By: Bret Gornik

It is truly incredible what the body can endure.  Equally as incredible, is the body’s ability to rebuild.  One short week ago, I had surgery on my broken clavicle (collarbone).  I have a seven-inch incision where the doctor placed one metal plate and six screws to connect the broken bone.  I was heavily medicated, knocked out, and in surgery for over two hours.  As Sarah, my parents, and future mother in law waited in the lobby for over seven hours, I woke up disoriented, in serious pain, and forced to eat saltine crackers in order to take more pain medication.  Sarah greeted me in the hospital room, and I could tell I didn't look my best.  As they wheeled me out of the hospital, through all the pain and discomfort, I knew I was on the healing journey, but that it wasn’t going to be an easy path.

The first day home was rough.  I was in serious pain, nauseous, could not look at food, drugged up, immobile, tired, sore, and fatigued.  However, I had my team there; they sat in bed next to me, moved me around, got me water, and just were present.  In one week, I have regained so much.  I am up and moving and feeling leaps and bounds better each day.

Things I still can't do:

  • Raise my arm up or to the side - tough
  • Cut anything - love to cook, so this is tough
  • Ride a bike - this is my mode of transit
  • Lay down - I sleep in a pillow fort every night
  • Lift anything - my bicep has whittled away
  • Brush my teeth with my left hand - broke my left collarbone and I'm lefty
  • Multitask - it's one thing a time right now

Things I can do again

  • Write - had to learn to write with my right hand for sometime
  • Shower - took my first on my own yesterday
  • Get dressed - took me 5 days
  • Stationary Bike - feels great to move
  • Take the arm out of the sling - the feeling of straightening your arm is incredible
  • Do a bicep curl - I've worked up to a 2 lb. weight!  JACKED!
  • Teach at Barry's and get back to training - Needed this!

After I had my break, there was a serious shift in my lifestyle.  I am extremely active and mobile, so it was a challenge to not be able to do things I deemed simple (cook, clean, yoga, handstands, and bike).  However, my approach to this shift was been to learn and grow.  I've read a lot more, spent more time with Sarah, slept a lot (which I don't often do), and enjoyed the little things in life more.  It is truly incredible that within one week of being fixed up, the body can do so many amazing things.  Although tasks like getting dressed and showering seem nominal, when taken away, getting them back is monumental.


Support Team

I have an all-star team around me!  MVP is Sarah.  She has been there and not only stepped up in doing all the household tasks, and getting damn good at cooking (avocado toast master), but she has been there emotionally by always being upbeat and there to help with anything I need.  I could not have done this without her.  My family has made multiple trips to visit me and is always checking in on how I'm doing.  Sarah's family has been extremely supportive and helpful with so much (like driving me to the hospital at 5am for surgery and baking my favorite dessert).  My friends have been texting and showing me support. The Northwestern Medical Team was incredible.  My therapy at Performance in Motion has been beyond amazing. This team is my backbone and it's amazing to be surrounded by such positive energy during a time of need.

Positive Attitude

I always have the best day ever, every single day.  That is a choice.  Just because I’m temporarily down one working arm doesn’t mean that changes.  Every day since my break has still been the best day ever.  I learn new things, spend time with people, feel the love and support, and get back to the basics.  Life throws things at you, and it's how you choose to let them impact you that defines you.


After getting off the pain meds and antibiotics as fast as possible, I had to reset the body and fuel myself to recover.  I always eat with a purpose of improving and getting stronger, but now it's even more important.  I have focused on bone building foods, hydration, supplements/vitamins, rest, compression ice therapy, grounding, meditation, and essential oils to aid in the healing process as much as possible. 


One week.  Seven days.  168 hours. 10,080 minutes. 604,800 seconds.  Breaking it down shows that a lot can happen in a week.  That goes for anything.  Any goal.  Any opportunities.  You have the chance to start something new, heal something, grow something, or change something.  Take each second, minute, hour, day to improve.  Use your team, stay positive, and fuel yourself to be the best ever of all time.  Succeed.

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