And by running I mostly mean walking with a bit of running thrown in for… fun? And hiking. And getting up at 5:30 am to do workout videos in front of the computer. And trying to keep my step count between 10,000 and 15,000 every day (because, obsessive). And also not eating too much. And fasting for about 12 – 14 hours a day (mostly while I sleep). And no sugar or bread a lot of the time to keep my weight at an even keel.
It’s a lot, I know this.
We all know why I am doing this: cancer. Even though it wasn’t like I wasn’t doing this before cancer, I didn’t feel the same sense of urgency. I’ve always been active-ish. That’s how I describe it: active-ish. But for the couple of years before diagnosis I would always get sick when I started really getting back into exercise and that was frustrating. I would worry that I was doing too much, too soon. Perhaps I was but I think the real culprit was cancer. I remember after I had finished one of those month-long yoga challenges at the Yoga Shala where I completed 28 out of 31 days and was super proud of myself and, honestly, looking pretty hot – but then I got one of those awful colds that I used to get. The six week, lose your voice, break-you-ribs coughing colds and everything would fall by the wayside while I tried to recover. Add into the equation the fact that I had babies that would still get me up during the night (repeatedly) and my recovery time really took more than six weeks.
Lots of people do crazy things after they get a cancer diagnosis. We are all hoping for the easy cure. I remember saying I would drink moose pee if I thought it was going to cure me. But I honestly believe there isn’t some magic cure out there. Cancer is so vast and changing. Even someone with the exact same diagnosis and on the exact same treatment isn’t going to respond the same why as I do because our genetic makeup is different.
I get a lot of advice thrown at me about what I should be doing to cure myself based on what other people have done: eat broccoli for every meal (that gave me cramps). Or carrots. Or bags of oranges. Use crystals. Spend your day in meditation (not possible with small children around and a brain that never turns off). Conspiracy theorists like to believe that doctors and Big Pharma are hiding the cure somewhere because they are more interested in making money than healing the sick. But lets be honest, there will always be sick people. If there was a cure, they would tell us. This isn’t to say that strides don’t need to be made into research for Metastatic Breast Cancer. Or that access to drugs that are already out there need to be made available faster – especially in Canada. There is still a ton of work to be done – but right now all I can do is take care of myself within the confines of which I live.
The hardest part is that when I am really taking care of myself like this it leaves little time for anything else – like writing. I’m not very good with balance – it’s either all or nothing most of the time with me. (The same goes for sweets: it is either all the desserts or none of the desserts.) When I’m really focused on writing something everything (besides parenting, marriage) gets ignored. The same goes for exercise. But I’m hoping that if I can spend the summer getting into really good shape that this will become second nature and I can get back to serious writing when the girls – all the girls – go back to school full time in the fall. Plus it means more time with the girls which is a good thing… right?
It’s been a year and a half since I was diagnosed and I’m still here. My inclination is to lay in bed and read books and drink tea all day but that isn’t going to get me to the top of mountains.