Fitness Quest: September 2017

A busy month for me as it turns out that was pretty good all in all despite getting back some iffy blood tests from my doctor on Monday. Nothing terribly serious, but we’ve got a couple things to watch regarding my liver enzymes as they spiked which is an indication of liver damage which is one of the side effects from my medication. So far no word on an ultra-sound to check things out, so I’ll follow-up. The numbers aren’t very high above the normal range. Everything else was pretty good though except for my iron and vitamin D levels. So back to the supplements. Ugh.

Crohn’s Update: In addition to the above, I’m actually feeling pretty good these days. I have energy it seems – which may be in part to the iron, vitamin B and other supplements. But I’m not complaining. Still not “normal” by most people’s standards, especially in the bathroom if you get my drift, but pretty darn close I think (i.e. no accidents or emergencies in a long time). Met with my new gastroenterologist and like her a lot. Very good doctor/patient rapport and she did her homework on my case before coming seeing me!

Workouts: I got all my weight workouts in despite a tough rehearsal schedule for the show I’m in (It Came from Mars at the Toledo Rep). This included two on Thursday, one before rehearsal in the gym (shoulders and back) and one after rehearsal with my brother-in-law (chest). In the past week I’ve been feeling particularly good. I’m waking up better in the morning and getting my daily push-ups (up to 30 per set) and concentration curls (gotta build that biceps peak) each morning.

Results are coming with my weight training, though slower than I’d like (naturally). My arms – the left one at least – are back over 16 inches cold and I think look a lot better (more defined – they are also harder it seems). Probably more importantly, I’m getting more reps in per set with my bench and increasing weight in other lifts. Not at my strongest yet, but not bad for an old man (8 reps at 225 for three sets currently). The goal is still 25 continuous reps at 225. Getting there slowly – thought my brother-in-law and training partner is getting stronger by the workout lately. 

Speaking of who, he unintentionally provided some big motivation this week. During our Sunday workout it was pretty obvious that he had his “swole” on – as in his short sleeve shirt was stretched to its max. Turns out he’s gone through a recent growth spurt sometime in the last three months, if not in the last couple weeks, especially in his arms and chest.  He now leads our “arms race” by a little more than an inch and is still growing. It’s a mystery to me why after several months of essentially the same workout he grew, though I’ve read somewhere that muscle growth occurs in spurts and isn’t a straight line gain kind of thing. He thinks it’s just from being consistent which is true as we’ve rarely missed a workout in the past year or so, I think maybe he adjusted his diet somehow or perhaps unbeknownst to us he was “belted by gamma rays*” though he isn’t turning green. However, instead of being jealous (okay, maybe a little) as I may have been when we were younger, I’m finding myself motivated to hit it harder in the gym and other workouts to catch up. Or at the very least, not fall farther behind. So even though we shouldn’t judge or compare ourselves to others, a little competition between friends is a great motivator it seems.


Cardio: thanks to my sister, I’m really stepping up my step game (pun intended). She’s been pushing a weekly “workweek hustle” on Fitbit and gotten several others to join in. I used to think I walked a lot during the day but now, whew! I’m also working harder to keep up with her.jacobsladder-3-full

Discovered a new cardio device at the College gym called “Jacob’s Ladder” (here’s their website – I’m not reimbursed for this endorsement btw) If you haven’t used one of the things and have the opportunity to do so – DO IT! One of the toughest cardio workouts I’ve ever had and it also works the arms and legs at the same time.


Nutrition: I met my protein goals most days this week, thanks to Muscle Milk and protein bars (again, not an endorsement – research all supplements before using). I’m surprised at how difficult this is. Especially without increasing fats, which unfortunately, I have not mastered. However, I have cut down on my carbs including simple sugars considerably. Turns out you can live quite well without french fries. Who knew?

Other Cool Things this Month: got an unexpected and random compliment on my triceps; had a pleasant conversation with a cashier about Fitbits – the young ladies really like the leather band it seems 😉; and had another good conversation about working out in general late in the week with another friend. 

All in all a surprisingly motivating week.


*obscure reference to lyrics from a Marvel cartoon show in the 1960s. Bonus points if you know which one and just saying “Hulk” doesn’t count.

More bonus points if you know where the featured image is from.



