Monday, January 21, 2013

Move it.

I don't want to brag or anything but my body is pretty darn amazing.

And while we are on the subject - so is yours.

 In the past, I've never been a particularly athletic person.  This is for several reasons, namely my opposition to public sweating, a natural tendency to "flail" when attempting physical activity and an overactive inner voice which defaults to sarcasm.  I also seem to have been born without the competitive gene (this could be why I was attracted to my spouse who as many know is particularly well-endowed with the attribute).  Whatever the reason - I've never been one to take joy in sports, gyms or anything ESPN-esque (Oh it's a thing).  And though I've always led an active life, exercise was more of a happy coincidence rather than something I sought out.

Then cancer happened. 

Months of forced inactivity and devastating illness left my body weak, scarred and a nutritional wreck. At my worst, I was unable to climb even a few stairs without stopping to rest.  A cardiac stress test late in treatment revealed I was completely deconditioned and in terrible shape for my age.  Thank you Captain Obvious. 

So now what?  How do you dig out of a hole that deep?

One decision at a time.
Nothing inspires self-reflection like complete debilitation.  From my perch on the couch, I was able to see clearly that being sick and immobile is not where I want to be.  Ever. Again. And from the moment I was physically able, I began searching for ways to do something I had previously taken for granted:  move. 

I started spinning at Terra Sports (for the locals, Terra provides free trainer ride time on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings throughout the winter and cheap rentals if you don't have your own bike).   I was slow, awkward and probably amusing to the tri athletes who train there regularly.  But here's the important part: I kept going. 

My view from our early morning trainer rides.  Chris bribed me with coffee before the first session.
My riding companions - Chris and Alex. 
 Severe radiation burns eventually made cycling too painful to continue for a time.  But instead of resuming "couch position," I found myself searching for new ways to get out and move.  Because it felt good. Because it is an absolute gift to be able to move. 

This winter I've been snow shoeing and hiking, started back up with yoga, pilates and even participated in one really awkward Zumba class.  We were given a membership to the Kroc center and take the kids swimming several times a week.  Yesterday I ran two miles and nothing was even chasing me. 

Views from Mineral Ridge trail. 
Sweet Ellie and Huck - two of my snowshoeing buddies.
Primary view I had while snowshoeing to ensure I wouldn't trip over my own feet.
Eagle watching with the kiddos at Higgins Point
Chris and I on an eagle watching excursion
Evidence of my complete lack of Zumba coordination.  Most calories were burned by laughter.

And the best part is - I don't care that two miles isn't very far or that I probably look like I'm having an epileptic fit during Zumba or that I am the only mom wearing a scarf at the pool.  I am completely head-over-heels in love with  finding strength in the most unexpected place - my own body.  A body that has miraculously forgiven me for putting it through hell.

I've finally found the joy in simply being able to move.   

Monday, January 7, 2013

Cancer, we need to talk.

Dear Cancer,

It's probably best if I just come right out and say this. We both know it's been coming for some time.

Things just aren't working out between us.

From the beginning, our relationship was dysfunctional. No one approved of our union.  Friends, family - even complete strangers - knew it wasn't right for us to be together.  But I had no choice.  Fate united us.

As you well know, things between us progressed far too quickly.  Before I knew it, my entire world revolved around you. You took away my innocence.  You took away people that I loved. You forced me to watch helplessly as you dragged others into your caustic lifestyle.

You tried to suck the life right out of me.

Early on, I knew I wanted you out of my life.  It took everything I had to do it.  But I'm stronger now.  Stronger than you could ever be.

 And whatever we had - well - It's over now.

I'm breaking up with you, Cancer.   And in the immortal words of a certain pop diva - We are never, ever getting back together.  Ever. 

So stay away from me.  Stay away from my family and friends.   I will forgive what you've done to me - but I will never forget.

And just so we are perfectly clear:  It's not me - It's you.



Celebratory dinner at the Davenport Hotel. Cheers to health!
 Happy to be moving on with "real life" (whatever that may look like)!

Bilateral mastectomy June 4
Six rounds of Carboplatin, Taxotere, Trastuzamab and Herceptin completed October 25
29 radiation treatments completed December 28