Consultant check up

I saw my neuro surgeon last week, he is so very pleased with the progress I have made in 4 months, he has discharged me from his end, he did however state that I should find a new pursuit to follow, heavy weight training is still a risk for me due to the scarring around where my AVM has been removed, it is still possible this may bleed. This was not the news I wanted to hear, I was hoping to start bodybuilding again after christmas, I will still live in hope though and pushing myself physically and mentally daily, it has been my whole life for so long I do not want to let go. i have adapted many exercise routines for myself since my avm haemorrhage, it has increased my mental strength ten fold and I know there is nothing that i am unable to achieve, limits are there to be a controlled manner!
I set my goals every week and work my butt off to ensure I get to the finish line. Consistency is key. "Love your life, Life is love."


Good to hear of your positive progress!!! Stay determined and you can acieve whatever you wish to achieve… even if you need to modify it. You may not be able to do the heavy lifting for your health safety but perhaps you can lift a lighter weigh amount for now and consistently work yourself back up to being able to tolerate the heavier weights later on… even though you’ve been lifting the heavier weights already. Since consistency and repetition are key components in aiding the body in exercising activities, modify your routine (drop down in the amount of weight, etc.) so it will be safe for your health. Your love of weight lifting isn’t solely about the numbers (= the amount of weight you can lift), so find out for yourself what it is that you love about lifting heavy weights and you will be able to get that same ‘result’ even if you are lifting less weight. Never give up your dreams, as it is still possible to achieve. Although the ‘recovery period’ may seem too slow for us right now and we’re blown away or even frustrated with all the ‘restrictions’, just remember that a person must learn to crawl before they walk… and this ‘recovery period’ may be your/our ‘crawling period’. We survived tyhis for a reason and I highly doubt that our God would allow us to suffer this way and not ever have any happiness again; therefore, I can not phantom that He would allow us to never achieve our dreams, etc. Hang in there… you will overcome the obstacles in time. Right now (& always), be good and kind to your body. If you nuture it, it will not fail you. Take care!

While I did not have anything like your championship physical abilities, I was a good athlete. I had to give up a lot of that conditioning. But in exchange, I was abilty to survive for over 20 years!

I had to determine what is the correct workouts to do. I had to remember that I had a family. If I wanted them to avoid doing self-destructive actions like drugs, alcohol, etc, then I had to play by the same rules.

My life changed in many other ways. Time with friends and out for fun dropped and time with family increased.

It has not always been easy, but I have been adjusting to the changes.

Hi Phil. My name is Nando Torres Antonioli and I live in the USA. I'm an avid footballer and that's all I do. I used to play as much as I can, I watch it as much as I can and I occasionally act as an agent for lads before European (mainly Italian) football clubs. Someone in this group suggested that I contact you, in that you may have some tips for my recovery and because our experiences are a bit similar. AVM's were discovered in my brain back in April of this year (2010) after I was suffering terrible headaches. They embolized them but recently, Dec. 1, through an angiogram, doctors found that there's still a residual AVM in there and they wish to remove it through radiation (Gamma Knife Procedure). When I was recovering from my first AVM procedure back in April, in the ICU, I got pneumonia, which complicated things a bit and din't leave the hospital until July 22nd, almost 4 months later. In fact, doctors thought I was not going to make it and they even told my wife, more than twice, that I had less than 1% of chances to survive. Well, here I am, still living and "kicking it" (no fun intended). I just love the game of football too much and want to play again. After my initial operation, I lost 45-50 lbs., the ability to walk and the use of my left arm but I'm slowly recovering through PT & OT. Unfortunately, I'm still not walking or controlling my left arm/hand, but I use a cane, left the wheel chair behind and getting better every day. My family (wife and 19 mo. old daughter) are my rock. I'm in very good spirits, am highly motivated and of course, my ultimate goal is to be able to play football again. I know everyone is different but someone in this group thought you may have some "recovery tips" or ideas for me to get better. I also thought I was done, and here we are! Someone must be trying to tell us something or wants us to do something special in this world because I survived a horrible car crash 9 years ago without a single scratch and now the AVM and pneumonia. I would very much like to hear from you. Good luck with your recovery and in your upcoming tournament! Cheers!


