2016 started for me with a BANG!
Well, more like a crash.
On January 11th, I was taken to the ER, for some flank pain and trouble breathing. I was convinced it was an anxiety attack. Anxiety is something I have struggled with for years. However, In 2011 I suffered from bi lateral pulmonary emboli. Since then, any medical issue regarding my breathing must to be taken seriously. So, I went to the ER. They ran X-rays of my chest and a CT scan of my lungs. The doctor came back with the results. “You are clot free. However, your liver is swollen. Have you been excessively drinking?”, he asked. “My liver?! I don’t drink at all!!”, I replied defensively. The doctor responded, “Well, what are you taking that could be making your liver swell?” I immediately blurted out the first thing that came to mind: “Anabolic steroids??” The doctor peered at me through his glasses, “Yep. That would do it. How long have you been on your cycle?”
How long have I been on my cycle? Excellent question! That is where this story begins. For those of you not familiar with steroid use, the average steroid cycle should last no longer than 12 weeks. Then you take 6 weeks off. The reason you go “off cycle”, is to allow your system..the pituitary glands..the adrenal glands..basically, your entire endocrine system, to function normally again. And I was all for that. I had every intention of taking a break once 12 weeks rolled around. But, time waits for no one. And once that 12 weeks did come, I found myself full of wonderful excuses as to why I needed to continue a few weeks longer. I was busy! I had work. Bookings. Shoots. Appearances. I told myself that I just needed a few extra weeks to get all these shoots done, and then I would “cycle off” the steroids.
My steroid cycle officially began December 2013. It started with Testosterone Cypionate. Just some extra testosterone to give me that extra edge at the gym. But as my work load increased. So did my mental obsession with cultivating the ‘perfect body’. I wanted more bulk. Naturally, I added some DecaDurabolin to my regiment. But, after a few weeks of that, I noticed I was getting too thick. So, that’s when I decided to add the most sought after ‘gay steroid”, Trenbolone. Trenbolone, for those of you who don’t know, is a steroid that was originally used on livestock to increase muscle growth before they are slaughtered. But, we gay men love it because to adds bulking AND cutting to the body. One of the only anabolics to give you both. So, there I was. Going from 1 to 3 injectables in the blink of an eye. That was a perfect combination! Until I heard that there was an oral steroid called Anavar, that really gave anyone who was taking Testosterone, the most benefits. Well, how could I refuse? And before I even knew it, I had become a walking science project. I used to joke to people who knew about my steroid use, and say that I was the “hormone whisperer” Yeah. Those hormones were doing a lot more than whispering!
But, it seemed like everything was working out gloriously. I was still working a ton. I looked amazing. And I just kept going. That’s the way it always starts out, right? Everything is amazing. Until its not. Then, the very thing that seemed so amazing, started to turn on me. It took awhile. Over a year passed. I was still on my “12 week cycle”. And I started to get back acne. The acne was annoying. And then it got really bad. It wasn’t just the acne. It was the marks the acne was leaving on my back. I was starting to get nervous. But, it never occurred to me to just stop. I tried to control it. Dermatologist visits. Anti bacterial pills to battle the oils from the steroids. Salicylic acid treatments. You name it. I did it. I did everything a person could do…except stop. And more time passed…and I still hadn’t gone “off cycle”. So now, we’re looking at me in January 2016…2 years have passed..And I’m in the ER of the hospital with a swollen liver, wondering what the hell has happened. Sure. My 12 week cycle ended up lasting over 100 weeks. But who was counting?!
My liver was. Thankfully.
Had my liver not blown up, I would have most likely continued my cycle til I suffered renal failure. That’s what my endocrinologist says was next on the list for me.
So, I stopped. I quit the moment I left the ER. 3 injectables. 1 oral. All gone. And yes. my body crashed. Hard. I slept over 12 hours a day. I felt weak. I had no energy. I was morbidly depressed. And I cried. Not from physical pain. But, from the knowledge that my broken thinking had, once again, taken me back to another dark place in my life.
My broken thinking tells me that steroids are gonna make me whole. Make my life perfect. That even though studies have proven that performance enhancing steroids are dangerous, I’m going to be an exception to the rule. For people like me. Addicts. Just because I stop using dope and alcohol, doesn’t mean that my broken thinking stops as well. This is not a story for people who exclusively used steroids. This is a story for anyone who excessively uses anything that they believe will fix them.
But speaking along the lines of steroids, I would like to emphasize something here…there is no one in the porn industry who tells performers it is mandatory to take steroids. Do many performers use steroids? Yes. That is a given. There is pressure to have an extraordinary body. But this goes a lot further than my industry. Steroids are an unspoken “secret” amongst many gay men. And for those of you who manage to use steroids successfully…Mazel, to you! That simply is not my story.
Trust me. This is not the first essay of 2016 that I would like to be sharing with my friends, fans, and followers. I feel exposed. Vulnerable. Raw. All of it. But this is my truth. And maybe, just maybe..there will be someone else out there who is reading this, who can relate. And hopefully, they won’t feel so alone.
I crashed. Hit the floor. I learned. I grow. And my journey continues.
Here is a selfie taken last night. My natural body!