Tonight as I fought my fears of going to gym. Which by the way are extremely valid seeing as gyms are noted for being a virtual breeding ground for viral and bacterial strains what with all the bodily fluid flinging about. So I choked down an anti-crazy pill, slathered myself with anti-bacterial sanitizer, laced up my sneakers, found a pair of pants that doesn't fall off me when I walk more than 10 steps, put on a sports bra (I mean I may have lost some boobage in the weight loss from chemo but the girls still need to be rained in and although they are used to roaming free under pj tops being out in public is not a place for non-bra boobs) and a ball cap to hide my wild post chemo fro. I tried to cajole Jon into joining me at the athletic club but apparently when you work 12 hours in the cold weather, heaving around 100 lb mechanical crap you don't really feel much like doing some light cardio.
When Olivia found out that I'd only be going for 30 - 45 minutes she thought it would be a perfect break from her Junior research project and loads of other homework, thus agreeing to...gasp...accompany her mom to a public area where her friends may see her in my company. I know.....I feel very special and I'm sure she feels like she deserves a medal for "service to the mildly older age person", if there is such a thing.
Instead of a medal I decided to give her what all teenagers crave...the keys to my car. Granted I was still in it and it became a kind of "Driving Mrs. Crazy" but she felt honored all the same. We had just stopped to return some movies and I figured since I was facing my fear of returning to the gym following my nearly 9 months in exile following treatment and the virtual quarantine and house arrest that follows having deathly low cell counts why not make it double the anxiety and let her drive.
At first I could see a waning disappointment because the place where we returned the dvd's shares the same parking lot with our gym. But I told her once she had gotten into the drivers seat that if she felt comfortable enough driving my SUV over to the other lot and parking that I'd be more than willing to let her drive when it came time to leave the gym.
Her face perked up for just a moment before settling into a very calm expression of "this is the first time I've ever driven this vehicle...show no fear...parents and possibly vehicles can smell fear". I knew that face well because I had made it the first time I ever got behind the wheel of a car and I still make it when I get behind the wheel of a car I've never driven before. Must hold back tears of pride...for God's sake she's only driving from one end of a parking lot to the other. Besides if you cry now, whether you offer her the keys or not she will NEVER want to go anywhere with you ever again unless you bribe her with money.
I held it in and watched as she maneuvered my Honda Pilot with enough ease that it made me wonder if I should be checking the odometer to make sure she isn't joyriding in the thing while I'm sleeping. She found a parking spot and in true teenager fashion was the first one out of the vehicle. Promptly locking a slow moving me in. She didn't understand that I couldn't open the door because it would set off the alarm so I had to wait a good 10 seconds before she relented and let me out.
We made our way into the gym. Checked in. Got towels because she forgot them and since she was going to spend her time swimming it was much more imperative for her to have one than it was for me, but then I decided I'd rather have my hands touching a freshly washed towel over a machine that's had people sweating on it and maybe only wiped off every couple hours. In my mind towel = safety.
Back in the locker room I told Olivia that I'd be out in the cardio section if she needed me and that I'd make my way into the pool to let her know when it was time to wrap up and head home. We parted ways as the auto locks on our gym lockers clicked closed. I first went to the scale just to see if I'd made any headway on the 9 lbs that I had gained between my CBC appointment on January 10th and my latest oncology check up on January 24th.
Before I tell you the result of this check let me explain that I understand the only real way to know if you've lost or gained is to be weighed on the same scale, around the same time of day and wearing similar weighted clothing. My last weigh in was at 8:45 a.m. on a Monday and this one was at approximately 9:05 p.m., I was wearing jeans, light sweater and tennis shoes with a hat on the 24th and I had on work out pants, t-shirt and tennis shoes with a ball cap last night.
