. Again, patience… not my forte. Kettle was teaching me to be more patient….and without it I feel sad and lost. It has reminded me of Christian Goldberg’s beautiful post when she was forced to take time off. My entire identity has revolved kettlebell sport for the last 14 months that the next 4 weeks is going to feel like an eternity. And ofcourse, I can’t even let my mind go to the worst case scenarios…

Anyone who knows me will know that this isn’t good. I don’t sit still. I feel fine. If it weren’t for the insurance I never would have even known something was up. So to have to take time off when I’m not injured or feeling sick is beyond frustrating. I’m trying to look on the bright side – which as I type this I’m having a hard time doing. So basically now I’m supposed to do what made me gain 30# in the first place…nothing.   It makes me so ANGRY!!! Since I can’t train I’ve been trying to find other things I can do so I don’t become fat and miserable (and trust me, sitting on the couch eating Hagen Daz or Ben and Jerry’s has crossed my mind). I’ve still got Jason programming for me because I need to do something that will help me feel like I’m still progressing towards my goals. Since the limiting factor of my CMS set was my grip he has come up with all kinds of drills that aren’t intense at all – but still suck! LOL!  I’m also going to work on some Convict Conditioning so that I can develop my bridging and handstand skills. This will be fun and also not as intense as long cycle. And…hate to say it, but I’m going to return to yoga. I think a little meditation and body awareness will help me deal with the crazy range of feelings I’ve got going on right now. I’m also working with my friend Summer who is helping me watch my diet so I don’t turn into a complete asshole. My goal is to make my weight class at the end of this little hiatus which I’m already finding challenging…lingering stage 5 sugar addiction has me wanting to turn to the icecream for solace.

So when people ask me what’s next….I wish I could say going for Master of Sport with the 20kg in long cycle at IKFF Nationals in November. That should be my answer, and that goal would be more than do-able. Instead, I have no idea when I will be lifting again. It scares the crap out of me. All I can do is take it one day at a time. The structured, well organized and always planning and goal setting side of me is going crazy. I have allowed myself to do some really light snatch work – no more than 20 reps per arm. I have registered to compete in Toronto in the snatch only event with 12kg at the end of October. I’m hoping that can still happen and will give me something to look forward to as I have never competed in snatch before, but I think the grip work will only help my long cycle. The picture above shows my new kettlebell loads. My warmup is now 30sec of alternating swings with those light ass bells, and 6-5-4-3-2 reps of snatch each arm. No more purple on the menu for a while.

So all you lucky healthy bastards out there who lift – I don’t want to hear any bitching! Enjoy EVERY rep!!! Enjoy every workout and soak up your teammates as much as you can. And if you don’t lift – get up off your lazy ass and MOVE!!! Thanks Paul Jeremy for capturing my last time lacing up the weight lifting shoes for a while. So bittersweet…and friends, if I’m not myself, or not posting as much in the next couple of months, I wanted you to know why. I miss you already.



3 thoughts on “Kettle and Kidneys

  1. We love you Cyn! You will not gain back the weight you lost, you will have a bit more time to focusing on ways to better yourself, including hydration, yoga, grip and archer, aaaand you will love it all!
    Just a couple more weeks to become more awesome at other things as you await the return of iron ball back into soul.
    I admire your courage and bravery more than you will ever know.

  2. You inspire me with your strength and determination Cyn!!

    Water up! and have some fun over the next few weeks!

    Congrats on making it to the next step in your KB journey 😉


  3. darling Cynthia: You will overcome, as you are a warrior. Call me ANYTIME you need to hear this from a live person. xoxoxo Bryanna

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