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  1. #1
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    Elrond Hubbard, Third Time's a Charm

    I finished up my last journal in late October, my last workout being October 20. On October 24, I underwent major abdominal surgery for a rare form of cancer in my appendix. My appendix was removed, of course, as was my spleen, some intra-abdominal fat, some connective tissue, and a few pounds of cancerous sludge that the appendix tumor had been slowly spewing into my abdominal cavity over the last few years. They also had to scrape off calcified rinds of the stuff from the base of my diaphram. Then they poured a heated chemotherapy chemical into my cavity, sealed me up, and "agitated" me for an hour and a half.

    I spent two weeks in the hospital, and then another six weeks on "light duty". Fortunately, the surgery was completely successful, the doctor is pretty sure he got all of it, the cancer was not very aggressive, and my healing was pretty much without incident. Last Friday, December 20, I got the 'all-clear' to return to normal activity, and on Sunday night I started a new lifting program. It was nice, very nice to be under the bar again, finally!

    But geez, am I sore today!

    As might be expected, the surgery was pretty tough on me, I lost 15 pounds on coming home from the hospital, and most of my strength. I'm starting very light. And, I've got a long way to go. So I'm starting over from scratch, pretty much.

    Here's my avatar image from last August, at 165 pounds:




    And, not so prominent, my pre-workout photo. This is now my new "Before" picture, at 155 pounds. I've put on 5 pounds since my discharge, but it wasn't muscle!




    The scar from the main incision runs right down the middle of my belly, from sternum to groin. There's also some visible traces of the openings for various drainage tubes. They won't ever completely go away, but I expect them to fade some over time.

    The program I'm starting will be recognizably similar to my previous program, using the same lifts: Flat bench and rows twice a week, Squats and overhead press three times a week (One light day and two heavy days), with deadlifts and incline bench once a week. I hope to base my accessories on pullups, chinups, and pushups, with other additions as the mood strikes.

    I had been experimenting with rest-pause sets during the later stages of my previous program, that will continue and probably receive more emphasis in the future, whether via myo-reps or some other approach to rest-pause. This will primarily be a hypetrophy-focused program, I won't try to lift as heavy as possible for a while, I want to build up a little mass that I can eventually convert to strength once I'm confident my joints are ready for it.

    This is the third journal cycle I've embarked on, thus the name of the thread (although it's only the second journal I've posted on the forums). My first cycle started in September of 2015, and lasted 58 weeks before I was diagnosed and treated for throat cancer. That episode behind me, I began my second cycle in July of 2017, and that one continued for 118 weeks. I hope to take this one a lot further!

    I also hope that the next photo of me I post here will be more like the August one, and less like the December one!
    Last edited by ElrondHubbard; 12-23-2019 at 08:28 PM.
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  2. #2
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    My initial workout on Sunday was mostly a matter of getting my feet wet again. The only accessories I did were 3 sets of pullups, at three each. For the last couple of weeks I've been doing pushups and body-weight squats daily, maybe against doctors orders, but they've helped. Getting under the bar, I was stiff, the stiches in my abdomen made it hard for me to get a good back arch for the bench press. I think they'll loosen up over time. It was hard, but I didn't overdo it. When I was done, I definitely felt a sense of accomplishment. It was a good start.


    Bench press:
    95x5
    115x5
    135x5
    135x5
    115x18 -- 8+4+3+3, Rest-Pause

    Squat:
    95x5
    115x5
    135x5
    155x2
    135x8 -- 6+2, Rest-Pause

    BB Row:
    95x5
    95x7
    115x5
    135x6
    155x5

    Overhead Press:
    44x5
    55x5
    65x5
    75x6
    65x15 -- 8+4+3, Rest-Pause

    Accessories:
    Pullups, bodyweight, 3 sets, 3 reps each




    Next workout is Tuesday, including incline bench and deadlift. It'll be interesting to see what I can do with them.
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  3. #3
    Weak and foolish OldFartTom's Avatar
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    Wow, for the surgery you describe that scar is pretty small. Looks like they've done a good job on you. I understand you're cleared to start lifting but is there anything you need to hold back on. I guess boxing style medicine ball slams into your stomach while you do sit-ups is probably unwise, but on a more serious note do you have to change training much?
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  4. #4
    Registered User Payton1221's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ElrondHubbard View Post
    My initial workout on Sunday was mostly a matter of getting my feet wet again.

