Since I haven't blogged in quite awhile, I guess I should start with... I have finished all 12 chemo treatments! Woo Hoo! Yay! But, for whatever reason I'm not in the mood to write about that today..soon though, very soon. :)
What has been on my mind is learning this new body of mine. It's not really a new body, but it seems to be different than I remember it. I grew up playing sports and competing in everything I could. Literally. Everything. I was the youngest of 4 children and made everything into a competition with them, as well as everyone else around me. If we were walking around Disney, I had to be in front. If we were eating, I needed to be done first. I don't know why I have always been this way, I just always have. (Well, I'm pretty sure my family instigating most of it.. Like the time we were on a family bike ride and my brother decided as we were riding through a parking lot we would speed up and taunt me by saying "I'm beating you, Amber. I'm beating you." So I sped up as fast as I could right in time to hit a speed bump and fly over my handle bars. haha. yea times like those ;) ) Anyways, I've just always been competitive. Then sports came and it got even more intense. I needed to be the best at everything I tried (not tennis, I gave up on tennis after I realized I was trying to beat everyone by hitting it the farthest and as we all know that's not the way you play tennis..but I could hit it further..) I was probably the only "athletic" girl in college the refused to play intramurals because I knew I would embarrass myself by throwing my bat if I struck out or yelling something inappropriate after an error. You get the point - everything is a competition wether I want it to be or not, so when I find myself getting back into somewhat of a workout routine it is super difficult for me to realize that I can no longer complete the kickboxing class without taking several breaks and not working at 100% the entire hour or when I can't keep up with the spin class and I have to keep my resistance at a standstill when everyone else is adding more resistance to their bikes to make it "up the hill."
I enjoy going to the work out classes rather than working out with the weights in the gym. And I laugh as I write this because it just now clicked - I probably enjoy them because it makes me motivated not to stop because others around me are still going (which probably boils down to my competitiveness). Either way it keeps me going. So after my last chemo treatment on March 4th, I bought a pass to the group classes and started with yoga. One of the things I've noticed with the "new body" of mine is that my muscles are super, super tight. Like I can't go into more than a 90 degree split, if that. I can no longer touch the floor with my knees straight. The flexibility I once knew is gone. I really enjoy going to the yoga classes and figured this would be a good place to start with this new flexibility issue. The best thing that has come out of this class was a short conversation with the instructor. And the conversation wasn't even with me. My mother-in-law, Meg, ended up coming to the same class and brought a friend. Her friend is the one that had this conversation. She was sharing that she enjoyed the class and that she needed to get back into things. The instructor went on to say, "Its something that comes with time. You need to know your body and know what it needs. You don't ever need to push too hard, but rather listen to your body and do what feels good." What she said stuck with me. This is what I'm struggling with. I'm trying to pick up where I left off and that's just not possible. Not now. I need to relearn my body. What it can do and what it can't do. I need to listen when it tells me to back off. I need to concentrate on rebuilding my muscle, my endurance, my stamina rather than trying to keep up with those around me, which completely wears me out. I need to give myself credit for being at the gym and working rather than tear myself down for not being in "peak physical condition" (not that I ever was but I still try to keep up with those who are and then get frustrated when I can't keep up). I've always cut myself short and have always been hard on myself. I'm learning to really learn where I am at and grow from there.
I've been told some good advice these past couple of weeks as I am relearning this body and where it is at.
1. Listen to your body (not the person's next to you)
2. Zumba makes your heart happy (for real, I love it. And this goes for other work outs, too. It just makes you feel good!)
3. Find where your fitness level is and go from there
I feel silly relating this whole thing to God, but another part of my "learning process" is really understanding God's hand in everything. Literally, everything. God has put simple reminders throughout my day that is making it easier for me to learn this new body of mine without getting frustrated. The small conversations. The advice. The reassurance that I am supposed to be there when people recognize me and ask where I've been. The little things that I know is God's way of helping my get over this small hurdle. And I'm thankful he cares about something as small as this. And am comforted that if he cares this much about helping me through this little issue, how much he must care about the bigger things in my life.
Luke 12:7Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
This verse has made me laugh the past several months as my hair continued to get thinner and thinner. I joked that God knew how many hairs were on my head, even if it was just a few. Such a great verse that helps us understand that He really does care about the small things.