Fitness Quest and Crohn’s Update: July 2016

Wow! I knew I hadn’t been blogging for a while but I didn’t realize it’s been 3 months. I’ve been busy I guess but I haven’t forgotten my fitness goals and efforts. So, here’s the update for those interested:

Crohn’s – doing well. The Humira treatment seems to continue to work. I wouldn’t call what I’m experiencing full remission, but it’s close. I’ve had a few “queasy” days this summer but nothing major to keep me off work or anything. I’m due for another round of testing/scanning/probing this fall and I expect that I’ll here that my condition remains essentially unchanged from last year. Which would be the best news I could expect (the damage can’t be undone, but if further damage is prevented that’s all I need to keep avoiding surgery).

Fitness: I did pretty well again, for me, with the Rose Run 5K that I’ve been participating in. I beat my time from last year thanks in large part to the urging and support of my niece who ran with me. So this is the third straight year of doing better than the year before! My new goal is to get below a 30 minute 5K. I came in 4th in my age group with 5 behind me by the way. My official time was 41:55 and I’m several minutes faster than when I started 5 years ago. Not a huge change, but a positive one. Especially given how little I actually train for it.

I’ve been keeping up with my weight workouts with my brother-in-law. The weight is going up, my body weight is going down (usually), my waist is shrinking and my biceps are growing. Things are on track in this area.

I participated in a “22 Push Ups for 22 Days” to raise awareness of Veteran Suicide. On average, 22 vets in the USA commit suicide each day. This was a pure awareness campaign but I thought an important one. Plus, doing the push ups each day really seemed to up my feeling of well-being each day. I’m continuing to do them even though the challenge is over. I’m planning to work my way to 100 per day (in one set) by the end of the year.

Mountain Climbing: as a benefit of my increased fitness I took on the challenge of climbing the 2nd highest mountain in the contiguous USA (Mt. Elbert) when visiting Colorado this summer. Unfortunately, I only made it to 13,000 feet and was about 1,400 vertical feet short of the summit. It was a fun day nonetheless with a couple cousins who live in Colorado (they made the summit). The thin air was too much for me – or rather not enough for me. Next time, I acclimate at a higher elevation for several days. Next goal though is to fail to summit the highest point in the contiguous USA – Mt. Whitney in California.

Nutrition: as mentioned earlier, my weight has been decreasing. But, in my continuing quest to build muscle while losing fat I’ve been experimenting with my diet. My most recent experiment was to reduce my carbs significantly and increase my protein. There have been some conflicting studies on the effectiveness of this. But, I’ve known a couple people who really dropped the weight while doing this and my limited experience so far is that it does work. I’m still playing with how to add some carbs back in occasionally, since they have a place in the overall healthy diet and maintaining daily “energy,” so more on this later.

Mental Health: overall, I’m still a happy and positive person. Sure, I have my moments like everyone else, but I don’t have much to complain about. My “new” job is going well with supportive co-workers and supervisors, my friends are few but close, my family closer and my faith is strong. The only thing that threatens my well-being right now is the back and forth bickering on Facebook concerning the presidential campaign. Just a few more months…

So, overall things are good. I feel healthy, I look healthier, and I’m more active than I’ve been in a long time. Old age is still creeping up on me (I notice more daily aches and pains) but I’m putting it off as long as I can and hope you will do the same.



Rockwell Bodybuilder

Fitness Quest: Weight Loss, Running, Weights, and Crohn’s

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a new blog so I figured at the very least I should update everyone on my continuing quest for greater fitness as I move through middle age (better than the alternative, right?).

The good news is that there is no news. My Crohn’s has been pretty calm since I’ve started taking Humira several months ago. Sure, I have a grumble here a little constipation and/or diarrhea there but no days long bouts of intense pain and lack of energy and overall “pushing” just to get started for and through the day. I have a CT Scan on Monday and hopefully it will show that there has been no significant progress of the disease putting off the day I’ll need surgery for a little longer.

