So today, I attended my first Livestrong at the YMCA class. It’s a program run by my local YMCA in conjunction with Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong Foundation. Ours is the first YMCA on Long Island to run the program. It is designed for cancer survivors (or continual fighters, like me) to get their physical and mental selves back on track after falling off the fitness and wellness wagon.
Our first class seemed like it was part group therapy and part 55+ ladies social club. I am the only man in a group of 12. I am probably one of only 3 people or so who are under 50. Most of the ladies are breast cancer survivors. I felt so left out, although my breasts are at their all time largest.
As part of our introduction we went around the table explaining our cancer experience and what we hope to get out of the class. The 82 year old spry lady talked about her diminished endurance and wanted to get more in shape. God bless her. If you know me, it is easy to believe that I am as comfortable in a room of all women as I am anywhere else. When it was my turn to give my story people seemed to gasp a bit. I guess hearing a relatively healthy looking guy talk about advanced lung cancer with surgery, radiation and chemo experiences caught them a little off guard. I guess that means I’m doing a good job of fighting the good fight. When I told them I will miss Monday’s class for chemo, I instantly made a room full of new friends. Everyone’s cancer and story is different, yet similar in so many ways.
I never participated in any type of cancer support group, but think I just joined my first. Only this one will dabble in Cardio-fitness, weight training, yoga, meditation, Zoomba, Tai-chi, nutrition and a few other things. As I see it, gym by appointment is just what the doctor ordered. Two times a week at the Livestrong class and two times a week for Physical Therapy should get me jump started back into a regular exercise routine which will hopefully help me lose my cancer freshman 20.
Next Monday is chemo cycle #9 of what is hopefully many more. I will likely get my next PET/CT scan in the first week or two of December. Fingers and Toes crossed. Even as a cancer guy, I suppose it is OK to be thankful for Thanksgiving. We need to just dig a little deeper to find it. Family, friends, doctors and nurses all help me get through each day, week and month. Chemo weeks suck, but the other two out of three weeks are such a welcome respite (unless you have a barking cough).
I know I live in 21 day cycles, and 90 day scan cycles, but I see my life as a line moving straight forward. I am thankful for each day I feel adequate, and each day I see the sunshine and my family. That’s good enough for me.