Malcolm Stewart Sidelined With Illness
Lucas Oil/Troy Lee Designs/Honda rider Malcolm Stewart will miss this weekend's Millville National due to a severe case of dehydration that has affected his kidney function. This is the first race Stewart will miss since making his professional debut, and in a casual phone conversation yesterday, we were shocked to learn that Malcolm was actually in the hospital as we were chatting! Here's what our August issue cover boy had to say about what's going on with his health…
We were surprised when you said you were going to bed and couldn't talk last night at 9 because you were so tired…
Yeah, I've been really, really, tired for the last three weeks or so. Last night when you texted, I was literally laying in bed, wiped out and it wasn't even 8:00 p.m. here. I normally stay up pretty late, but recently, I've been falling asleep before it was even really dark outside.
So what exactly, is going on?
You know, they told me the name of the condition that I have, but I can't even pronounce it, much less remember it. Basically, it's like small particles of my muscles are shredding off and flowing through my bloodstream and getting trapped in my kidneys. My liver and kidneys are all packed up full of it, and they are starting to go into fail mode. This has been happening for the last month or two. These last three weeks at the races, I haven't been feeling good. This last weekend at Budds Creek, I couldn't even finish the moto. I was tired after like 10 minutes. My kidneys are all swelled up and full of bacteria, and it affects the way I feel and it kills my energy level.
Are you in a lot of pain?
No, there's no pain really associated with it. I just feel like crap and I have no energy. I can't finish a moto strong because it makes me so tired. It's strange because I recently hurt my thumb, and I've been taking Ibuprofin for it, and it does nothing for me at all.
What brought on this condition?
They say that dehydration caused it. Which it strange, because I've been drinking like two bottles of Pedialyte every day. The dehydration, combined with exhaustion because I have been working so hard, is what caused it. I've been working out hard, but it's not like Epstein Barr, which is brought on my over training. Mine feels completely different, even though it may sound the same as Epstein Barr. I have a low count of red blood cells and it's kind of like my whole body is shutting down.
How do they treat your condition?
There's only one way, I guess. They have been pumping me full of fluids. Today alone I have had seven bags of IV fluids and I have only peed once, and that was barely a dribble. They say that if the IVs don't help rehydrate me, they will have to operate on my kidneys and that's scary. If I would have gone on the way I was for a couple more weeks, they say I could have died.
What were the symptoms? Extreme fatigue?
I was real tired. I rode a 30-minute moto on Monday and I could barely finish it. I mean, barely. I was so tired that I could barely stand up afterwards. My heart rate was really high, and my muscles and my tendons were sore. The other day I felt like I pulled the tendons on the backside of my knee. They hurt so bad that I thought they were torn, but I didn't crash or anything.
I basically woke up this morning and felt so bad that I decided to go in to the hospital and get looked at; to get some blood work done. I guess there's some sort of level that they measure called CPK (creatine phosphokinase…Editor) and the average level is between 100-200. Well, mine was 3000!
What is the recovery time?
They said I was not racing this weekend, but maybe next weekend if I make a great recovery. But they told me that I wasn't leaving the hospital until that COK level was normal.
Oh, you're still at the hospital!?!?
Yeah, they are keeping me overnight and not letting me go until I am better. I'm stuck here! I ain't leaving until I am back to normal. This is serious shit! If my kidneys don't get better, I am gonna have to get surgery, man! You're gonna have to fly out here and donate a kidney to me! (Laughs)
Oh man. But will an Asian kidney work in a black man?
(Laughs) I think so. And you guys live longer than we do, so I will be all good. (Laughs)
Are any of the nurses hot, at least?
No. None of mine. I mean, there are a couple hot ones floating around, but I am in no condition to be showing them what my Instagram is all about.
Is this something that is pretty rare?
Yeah, it's rare. I should have never gotten this. Hands down, for this to happen to my body, they say that I must have pushed my body to its absolute limit. For this to happen, you have to have had something happen to you. When you just overtrain, you get Epstein Barr, but that's not what this is. I wish I had that.
Changing subjects a little, how do you feel about your season up until now?
Well, the last three weeks were terrible because I've been dealing with this feeling, but before that I was happy. It's been nice to get on a 450 that I am comfortable on. The start was good because I was staying healthy and didn't have any bad races until these problems started. I am confident in my ability to ride a big bike and hopefully I will be on a 450 next year, too.
How is that going? The hunt for a new ride?
There's no offers yet, but I am talking to a few teams. I am really hoping to get a 450 ride for Supercross. Riding a 450 indoors will be fun, but a lot more challenging, too. All the top guys are there, unlike the 250 class where they are split into two coasts. Being the heaviest guy in the 250 class was tough, and I am looking forward to not being at a power disadvantage indoors.
Since you've been sick, you've not really been able to cash in on the fame that comes with your newest magazine cover…
(Laughs) Oh I know. I have not been able to. I had one girl come by, but I was just too tired, man. (Laughs) I am not even kidding you. This last week, I have been going to sleep at like 7:00 and sleeping over 10 hours and still taking naps during the day. It was gnarly. I am really glad that I came in today.
Me too, buddy. Please keep us posted on how things are progressing, will ya?
Oh for sure, If you don't hear from me tomorrow, you'll know that something went bad and you better start checking the newspapers! (Laughs). But seriously, thanks for the call. It's boring in here!