Wednesday, July 31, 2013

July Update from Brian

July has been a pretty busy and eventful month. I have told some people but I decided to move from Atlanta back to Charlotte. The biggest factor in this decision was getting back closer to friends and family. When I was living in Charlotte it was not a big deal to get in the car to come for my nieces' or nephew's birthday or to see family or friends but the 6.5 hour ride from Atlanta to Raleigh was a little much. I am actually buying a one level town home in north Charlotte. I have rented several places over the last few years and I have seen rental rates continue to rise and have begun to get a little out of hand. I understand wanting to make a profit but I feel some of these apartment properties are getting a little greedy and capitalizing on the lack of purchasing ability many Americans have for now. With interest rates still fairly low I was able to get a small town home with a garage for less than rent of smaller apartments I used to stay at less than a mile away. I am right across the street from North Lake Mall, 7 miles from my cousin, and about 15 miles from Race To Walk where I plan to continue my recovery workouts in a very similar fashion. I was able to use my experience from helping others buy investment real estate in Charlotte to find something that would be easy to either sell or rent out if I need to or decide to leave the Charlotte area. With a tenant living in this property for the last two years and the rental rates of nearby properties I know that I could rent it out for $250-$400 more than my monthly mortgage with taxes and insurance plus the HOA. I am also lucky to have my wonderful aunt as my broker and she was kind enough to wave her commission which combined with my 2012 tax return accounted for the majority of my small down payment.

Overall I spent about 20 months in Atlanta and while I did not make the progress I had hoped for, I did get stronger. I am done there with my weekly therapy but will still be going down to check-in every 3 months or so. I am still going strong with the electrical stim trial I am doing with the supervision of the folks in research at Shepherd as well as the Kinesiology Department in Athens at UGA. I have been sticking with it despite the results being slow and uncertain. I did head to UGA for some testing in early July and we were pleased to see that my muscle tissue was converting from mostly fat back to normal muscle. This is important because if I had or will reconnect any signals it will not do much good if the signals connect to fat.

My experience with the device has been up and down. I made some pretty quick gains in muscle mass which made my freakishly skinny legs look more normal but as I went up with the program and intensity I suffered some burns that really halted my progress. Thankfully a few months ago I switched from rubber electrodes to sponges. It was pretty hard for me to wrap my head around using sponges and water with electric current but it is so much easier on the skin. The device intensity ranges from 0-300 milliamps and with the electrodes I suffered burns at 160-170 and I am at 220 with the sponges and my skin doesn’t even get very red. I am slowly creeping up the intensity and hope that it leads to further gains. The new electrodes and positive testing has definitely reenergized me to stick with the 2.5 hour six days a week training routine.

July was also a time we decided to make trips back to Baltimore and Rutgers to check in with the doctors, therapists and research people we have gotten connected with over the last few years. I look forward to these visits and sharing what we have learned in the coming weeks.