Thursday, September 8, 2016

The situation I'm in

Writing this because it's been a while since my last update. A lot of people are probably assuming that I'm never going to play again; that isn't the case. However, I am in a very bad situation.

As I mentioned in my last update, I have a calcified FCU tendon. The FCU is one of 2 major flexor tendons in your wrist (the other is the FCR). These tendons allow you to flex, which means moving your wrist inwards (like with lifting). They don't have anything to do with grip strength or finger movement. Calcification is a rare condition that causes a tendon to thicken.

My case of calcification is so severe that it calls for removal of my tendon. This is rare to the point that there are hardly any documented cases in history of it happening. Every doctor I go to has never removed a FCU for this purpose. They've all performed tendon transfers (when a healthy FCU is removed and then used to restore another bodily function that has been lost), but they've never just removed a FCU and thrown it out. Furthermore these transfers are only ever needed in people a lot older than I am.

Nobody wants anything to do with my case. You can 100% live without your FCU (as long as you have a functioning FCR), but removing it has consequences. My former surgeon doesn't want to do it, because he doesn't feel that it's right for someone my age to lose a solid amount of their flexion strength. Other surgeons share the same belief, but additionally they tell me that whoever has already operated on my tendon must complete the job. Since my initial surgeon doesn't want to do it, that doesn't help. I've been told to seek a "second opinion" by so many people at this point.

There are only a handful of surgeons left within my insurance plan (which only covers doctors in NY state) that I haven't spoken with about this. I got the directory of doctors I'm eligible to see and called hundreds of them; they all either had never even performed a FCU transfer, or they had and they said no. I traveled to see some of them for evaluations, then after deliberation, they declined. I'm still waiting to get in touch with the few that are left, but I'm not hopeful at this point.

That's my situation as far as looking for treatment goes. Here's my situation as far as my wrist:

I'm completely disabled because of this tendon. It only gets worse over time. Very simple movements cause excruciating pain. It's at the point where I feel it burning 24/7, and I'm losing the ability to do everyday tasks rapidly. I was forced to do physical therapy (which is completely ridiculous; strengthening isn't going to help me) and I couldn't complete the reps of lifting light weights, just to give you an idea of how bad this is. This is no longer a Smash-only problem.

I know for a fact that this is a surgery I need to have done. You can live without your FCU tendon, but your flexion strength is compromised. I don't perform any heavy duties, plus, this is my non-dominant hand. As I've said to doctors myself: anything is better than the current situation I'm in. Yet they decline to take the case, saying things to me like "it needs time to heal" when this condition has only worsened over the past 2.5 years. They don't offer me any sort of alternative; they just say goodbye to me and tell me they can't help. My personal opinion is that everyone sees this case as a risk they don't want to take. I've lost a lot of faith in the medical system because of it.

The main thing I don't get is how they expect me to survive/make a living. If I wasn't living with my parents I would not be able to work/support myself right now. They're choosing flexion strength over actually being a functioning person.

I'm probably going to have zero options left in a few weeks (after I've spoken to the last few doctors within my insurance). It's terrible because to my understanding I would get my entire life back if someone removed it; not just Smash but a pain-free life in general. I don't know what to do at the moment.

Monday, June 20, 2016


as it stands right now i don't have a final answer on the result of my surgery - i need about 2 more weeks until i can give one - but it's been more than 6 weeks now so i wanted to update people on what's going on.

i think things could have gone a lot better but they also could have gone a lot worse. what i mean by that is i predict i'll be fine in a couple of months, but not the immediate future. i will probably have to have surgery again. considering i'm thinking long-term, this is not so bad.

there were 2 areas of interest in my wrist that were worked on during this last surgery: my ECU tendon (back of the wrist, for extension) and FCU tendon (front of wrist, for flexion). and unfortunately, while progress was made with both of them, i am pretty sure both areas are still problematic.

my ECU used to have pain in a couple of areas, and also really loud crackling. i was told that it had several microtears in it that the surgeon debrided. now, the pain in all but one of the areas is gone, and the crackling is gone. this one tiny area still causes a sharp sensation when i push down on it; i'd guess there's still a microscopic tear there. keep in mind that the MRI didn't show anything, so the surgeon basically had no guide. missing something like this would be pretty easy. this issue is honestly irrelevant, though; if it was all that was wrong with my wrist i'd be able to live with it for sure. the issues i used to have with my ECU are for the most part fixed. the main problem with it now is actually new, and related to the surgery...

