I don’t know how I got there – well, actually, I do. I’m extremely susceptible to ads and deals. So when my sister-in-law told me there was a coupon for kickboxing classes for $15 for five classes and free pink gloves, I was all over it like a chicken on a bug.
I knew I needed to get back in shape since cancer and chemo, but the last time I tried any type of gym membership right after treatment, I lasted only twelve minutes on an elliptical. I had to stop from the exhaustion and from the sweat under my gray lace hat because I was still too ashamed to show my bald head at the gym. I tried yoga through a hospital cancer center six months ago but had to stop – again to exhaustion – but also because of the other cancer survivors in the room – I was the youngest by several decades.
So by an advertisement and the drive I got from my little one pinching my mommy pudge and cracking up – yes, Son, YOU gave me that – I was sitting on the kickboxing mat taking a break while the rest of the class went on. Sweat pooled on my back and ran rivers on my face. If I cried, the salt would blend in and run off my body. I was mad and disappointed and exhausted and most of all, frustrated. Several years ago, this would’ve been easy for me. I know what it means to work out and push through. I kept telling my body “WAKE UP!” over and over again, but the places that hurt the most were the places where things are missing.
More than trying to get my body healthy again, the emotions which bubbled over were more from coming to terms with how my body is different now. I wanted to have a dialogue with my body:
“Don’t you remember how to do this?”
“Do you know they’re gone? –both ovaries, the uterus, appendix, gallbladder, 1/8 of a liver– Do you still know I was sick?”
After the exercise, I sat with my trainer – a beautiful soul who could tell my frustration. She encouraged me to have compassion for my body and self. This is a hard thing to do because of anyone, I am the hardest on myself – because I want and NEED to push through. She never once told me I did something wrong – but instead during the exercise helped move me in the right direction.
I think that’s what I needed, a face with a name, a kind word, to tell me what I was doing was more than enough. I hope one day I can replace one of the pictures on the wall of success stories – and feel brave enough to take a picture with my tummy cancer scars and all. I hope they never see me give up – and know even if I’m taking breaks – I’m giving 110% of all I have.
I don’t tell my cancer story for pity – I tell it so that no matter what I face, people know whatever I’m going through now, physical, emotional, or spiritual – that I’ve been through worse and WON.