On a tangent – I attended an IBD Patient Update hosted by the University of Michigan IBD team and the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America with participants from Henry Ford Hospitals and Baylor University. A lot of good information from this session. I finally learned that my medicine may costs about $40,000 a year for those who don’t have insurance (yikes!). No cure is on the horizon but several potentially game changing treatments are in clinical trials. It also reaffirmed that given what could have been that I’ve been very, very fortunate with my Crohn’s. It turns out that 44% of patients with Crohn’s have required surgery by 9 years after diagnoses. Me, I’ve gone about 30 so far. Surgery, if it goes well, often does provide relief. But too often it is temporary and then there are a host of potential complications. Most that I don’t even want to think about but may discuss later.

I haven’t been running lately, trying to rest my shins and recondition them before running again. The pain was getting pretty bad. However, I am keeping up with my walking and watching my diet. I need to move from just counting calories to better tracking my “macros” though. I think if I up my nutrition that I’ll make better gains in the weight room and with fat loss.

Speaking of the weight room, it’s been a couple weeks since I’ve started lifting again regularly. I was pretty sore after the first couple workouts but I’m doing better and my lifts are getting heavier. I’m also working out about once a week with my brother-in-law again and he helps to push me simply by staying ahead of me in his bench press. Though this should not stop you from trying. Friendly competition never hurts as long as you don’t get hung up on the fact that some people will always be better than you at something. In fact, I’m still “competing” with a couple friends to see who can do better over the course of time in terms of fitness goals. Celebrate other peoples success and you’ll be happier in the long run (trust me).

So, overall, I’m down in weight about 15 pounds since this time last year. I’m stronger, faster, and feeling pretty good overall. Not where I want to be, who is after all, but getting a little closer each day.


Crohn’s Holiday Update

Just a short post today to update the status of my Crohn’s (and/or other mystery condition) this holiday season. So far this week my “gut” has been remarkably quiet. I had some problems a week ago – which struck during the annual holiday outing with the office sadly – but I went through all of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day without any incident. This was even after eating popcorn two days in a row (which sometimes seems to cause me issues).

My energy is okay – not too tired, but not too energetic either – and overall I’m okay and think I feel pretty much as a “normal” person without an IBD would feel (not really sure of course).

In other good news the pathology report from my last colonoscopy did come back and the polyp that was removed was deemed to be “hyperplastic” which means, according to the American Cancer Society website at least, that it was benign and nothing to worry about (hurray!).

I am scheduled for what is called a “double balloon endoscopy – colonoscopy” on January 29th. This test is designed to go higher than the previous one, which if you’ll recall came back pretty much normal. There was some “focal distortion,” indicating healed injury, of the Ileocecal valve but the etiology (causes) was not apparent. But, still no definitive proof of Crohn’s. And if surgery is needed it won’t be done without this evidence. Though my doctor does say that there is a 95% chance it is Crohn’s. He is also concerned that the Crohn’s could have become lymphoma over the years and wants to rule this out as well.

Another fun thing, by the way, for Christmas I got an “UP 24” (by Jawbone) to help me monitor my overall fitness. So far after using it for two days I’ve discovered that I don’t walk enough (almost 2,000 steps short yesterday), I eat too much (I told you I was feeling good) and my sleep is restless at best. Hmmmm…like I needed a new app and device to tell me all this! I’m also trying to make better use of the GI Monitor app to better track my IBD symptoms. I’m not doing as well with that as I could. But, I’m off work until Friday, January 2 so I’ve got some time to break in a few new habits.

All in all, I’m looking forward to the New Year.


Peter N. Nielsen – Profile in Crohn’s Courage

To close out Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness week, I’d like to mention another person who serves as an inspiration to me as I learned (and continue to learn) how to live with my Crohn’s even though I’ve never met him: Peter N. Nielsen.

I was already somewhat aware of Peter the day that I  browsing through the Border’s in downtown Ann Arbor sometime in the mid-nineties, I had seen him on television with the local NBC affiliate with who he had a regular fitness segment on the news, when I discovered his book “Will of Iron – A Champion’s Journey.” I picked it up because I wondered why I should be interested in his story. Sure, he was clearly fit and a former champion bodybuilder but he was not Arnold or Big Lou. But after a quick look at the book’s cover I discovered that like me, he had Crohn’s – but he sure didn’t look like me. I bought the book and quickly learned of his life story.