Hey Nando

Thanks for contacting me and well done with your recovery to date!! Dont ever forget how far youve come already. I am now 6 months post crainiotomy and avm removal. i too play football and went back to playing 5-a-side about 2 months ago, though prob not to your standard. It was tough to begin with, i could not keep up with the game and would often just find myself standing around watching people whizz passed me. ball control felt totally wierd and was very difficult to run with the ball. I also found it hard to judge the weight on a pass and i would pull out of tackles all the time. i have to say though as the weeks have moved on i have improved dramatically, whilst i am still some way short of my previous self, i am happy with what I can do to date and know it will still continue to improve.

THe first thing i would do is, and i personally do this daily, is visualisation. Visualise yourself walking, running, drbbling/controlling a ball, passing a ball, moving your left arm and create positive emotions when you think of doing this. Football is obviously very dear to you so dont ever forget that you will play again, this is your goal, you will get there but it may take a little time. Walk daily, try using thera bands(your physio may already have you using these, they are like giant elastic bands). Try balancing on one leg as often as you can, if you require a workout or routine I am more than happy to do that for you. Your muscles have a memory and they will return to normal function, just persevere, be positive, consistent and very determined. I even self talk to myself both in my mind and out loud, reprogramming the brain will help more than anything.

Do you have a weekly exercise programme? how far can you walk currently with a cane?

I am so happy to help and offer advice, so please stay in touch, antime you wanna know anything, just holla.

key points i did

-set yourself, daily, weekly and monthly goals

- visualise yourself doing things all the time, it will create communication between your concious and sub concious mindset

- follow a set programme of exercise and recovery and look to beat it all the time

- allow rest and recognise when your body is tired, a huge mistake i made and have only just come to address.

- communicate with others all the time

- follow a good nutrition programme (protein is key to recovery, as it fundamentally repairs tissue and cells)

- please stay in touch and which team do ya follow?

look after yourself Nando


Thanks for your response Phil. Your insights are very appreciated. I know things take time but as you know, it is very frustrating to going from being very active to almost nothing. I am glad you brought the visualization part to the discussion because I have been doing a lot of that. I must say that probably the hardest part is when you dream that you're doing some sports and everything looks fine but when you wake up, reality kicks in. I have PT twice a week and try to move as much as can when I'm at home. I think I've come a long way. When I first came home in July, I couldn't even walk up the stairs and last Monday I practiced walking without a cane. My balance is still not 100% but I'm very persistent and I know things will be just fine. I started kicking balls at rehab and just like you said, measuring the force of a pass or even the feeling of kicking a ball is quite weird. I have 4 footballs with me at all times at home and I look at the, exercise with them, and sometimes even talk trash to them. It's all part of the therapy to get better. As far as my nutrition, you're right in point. I met with a nutritionist about 3 weeks ago and she insisted on me eating a lot of proteins. I have some acid reflux issues but I try to eat as much as possible to regain all my weight. I have abot 6-7 lbs., to go to be where I want to be. My wife hates when I say this but I told her that Lionel Messi, the FC Barcelona player, is only 5'6" and weighs 145 lbs. I'm 5'7" and presently weigh 140 lbs. I keep telling her that when I reach 145-146, I would be satisfied. With respect to a workout routine, I would love it if you can send me something to work on at home. I do have the theraband and other stuff but since you're the expert fitness man, I'm sure you have more interesting exercises for me. Please feel free to email me at: ■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■. By the way, I've following AC Milan since I was a little boy. I grew up in a very Italian family and this, I have to blame my late grandfather (Take a look at the shirt on m profile photo..ha ha ha). Last year, I travelled to Italy for work and was lucky enough to attend an AC Milan game live at the San Siro, which was one of my dreams. We have a very decent team this year but I personally don't think we'll get too far in European competitions. There are much better and stronger teams in England and Spain, I think. Which team do you follow? Thanks again for your support and words of wisdom, Phil. Please stay in touch and good luck with everything.

Best wishes always,


Hi Nando

Sorry for not replying sooner, I am in the process of setting up a new business venture with 2 colleagues so I have not visited the site much.

Cant believe your a Milan fan, we have you in the next round of the champions league, I follow spurs although i have not been to the lane at all this season.

If you would like me to send you the exact routine i did in my physic i am more than happy to. I'll see if i can scan it then mail it to you.

Keep it up you'll get there!!