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    Posted November 24, 2012 by
    Hemet, California
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    CNN Fit Nation: 2013 Triathlon Challenge

    The Journey Back to the Man I Left Behind

    My name is Alex Barnett & I live in Hemet, CA. I was born & raised in the small town of Anacortes, WA where I was a very fit & active child & young adult. Shortly after high school I enlisted in the Marine Corp to serve my country & better myself. An unfortunate accident in 1995; just 20 days after my 24th birthday, while on field maneuvers turned my life upside down. I was crushed by a 5-ton wrecker which shattered my ankle, broke my tibia & fibula, shattered my pelvic bones, crushed my bladder, severed my urethra, forced all my organs up into my chest cavity, burst the blood vessels in my eyes and I bled out of my ears. I wasn't expected to have survived my injuries and my prognosis was grim. If I were to survive, I probably wouldn't be able to walk & the life that I was just coming into would cease to exist. Whether it was pure bullheadedness or drive & determination, I was not going to succumb. I didn't want to become the person the medical professional thought was my best hope. It has been a very long road with many dark tunnels. I was wheelchair bound for a while & had to learn how to walk & due to many of the tumultuous hurdles, I gained weight & I gained alot of it. I now weigh in around 270 lbs & have tried all kinds of weight loss programs & training videos. You name it, I've tried it. I long to be the man I was; fit & trim, active & strong. While I'm here 18 years later able to walk, bike & swim; I beat my odds but I need to find something else that can help push me up & over my weight struggle. I'm always researching & reading motivational stories just as the ones I've seen here in the CNN Fit Nation: 2013 Triathlon Challenge & without any reservations, this is something that was meant for me. I know, without a doubt, that this challenge is all that I could have ever hoped to better myself & send me back on a journey of the man I left behind. It will prove not only to myself but everybody of all types of disabilities & challenges that the underdog can prevail!
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