DI Driver Blog Presented by UNOH: Mayce McCreery
I have always said that no matter how sick or injured I am, I will still find a way to race that day. That no matter what, nothing will stop me from climbing into my dragster. But here we are, it is 2021, and I barely raced half of the 2020 season because of my health.
Before I go into this, my point behind this is to give an update and explain what I am doing for race season 2021. I have been told several times to not talk about my health because it can “scare potential sponsors away.” But if I were looking to sponsor someone, I would put my money and energy into someone that truly cares about what they do and work hard at doing what they love. I feel that this goes to show how much I love the sport.
I have mentioned a few times before that my health has become a huge problem the past couple years. This past year is when it just really went downhill. If you have seen me at the racetrack this year, you’ll know exactly what I am talking about. All year I was either limping, in too much pain to even turn my head, or not even able to climb in and out of my race car without help. As someone that has had a growing, burning passion for this sport, it really took a toll on me.
We have been in the offseason for about two months or so now, so I decided it was time to get to the bottom of this, and get some answers right freaking now. I started envisioning a life without racing, and it just seemed impossible for me. I had to turn around that thought process and start thinking about how I am going to make this possible.
I have been seeing a new chiropractor since June, and for some reason my body is not liking it so far. My spine is realigned, but I am in more pain than before. Nothing at all against him, he is not doing anything wrong. My body is simply a mystery and we are going to keep working at getting it right. It is like tuning an engine: you have to mess with a few things to find the right combination. We decided the next step was to go to a new general practitioner to get referred to another specialist, to look further into what is going on.
I am so glad I found the doctor I have now, because we are FINALLY leaning towards the right path. For eight years now, I have been constantly searching for the answer to why I am in so much pain all the time. After over 20 doctors, no one has given me the time of day to listen or to take this seriously until now. We have come to the conclusion that I have a really severe form of fibromyalgia. The best way to explain it is that it isa disorder that involves widespread musculoskeletal pain. It is believed that fibromyalgiaamplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain and spinal cord process painful and non-painful signals. It is also believed that people with fibromyalgia hold in toxins that we eat, sleep and breathe in everyday more than people that do not have fibro. Most people are able to process those toxins easily, but we cannot. With those toxins not leaving our body, it triggers pain. Fibro is a condition that holds a lot of theories; there is no exact definition.
I had a hard time accepting that diagnosis because there is no cure, it is chronic, and people rarely find any relief from it ever. We are down the path of treating what I have as fibromyalgia, even though some doctors I have seen recently disagree with that diagnosis.
I immediately picked myself up and told myself this is not going to be what kills me, I am going to find a way to get better and help others that have the same diagnosis. I have never been so motivated with anything, and it is truly amazing what I have accomplished so far in the past month.
The next step is a physical therapist. We have to work on getting my muscles stronger, to help keep my spine aligned from adjustments. Keeping my spine and everything aligned is going to make things easier for me. I just had my first appointment, and man, I am sore. But I don’t care, whatever it takes for me to feel better I am going to do it.
We discovered that I have a gluten intolerance, so I am staying vegan, but also being gluten free. I know you’re thinking that sounds awful, but I have been plant based for almost a year now and eliminating gluten isn’t going to be the worst thing in the world. Getting better for racing next year is more important than Fazoli’s breadsticks.
I have been focusing a lot on self-care to help with the treatments and meds I am doing. CBD oil, Epsom salt baths, stress management, yoga, and herbs have all contributed to helping me feel better.
This is ALL for racing. If racing wasn’t so important to me, I wouldn’t be pushing this hard to get better. I have a beautiful car that is going to have more power in it next year that needs me in the driver’s seat.
I have really thought about basing my racing career around health and wellness. I want to represent brands that have helped me through my journey. I want to prove that taking care of yourself is going to make you a better racer. I want to help people learn how to manage pain. I want to show people that a plant-based diet is life changing. If I dedicate my whole career to this and only help one single person, I will feel like all of this was 100% worth it.
I have 6 months to turn this bus around and get better. I can and will do it.
The lesson learned here is to keep working towards what you want, no matter what ends up in your way. I have had so many roadblocks so far in my career, but I have always found my way around them. My health is just another roadblock I will find my way around.
This DRAG ILLUSTRATED Driver Blog is presented by the University of Northwestern Ohio. Located in Lima, Ohio, UNOH is known worldwide as a leader in the Automotive, Diesel, and High Performance industries, but also offers over 60 degree programs in Business, Health, Marketing, Information Technology, and many other fields of study. Follow UNOH on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.