My Journey with a Chronic illness.
Bob Gross
1

My name is Bob Gross.I have a lovely wife named Theresa,daughter’s named Lauren& Hailey,son’s named Jordan Noah and Nicholas,2 beautiful granddaughter’s,Alaiyah and Payten.

I am currently the General manager of Value City Furniture in Taylor Michigan. I have Bern in this position for 5 of my 9 years with the company.

This blog is more of a story on what I was diagnosed with, how it has effected our lives and where I am with it mentally,emotionally and physically.

A bit of a recap of my life.I grew up in Cleveland Ohio and lived there for 43 years.I am one of five siblings.I have two wonderful parents who I adore for showing us the right path in life.

My whole life I was that guy who wanted to be the best in everything I put my mind too.If it was the kid with the coolest bike,the kid with the big backyard for basketball,the captain of youth sports,most likely to succeed in middle school,most popular, most athletic or just leader of the pack.I wanted it all.I started playing baseball at the age of 4 and played until I was 38 years old.

Throughout my teen years I managed to become a very good athlete.I was captain on baseball team,basketball team,rec league teams captain and overall,the kid that could master any sport he tried.

Playing the game of baseball for so many years,I became a leader and mentor to a lot of the kids that played.I was always the guy who helped bring out your potential.I lived baseball 24/7 365..of the year.Looking back at my past in the game,I really have all the tools neededd to get to that top tier,MLB…Butpresently today,my son Noah at the age of 15 has it all,talk more about that later.

In 1987 I was in a bad 4-wheeler accident and it took my dream away.For over 18 months I couldn’t use my left arm at all.Torn labrum,dislocated shoulder,cracked clavicle and more.

Once I was finally cleared to go back to playing sports,I got into weight lifting and just recreational basketball league.I was approached by old classmates about joining flag and touch football leagues due to my physical size and arm strength.I accepted the offers and played for about 5 seasons.

When I turned 21,my brother in-laws asked if I was interested in trying softball?..I laughed due to what I seen at fields around me playing.”softball is for beer drinkers and ex high school baseball players who speak about there glory days”.I said I would give it a try…

That Wednesday, I walked into a softball dugout for the first time.They were all union workers,teamsters,iron workers and have been playing the game for 10-12 years together already.Here I come,a 21 yr old kid who never hit a softball in his life.

My first time walking to grab a bat,seeing at the time,I didn’t own a softball bat,I went to grab a nice looking supercell bat…This guy Kevin,6’8" 320lbs. Of anger ripped it out of my hand and said “no one TOUCHES my bat".So the manager said swing his club,looked like a steel pipe,and I truly had no choice and I walked to the plate.

First pitch I swung at I missed horribly. My brother in-law said change approach from baseball swing and get under ball out in front.I did on that very next pitch and hit it about 360 feet into the tennis courts…Next time through the line-up Kevin said use my good bat because I want to see how far you can hit it….We both laughed and sure enough,I put this one dead to center into Clague road(@400ft)…This is where it all began …

The following year my daughter Lauren was born and with everything going on around my life with new daughter,working 2 jobs,weightlifting, playing softball,it caused me to lose feelings for her mom.We split up but every chance I had free,it was spent with Lauren.

1992,I started lifting weights even more and really focusing on softball and mechanics on how to eventually hit the ball 500ft.My friends and I would spend lots of time hanging out in nightclubs picking up girls and just being guys…Lots of false identies,lies,manipulation and deceit. Finally one girl called my bluff and told me NO….What did that mean?No girl has ever told me no.This girl is my world today….Theresa…

It took over 4 months to get her but she changed me and showed me that love was real and it came from the heart.So I guess the 100+ girls before her were just play toys…Theresa really changed my life and accepted both me and Lauren into her life.

So now it’s 1995 and our son Jordan was born with lots of complications including no lung development,only 3lbs.,he was born in March but due till mud June. This was tough on us mentally and emotionally.Theresa would stay with him in the NICU all day then I would come and stay all night after work.He had support 24/7 and actually through my chain of friends,Sandy Soon as of the Cleveland Indians would ask about him every time we had lunch together at Slam Jams.I got the best birthday gift ever when Jordan finally came home 1 day before my birthday.

