I've actually gotten a little bit fat now, 5 pounds overweight probably, and Dr. Savani told me, "Lose the gut," at my last appointment. He then explained that back in the day when transplant patients were not monitored as closely as I'm being monitored, the fatality rate from cardiovascular disease was 16 times higher than the general population.
He wants to be "aggressive," he said, with keeping that away.
I don't mind that. I've been an avid exerciser most of my life. The problem since the transplant is that my body has consistently found some new, creative way to prevent walking and jogging and make exercising in general painful.
There's been sheer fatigue and weakness, so much so that climbing three or four stairs was difficult. I worked at it, and a couple months later I was going up six flights of stairs, seventeen-steps each, and even running a couple of the flights.
|Since things have been better the last month, I was out walking my dog the other day when it was sunny. Beautiful!|
Somehow, they slowed down, a lot, and I went back to it. Then I walked and jogged a mile one day, ran sprints the next, and walked four miles through a state park the day after. The day after the state park, my calf was killing me. An ultrasound showed I didn't have a blood clot, but it took two weeks to be able to walk normally. The pain came back a couple days after it left, and this time it was a blood clot. Off to the hospital and four weeks of not being able to walk for longer than one minute!
I got through all that in November, only to be greeted with the worst ingrown toenail of my life.
Was God simply opposed to my getting back in shape? My plan had been to run a half marathon in November, not to be limping around on a blood clot and ingrown toenail, losing stamina rather than gaining it.
Somehow, since the second week of December or so, I have been relatively pain-free. My energy has been immense compared to the rest of 2012. No pain pills and only rare naps needed.
Not to say that everything is gone. The ingrown toenail is now ingrown toenails, and it's being managed, not cured, even with the help of a doctor. I have these thin, razor-sharp toenails. I always have. I did start taking beef gelatin last week to try to thicken them. We'll see how that goes.
Yesterday I kicked a punching bag at work—a punching bag we bought and hung up in back of the warehouse for our fitness and self-defense training pleasure, and I forgot to curl my toes back on one of the roundhouse kicks. Oh, the agony!
Fortunately, I was able to take it out on the punching bag even as the pain coursed through my whole body.
However, I am managing the ingrown toenail pain, and my new problem, GVH (Graft-vs.-Host) of the eyes, isn't stopping me from running. If the wind is blowing, I do something inside.
I work out on the punching bag at work once or twice a day when I'm down there. I have a barbell and dumbbell in the office which I do quick workouts with here and there. If the wind is not blowing, I put on wraparound sunglasses, and I walk around our warehouse, running where I can. I can only run halfway around the warehouse, not much over 100 yards, but hey, it's a start. I even played a pretty decent game of soccer on a very small field out back with two of my sons and three other warehouse workers.
|My new office includes a cot and a barbell.|
So occasionally my kids find me in my room, skipping sideways, touching the floor, then skipping back to my original position. Or they find me going back and forth, switching between roundhouse, side, and front kicks. Or pushups ... or lying on my stomach looking like I'm trying to swim across the floor ... or trying to do a yoga pose on one leg.
That's the overview. Here's the situation.
Today I ran .2 miles. Not two miles, but point-two miles. 1056 feet, 352 yards. I ran it slow, but I ran it all, even with a little uphill. I did it at the end of a mile walk with my dog, and I had even included a little running, and a fast-as-I-can run up a short but really steep hill. I didn't make it all the way up the hill, but I was shocked to find out I could run over halfway up it.
Very exciting. Having the ability to exercise without sharp pain in some essential part of my body really makes it easier to exercise. I'm making a little progress, and I breathe really hard every day and get my heart rate up for a half hour or more every day.
Lookout, Badwater, here I come. It may take 10 years, but I'm gonna get there!
I am two days past the one-year anniversary of my stem cell transplant.
"To realize one's destiny is a person's only real obligation. All things are one. And when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." ~Paulo Coelho
Our great God, who makes the rain to shine on the just and the unjust, is the source of that "conspiracy." Jesus Christ's apostle puts it this way, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Php. 4:13).