    Accessories:
    Pullups, bodyweight, 3 sets, 3 reps each

    Next workout is Tuesday, including incline bench and deadlift. It'll be interesting to see what I can do with them.
    If that was your first real workout, I suspect that you're going to be very sore.

    Regarding your pull-ups, the good news is that you're already doing 3 MORE pull-ups than the average older adult male

    And linear programming (if you go that route) won't take long before you're taxing yourself significantly, so you don't need to put the accelerator to the floor if you don't want to.

    So glad to see you journaling again.

    Merry Christmas Dave.
    Pull-Up PR: https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=177233951
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  5. #5
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by OldFartTom View Post
    Wow, for the surgery you describe that scar is pretty small. Looks like they've done a good job on you. I understand you're cleared to start lifting but is there anything you need to hold back on. I guess boxing style medicine ball slams into your stomach while you do sit-ups is probably unwise, but on a more serious note do you have to change training much?
    The scar is longer than it shows on the photo, but it's healed very nicely. The surgeon and everyone involved in my treatment did pretty fantastic work.

    Other than the tightness on the bench press, (and of course my loss of strength all around), my limitations are temporary, I believe. I don't think I'll have to change anything fundamental. I just need time to loosen things up again, and then strengthen them. My routine was pretty low impact before all this, and low impact it will stay.

    The biggest change, and I don't know if it's long term or not, is that when they put things back together, because of my spleen and connective tissue removal, the attachment points for my organs are different from where they used to be. I can feel it when I eat, the feeling of fullness seems to be in a strange spot. Getting my digestion right has been a slow process, and it takes me longer to eat then it did before. But I don't enjoy the food any less!
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  6. #6
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Payton1221 View Post
    If that was your first real workout, I suspect that you're going to be very sore.

    Regarding your pull-ups, the good news is that you're already doing 3 MORE pull-ups than the average older adult male

    And linear programming (if you go that route) won't take long before you're taxing yourself significantly, so you don't need to put the accelerator to the floor if you don't want to.

    So glad to see you journaling again.

    Merry Christmas Dave.
    No accelerator here! For a while I'll be concentrating more on increasing reps than increasing weight. I'll still be taxed, of course, but it won't be linear, and it sure won't be exponential.

    And yes, the DOMS are hitting me big time. Worse today than yesterday, but I'll be working through them tonight and it will be ok.
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  7. #7
    Registered User HomeGymChains's Avatar
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    Glad to hear you are able to work out!

    (Following you for the inspiration.)
    At age 61, I've exceeded all my prior PRs. Not “over the hill” yet. :)

    My workout journal is here:
    https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=176385621
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  8. #8
    Registered User shaneinga's Avatar
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    Good luck in here. You definitely have over come a lot and have earned your right to be able to start training again.

    I will drop in from time to time to see how you are doing.
    Last edited by shaneinga; 12-26-2019 at 03:27 PM.
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  9. #9
    Still Pounding! TM79's Avatar
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    Good to see you back in here. I seem to recall that you had already beat cancer before at some point? Anyway, I'm sorry to hear that you had to battle it again, but am glad that it was successful and you are back at it. I will definitely plan to stop in and see how you are progressing in your journey back to strength. As I'm sure you already know, the DOMS will be gone soon and you will start gaining strength rapidly. Looking forward to seeing how you do!
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  10. #10
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by TM79 View Post
    Good to see you back in here. I seem to recall that you had already beat cancer before at some point? Anyway, I'm sorry to hear that you had to battle it again, but am glad that it was successful and you are back at it. I will definitely plan to stop in and see how you are progressing in your journey back to strength. As I'm sure you already know, the DOMS will be gone soon and you will start gaining strength rapidly. Looking forward to seeing how you do!
    Thanks! Fortunately, the two cancers are totally unrelated. It was emphasized to me that this particular cancer doesn't mean I'm at higher risk in general. It's just very rare, very random, and it's a totally independent dice roll to the throat cancer. It's like getting hit by falling space debris. So, I don't feel unjustified in putting them both behind me. I hope to give you reason to enjoy your visits here!
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  11. #11
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    Hope everybody had a good Christmas! I did do a workout Tuesday night (and as of Thursday, tonight, I'm in the midst of another, between sets!) The DOMS were pretty noticeable, and there was a lot of grunting and squealing at first, but they did calm down over the course of the workout, and it went well. No PRs, obviously! It was deadlift night, and even though the weight was light, it was challenging, and it felt good just going through the motions. I also improved a bit on the pullups, and and threw in some pushups.

