There have been several rumors going around the bodybuilding community about Chris Cormier over the last two months.
Some people were saying he was dead, others said that he had a failed liver/kidneys and was on dialysis. The rumors ran rampant. Chris has always been one of my closest friends in the fitness and bodybuilding industry, and I have sat silently by as the rumors abounded.
Click To Enlarge.
Chris Cormier In Contest Shape.
However, today, right now, Chris Cormier has agreed to give me and Bodybuilding.com an exclusive interview about what exactly has been going on, and what rendered him completely helpless in the hospital unable to walk or move for the last two months.
[ CL (Christina Lindley): ] When were you first admitted to the hospital?
CC (Chris Cormier): I am really not sure, up until this week I was completely unaware of how long I was actually here. They told me a couple days ago that I have been here for the last month and a half!
[ CL: ] Where are you right now?
CC: I was discharged to my friend Lenyn Nunez who came to see me three days ago for a break, against the doctor's wishes. If it wasn't for him, I don't know what I would be doing. I felt stir crazy - like I was in jail.
"Once they told me how long I was in the hospital,
I freaked because I had no idea I had been there
for a month and a half! I thought it was like a week..."
They didn't want to let me check out even temporarily because they were a little scared of me there. I don't know why, I can't even f*cking move!
[ CL: ] Where were you in the hospital? Why did you temporarily check out?
CC: They had me in a bed where I couldn't move, because even though I would think to myself, "Move your whatever...," my brain would think it but my body wouldn't respond. I was so tired of looking at this white wall, "looking at ESPN all damn day!" I just wanted to watch a tree grow or whatever the f*ck!
I was so freaked out, I had to go. I called the doctor and he told me that he didn't want me to leave. I told him I was going like three miles to the local Holiday Inn to hang with my friends and play some Playstation...
[ CL: ] What are you having to do at the hotel physically for the next three days?
CC: I have to hook myself up to an IV tube that is stuck in my arm feeding my body antibiotics for 45 minutes at a time, three times a day. I hired a nurse to come by and teach my friend that is staying here with me for the next three days how to do it for me.
I am walking with a walker. I had to learn how to evenly distribute my weight on it to even be able to move. I am in so much pain with the walker up until today I couldn't even use the walker without a pain pill.
I gotta wear a back brace at all times looking like f*cking Robocop or some sh!t! I sat up today by myself for the first time. Let's put it this way, at the hospital, a good day was if I made it to the green square in the hallway!
[ CL: ] Describe the feeling of being there.
CC: I was at the hospital so long; all the nurses were cheering me on to be able to walk. It's h#ll. The pain of it is something I never would have imagined. I feel like someone ran me over with a diesel truck twice. When I was really doped up in the beginning on pain pills, they told me I was pleading for a knife or for someone to cut my legs off!
[ CL: ] Not many people are aware of this, but you are actually at a hospital in New Jersey. Why are you in New Jersey in the first place?
CC: I was waiting for Dorian Yates to find a place for me to stay close enough to his house in England. In the mean time I was staying in Hackettstown, NJ with some people who owned a nutrition store that I know. It was more convenient while waiting to go to England, as NJ is much shorter a flight to England than LA is.
Did You Know?
That Chris Cormier was supposed to train with Dorian Yates for the upcoming Olympia? Listen to the replay here.
[ CL: ] What put you in the hospital? People are saying all kinds of things. Set the record straight. Tell us exactly what happened?
CC: I had been getting ready to train with Dorian. Mentally, I am thinking to myself I am going to get ready for that torture. I have done it before with Charles Glass, and he knows my boundaries. Dorian, on the other hand does not, and he is going to push me to the point that he has set in his mind.
Dorian and I had trained a few times, but I am trying to get myself ready to take on his kind of training. So, I started training that way. One day I was pushing extra hard, extra deep, on the vertical press for legs. I think I did everything a little too extra!
"By 2 p.m. in the afternoon, my whole body
had spasmed out and locked..."
The same night my legs were sore, and I haven't been able to make my quads sore in over a year and a half so I thought that must have been a h#ll of a workout. The next morning, I wake up and my back is sore. I think that is a little weird and I think, "I'm gonna put some ice on this b!tch!"
The day wears on... ten o'clock, eleven, twelve... Each hour my back is getting stiffer and stiffer. By 2 p.m. in the afternoon, my whole body had spasmed out and locked... I was calling people, screaming at the top of my lungs.
[ CL: ] Why didn't you call 911?
CC: Men and people like me don't like going to the hospital!
[ CL: ] What happened next?
CC: I called a friend and told him to come home, that I couldn't move and had to pee so bad I was like "SH!T!" I am gonna have to pee on myself! I was trippin!" He finally came and called 911. What do you know, the police showed up before the ambulance. They come and want to check out the scene like some violent crime went down.
I'm like the only black guy I saw in this whole area and they were probably like "What the hell is the black dude up to?" The ambulance finally arrived and there were two women and one small man trying to lift me onto this little @ss board. The cop acted like he wasn't going to do anything, then he finally helped.
I was in so much pain and at the time I weighed 292 lbs. I didn't think they'd be able to lift me up, but they did. My shoulders kept hitting the doors on the way out of the house. They rushed me into the back of the ambulance, and I was in shock and hallucinating.
I thought I saw Monica in the ambulance. [NOTE: Chris is referring to Figure Competitor Monica Guerra.] I was thinking to myself how the h#ll did she get here so fast? Then I finally realized it wasn't her.
[ CL: ] What hospital did the ambulance take you to?
