“Thoughts flow past lips to fingertips.”
I write. A lot. Some of it is worthwhile but some of it is just practice. This is more than practice today. I’ll try to hash out my thoughts and best convey the message appropriately.
I first have to say, “fuck being average.” I said those words before cancer and I mean them even more now. (Also insert the obligatory “FUCK CANCER”). Before I proceed any further I want to explain my use of the expletives. Could I have said the same thing without the expletive? Sure. But would it have carried the same weight? No. I don’t just randomly toss out cuss words and they’re not a normal stay in my vernacular. So when I use them, you know it’s for a good reason.
I’m against being average. I want to do more than just lead an average life. Specifically, I want to powerlift. I might not be in the upper echelons of the powerlifting community (although one year I did have a top ten bench for that year) but even stepping onto the powerlifting platform automatically puts me in the top ten percent of the world. That’s above average. That’s where I want to be. I want to push and pursue being more than mediocre.
That being said, I received a bit of a shit sandwich today. It’s been six months since my bone marrow transplant and for all intents and purposes, I’m doing exceptionally well. Again, I like being better than average. 🙂 As for the shit sandwich: My liver numbers are better. That’s one of the beautiful slices of heavenly sourdough right there. The other being that my bone marrow biopsy results are back and at six months post transplant there’s no evidence of disease. That’s the beautiful piece of delicious sourdough bread number two.
To emphasize the sourdough, some of my fondest memories are eating fresh baked sourdough straight out of Grandma’s or Mom’s oven. Immediately applying soft butter to those piping hot rolls and gorging myself silly on the most delicious bread known to man. I have a strong affinity towards sourdough. It brings me both pleasure and relief. It signifies a time in my life when things were good and really solid.
BUT! Big freaking but, smashed horrendously between those two mouth watering pieces of goodness lies a very real big ol’ slice of pure stinking shit. I am struggling to workout and according to the doctor will continue to struggle to work out. I’m not talking about the daily struggle of “okay, let’s get this over with.” No, I’m talking about two-fold tasks. One, I don’t want to workout. Let me make my point here. I’ve been working out in some form or fashion for over thirty years. THIRTY YEARS! I have never not wanted to workout. And suddenly now I don’t?!
Even that not being taken into account I also received the news that my workouts might contribute to my slowing down of the process of recovery. In very simplistic terms, working out induces some form of inflammation. Or at least the type of training that I want to do. The body’s natural response to inflammation is to send the immune system to take care of the issue. My immune system is someone else’s immune system. I have to worry about what’s called Graft vs Host disease. My immune system might not be able to distinguish my own body from a foreign invader. So working out could be, in the most simplistic terms, as if I were sick and my immune system responds in turn by attacking it. Making me weak and sicker. That’s a hard pill to swallow.
It’s a vicious negative feedback loop. I can’t train hard because I’m recovering. It’s negatively impacting my desire to train. If I do train hard, it will negatively affect my recovery and hence still negatively affect my overall desire to train.
For the past year, and specifically these past six months post transplant, my goal has been focused upon my recovery. To completely decimate this disease and move on. My goal has been oriented towards recovery. Now I’m coming to terms with the idea that I do have a life outside of recovery. I am recovering and recovering well. That’s great! I have a life outside of recovery. I have been granted another chance at life. A donor gave me life and I’m eternally grateful, but now I have to deal with the ramifications of the recovery.
Prior to today, I always felt like I would be back to normal training pretty quickly. I just assumed it was going to happen sooner rather than later. Doc said five years if I wanted to return to powerlifting and even then the skepticism in his voice was evident. Not that he didn’t think I would ever return but that five years might be optimistic.
This brings this diatribe full circle. “Fuck average!” Imagine me screaming this in my jeep on the way home from this appointment because I did. I’m not interested in being the status quo. I have more important shit to take care of. My plans involve getting to the absolute core of both my own psychological issues with this as well as the physiological ones. I’m not sidestepping my doctor. They know too much for me to take their orders, concerns, and/or suggestions lightly. I have to believe they know what they’re doing. But I’m not going to sit idly by and assume that there might not be exceptions. Exceptions might not prove the rule but I’ll be damned if some exceptions shouldn’t at least alter the rules.