Hans Synnestvedt Jensen – Rebuilding Myself

Have you ever felt like a a champ? Big, strong unstoppable… Better Bodies ambassador Hans Synnestvedt Jensen has, until May 2018 when he collapsed and was taken to the hospital. Read the story of how Hans had to fight a big tumor and all the things that came with it.

The First Signs

In May 2018 I felt some pain in my back. I thought I had pulled some muscles so I rested and didn’t think more about it. Not until I collapsed in my office and was in so much pain that I can’t even describe it! The panic and “OMFG” what is going on. I managed to text a friend and he drove me to the hospital.

After a long day and night at the hospital, they said it was just an inflamed lunge with some fluid in it and that I should rest for a month. I asked them why I was in so much pain and if they were 100 percent sure that it wasn’t anything else. They couldn’t answer that, but told me not to worry.

The Struggle

I rested and started to slowly work out again. But something was wrong. I could feel it, and I had for some time. But I am a hard worker so I just did my thing and moved on with it. Eventually it started to hurt when I was breathing, I was so tired at that point and everything I did was so exhausting that I had to sleep all the time. Every workout was a struggle and I finally went to the doctor.

Finally An Answer?

The doctor looked at me and just said “You have asthma.” My answer was “Are you sure? I don’t think this is asthma.” But they gave me some inhalers and that was that. The inhalers didn’t work so I demanded an x-ray.

A week or so later the doctor called and told me “We have found a black spot in your lunge.” and that they had missed it the first time in May (it’s now September). That call was so weird and disgusting. I was just exploding on the inside and didn’t know what to say or do. So I just went on with my day, trained my clients, and went back home and told my girlfriend what was up.  My mind was racing in panic and so many questions were running through my head.

After 5-6 weeks the doctor finally admitted she didn’t know what it was and she couldn’t figure it out so she sent me further to specialists. They started to do all kinds of tests to figure it out.

Living With The Unknown

From October 2018 until January 2019 I didn’t know if I was going to die or live. I tried to live as if everything was normal, but it was far from normal. I was working out and my body just wouldn’t do what I wanted it to.

I trained for my life at that time and I didn’t know when or if it would be the last time. All the frustration, anger and sadness just built up and I had to get it out. The gym was my savior, even if I couldn’t do what I wanted to it helped keep me sane.

At that point I didn’t know if it would be my last birthday, Christmas or anything. Every day on my way to work I would snap and scream my lunges out.

Finally in January 2019 they told me that I was scheduled for surgery to remove a big tumor sitting on my spine. It was pressing on my left lunge.

Light In The End Of The Tunnel?

Early February I went under the knife and they removed the tumor. It was 5×5 cm and the surgery went well. After a week at the hospital I got to go home.

During recovery I just “disappeared” and got more and more tired. I wanted to get back in the gym so bad that after 4 weeks I was back trying to do some rehab training and light cardio. But I wasn’t feeling the way I should.

Another Setback

After all the swelling had gone away from surgery I could see that when I put pressure on my torso, a big bulge would appear on the left side of my rib-cage.

I tried to ignore it and just hoped it would go away and I would get better. But it just got worse. I was constantly in pain and couldn’t do anything. Just cleaning my plate after dinner felt like a workout.

I went back to my doctor and got a checkup 7 weeks after surgery. He looked in my files and examined me. The first thing he said was “Did they remove a rib?” I said “no” and his face revealed that he was clearly a bit confused. He asked me to wait in his office while he’d check something. When he came back he told me he thought that it was my lunge pointing out in between my ribs and he booked an appointment for me at the hospital where I had had the surgery.

A few days later my girlfriend and I drove up there and I met with the doctor who performed the surgery on me. He looked at the big scar, felt it and said: “You will not go home today. I am scheduling you for urgent surgery tomorrow.”

It Won’t Break Me…

It turned out that under the scar the muscles had ripped the stitches and I had a big bad lunge hernia. That night so may thoughts ran through my head again. Going thru all the shit one more time. Not being able to walk or do anything by myself… I don’t think I can explain how it happened but I decided that it would not break me!

When I started to wake up I was in the worst pain in my life. On a scale from 1-10 it was 100+. It turned out that they didn’t think it would be as big of a surgery as it was so they hadn’t given me all the drugs and an epidural (spinal anesthesia) like they otherwise do. They told me they would give me whatever drugs I needed after to ease the pain.

After many hours I finally got spinal anesthesia and it felt a bit better. The doctor then came and told me that not only did I have a lunge hernia but I had 1 liter of water in my lunge bag. He could not understand that I had been able to stand up or do anything. He told me I could have died from it at any time and if it the lunge bag had busted I would have drowned.

If He Can, So Can I!

I started thinking about how much I was able to take and still stand. But what is the price? Sometimes being strong and hard working isn’t the best thing when you almost kill yourself from it.

I stayed at the hospital post-surgery for almost 2 weeks to make sure that I was OK. And during this time I just tried to stay motivated, to not quit and to not give up. I got a Netflix account and watched the documentary about Ronnie Coleman and all the things he has been going through. I told myself that if he can – so can I! So, thank you Ronnie for not quitting and giving others inspiration.

New Battles

When I came home I wasn’t allowed to do anything for months since my body needed to heal and recover. During that time from late March 2019 to late May I saw my body just disappear to nothing. Even though I was happy I didn’t have the tumor and that part was over, another battle started. 

This time it was the identity battle of: “Who am if I’m not the big strong bodybuilder with muscles?” What happens when the person you identify with is gone and instead a crippled and lesser version of him appears in the mirror? Handling that is something no one can prepare you for.

When something you have worked so hard and long for can disappear that easy and fast, it is really hard to stay motivated and inspired to keep going. It went so far for me that I felt like lifting didn’t matter anymore and thought maybe I should do some ting else instead.

Finding Meaning

I lost who I was and why I was doing the things I did. And when I finally was allowed back in the gym it just hit me how far away I was from where I had been. The past year was nothing but a fight against my own body. The past 5 months I hadn’t had a workout at all.

I decided to dig deep to find the reason to why I started lifting and why it was important to me. I told myself that “I will come back and I will be bigger and better than anyone can ever dare to dream of after this”.

With that, I set up some crazy goals to compete again and to get back up on that stage not only to prove to others that anything I possible but to show to myself that I don’t quit and that I can do what I set my mind to. And this is where I am right now – in the process of rebuilding myself and figuring out who I am and what can I do in this world.

The gym is my therapy and without it I don’t know where I would be.