CC: They took me to Hackettstown Hospital. They put an arm thing on my wrist to take my pulse when I got there, asked me a total of three questions, and next thing I know they are trying to put me head first into an MRI machine. They pulled me in the machine all while I am screaming bloody murder from the pain of my entire body spasming.
I am so claustrophobic, so on top of that I am telling them to put me in feet first and no one is listening! They kept doing head first and my shoulders wouldn't fit in again. So they finally listened and did feet first up to my armpits.
[ CL: ] What was the result?
CC: They still didn't know, and they decided to take a CAT scan. However, they couldn't take one at that hospital because it was older and they weren't equipped for someone my size, so they put me back in the ambulance and we went to the next hospital called Morristown Memorial.
[ CL: ] What was happening in the ambulance?
CC: I kept asking for pain killers - I was in so much pain and my whole body would lock up like the Exorcist. They kept telling me to stop making faces like that because I was scaring everyone. I couldn't help it.
I watched as they kept checking my vitals, and I actually saw them flat line a few times then quickly start back up. They said if I had any more pain medication I would die. I felt like I was dying already.
[ CL: ] Once you got to the next hospital what did they do?
CC: They finally tested me more, another MRI, a CAT scan, I probably saw like 7-10 doctors. I still hadn't pee'd from earlier that day and didn't get to until eleven o'clock that night!
They put a cup between my legs with people trying to help me pee! Over the next several weeks I was in and out of consciousness. Monica flew out to the hospital to see me and stayed with me during some of the most painful times. I want to thank her with everything I am.
[ CL: ] What was the final diagnosis?
CC: They said the diagnosis is that my spine was infected. All these stories about my kidneys failing and all that bull sh!t is false. The only thing wrong with me is that I have three crushed vertebrae, from when I was younger, which got infected. The three are crushed down on each other and the fourth vertebrae got infected.
Jay Cutler & Chris Cormier At The 2004 Arnold.
It was probably from beating my body the docs said. And that injury was always there. Somehow it turned into a spinal infection that can be deadly and render you completely paralyzed or you can die... if it goes untreated.
[ CL: ] How did you injure your vertebrae when you were younger?
CC: I was squatting and checking this chick out while I was doing squats and I turned my head a little and threw my back out when I was 19.
[ CL: ] Why did you push your body to the point that it collapsed?
CC: I put myself thru that for the last 26 years because my only dream ever was to be a pro. The doc asked me how much longer you need to train hard and the doc said you think you got three years and he told me, "I would be careful, Broderick..." He called me by my government name.
[ CL: ] What else did the doctors tell you?
CC: After the infection is gone from the antibiotic treatments in my spine, I can't beat my body into the ground so much.
What Causes Spinal Infections?
Spinal infections, such as Osteomyelitis, are often caused by bacteria transported into the spine by the blood stream.
Bacterial infections of this kind are more commonly seen in individuals whose immune systems are compromised, such as the elderly, intravenous drug users, those having had urologic procedures, and those who have experienced long-term systemic administration of steroids.
In addition, those suffering from or undergoing treatment for conditions such as insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, AIDS, cancer, malnutrition, and also immuno-suppressed patients such as organ transplant recipients are also more likely to become infected.
Most vertebral body infections occur in the lumbar spine because of the blood flow to this region of the spine. Tuberculosis infections have a predilection for the thoracic spine, and intravenous drug abusers are more likely to contract an infection of the cervical spine.
[ CL: ] When you check back in tomorrow how long do you have to stay in the hospital?
CC: I have to be in the hospital until the end of August. Today, August 1st, is the first day I didn't have to take pain medication quite so much.
[ CL: ] Where are you now as far as walking?
CC: I can stand up without the walker.
"However, right now, to walk I have to use
the walker and a back brace."
I am getting better every day. I can make it down the hall and back.
[ CL: ] Are you going to have to have an operation?
CC: They told me an operation will not be necessary. They just said it is going to take a long time to walk on my own probably the rest of August. I have to relearn motor skills in physical therapy. I am checking back in tomorrow and staying until the end of the month. I will actually be there on my birthday August 19th unfortunately.
[ CL: ] If someone wants to send you a card or get well note where do they send it?
C/O Jefferson Level
Morristown Memorial Hospital
100 Madison Avenue
Morristown, NJ 07962
[ CL: ] So what did you learn from the whole experience?
CC: "I have been pushing my body for so long, I never felt like I took care of my body. I think for the most part I just have to not push myself too much for my own good. To be aware of my back injury and watch it a little bit closer. I'm still coming back to compete. I still got some sh!t to win, sh!t to talk and I'm still here...
"I'll be at the Olympia regardless..."
[ CL: ] Bodybuilding.com will be at the Olympia, and I will be there with them. Lasvegasdirect.com is one of the cheapest ways to book travel to the Olympia, and they are one of the sponsors covering rooms for the "O."
Chris will definitely stop by and say hello to everyone in Vegas. I will be visiting him in the hospital August 19th in New Jersey on his birthday and will do an update interview for everyone on his progress and status.
[ CL: ] Chris, is there anything else you would like to say?
CC: Just pray for a brother, it is much appreciated.
Click To Enlarge.
Chris Cormier In Contest Shape.
SIDE NOTE: A discussion with his friend, Lenyn, that is caring for him led me to believe that he is feeling much better. Lenyn said, "He is around 250 lbs right now, not on so many pain killers, and able to use the bathroom more.
The pain is starting to subside. He still looks the same, but it is tough to watch him go through it. If you take the seriousness of the situation into consideration he is doing very well."
Check back at the end of August for an updated interview!
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