Sunday, September 03, 2006

Baby Steps

The cooler morning yesterday gave me a much needed boost. I walked slowly in the morning and did some putter gardening in the afternoon. Not much, but I have to take baby steps at this point. I know part of my problem is that I tend to be all or nothing. I've never done well with moderation in terms of activity level. When I started writing songs, I wrote hundreds of them, never really going back and crafting them as well as I could have. When I was recovering from my lymph node dissection, I pushed hard. I wanted to get back to running as soon as possible and I did briefly, until it all fell apart. At some level, that's still my goal. I can't shake that feeling that if I could start running again everything will be alright. It's not like I ever was an athlete or runner in any competetive or even serious way. I was on my junior high school track team but that was it for competetive running because I started smoking. I immediately had breathing problems as a smoker and didn't go out for track team the year after I started. Now I think I must have been allergic to smoking. Chronic bronchitis, sinus infections, and all the ongoing health problems that started as soon as I started smoking, miraculously ended when I stopped smoking in 2001 at age 43 and 5 months. I wasn't quite 14 when I started sneaking cigarettes. I didn't smoke around my parents until years later but I still smoked a lot from the beginning. I didn't start running until 2004 but I loved it . It took me back to junior high school track team and reminded me of how much I missed running. It felt so good to be able to regain a lost source of enjoyment at age 46. I couldn't believe how fast I was able to get up to run/jogging 5 plus miles. Then I got sick and never quite got well. I took a break from running while I was clearly sick but once I started back again, I never had the same energy level. Several people suggested that I was over training which made sense. I ended up working with a trainer at the Y who helped me with upper body strength and circuit training. She thought I ran to much. Ironic that I didn't work with a trainer until I was already in pretty good shape, had lost most of my excess weight and was physically active. I had in the back of my mind that I wanted to do an outward bound rock climbing excursion tailored to older adults so building upper body strength was important. Try as I might though, I never regained the energy level I had before I got sick. I was limiting running to 4 or 5 days a week VS 6 or 7 which I did for a while. When I worked with weights I sometimes limited running to 3 or 4 days and would take a day off to do nothing physical and have 2 days where I swam and 1 or 2 when I worked out with weights or rode my bike. I still couldn't regain my full strength so I tried taking more days off from exercise. Gradually I started to associate that stupid dome (it was beyond a mole by then) on my hip with not feeling well. It caught on my under pants. I would wake up bothered by it. When my sisters and I began discussing beach dates for what has become our annual reunion of sorts, it tipped the balance and I found a dermatologist to remove my 21 year old nodular melanoma. One of my sisters, in particular, commented every summer on the changing lesion on my hip. She was the one who noticed it at the beach when I told the family I was pregnant in 1984 and I went to a DERM who said my blue, black mole that bled around the edges was nothing because it was symmetrical. However, in recent years my sister said that it didn't matter if a dermatologist had said it was nothing. The point was it changed every year between the times she saw me in a swim suit and I needed to have it checked out. By that time it was very light, almost the color of my tan skin and was a very large dome. Finally, in order to avoid her concern as well as because it was starting to be associated in my mind with all that ailed me, I went to a doctor. The rest, as they say, is history, or at least my fraction of a grain of sand part of it.

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