Back to the Gym

Saturday, August 20:

I haven’t been to the gym in six months. In February and March, my schedule was choked up with fifty doctors’ appointments and lab tests, leaving little time for anything else including breathing.

And then there was chemo.

I was too tired, too sick, not in the mood. My doctors and Les all said I should at least try to take short walks through my neighborhood — but I was exhausted, I was sick, and even a stroll seemed overwhelming.

“Chemo-heavy” finished three weeks ago. My energy is slowly returning, I’m no longer sick — and it’s time to get out of the damn house.

I put on my gym clothes. Crap, I’ve gotten flabby. My shoes barely lace over my edema-swollen feet. I pull a knit cap down to my ears as the head-wear least likely to fall off during a workout.

I stretch for fifteen minutes, and go through an upper body routine. I expect to be weak, so I drop all the weights 1/3 to 1/2 off my usual numbers. I expect to tire easily, and am surprised that my endurance doesn’t wane for an entire hour. What I don’t anticipate is how stiff I am, and how much my my range of motion has declined. Then, I’ve barely moved in six months.

None of my friends are at the gym today, and I breathe a sigh of relief. On my first day back, it’s good to be anonymous.

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Thursday, August 25:

Because my foot is puffy and limping, leg weights seems like a bad idea. I opt for thirty minutes of cardio on the stair stepper at Level One.

I last fifteen minutes and quit because my lungs hurt. Obviously, those little lung cells (alveoli) haven’t grown back yet.

I’m too tired to do anything else. I wish my friends were at the gym today, so I’d have someone to talk to while Les finishes his workout. Instead, I sit on a padded bench and read a book.

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I have two weeks to to get myself into slightly better shape and regain a tiny bit of strength — and then it’s surgery (September 8) and I’m back to Square One.