About 18 months ago, I had a frustrating conversation with Kim, my friend who’s been keeping my physical body together for going on 7 years at this point. He’s the one who figured out how sick I was before diagnosis and encouraged me to “get thee to a doctor post haste!” He’s the one who worked with me with tiny weights, or none at all, during and after chemo to make sure that my ligaments and other connective tissue wouldn’t outperform my bone strength and cause more damage. He’s the one who has (at times literally) picked me up off the floor and kept me marching forward as my body continues to heal. And also, about 18 months ago, he’s the one who looked at me with a flash of humor and said “Lydia, I hate to break it to you, but you’re no longer recovering from chemo or open heart surgery…you’re officially just out of shape.”
Ouch. I mean, true, but ouch. A series of excuses flooded to mind: chemo, surgery, learning patience with my own limitations, not trying to do TOO much, blah blah blah. But, at the end of the day, I had to face facts. No matter the reason, I was insanely out of shape. I mean, can’t walk up a flight of stairs without heart palpitations out of shape.
So I upped my activity. I started going back to yoga more regularly. I started walking more and attempting jogging. I lifted more often. I attempted spinning and immediately gave up on it because I HATED it and then found SoulCycle and my life is complete. But I did all of this with the knowledge that my body was no longer 18 years old and can’t take too much all at once. Jogging had to stop when I developed a weird pain in my right knee. SoulCycle backed off because it’s thirty freaking dollars a class.
And then Trump became the nominee for the Republican party. And I developed a low-grade nausea at all times. And then he won. And all I’ve done in the last week is weep and eat cheese. So on Monday morning, officially 6 days into the life of President-elect stupid-face, I lifted weights. On Tuesday morning, I suffered through the soreness and went to yoga. On Wednesday, I limped to SoulCycle. And, honest to god, I’ve never felt better. My muscles are furious, but my mind is calm and my brain is focused. I haven’t slept like this or been this productive in months.
I’ve been spending the last four years encouraging friends and family and random strangers to take care of their bodies. Honestly, it’s the only true partnership you have. So nurture it. For some, it may start with simply not abusing their bodies (smoking, drinking excessively, eating empty calories) and for some it transitions into nurturing (sleeping enough, eating healthy, exercise, patience with limitations), but either way, our only constant partner in this life is the body that we were born into. Taking care of it is the beginning of health.
Photo by Austris Augusts on Unsplash