From his blog -
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
FINALLY!!!! The Neck BLOG!
I know it took me a while to get this story out but honestly I needed some time to digest it myself. Not only to digest but also to adjust to it. But before that, I want to thank everyone who has supported me and thanks to all who sent the overwhelming amount of Get Well Soon messages, card, and gifts. Thank you all so much!!
Now the main question I've received, of course, was "How did it happen?" So here goes: At the beginning of May, the day after a Smackdown taping I was flying home from . . . somewhere, anyway, I noticed a pain around the bottom of my right shoulder blade. It was uncomfortable but not something I was too worried about. First of all, nothing extremely painful had happened in my last match, but let's face it, I'm a pro wrestler, we get hurt "ALL THE TIME." Injuries that would send most people to the doctor, we deal with constantly! But, over the course of the next few days, this pain traveled down my right arm as well. Soon there after, I was having very frequent muscle spasms in my trap, tricep, and pectoral muscle on my right side. And the pain was pretty damn intense. I received "nerve blocker" shots from a doctor to help with the pain, it didn't help. I received pain medication as well, it didn't help either! Not let me interject here by saying, that in November I broke my hand and refused to go to a doctor because I didn't want to be taken out of the Survivor Series match I was in, which is exactly what would have happened. My hand had swollen to the size of Big Show's! And because I hadn't seen a doctor, I didn't have any pain medicine to deal with the injury. Therefore, I walked around and wrestled like that FOR WEEKS! No pain meds, no nothing! So it's not like I can't take pain. I have a huge pain tolerance. But this new pain in my shoulder and arm was whooping my ass!!!! I was walking around holding my arm all the time. I couldn't sleep. Lightning bolts of pain were shooting thru me 24-7.
Now at this point, there was no pain in my neck. I went and got my shoulder and upper back X-rayed. Results didn't show any major injury, so the doctor diagnosed me with a pinched nerve and possible muscle tear underneath my shoulder blade. Now it's the weekend and we a 5-show tour that concluded with Smackdown in Baltimore, MD! WWE trainer's and Talent Relations personnel contacted me about being able to perform on this loop and, of course, I told them I could. That's what we do in this biz, we suck it up! You see, a strange thing happens to me when I'm out in front of a crowd, especially a "HOT" crowd! I don't feel pain, I don't feel discomfort, I get lost in the moment of doing what I love! So in all actuality, the only time over this couple of weeks that I wasn't in pain, was when I was wrestling. That adrenaline is a hellova drug!
I teamed with Chavo on all these shows, and Chavo new the pain I was in, as did a few others, and Chavo asked me, hell he practically begged me, to take it easy, to "Let him do all the work." But people that know me, know I can't do that. When I'm out there, I'm gonna give the fans what I got. I don't have a "B" game. I give you whatever I can. I give you whatever I've got! On the second day we had a double-shot, that's where we do two shows on the same day. Well before the first show, I was doing some pre-match pushups as I always do, and I couldn't do but three. I repeat, I couldn't do but three push-ups! There was just no strength from my right side! I tried to flex my arm and realized that my triceps wouldn't contract. It wouldn't get hard! Now they don't make Viagra for triceps so I pretty much knew I was in trouble now. :) Always the joker right? So anwyway, I finished the shows and after talking with the WWE trainers, we decided to make me an appointment to get an MRI on my shoulder and neck this time. I did one last show in Reading, PA. A show where Chavo again begged me to take it easy, but . . . I knew. I knew something was wrong. I knew this might be my last match for a while and I told Chavo that, then I went out there and did my thing.
The MRI on Tuesday.
Smackdown was being filmed, but instead of being where I belonged, here I was in this torture chamber device! MRI's are just horrible to begin with and I was in this coffin-like contraption for 35 mins and 25 mins respectively. In pain the whole time, so much so that I had to get shot up with some kind of muscle relaxer because of the spasms. Still thinking, hoping, and praying that it's just some kind of muscle tear and/or pinched nerve. But when I got out, by the time I got dressed, the results from the first test where in. I remember the words exactly, "What you are dealing with is essentially a broken neck, and one of your vertebrae is digging into your spinal cord." I was devastated. People that know me, know that I never got into wrestling for the fame or the money. I got into because I fucking love it!!! Plain and simply, no bullshit. And now, after almost 17 years of beating myself up, of living my dream, of overcoming every damn obstacle possible, it might all come to an end. It was heart wrenching for me. And I'm no sap, I don't cry often and I didn't cry here. But later when I had to tell my father, the man who introduced me to, and was responsible for my love of wrestling, when I had to tell him what had happened, I'll be honest. I cried.
I sat in that hotel in Baltimore, MD, lost in thought. Lost in confusion and emotion. Just simply . . . lost. WWE head doctor, Dr. Reos called me and an appointment was made for me to go see Dr. Youngblood that Thursday for a consultation. He told me that I didn't have to come to the arena if I didn't want to but I did, just to say "goodbye." I know how this business is and there is a chance that some of the people in the locker room now might not be there if/when I return. I wanted to see my friends. I wanted to let them know that I WILL BE BACK!
It was sad, it still is when I think about it. But I had the surgery the following Monday and now that that's over, let the healing begin! I walked a mile the day after surgery, 2 miles the next day, and 3 miles on the third day. And while I'm still in a bit of pain, I'm trying to cope. It's humbling to go from what I was as an active, athletic person to what I am currently. And it's hard to watch wrestling now, because I want to be in there so bad. That's where I belong.
So with all that being said, I will leave you with this. All of you may miss one of me, but I miss ALL of you! And I promise everyone reading this, God willing, you will see me again in that ring one day! If only . . for one last match.
Thank you for reading,
Gregory Shane Helms