    Incline Bench:
    85x5
    100x5
    115x5
    105x10 -- 8+2, Rest-Pause

    Squat:
    95x5
    110x5
    125x5
    125x5

    Overhead Press:
    44x5
    55x5
    65x5
    75x5
    65x8

    Deadlift:
    135x5
    155x5
    175x5
    195x5


    Accessories:
    Pullups, bodyweight, 3 sets, 4 reps each.
    Chinups, bodyweight, 2 sets, 5 reps each.

    Pushups, 3 sets, w/grip handles, 35, 30, 25 reps, 90 total.
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  12. #12
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    Wow, way to beat cancer twice! All the best and much respect. Will be tuning in.
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  13. #13
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by drudixon View Post
    Wow, way to beat cancer twice! All the best and much respect. Will be tuning in.
    Thanks, Dru! Hopefully twice is all I'll have to worry about.
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  14. #14
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    I did a Thursday night workout, and upped the intensity from the first two days. It did beat me up a bit, and because of that and a late start, I wasn't able to do any accessories. Still, overall it went well, and looking back on my volume charts from the two recorded cycles before, I actually got enough real work done that I was at a level that took me 37 weeks to exceed after starting my second cycle, after the throat cancer. So I haven't lost as much as I feared.

    This doesn't mean I was lifting as heavy as I was back then, but now I'm adding more reps using rest-pause sets. So the total amount of work is greater. The weight itself will be gradually rising over time, but that's not going to be my main focus this time around. Not yet. Overall, though, I feel pretty optimistic about my potential.


    Bench Press:
    95x5
    115x5
    135x5
    150x3
    135x5
    125x15 -- 8+4+3, Rest-Pause

    Squat:
    95x5
    115x5
    135x5
    150x5
    150x5
    135x15 -- 8+4+3, Rest-Pause

    BB Row:
    95x5
    105x5
    135x5
    150x5
    150x5
    135x16 -- 8+4+4, Rest-Pause

    Overhead Press:
    50x5
    60x5
    70x5
    80x5
    80x5
    70x12 -- 8+4, Rest-Pause

    So that's it for this week, start again on Sunday, and we'll see how it goes. I suspect the DOMs are going to be a lot less than they were this week!
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    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    Happy New Year to everyone! I think we're off to a good start.

    Started week 2 on Sunday, and already I feel a big jump in ability. Still taking it slow, but it's fighting temptation to do so. The DOMS is pretty much gone, and I'm feeling less shaky and more secure in my form. So far this week, I've upped both the weight and the volume slightly. And the workouts are already less draining as well.


    Sunday, Dec. 29

    Morning Weight, 156.6 lbs. I'm kind of liking this weight range, I'm hoping that my future increases go very slowly and consist almost completely of muscle. A guy can dream, can't he?


    Bench Press:
    95x5
    115x5
    135x5
    150x5
    125x19 -- 8+4+4+3,Rest-Pause

    Squat:
    95x5
    115x5
    135x5
    155x5
    135x15 -- 8+4+3, Rest-Pause

    BB Row:
    95x5
    115x5
    135x5
    155x5
    135x15 -- 8+4+3, Rest-Pause

    Overhead Press:
    50x5
    60x5
    70x5
    75x5
    70x15 -- 8+4+3, Rest-Pause

    Accessories:
    Pullups, bodyweight, 3 sets: 6+6+6
    Chinups, bodyweight, 2 sets: 6+6

    Pushups, palms on floor, Rest-Pause sets: 40 + 10 + 10

    DB side lateral raises, 15 pounds, Rest-Pause sets: 7 + 4 + 4

    I had intended to use the grip handles for the pushups, but I simply forgot about them. They do make the pushups slightly more difficult, and the reasons I bought them no longer exist: I had injured my wrists last winter on a home project and couldn't flatten my palms. I kept them because they add more range of motion to the pushup movement.

    Overall, I felt a lot better on this workout than the previous Sunday.
    I'm out, standing in my field.

    64 and still a newbie.
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    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    Continuing on, there was also the Tuesday night workout. What a great way to spend New Years Eve! (I've had worse...)

    As always, my Tuesday workout is the "light" one, except that it includes deadlifts. Right now, though, I'm keeping the deadlifts light as well.

    Incline Bench:
    90x5
    105x5
    120x5
    105x15 -- 8+4+3, Rest-Pause

    Squat:
    95x5
    115x5
    135x5
    135x5

    Overhead Press:
    50x5
    60x5
    70x5
    80x5
    70x12 -- 8+4, Rest-Pause

    Deadlift:
    140x5
    150x5
    180x5
    200x5

    Accessories:
    Pullups, bodyweight: 6+6+6
    Chinups, bodyweight: 6+6

    Pushups, with grip handles, Rest-Pause: 38 + 10 + 10


    I remembered the handles this time, and they definitely make the pushups harder!


