Before cancer, I was in what I thought to be great shape. I worked out 6 – 7 days per week, sometimes twice a day. I was a strength and conditioning coach and personal trainer. You could say I lived in the gym. Fitness was a way of life. It allowed me the ability to help others. I would design and implement client specific training regimens. My clients ranged from the average “Joe” wanting to just get into shape to clients needing rehabilitation from injury/illness to athletes looking to push their performance to the next level. I trained clients to use proper techniques and training protocols. It also gave me a personal challenge of bettering myself. I love health, wellness, and fitness!
When cancer hit me for the first time, my daily workout routine came to a screeching halt. I wasn’t given a choice having had major abdominal surgery to remove the mass causing a complete blockage in my colon. I went from 208 lbs with 8% body fat down to 168 lbs in just six weeks. I felt embarrassed because of the way I looked. Some people would love to lose 40 pounds but not me. I lost muscle mass, not excess weight. In the fitness world, your body is also your business card. It is sad to say that, but it is. Most people overlook the fact that I have a degree in Kinesiology and a minor in Psychology. Think about it, would you want a trainer that wasn’t the model of fitness? I don’t think so. This embarrassment became a driving force. I loved working out. One of my many goals was to get back into the shape I was once in, without the cancer of course, and surpass it. I had to start all over. Starting over can be positive but this was not one of those moments.
I started working out again about half way through my six months of chemo. It sucked. I would have okay days and bad ones. But my effort in the gym became a motivator to others. When I had people walkup to me and tell me I was an inspiration to them, that threw all of my crybaby “I don’t look good” crap out the window. Being an inspiration to others became a new driving force. Now that I knew others were taking note of my recovery, I wanted to push myself even harder. I also wanted to show my son that even when someone is down, they can get back up and start over.
It took me two years to get back to about 90% of what I once was before some health issues, once again, kicked in that gave me a little setback in my progress. BUT, I was able to overcome them and get back on track. When I was just over three years out from my first diagnoses, I was almost back up to where I once was before having cancer. It was a long recovery process to make it back to that point, but I was still not happy. I wanted to become better than I was before cancer, and I almost made it.
I was re-diagnosed with cancer just short of four years out from my first diagnosis. The second time around has been much harder both physically and mentally. Not only did I need a more invasive surgery, the recovery from this go around with cancer has taken much longer. I lost 50 lbs of muscle this time. It has been very difficult to properly put weight back on with all of the complications, but I am putting the pounds back on. I thought I was skinny last time, shoot; I really looked skinny this time. But once again, I am starting over. I am currently 6 months out from surgery and just starting to get back into the gym. This is going to be a long road but I am going to document the entire process. I still have my goal to be in better shape than I was before cancer. TRUST ME, that goal will happen.