in order to clean up these tears the doctor had to open up something called the tendon sheath, which is like a cover for the tendon. he had to stitch this back up, and, unfortunately, i don't think it healed properly at all. i was given a timeframe of 3-6 weeks for it to close back up and feel stable again. it has now been more than 6 and my ECU tendon still feels loose as hell. whenever i rotate my wrist it feels really weird. this is one of two things currently very wrong with my wrist. fortunately, fixing this surgically if it ultimately fails to heal should be pretty simple. i also can't say for sure yet if this truly failed to heal; the doctor said to give it another 2 weeks.

the major issue that is still present in my wrist has to do with the FCU tendon. in my last post, i said that 20-30% of the tendon was removed because it had developed something called calcific tendinitis, which causes this tendon to harden and begin to resemble a bone. i actually left the hospital that day under the false impression that this was cured. i was wrong. i met with my doctor 2 weeks post-op and he told me that the rest of my FCU was still corroded with calcification. he debrided a "notable piece of calcification" that was "likely problematic," but the rest of the FCU is still diseased. now that it's been 6 weeks and i'm able to feel my FCU, i can confirm that it is still rock hard and painful to the touch.

without question, this is the biggest problem i am faced with. i have extremely strong doubts that i will be able to play melee like this. this is the area that flared up and burned like hell back in april. what the doctor did was essentially a really soft fix. i don't think anything but a hard fix will put an end to this.

unfortunately, the hard fix is really drastic and will gimp me for life. the tendon is fully corroded and cannot be repaired at this point; the next step, should it come down to it, is to remove it. the FCU tendon is the strongest tendon in the entire wrist. removing it means causing the FCU muscle to atrophy; flexion becomes significantly weaker. i could not believe it when my doctor told me that doing this was even an option; just the thought of it is disgusting to me. he did say that if it really comes down to it, though, this should make me able to play melee again. so if i'm unable to play when i try to in 10 days or so, it is the reality i will be faced with.

there is nearly no information on FCU removal on the internet. this is obviously something i want to look into extensively before even considering, so if by some stretch someone reading this knows anything about what it may ensue, please DM me. i need to know that my doctor is right when he tells me i'll be ok.

tl;dr is that me being ready to compete again in the immediate future is unlikely. i would need for both the ECU sheath to heal (not looking good), and for the calcified FCU to end up being okay to live with (doubt it). you guys know me at this point, though: i'll do what it takes to play again if there is a way to. don't feel bad for me because i'm optimistic despite how shitty this may seem.

if i do start going to tournaments again in the next month or so, that either means that both of the above things^ ended up in my favor, or that i'm able to play temporarily (similar to february-april of this year) while still pursuing a permanent fix. i'll keep you guys updated; i regret taking so long to make this one.

so yeah, that is the plan. i'll do whatever it takes to play melee again; i'd probably feel empty inside forever if i couldn't play anymore lol. thanks for reading guys take care

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


today after the surgery i woke up to the best news i could've heard. i'm not gonna speak too soon and say that i'm fixed (i'll know in like a month), but i'm hopeful. my recollection isn't perfect because of the anesthesia, but basically, the doctor found and fixed two major problems. my ECU tendon had degenerated (bunch of microtears basically); he debrided this. my FCU tendon had "calcified" in one area which basically means turned to stone due to calcium deposits. he said he debrided like 1/10th of this tendon. these 2 problems would explain the pains in the back/side of the wrist, and front of the wrist, respectively. at long last everything seemingly adds up. i'm hopeful that this doctor saved my career today but i know better than to say for sure. i'll let you guys know in a month or so

Monday, April 18, 2016


This was all very greedy of me and I'm extremely sorry. I made myself eligible for the voting knowing there was a slight chance something like this happened. I wanted to go really badly.

At a tournament yesterday the injured area of my left hand started to burn worse and worse over the course of the day. I had to drop from the tournament. I wasn't kidding when I warned people that I wasn't "back" at all after Pound, as much as everyone wanted me to be. I had gone a long period of time without playing prior to the week of that tournament, which is why I was able to make it through it. But ever since the Monday after Pound, I've been having pain again. Surely enough I overloaded my hand yesterday. It's a good thing I went to the tournament, otherwise this would've happened at Summit.