He was formally diagnosed with Crohn’s at the age of 15 after being small and sickly most of his life. Shortly after his diagnosis he had surgery to remove a portion of his colon (he has had several more surgeries since then and possibly more) and after the surgery his doctor suggested to his parents that he needed to gain some weight so why don’t they get him a weight set. Well, his dad did and the next thing you know his life was changed.

In his book, Peter explains that he did not think he would become a bodybuilder or be a celebrated trainer – this was the late seventies after all and such lifestyles were still looked upon with suspicion, but that weight set changed a lot of things. Slowly, other influences crept into his life. First, he lived in Brooklyn, NY just a couple miles away from were Lou Ferrigno, already a neighbor “legend” and about to become more so as the “Hulk,” grew up. A cousin who played football at Boston College who was also an avid weightlifter left some “muscle mags” around the house and Peter would find them and at first laugh at why anyone would do that to themselves, let alone get on stage all oiled up. Then he took a weight training class in his last year of high school and he admits that he didn’t try to hard. Illness forced him back to the hospital though and when he got out he made a decision to build himself back to “normal.” He began working out in small basement of the apartment building his family lived in. The bug had bit and soon, he built himself back to normal and then some!

Peter went on to become a successful competitive bodybuilder and after dabbling in that lifestyle for sometime he made the decision to move to the Detroit area and through hard work and dedication found himself as a local fitness celebrity and inspiration to many people, including myself.

Peter has quite a web presence and can tell his story better than I can. If you’d like to learn more about this remarkable man his web site is:



What is Crohn’s

It occurs to me that although I talk about Crohn’s disease and my experiences with it, I haven’t ever said exactly what Crohn’s is. Well, since it is Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week I can’t imagine a better time to explain. By the way, most of the information that follows, as well as much more, can be found at the website of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America ( One of the foremost organizations dedicated to Crohn’s and Colitis research and the search for a cure.

The disease was first described  in 1932 by Dr. Burrill B. Crohn and his colleagues Dr. Leon Ginzburg and Dr. Gordon D. Oppenheimer, who were early pioneers of Crohn’s disease and a group of conditions known as Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD) of which Crohn’s belongs too. Compared to the 7 billion people in the world, Crohn’s is rare. Currently there are believed to be about 5 million people with Crohn’s world wide about 1.6 million of them in the USA alone.

In simple terms, Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract caused by a malfunctioning autoimmune system. Basically, my body is acting as if the normal bacteria which is in everyone’s gut is foreign or invading. Thus, inflammation, low grade fever, and sometimes sweating occurs – along with pain (the sweet, sweet, pain…). The diarrhea, which by the way is not only frequent but violent, is the body trying to flush the “invaders” out of the system. In my case, vomiting is often the result of a flare-up. I think that this is because my Crohn’s tends to attack above the large intestine and is thus closer to the stomach and my mouth than to the “back door.”

By the way, when reading about IBD’s, it is important to know that Crohn’s disease is not the same thing as ulcerative colitis, another type of IBD. The symptoms of these two illnesses are quite similar, but the areas affected in the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract) are different. For example, Ulcerative colitis is limited to the colon, also called the large intestine, but Crohn’s can affect any part of the GI tract, from the mouth to the anus and (rarely, thankfully) other areas as well including the heart. Crohn’s most commonly affects the end of the small bowel (the ileum) and the beginning of the colon. This is true in my case and one doctor described my initial x-rays as “classical and textbook” Crohn’s.

Also, it is important to understand the IBD’s, like Crohn’s, are not the same as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Two different things and I may go into further detail in a future blog.

While symptoms vary from patient to patient and some may be more common than others, the tell-tale symptoms of Crohn’s disease include, but are not limited too:

  • Persistent Diarrhea
  • Rectal bleeding
  • Urgent need to move bowels
  • Abdominal cramps and pain
  • Sensation of incomplete evacuation
  • Constipation (can lead to bowel obstruction)

I personally suffer from all of the above as well as an overall lack of energy/malaise especially during a flare-up. There have been times when I have been so tired from a mild flare-up (which mine usually are) that I’ll fall asleep early in the evening – 7:00 PM or so – and not wake up until 12 or 13 hours later!  When I was first diagnosed I was suffering – yes, suffering – from rapid and unexplained weight loss and loss of appetite. This along with the intense pain are very common first signs of the disease. So please understand that when I, or anyone else you know with Crohn’s, says they are tired – they really are. Likewise, if you notice I’m suddenly listless and not moving or just staring into empty air, there’s a good chance that I’m suppressing some serious pain at that moment. When it’s really bad you’ll see me grimace. I’ve gotten so I don’t usually bend over anymore regardless of how bad the pain is.

