listening

I’ve learned a lot about myself, and pay more attention to more about myself since cancer. I mean, it is inevitable, right? One thing that I know that I do more of, and a better job of, is listening to my body. Last week, I intended a 7 day raw week. By the afternoon of Day 5 (Friday), however, my body (with it’s 1/3 less colon) was screaming for cooked food. The idea of one more spinach smoothie actually made me feel a little sick. So, I aborted, ate some bread, and moved on. It’s fine.

I was kind of proud of myself for letting it go, and was thinking about this time last year. We do live in a hilly neighborhood, but when a reasonably fit person (me) gets winded walking the dogs, said person should NOT think, “well, I’m not getting as good a workout at the gym for some reason. At least I’m getting my heart rate up on these walks!” That person should, instead, get herself to the doctor.

I mentioned this to Jess, and she did laugh at pre cancer me, but then said that, had I gone to the doctor in early to mid April, my hemoglobin might not have been as low, they might just have put me on iron, and it would have masked things for longer. This could have given the tumor time to grow more and spread to even more lymph nodes and beyond, and instead of Stage 3, I’d have been Stage 4, and could now be dead instead of sitting here making fun of myself. All of this is true, I suppose, but negates my point about listening to my body.

I still think it’s better that I’m hearing what I need. I do sometimes hear things that aren’t there, though. Standing up form the couch this morning, I got light headed, and whenever that happens, I wonder how my iron’s doing, and if a tumor is sucking it all out of my blood. After I get rational, I remember that the baby had me awake for 45 minutes in the middle of the night, then I got up at 5:15 to go to the gym for a hard speed workout, etc. Those things, for sure, contribute, and I’m sure all is fine. If it wasn’t, I wouldn’t have to listen to my body in other ways.

I’d been noticing that my speed workouts weren’t as much of a push anymore, so I tried making them longer. THe problem with that is that the point (besides, um, the speed work) of a speed workout is that it kicks your ass, but is over relatively quickly. 30 minutes is totally doable, and I can mentally push through most anything for 30 minutes. So, for the past 2 weeks, I’ve upped my speed .2 mph per interval. Now, .2 might not seem like much, but I can tell you that there is a world of difference between 8.5 and 8.7 mph after 25 minutes of intervals. I can feel my lungs screaming, but I also know that I can push through and do it. Because I only have to for a short period of time. It feels good to be hearing, “work harder” instead of “slow down.” Now, I’m just ready for consistent warm DRY weather so that I can get outside and back to longer runs. It’ll happen soon.

I’m right now sitting on the train to Chicago, on my way to a cool workshop. I’m pretty stoked about the workshop, but I also just love Chicago. Plus, I’m seeing a friend who I haven’t seen in 20 years (crazy. CRAZY. Say what you will about facebook, but I love that it reconnects people!) as well as some friends who I haven’t seen since cancer. It feels like a break and a treat (in the middle of grading and finals week), and I’m grateful that Jess doesn’t mind terribly that I’m out of town for 24 hours. Clearly, when I get home, I need to listen to her needs as well as my own.

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2 Responses to listening

  1. I went through something similar after my second melanoma was removed. I must have spent months in front of the mirror analyzing and panicking over every mole and freckle ( has this one always been here or is it new?! is this one bigger/darker than before!?). The anxiety was simply exhausting. But, after more and more clean screenings and each passing cancer free year, things have fallen back into place. Keep up what you are doing, you are an inspiration to many.

  2. Jennifer Fee says:

    My mom was late getting her annual mammogram by about 6 months when they found her breast cancer. It was very unlike her to be late getting a medical test. But if she had gotten the test on time the tumor would have probably gone undetected since it was small when they did find it. It was a very aggressive form of cancer and finding it small was critical for my mom’s health. So I think Jess is on to something. That being said, I’m glad you have tuned into your body and its responses to things. Praying that you always catch things at the right time and that you never catch more than a cold:).

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