I’ve exercised regularly in one form or another since I was 13. I try to eat healthy most of the time. Everything in moderation! I have never smoked and I don’t drink often.
And then in January of this year at the age of 42, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.
To say I was shocked is an understatement. It was a very early stage and had not spread through my lymph nodes or anywhere else in my body yet so surgery followed by radiation was my treatment plan.
After I got over my initial shock and anger, I tackled this as if it were simply a bump in the road. When my treatment was over I would be done and just get back to life as usual. I was so naïve! This was no bump in the road. It was a major detour or more like a complete change of direction.
After treatment, I was exhausted and didn’t do much, but physical activity and my personal fitness were never far from my mind. I took the time I needed to recover and I didn’t push myself but was anxious to get back to my fitness routine… lifting, running races, etc.
Well, that road back is proving to be much more difficult than I expected. Maybe I wasn’t that fit to begin with…who knows! Logically, when your getting back in shape, you start with lighter weight, walk/run intervals, lots of rest, etc. I’ve done everything “right” so why is it taking so long?! Why am I not fit? I know this makes me sound like I’m having a little temper tantrum, but this is new territory for me.
And then, it dawned on me, this is just another “level” of fitness in my life. I need to stop looking at myself as being out of shape and start looking at it as just my current fitness level. And move forward from there.
This is no different than when I took the summers off during high school and did absolutely nothing or the time I (stupidly) ran a marathon with bronchitis and it layed me up for months afterward. Whenever I started up again I never felt “out of shape” I just knew I was starting at a different fitness level. I’ve used this realization to adjust my workout plans and goals for the rest of the year. I usually run a number of road races but I’ve set my sights on just one in particular that I run every year. I’ve relaxed my expectations and decided to focus on new areas. Nutrition for one! And flexibility.
Don’t get me wrong…cancer is HARD. It’s hard to accept. It’s hard to understand. It’s hard to treat. It’s hard to live with. But, maybe, just maybe, this IS just a bump in the road.
Stay tuned for new workout plans and updates on my progress. Let me know if I can help you on your journey, whatever it may be!