    And now, I'm looking forward to Thursday.
    I'm out, standing in my field.

    64 and still a newbie.
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  17. #17
    Registered User Payton1221's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ElrondHubbard View Post
    Accessories:
    Pullups, bodyweight: 6+6+6
    Chinups, bodyweight: 6+6

    Pushups, with grip handles, Rest-Pause: 38 + 10 + 10
    Lookin' good Dave! Happy new year.
    Pull-Up PR: https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=177233951
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    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    Thanks, Mark! Hope 2020 treats you well!
    I'm out, standing in my field.

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    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    With my Thursday workout complete, I now have Week 2 behind me. It felt good! No more DOMS, just a satisfying "glow" in my muscles the next day, a reminder that I actually worked them. Big jump in total volume -- my volume for the week 2 here is what it took me a year to achieve in my comeback after the throat cancer. Granted, the weight is not as heavy, and rest-pause sets add a lot, but it's not like I'm doing sets of 20 with ultra-light weights. I still haven't surpassed 8 reps in a single set, so I'd argue that most of my reps are "effective" still. And heavy will happen, I have confidence there. I did add some weight this time around as compared to last Thursday.


    Bench Press:
    95x5
    115x5
    135x5
    155x5
    150x5
    135x15 -- 8+4+3, Rest-Pause

    Squat:
    95x5
    115x5
    135x5
    155x5
    155x5
    135x20 -- 8+4+4+4, Rest-Pause

    BB Row:
    95x5
    115x5
    135x5
    155x6
    155x5
    140x16 -- 8+4+4, Rest-Pause

    Overhead Press:
    50x5
    60x5
    70x5
    80x5
    80x5
    70x16 -- 8+4+4, Rest-Pause


    Accessories:
    Pullups, 3 sets, bodyweight, 6+6+6
    Chinups, 2 sets bodyweight, 6+7


    Hopefully my capacity will continue to rise in the weeks ahead. This was big jump from last week, which isn't really surprising. I'm sure progress will be more gradual from here on out.
    I'm out, standing in my field.

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    Bigger Badder Bama bamazav's Avatar
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    Glad to see you back. I pray, despite the recuperation, you had a blessed Holiday season.

    I am looking forward to the progress. Take your time, it will come back.
    David, a 56 year old pastor, husband and father.

    1Co 9:27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified

    Best Lifts - Squat 375lbs Bench 205 lbs Deadlift 470lbs. Goals in next year? Be the best Me I can be.
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    Originally Posted by bamazav View Post
    Glad to see you back. I pray, despite the recuperation, you had a blessed Holiday season.

    I am looking forward to the progress. Take your time, it will come back.
    Thank you Zav. It IS coming back. I can feel my old self returning already, and it's happening faster than I'd dared hope. I've been feeling pretty good lately. And it sure did NOT interfere with my holiday. (Although there was a buffet in there that made me feel just one mint away from being Mr. Creosote!)
    Last edited by ElrondHubbard; 01-06-2020 at 09:54 PM.
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  22. #22
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    Sunday night began week 3 of the new cycle, and I feel like I made real progress. My plan had been to hold the weights mostly the same as last week, and just add some reps to the rest-pause sets. Well, I ended up adding reps AND weight, and it felt good doing it. I came out of it with a lot of enthusiasm. I'm ready to go again! (A touch sore today, but not too bad) I still have a long way to go, but I'm going in the right direction.


    Morning Weight: 156.8 pounds -- Weight gain is going at pretty much the rate I want it to. Don't know if it's going to do that for the long term.


    Bench Press:
    95x5
    115x5
    140x5
    155x5
    135x20 -- 8+4+4+4, Rest-Pause

    Squat:
    95x5
    115x5
    140x5
    160x5
    140x16 -- 8+4+4, Rest-Pause

    BB Row:
    95x5
    115x5
    140x5
    160x5
    140x20 -- 8+4+4+4, Rest-Pause

    Overhead Press:
    50x5
    60x5
    70x5
    80x5
    70x17 -- 8+5+4, Rest-Pause


    Accessories:
    Pullups, Bodyweight, 3 sets: 7+7+7
    Chinups, Bodyweight, 2 sets: 8+8

    Pushups, w/grip handles: 40+10+10, myo-reps

    Stiff-legged deadlifts, 135 lbs: 10+5+5, myo-reps

    Hamstrings are really feeling those stiff-legged deadlifts. I'd been neglecting them over the previous couple of years, and I hope to work them a little more this time around.
    I'm out, standing in my field.