The chronic inflammation may also cause a fistula to develop. This is what my doctor has discovered has happened to me. A fistula is a tunnel that leads from one loop of intestine to another, or that connects the intestine to the bladder, vagina, or skin. This is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention – which is why I’m not on a waiting list for the colonoscopy but got moved to the front of the line. Because of the chronic nature of the inflammation I also have a permanent “narrowing” or “thickening” of my small intestine near the ileum (the most common location for Crohn’s to occur where the small and large intestines join) and scar tissue. There is a good possibility that even if medication can heal the fistula that my symptoms may actually get worse and surgery becomes my only option for relief.

The causes of Crohn’s Disease are not well understood even today. It is known that diet and stress may aggravate Crohn’s Disease, but they do not cause the disease on their own. Recent research suggests hereditary, genetics, and/or environmental factors contribute to the development of Crohn’s Disease.

Crohn’s tends to run in families, so if you or a close relative have the disease, your family members have a significantly increased chance of developing Crohn’s.

The disease is most common among people of eastern European backgrounds, including Jews of European descent. In recent years, an increasing number of cases have been reported among African American populations.

The environment in which you live also appears to play a role. Crohn’s is more common in developed countries rather than undeveloped countries, in urban rather than rural areas, and in northern rather than southern climates. Personally, I suspect pollution of the environment and wouldn’t be surprised if they find that chemicals added to our food play a role.

I hope that this helps everyone to better understand Crohn’s in particular. As I think I’ve mentioned before, I’m one of the lucky people with Crohn’s. My flare-ups are mild and usually short in duration – though I do have some mild discomfort almost all the time – days, not weeks and months. People like Peter K. Vaughan, who I profiled in my last blog entry, have suffered much worse. Though Crohn’s in and of itself is not considered fatal, in the worst cases complications of the disease and/or treatment are.

Peter K. Vaughan – Profile in Crohn’s Courage

Peter K Top Form 2011
Peter K Vaughan in his 2011, in what he considers his previous top shape. He plans to better this build!
Peter K out of hospital Jan 2012
Peter K Vaughan, just out of the hospital in January 2012. He weighs about 116 pounds here and still not his all time worst condition.

I have mentioned before that my case of Crohn’s is a mild one. Even though it doesn’t seem so to me late at night with my head over a toilet or when writhing on the floor of an airport waiting area, jaundiced and almost hoping for death to arrive (then realizing the awful truth – that it wasn’t coming. Yes, the pain can be that bad) others have had it much, much worse.

Over the years I have known and met others with Crohn’s who have been through much worse than I have and who have also accomplished much despite the illness. One of these people is a young man from Ireland (we met on – never in person) whose name is Peter K. Vaughan. Since I have first been in contact with Peter about five years ago his courage and perseverance has inspired me.  His Crohn’s is one of the worst cases I’ve heard of and it has effected his life in ways that I will never fully understand. His story, however, is also one of the most inspiring.

Like many of us, Peter had an early interest in bodybuilding and he first picked up weights when he found a set of dumbbells under the stairs in his uncle’s house. He immediately became hooked. However, life had other ideas and before he could start to realize his bodybuilding potential Peter was diagnosed with Crohn’s in 1998 at the age of 12.

Within just a couple years Crohn’s had attacked most of his digestive system, from mouth to anus, and he was in bad shape. His large intestine was removed, his small intestine was mostly removed and altered.  His kidneys came close to failure and blood loss was rampant. Plus, the joints in his knees and fingers locked up. So badly that at one point his fingers would curl up and his fingernails cut his own hands. He says that he had so many procedures over the years that he lost track of his operations and medications.

Things were so bad that by age 13 he was having thoughts of suicide. But then he made a different decision. He was not going to let his life be defined by Crohn’s he was going to fight and persevere!

