Before I was diagnosed last year, I would get up every morning at 5:30 and work out. The two months or so before my diagnosis I used my new elliptical machine. I loved that thing. There was something about getting into my workout clothes early in the morning, plugging in my earbuds from my iPhone and spending 30 - 45 minutes working up a sweat that was very satisfying.
;-) I should have realized then I was a sick woman.
I still worked out every day up until the point my ascites bloated my abdomen up so large I could barely breathe. I think my last workout on it was about a week or two before my surgery. After that I could hardly sleep, much less work out.
After my surgery, I remember asking my surgeon how long I had to wait before I could get back on my elliptical. I was convinced that the sooner I could get back on it, the sooner I would feel better. I had no idea that it would be 8 months before I would be able to use it again.
Yes - it took me that long to get strong enough to even consider turning it on. After I finally came home from the hospital, I would take walks around my house to regain my strength. I would see it sitting there - unused. I would think of how everyone told me that it would make a good place to hang laundry. Isn't that what usually happens when we buy a piece of exercise equipment? I had sworn not only to myself, but to my husband that if we bought one for the house, I would use it religiously. Yet for months I didn't have even enough balance to get on it, much less the endurance.
Now that I'm in remission, I am using the elliptical again. It's only for about 12 minutes a day right now, and it's not at 5:30 am. Instead I fire that baby up after I get home from work. It'll take me a while to build up my endurance, but I'm working at it. I'm determined to get back up to the kinds of workouts I did when I got sick.
I think my husband might worry that I'm pushing myself too hard. He doesn't see why I feel such a deep need to get back to my pre-diagnosis state. Part of him probably thinks I'm doing it to get my figure back. Ha! I'm pretty sure that ship has sailed.
The fact is, I feel like I'm in training. I'm eating more healthy, drinking more water, exercising more. Not to lose weight. Not to have a perfect body. Not to compete in a marathon, or participate in one of those Relay for Life things. But I do have to be as healthy as I can. In the best condition I can.
So if it comes back - I can fight it off again.
I'm convinced those 5:30 am mornings gave me the strength to fight off my cancer. It's why I'm finally bouncing back now. There aren't alot of women who get a Stage IV diagnosis and go into remission. Who feel as good as I do these days. But I was healthy. In good shape. Ready for the fight of my life.
I have no intention of not being ready the next time. If there is a next time. So I hit the elliptical for those 12 minutes for a few more days or weeks. Then I'll add a few minutes. Then I'll add a few more. One day I'll be back up to 45 minutes. And if the cancer comes back?
Bring it. I'll be ready. And I'll win again.