I think I should start by updating people on my hand problem. I gave people some inaccurate information ~2 months ago. An MRI had come back showing a 1-2mm tear. I was skeptical about this being the problem, but the MRI report said that it was "likely symptomatic." Long story short: it isn't the problem. We still don't know what's wrong with my hand, but I knew it was a lot more complicated than a tear that small. Several parts of the pinky side of my left hand feel severely injured. To be honest, it feels like I have 3 different wrist problems. My ulnar styloid (tip of the arm bone) feels rough and destroyed. My triquetrum (bone in the corner of the hand) burns like hell on the palm side and feels cracked (I know it isn't because I've had x-rays but when I rub on it there's this part I can go over that feels like a crack). And the soft tissue crevice between these two bones is very rough and burns with pain as well.

One thing I want to clarify is that these problems did not gradually develop over time. There was a distinct moment on May 5th, 2014 where I was doing backwards waveshines against a Jigglypuff player in friendlies with my left hand extremely tensed. I felt an explosion (best way to describe it) in my left wrist and had to go out and buy a splint right away (I uploaded a picture of this to Twitter). I could tell that it was no ordinary wrist sprain and that things would never be the same again.

2 years have passed, I've seen at least 10 hand surgeons, and no one knows what the hell is going on. I've had 2 surgeries, both done by the same doctor. The first one was to remove the ball of my wrist which had become arthritic from this injury. But problems persisted, so I had another MRI done and it showed nothing. The same doctor went in for another surgery and said that I looked normal from the inside. The second surgery had no purpose.

For the first time, though, I'm currently seeing a doctor who seems to have some ideas as to what it could be. I'm having an ultrasound done this Thursday in the hopes that it shows something. That's why I can't go to Summit regardless. When I saw him last week, he told me that he had 2 openings for an ultrasound: April 21st and May 5th. I scheduled it for May 5th because I was going to be at Summit this weekend, but I called him this morning and had it rescheduled to the 21st. I have to prioritize fixing my hand. It isn't worth it for me to go to Summit and delay this ultrasound by 2 weeks, as much as I want to.

Now, regarding the Summit.

I feel very guilty about this all - a lot of time/money/resources went towards me, and there was a lot of hype surrounding it. I will be doing my best to undo any damage this may have caused:

First and foremost, I'm sorry. I think letting people know that is pretty important.

I'm also sorry to Otto; he was supposed to team with me.

I'm working on having my flight cancelled.

I am unsure about who the replacement player will be. I would imagine it's going to be Duck but I'm not the one in charge so I'm not going to make any official statements.

I've spoken to Germ and he will be replacing me with the 16th player on the Summit 2 poster he drew. Those posters haven't shipped yet, luckily.

And perhaps most importantly, for the people who paid money so that they could give more votes to me, I am going to do my best to give back. I will be doing set critique for the first 20 people who message me. Here's how I will do this:

From what I know, there is no "receipt" to show that you voted for me during the final voting process. So I guess the Tweet showing that you nominated me will have to do. If you could please send me a screenshot of this tweet, as well as a screenshot of a receipt showing that you purchased something to give me votes, plus a set you'd like critiqued, I'll watch through it and critique it for you.


I guess this means I'm retired again. I'll be honest at this point, there's a chance I never make a full return. My left hand feels ruined beyond belief. In the past few months I tried my best to rest a lot so that I could attend a few tournaments but it eventually caught up to me. I wouldn't be surprised if I need a prosthesis or something to play full-time again, because actual bones feel injured. That being said, if there's a fix out there I'll do it. Smash aside, my hand is in constant pain even when I perform everyday tasks. I just hope I can get to the bottom of this soon. Please don't hesitate to message me about having your set critiqued.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

why i've been out

real sad that i have to make this uncharacteristic post but the community needs to know what's going on at this point. even back before i had wrist surgery, i knew that my wrist wasn't even my biggest problem. the past 1.5 years have been my worst in this game, plagued with health problems and unhappiness.

