THE NEW NORMAL (Starting Line)

THE NEW NORMAL (Starting Line)

“Urgh…”

It was a month after radiotherapy – March 2020. I was standing in front of a full length mirror at home, inspecting the damage caused by the steroids I was given during chemotherapy.

“My goodness! Where did all this come from?!” I said to myself as I pinched my left butt cheek. “Where do I even start from?”

I stepped onto the small bathroom scale. 62kg – the same weight I was before chemo. Something however had definitely changed. The lean muscle I packed on prior to all this new reality had melted away to be replaced by body fat. Love handles and stretch marks abounded. Not that there’s anything wrong with those; it’s just that I’d never had them. It was all new to me as far as my body was concerned.

In that moment, I was hit with the urgency to get back in shape because I honestly did not like what I was seeing in the mirror. My oncologist had said it would take a minimum of six months for the chemo drugs to leave my system. Six months?! Damn! I couldn’t wait for that time to pass. I needed all this body fat trimmed down to size NOW!

The next day, I was sweating it out with my workout video. Well, it turns out my oncologist was right (duh). It was too soon. I ended being sick for two days after. It felt like chemo all over again – nausea, dizziness, loss of appetite and restlessness. My friend, Theo, theorized that the chemo drugs that were still in my system were shaken up. Kinda like the snowflakes in a snow globe when it is shaken. Yeah, OK.

I decided to give myself a few weeks before working out again. I found this very frustrating because that was more time lost. Everyone was moving on with their lives and I was here being weak and sick and being left behind! This feeling had stayed with me since after my diagnosis, throughout treatment and now even after treatment.

Oh well. I decided to use the time to structure a workout program and learn more about things to do for the best results. I figured I’d dabble in intermittent fasting too to help shave off the pounds quicker. I wanted to discuss that with my oncologist but from what I saw online, it should be safe as long as I start slow and not get too crazy with it.

Honestly, the consequence of my working out scared me so much that I kept pushing forward the date to start again. There were days I would sit on the edge of my bed arguing with myself and then I would remember how sick I got the last time I tried and I’d be like Nope!

By July, I had started to feel guilty about not even trying, so I finally mustered up the courage to start. What got me going was that I reminded myself that this whole process was about learning to push past my fears and finally start trusting my body again. So I started with ten pushups a day for a week, then moved on to full HIIT for 30 minutes. I used a Jillian Michaels three-month program video two years ago, and it worked really great. So I went back to that. It was a daily workout program and it was pretty intense, so I made sure to note any changes in my body or reactions and adjust accordingly. For example, I knew now to make my post-workout meal before the actual workout so that I wouldn’t scramble to cook while feeling faint after exercising. Also, I switched to working out in the night because I noticed that I got restless and tired throughout the day when I worked out in the morning due to the post-treatment medication I was taking.

So it is August now, roughly five weeks into this, and I’m happy that it’s been going great. I’m not shaving off pounds yet but I’m just happy I finally got off my fat ass to get it going. I left the intermittent fasting for later on because I’m not sure this body can take it just yet. I’m also happy I’m able to maintain it; I’ve missed some days but I think I’m doing great nonetheless. For me, I want it to be about the process, and the results will follow. Just having a routine at all makes me feel more in control of my life again, and not feel like I’m wasting away or being left behind. I just gotta maintain it. Phew!

Trusting my body is part of a wider issue for me. It goes in the same vein as not knowing what is going on in the body. Not having any pre-existing medical conditions or family history, only to get cancer thrown in my face made me start thinking what else this body is hiding. Small aches and pains similar to what I felt before the diagnosis start to look a lot serious now. This is where most of my anxiety and body issues come from, but I am trying to work through it.

Thank you to everyone for your encouragement in my last post. Not to sound cliché, but it felt really good to see and read all the support.

Written by Modd

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  1. Mitch
    August 10, 10:04 Reply

    Chemo bloats are something I’ve only read about. It took me seeing a old friend who’d undergone chemo treatments to understand how weird it looks and feels.

    I’m glad you started the workouts. Sometimes, the biggest challenge to surmount is our fear. After that, every other thing comes easy.

    You’re doing great, Modd!

    • Mitch's biggest fan
      August 10, 13:43 Reply

      I love you so much Mitch
      I love your sass and everything about you you have been my greatest inspiration on my road to self acceptance I always look forward to read your comments and write-ups
      And also I noticed that misty Copeland is your display photo I love her too Mitch I really wish we can be friends

      • Mitch
        August 10, 15:11 Reply

        Awww!
        This is heartwarming.
        You know what? Ask Pink Panther for my email and send a mail to me. Let’s connect from there. ??

      • Mandy
        August 10, 15:16 Reply

        Aww. This is so adorable. ?
        When am I going to have my own biggest fan who’ll ride or die for me when my enemies show their faces on this blog? ?

    • Modd
      August 10, 18:17 Reply

      Thanks Mitch!
      I stan your supporters club. ?

  2. Black Dynasty
    August 10, 13:39 Reply

    ???? progress! Well done Modd, hopefully more positive news continues to come your way ?

    • Modd
      August 10, 18:22 Reply

      Thanks. Fingers crossed jare

  3. Mandy
    August 10, 15:14 Reply

    I don’t mean to be stereotypical here, but it’s kinda refreshing to see/read about workout dedication from a woman. Usually, this is something you count as guy things. To see this as a female thing genuinely fills me with wonder at all the things we’ve divided along gender lines in the society.

    Glad you’re pushing past your fears, Modd. I can’t even imagine the guts it took you to risk the anger of those chemo agents in your body to push your body, when you could’ve easily opted to relass and be taken kiaroff.

    All the best.

  4. Delle
    August 10, 22:16 Reply

    Modd, you’re being rooted for. Keep being the best you can be. This, too, shall pass.

    ?

  5. Peace
    August 12, 12:13 Reply

    Please I’m the financial secretary for the Mitch support club. All memebership dues should be forwarded to me. thank you.

  6. Bliss
    August 21, 08:30 Reply

    Yhu are stronger than yhur fears, Modd.

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