    64 and still a newbie.
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    Bigger Badder Bama bamazav's Avatar
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    Just noticed a lot of 0 and 5 on your weights. Did you get some new toys this Christmas? Good work by the way.
    David, a 56 year old pastor, husband and father.

    1Co 9:27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified

    Best Lifts - Squat 375lbs Bench 205 lbs Deadlift 470lbs. Goals in next year? Be the best Me I can be.
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  24. #24
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    Sorry for my absence in here. Life is slammed right now... Looks like things are moving along quite well! The weight and reps are piling on! Very glad to hear that things are going well and if you happen to discover the secret to slowly gaining weight and it is all muscle, please share. Keep up the great work and I wish you a very successful 2020!
    All-Time PR's and Info:
    M, 5'10", 180 lb
    Powerlifting: Squat: 315, Bench: 255, Deadlift: 420
    Running: 5K: 22:46, 10K: 49:49, 15K: 1:28:08, 13.1: 2:03:00
    Metcons: Murph: 29:43, Double Murph: 1:12:01, Cindy: 27 Rounds
    IG: trentmas.nc
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  25. #25
    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by bamazav View Post
    Just noticed a lot of 0 and 5 on your weights. Did you get some new toys this Christmas? Good work by the way.
    Ha! You noticed!

    No, nothing new in the way of gear, I just don't see a need to microload at the moment, since my main focus is on reps. With the weights still well below what I'd done before, and my strength increasing pretty decently, my increments will be larger at first. As things get heavier and progress more slowly, I'm sure I'll get back to those tiny increments.
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    Humble Megalomaniac ElrondHubbard's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by TM79 View Post
    Sorry for my absence in here. Life is slammed right now... Looks like things are moving along quite well! The weight and reps are piling on! Very glad to hear that things are going well and if you happen to discover the secret to slowly gaining weight and it is all muscle, please share. Keep up the great work and I wish you a very successful 2020!
    Thanks, Trent! It is that holy grail, isn't it. The only part I've figured out so far is slowly!


    Don't worry about the slamming from this end. I'm happy for your input whenever I can get it!
    I'm out, standing in my field.

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    Time for a new entry in the journal, Week 3 day 2. Time is flying by! I tried to make this a somewhat conservative workout, although I did increase compared to last week. I left some in the tank, though. I still struggle sometimes with knowing when to push it and knowing when to hold back. I held back a little, but I had to fight myself to do it!


    Incline Bench:
    90x5
    105x5
    120x5
    105x18 -- 9+5+4, Rest-pause

    Squat:
    95x5
    115x5
    140x5
    140x5

    Overhead Press:
    50x5
    60x5
    70x5
    80x5
    70x16 -- 8+4+4, Rest-pause

    Deadlift:
    140x5
    150x5
    180x5
    200x6


    Accessories:
    Pullups, bodyweight: 7+7+7
    Chinups, bodyweight: 8+8


    Ready to go again Thursday. The totals are slowly inching up.
    I'm out, standing in my field.

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    Read Atomic Habits. The "accumulation of marginal gains" will get you where you want to be in much better shape than if you push too hard too fast.
    David, a 56 year old pastor, husband and father.

    1Co 9:27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified

    Best Lifts - Squat 375lbs Bench 205 lbs Deadlift 470lbs. Goals in next year? Be the best Me I can be.
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    Respectable numbers across the board on that last session. Probably a smart idea to hold back rather than push it too hard. Five years ago I wouldn't have said that but experience has a tendency to change one's mind sometimes... Stay after it my friend!
    All-Time PR's and Info:
    M, 5'10", 180 lb
    Powerlifting: Squat: 315, Bench: 255, Deadlift: 420
    Running: 5K: 22:46, 10K: 49:49, 15K: 1:28:08, 13.1: 2:03:00
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  30. #30
    Registered User Payton1221's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ElrondHubbard View Post
    I still struggle sometimes with knowing when to push it and knowing when to hold back. I held back a little, but I had to fight myself to do it!
    I get that completely. My advice to you would be to hold back doing a 5# per week linear program (which will get very heavy very soon), but to be honest, if I were in your shoes I don't know if I could do that
    Pull-Up PR: https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=177233951
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