And fight he had to do because Crohn’s was going to go the distance with him. Over the years he has had (in no particular order): ulcers, adhesions, blockages, cysts, fistulas, abscesses, strictures, kinks, tears, tags, pouchitis, and stomas. In addition to the crippling pain that Crohn’s would afflict him with he also suffered through thousands of needle punctures, IV therapies, blood transfusions, collapsed veins, feeding and draining tubes, osteopenia, cracked ribs and even a collapsed lung post surgery! He spent so much time in bed and his muscles atrophied so much that he had to learn to walk and run again. I’m not sure that I’ve even covered all the things that Peter had to endure.

But, somehow, he managed to finish school, and at 17 he was healthy enough to begin growing again eventually reaching a just above Irish average male adult height of 5’10” in his early twenties (many children with Crohn’s are “stunted” during puberty and Peter is shorter than his brothers who are all over six feet tall, but he is a little taller than his father. By the way, the latest figures I found online indicate that the current average male in Ireland is 5’9″ – but men born in the eighties as Peter was are closer to 5’8″) and in 2007 at the age of 20, tired of being known as the “skinny, sick kid” he started to lift weights to improve not only his under 120 pound body but his confidence.

The weights worked. In about two years he had built himself up to a healthy, and healthy looking, 160 pounds. He was able to pursue normal activities again, even traveling abroad. The gym, diet, and disease were no longer the center of his life and he was doing well until in 2010 the unthinkable happened. Crohn’s once again returned into Peter’s life.

He lost all the gains he made in the past several years and his weight plummeted back below 130 pounds. But the worst effect was the one on his mind and his attitude. As he said, “it ate into my mind. It took everything I had to not let it take hold over me all these years later.” In early 2011 a new treatment was tried and he began to recover. He knew what he needed to do: he went back to the gym and refocused on his nutrition. He recovered reaching new gains in size and strength. But Crohn’s was never far away and by the end of 2011 he was once again fading and his weight plummeted down to a frightening 114 pounds. Back to the hospital….and the cycle continued. Crohn’s would knock Peter down for another 15 months and but Peter just got back up again!

Today Peter is healthy again and eating – a lot. You have to eat the calories to put on the mass. He says that he no longer eats for taste, that it’s all about giving his body what it needs to heal and grow.

He now weighs a healthy 166 pounds, his heaviest ever, his strength continues to improve and, as he says, his biceps are back! He has also finished his college studies and his passion for fitness has led him to become personal trainer, with several certifications, and he has his own training company, PKV Personal Training (more information at:

His life has been difficult. His parents were twice told that he might not make it. He fears that more surgery is still in his future and just recently (January 2014) he was diagnosed as having Pineocytoma, a slow growing tumor of the pineal gland in the brain. It’s rate of growth is being monitored closely, of course, but he says “I’m fighting. I’ve seen enough around hospitals to know better. I’m still alive, and so long as I’m here I will do what I can to make the most of things. I’ve grown up fighting, you’d better believe I’m good at it!”

By now you may be wondering, where does a man who has gone through so much draw his inspiration? Well, remember when I told you about his thoughts of suicide at age 13? There’s more to that story. I’ll let Peter tell you in his own words:

“The suicide bit, that was an extremely difficult time, but there was one kid who in many ways, gave me everything I needed to never go there again and to this day I carry his picture. He was a child a lot younger than me at the time. I didn’t know what was wrong with him other than he was dying. He passed away in the bed next to mine one night, and his mother who had always been very nice to me, gave me his picture and asked me to remember him. From then on I never give out about what happens to me. I’m here, he’s not. What right do I have to be upset? He gives me strength to fight on day after day regardless how many times I fall down. He will never know how he has helped me shape my life into something better and I think of him and his mother regularly, even now 15 years on.”

Despite Crohn’s and new threats to his health I think that Peter’s future is bright and that he will achieve any goal he sets out to achieve.  And what does Peter want people to learn from his life? Again, I think he says it best:

“I want to inspire others with life illnesses, who go through years of fighting and refusing to step back and admit defeat. I will never beat my illness, I have it for life, but I will not be beaten by my illness, I will live my life my way.”

And you know what? I think he will.

Peter K Bicep Jan 2011
Peter’s happy that his biceps are back. Triceps, too!
Peter K body extremes
This picture shows the extremes his body has gone through. Note the unevenness of his abs from multiple surgeries.