Excuses. We all have them. Life can be difficult sometimes. It gets in the way of making it to the gym on a consistent basis. It gets in the way of eating and sleeping right. Newsflash though…you aren’t special! Nobody is. The brutal truth is that life gets in the way for everyone, everywhere. It’s how we deal with life’s hurdles that determines our character and, ultimately, the path our lives will take. Will you overcome the obstacles and be stronger as a result, or will you succumb to them and remain stagnant?
Most of you know Nick Robles as one of our up and coming trainers at CrossFit Kinnick. You probably see him in the gym everyday working hard. You’ve probably been trained by him and his budding knowledge base. And, yes, you also probably assumed Nick has always had it easy as a solid CrossFitter (a common misconception of most top-notch athletes). What you probably don’t know is that Nick had the greatest excuse of all to back down from life’s obstacles. He didn’t.
Here is Nick’s story:
“In January 2007, when I was 16, I was diagnosed with Primary Bone Lymphoma (Non-Hodgkins). For months prior to my diagnosis I had been dealing with really bad knee pain. Everywhere I went I limped around because of how much it hurt to put pressure on my left knee. To get through my day at school I basically packed a ziplock bag full of Ibuprofen and Excedrin (I figured out you could take those together with no side effects) and would take full doses of each every four hours just to make the pain bearable. I had it checked out multiple times and got diagnosed with everything from a torn meniscus to tendonitis. More often than not I was simply told to rest. After a while I started having other issues in addition to the knee pain. My energy levels plummeted, I had a major loss of appetite, and I rapidly lost close to 20 pounds. Thankfully, it was then that a different doctor took an MRI of my knee and saw a growth at the end of my left femur. I immediately had a biopsy done and was then diagnosed with cancer.
From that point on I was sent to an amazing pediatric oncologist in Anaheim. I was scheduled to go through 6 rounds of chemotherapy followed by 6 weeks of radiation therapy and had a port surgically placed in my chest through which I would receive the drugs (to avoid exhausting my veins with so many IVs). With each round of chemotherapy I also had to receive a spinal tap where drugs were delivered directly into my spinal fluid to prevent the spread of the cancer. My first round of chemotherapy was not without complications. I had a severe allergic reaction to one of the medications and ended up hospitalized for the entire week of treatment. Luckily, high dose anti-allergy medications allowed me to get the chemotherapy I needed without the adverse reaction. The treatments were really taxing and I went through everything that came with the treatments: hair loss, nausea, adverse reactions to the drugs, and overall exhaustion. Something unique about my experience is that I got all my treatment in a pediatric oncology office, so I was a young adult going through chemotherapy alongside children and even toddlers. It was a difficult thing to see, but at the same time the kind of care I got was what I needed, versus being placed with adults and elderly patients in a much different environment. The treatments were definitely a difficult process for me and I spent long days hooked up to machines. My body responded really well though and I made it through the chemotherapy as planned. I was able to recover quickly and return to doing normal daily things.
I have my girlfriend, Kristen Chapman, to thank for helping me reacclimate to life outside of hospitals. We became close friends and started dating right around this time, which was a big highlight for me coming off such a rough period in my life. I began radiation treatments a few months later just as my high school water polo season was beginning. I would actually leave halfway through practice to go get the treatment, and then immediately head back to jump in the pool and continue practice. After that season is when I started joining my friends Danny O’Brien and Ethan Doiron at Jeremy Kinnick’s house for some crazy workouts in a garage. My CrossFit journey started there and it has completely changed my life. I don’t think my diet or lack of exercise caused my cancer, but neither were priorities in my life. I ate whatever I wanted and often used playing water polo as an excuse to eat poor quality food. When I got sick it was shocking to have my health feel so far out of my hands. My faith, Kristen, friends, and family were instrumental in me dealing with that.
CrossFit has given me control over my health and fitness. That’s a feeling I never used to have. Having that control is empowering and has led to a complete lifestyle change for me. January 31st marks 5 years since completion of my treatment which is a milestone for cancer survivors. It signals the end of a time frame where doctors closely monitor any kind of regrowth of cancerous cells. This January also marks two years of dedication to training as a competitive CrossFitter and I’m extremely grateful for the chance to get stronger and improve every day.”
Life happened to Nick, and he overcame. Not only did he fight back, but it would appear he’s also winning. As Jeremy Kinnick’s training partner, he’s morphed into a true CFK beast with the potential to make it to the CrossFit Games Regional as an individual. That would be an incredible feat considering only around 50 athletes from all of Southern California can qualify. Whatever the outcome though, it is evident that Nick has already chosen the mentality and attitude he’ll be using to tackle the rest of life’s obstacles. The world doesn’t stand a chance.
So tell me again, what’s your excuse?