by PJ Braun

You know the old expression when Life gives you lemons you make lemonade? So when something bad happens you do what you can to make the best of it right? Well I’m at a pretty rough crossroads now…life has certainly tossed me some lemons and its up to me to get this lemonade made. How will I? That is yet to be determined but I will break down whats going on. Last saturday, as in 9 days ago I was looking the best I have ever looked 3 weeks before a show.

PJ Braun

PJ Braun

I will include a couple random pics I took that morning right when I woke up in trunks to show you. No pump, just woke up and snapped some pics. I was 232.8 lbs ever so close to the elusive 225 I have been fighting for and very confident that in 3 weeks I would be there, and be my best ever by far. I wanted the judges at USA to be really impressed with my condition and I was on pace for that to happen. The following Monday I did what for lack of a better description was a DUMB LEG WORKOUT. I mean I just really over did it, but I was in a zone and I just wanted to go with it! Most seriously lifters have had those days! The next day I felt completely wiped out, it was the worst I have ever felt before a show. I could barely get out of bed…I had to do my AM cardio at only 2.5 mph and my legs felt like cement. The whole day I was really out of it and I wanted to just get the day over with ever so bad! The next day, Wed, I was feeling a bit better ,thank god, so I got up and took a more aggressive approach to my cardio. Banged out 45 min and was feeling good. Came home to make my breakfast, ate it and went to take a shower because I had a chiropractor appointment.

Here is where the Lemons start…about an hour after breakfast I start feeling this odd pain in my stomach. I thought perhaps it was some kind of indigestion so I popped a couple TUMS and jumped in my car. On my way to the Chiro my pain in my abdomen got so intense that I had to pull the car over. I sat there for a few min and it wouldn’t go away. At this point I was kinda scared because I have a freakish pain tolerance( its actually been a curse over the years) and for me to feel like this was not a good sign. I called my girlfriend and told her I was going home to get in bed. Thankfully my girlfriend came home from work scared and got me up. She said we are going to the DR now! I didn’t want to go, I hate going to the Dr and I really hate hospitals. I started researching what could have been wrong with me and all the symptoms were pointing to pretty serious conditions so I decided she was right, lets get to the doctor.

I went to the walk in clinic here in my current town of San Clemente and it didn’t take the DR all but 2 min to say you need to go to the Emergency room immediately your gal bladder is under great stress! This was what I was afraid of…the dreaded hospital. By the time I got to the emergency room I could barely fill out the paper work but they got me in a room and with a DR surprisingly fast! They got me on and IV and hooked me up with a painkiller called dilauded that took my pain from a 9 to a 1 in a matter of min. The Dr came in and said they wanted to do an ultra sound of my gal bladder because he believed I was having gal stones…made sense to me but whats odd is I eat a very low fat diet….Blood drawn, ultra sound performed and the Dr comes back and says, “OK, so there is nothing wrong with your gal bladder and all your blood work looks great but your liver enzymes are elevated” I said all bodybuilders have elevated liver enzymes… He decided that we needed to do a cat scan of my abdomen. The cat scan revealed an interesting “lemon”.

Im laying in the bed and the Dr comes in and says “well you have a 3cm mass in your liver that could possibly be a simple cyst or it could be a tumor, we really don’t know and we need to do more tests, I want to keep you here over nite.” I was pretty freaked out hearing that and my girlfriends eyes welled up at the news, but I looked at her and said, “I just have a really strong feeling its not a tumor babe, don’t worry about me”. Staying in the hospital sucked!! I actually had my laptop so I could stay on top pf my work and manage my clients from bed, lol. My nurses at nite were ok, and the Dr who came in to talk with me was a complete moron who was basically google searching things on his iPhone saying dumb shit like” what kind of testosterone do you take?THe patch? Uou know that can cause cancer right?” Thankfully I only so that numb nuts for 5 min.

The next day I woke up and waited for hours to see anyone. It was particularly annoying because they were not allowing me to eat or drink anything and I was already dead tired and hungry from all this contest prep, I just waned some frigging tliapia or something, lol.

Finally around 2 in the afternoon a 3rd Dr came in and said we want to do another Cat scan in 2 weeks…what I believe you had happen was a liver hemangioma that ruptured and if that was the case you will heal pretty fast a long as you don’t do any heavy lifting and rest for a couple weeks….So a much better prognosis then a tumor that would need a biopsy! I said, “DR I have been training for almost 2 years for this show in in 14 days…can I compete. I don’t have to lift “heavy”” his response was “well if I tell you I don’t think its a good idea will you be upset? I said to him, “I want you to tell me I will die if I try to compete. otherwise I’m not quitting.” He smiled and said you won’t die but you can potentially slow your recovery or make yourself worse, just be very careful and listen to your body.

So fast forward to me getting home from the Hospital…not only am I in terrible pain but I step on the scale 243 bloated lbs…the IV they had me hooked up too was pumping me full of salt…that was frustrating…I felt I lost a whole week not to mention I was in horrible pain and can’t even take a single advil because it can cause my liver to bleed more slowing the recovery.

Today is now Monday just inside of two weeks from the USA. My pain level is the same. I can barely get around, but I have managed some VERY light workouts for my circulation and have stayed on my diet. Im sure a lot of people would just say F it,give me some ice cream at this point, but I just wanna stay positive and hope I can pull through to this show. I want this show so bad. At this point I realize I am not going to look how I expected too…however maybe if done right, I can still look my best because of where I was at before…and I think it will be a testament to my will if I can can see this through. There is no shame in pulling out or holding off but I wanna try.

I received a call from IFBB Pro Dr Victor Prisk who is a friend of mine, a great bodybuilder, a judge and a frigging MD! He was strongly against me doing USA and even said if you want go make a public statement saying Dr Prisk said I can not do the USA! I respect him and his friendship as well as his brain of course but I told him I was going to take it day by day. I also got a call from Derek Anthony who, love him or hate him has always been really cool to me over the years. he had gone through something similar in 2007 and told me he was hospitalized for 6 days and I should expect to be in pain for about 10. Awesome, another LEMON!!!

What am I gonna do with all these Lemons folks?? Its going to be a hell of a glass of lemonade thats for sure! As of right now I am dieting and wondering over to my treadmill for some slow and mild cardio…diet is still on point. weight is back down where it should be, I actually still look good…pain is still hi. Day by day…I know what I want to happen…l guess time will tell.

Ask PJ any questions you want here: Q & A with PJ Braun NPC National Bodybuilder Competitor