i've been suffering from crippling insomnia ever since march 2014. it first happened at the tournament The Next Episode in California. nothing significant happened in my life around that point in time, idk why that's when it first happened but it did. i thought it'd be a one-time thing. it ended up being like a disease. ever since then, i've spent most nights before tournaments awake in bed the entire night. i haven't actually gotten a single full-night's sleep at a tournament (even locals) since it happened. not exaggerating when i say that i spent 72 hours awake in a row at MLG, EVO, and TBH4. at CEO 2014 i stayed awake in bed the one night i was there so i just changed my ticket and flew home the next day. at Apex 2015, i played it off as though i didn't enter because of my hand problems because i didn't feel like explaining things. i was having really bad hand pain around the time of that tournament (i hadn't had surgery yet), but i would've been able to make it through a 48-man bracket (which i had qualified for with Apex points). the real reason i didn't play is that i was awake the entire night before, so i just left and went home when i got out of bed the next day.

at regional-sized tournaments like Zenith 2014, Justice 4, and Do You Fox With It, i managed to get just a couple of hours of sleep. i had to use either valium or ambien at all of them to do it, and the sleep still totally sucked (~3 hours, plus these drugs don't give you as good of a sleep as a natural one). but even 3 hours of bad sleep is a notable improvement over spending every second of the weekend awake, which is what would happen to me at internationals. the bigger the tournament, the more stress it would place on me and the worse i would sleep, i guess. my best sets of 2014 were played at these regional-sized tournies, but the sleep deprivation was still killing me at all of them.

i used to only have to worry about not sleeping at tournaments, but in mid-february of this year things became life-ruining. i started to stay up entire nights at my own house. it started out only happening on some nights, but the chances of it happening continued increasing and increasing until i reached the point i'm at now - i stopped sleeping completely.  it's actually impossible for me to fall asleep currently without pills. i take ambien every night and get 4 hours of awful quality sleep with it. tons of other drugs like trazodone, restoril, hydroxyzine, allergy medications etc don't work at all. i haven't had a good night's sleep since february or march...

i still went to tournaments throughout 2014 pretty much praying that i'd get lucky and sleep at them - it never happened. i also went bc i felt a lot better back then than i do now because i used to sleep on the weekdays leading up to a tournament - now i don't sleep at all.

it's a very depressing situation and it's affecting more than just smash; i'm not really making any life progress because i can't function like this. my friendships are being affected because i don't feel like seeing my friends on days when i feel horrible (most days). the lack of sleep also makes me irritable and not my usual self.

the problem almost surely stems from me having a brain that just doesn't calm down anymore. i'm a very stressed person in general who overthinks things/dwells on things. it feels like my brain is in fight-or-flight mode all the time. it's obviously stress-related since it used to only happen at tournaments. 20XX is honestly more than just a meme, it's pretty much a reflection of how i think lol. and i think me being a perfectionist to an insane degree has a lot to do with me suffering from this stress/insomnia. if i could just be more carefree, i'd probably sleep.

i've tried everything i can think of. all the drugs i mentioned above + other vitamins/supplements, going to the gym, meditating, getting sunlight in the morning, shutting off electronics before bed.... no results. i've been going back to the gym/working harder than i did when i went before + giving meditation a 2nd shot as of this past week, but yeah no improvement so far. still, i'll gladly hear out any advice you guys have for me -- i have nothing to lose. and i just wanted to say thanks in advance to those who try to help for having my back. i've always really tried to be the pro who plays friendlies with everyone who asks me to + responds to everyone who messages me on facebook. the only reason i haven't been doing the latter in recent months is because of how stressed i've been/how bad my health has been. i'm sorry for that. i just haven't been myself lately.

incase anyone's wondering, i've seen doctors. there's a huge shortage of sleep doctors and getting appointments with them can be ridiculous. just a few days ago i finally saw the sleep doctor i waited 3 months to see, only for her to tell me that i have to wait another 2 months to have a sleep study done LOL.

but yeah a lot of people were worried that i was quitting. i would never quit this game; i've dedicated my entire life to it. but that isn't to say that i'm not done for, because as long as this persists, i don't stand a chance. i'll probably be at EVO just because it's EVO; it would be my first tournament in like 2 months. don't expect much since i'm not expecting to get any sleep. =/ probably gonna go back on hiatus after it's over with until this resolves since tournaments just aren't enjoyable experiences when you feel the way i do. i really do want to be an active top player again more than anything - not being able to compete in SSBM has made me realize how much of my life it used to be. i don't have much to stand for outside of who i am within this game. so yeah, i'm doing everything i can to get to the bottom of this and come back. just wanted to inform everyone of what's going on; thanks for reading.