I took on 2 fulltime jobs,my day job was with a family owned business in interior design called Warner Interior and my night job was at Cleveland Hopkins Airport for Service Master. It was tough but I did what I had to do for my family. With everything going on I still found a way to still play softball and keep lifting weights.

Now fast-forward to 2001,after all the years of only having Jordan living with us full-time we had our second son Noah.He helped pull us together even stronger as a family.I continued to work 2 jobs until early in 2002 and decided I had to start taking care of my body and mind..

I went back to playing even more softball.I was playing 2-3 games a night 7 days a week.Throw in tournaments on weekends,it could be over 20 games a week.It never bothered me physically,I think with all the supplements and protein I was taking in,I felt I was indestructible. Theresa supported me playing because it was like a drug for me,I needed it in my life.Theresa went to as many games as she could..She just didn’t like the way my attitude was when I was playing..”I felt there was no one better than me".

In the end of summer of 2002 I was playing in a tournament in Westlake Ohio and decided to go up to a local bar,which turned out to be a night club, to get something to eat between games.The barmaid,Marissa,asked me if I was there to apply for bouncer job…I laughed and said no,,just bud light.She excused herself for a minute,seeing I was literally only person in there,because it wasn’t officially open yet.

Few minutes later,she appears with this little Am Pacino looking kid and he walks up to me and says"hey big bitch and starts laughing.He asked what it would take to get me to bounce at his club .He went through 4 bouncers in 3 months. I told him cash and I do no clean up…DEAL.

Now not only am I making easy money on three nights a week,I am anxiously waiting for the birth of our little girl.Hailey joined our family in March of 2003…

That summer it was tough for Theresa to go to games so I cut it down some and stayed home more to help her with kids and it gave me more time to work out.It got to the point where I was taking in 380grams of protein a day along with about 1000.00 in supplements a month.

The next few years were going great for us family wise,money wise and all around life itself.Then my life started to change in 2005.

I started having issues with severe cramping in calf,arms and hands.I blew it off for the longest seeing I really gave myself no rest between working,working out,playing softball then coming back and working out more.

In November of 2005 after a extended softball season of over 230 games and busy season at work,my body started changing more.I started having rapid heart beats during rest,cramping in legs got worse and one day at work I almost collapsed due to legs giving out.

That weekend I was bouncing and it was one of those fun nights for me when trouble broke out and I earned my money.I talked most people into sober states more than having to use force usually.So after work I was going to Wal-Mart to get some breakfast things for kids and as I turned into parking lot…..my vision went for about .01 of a second,but it seemed like hours.

“The darkness was something out of a nightmare".No squiggly lines,cobwebs or blur…PITCH BLACK…Now I knew something was wrong.

We ended up going to hospital and they referred me to a neurologist Dr. Bambakidis.My very first appointment I had to do a road sobriety test first thing…finger to nose,heel to toe, balance on 1 foot…you know the drill.I failed horribly. Dr. Bambakidis said I was a strange case seeing everything that was happening were things he has never seen happen together.

In the very first 45 days of my illness,my body weight dropped 37lbs.My bench press went from working out with 305lbs. Down to struggling with 200lbs..I started having issues with severe cramping at night in my legs,especially lower left leg.these cramps would last for 45 minutes to an hour.

He started to do more direct testing of my heart,lungs,muscles and brain.I was carrying about 10 early signs of M.S. and he wanted to get it ruled out.First brain MRI, t hen I got full body MRI..both came back negative for M.S…Then NCS, test,EEG test,blood gases,labs every30 days…

As we get into spring of 2006,he decided to turn me over to University Hospital and one of the best neurologist in the country,Dr. Bashar. Katirji…very good doctor…He continued a lot of same testing that was done previously. He starting seeing issues with kinase levels,creatine levels,B3/B12 concerns,levo-carnitine issues,etc..He decided in December of 2007 to do a muscle biopsy.

They cut into thigh and cut out 2 pieces.2in wide & 2in long with the depth of 3 nickels…six weeks later,January 16th 2007.I was finally diagnosed.