At my appointment I weighed in at 199.2 lbs and I was pissed because just 14 days earlier on the same scale around the same time of morning and wearing almost exactly the same thing I had weighed 190 lbs. So when I stepped on the scale at the gym I prayed for a drop in weight but spent just as much time begging whoever may be listening for me please not to have gained because in a moment of weakness I had eaten french toast sticks and a large coke for breakfast that very morning. I'm not going to say that Jesus was hanging out in the woman's locker room at the Slidell Athletic Club at approximately 9:05 p.m. last night but the number on the scale came up as 195 lbs! Hallelujah...Hallelujah...Hall-le-lujah!!!!
I almost skipped and whistled my way to the eliptical machine. I worked out for 15 minutes on that and believe me it was a work out. I had to stop twice because I was near gasping and my legs felt as though they were on FIRE!! I then made my way to what I refer to as the "old people" bikes. The ones with the bucket seat so your keester and whoha isn't damaged by those hard ass bike seats and did 15 minutes with staggering inclines. I was feeling great. Amazing actually. I was wiping each piece of equipment off before use and my hands after I was done.
I decided to finish up light with 15 minutes on the treadmill. I mean I had conquered the harder stuff with the eliptical, this should be a treadmill version of a walk in the park. Apparently though, I forgot my own rule that nothing can be simple or accident free in my life.
Thankfully, I did not do any of the following:
- Pass out, thus making a total jack ass out of myself and FOREVER ending Olivia wanting to go with me anywhere because that would be the equivalent of me hugging her and then wiping dirt off her face...in a public place!
- Throw up from working out too hard. In truth this has only happened once and I really think the almost 100 degree heat and the fact that I was not aware that I was pregnant had A LOT to do with that incident.
- Fall. Whether it be fall over, fall off or even just trip while walking....I avoided all of these potentially dangerous and worse, embarrassing actions.
Unfortunately, though, for my right thumb just as I was in my 14th minute on a 5 incline and at a pace of 4.5 I caught it on what I thought was just a piece of plastic. It was not plastic. And worse than just being caught and scratching my finger it had torn off a piece of flesh about half the size of a tic tac. No biggie really. Until I realized it was refusing to stop bleeding. Of course I realized this when the woman on the treadmill next to me looked as though she had seen a ghost and pointed at it while murmuring "wow you're really bleeding". I clasped my left hand around it, grabbed for a bacterial wipe and wiped down any area it could have hit then foolishly released it thinking the pressure I had applied for the 10 second walk to the locker room would have been sufficient and found that it was dripping onto my shoe.
Great. Just great. Now Jon who had worried earlier about me going to the gym because Sunday night in what I can only imagine was a not fun event for him (because I have no clear recollection of it happening other than the bruise) when I stood up too quick after getting up to use the potty after taking my Ambien and passed out cold on the bathroom floor for just under approximately 30 seconds but not before knocking both my head and my shoulder on the side of the tub. Obviously his fears weren't too great because he neither took me to the hospital, had someone come check on me today while he was at work and didn't come with me to the gym this evening.
Instead of coming to be my guardian he sat back on the couch and chided, "don't go getting your heart rate up, I bet that is what caused you to pass out last night". Hmmm....funny, I think it's the 10 mg of Ambien I had taken 30 minutes earlier and the fact that I had bent over to pick up my sock and then stood back up real fast setting the world to spinning. But I figured that because A) I didn't want a fight before heading out and B) I wasn't the one that had to get me back to consciousness and then back into bed that I may just want to zip it on this one.
So I thoroughly contemplated not sharing my injury with him. Olivia however pointed out quite brilliantly that if I can't stop the bleeding before we get to the house, all of 3 minutes away, it's gonna be kind of hard to hide the massive paper towel wrapped around my thumb. Love that kid...she's always thinking.
We made our way out into the cool foggy night air and I passed the keys of to her. She would be taking us back home and I could see her measured excitement. She started the engine. Fixed her mirrors and moved her seat. This wouldn't just be a drive in a parking lot but one on real streets with other cars, stop signs and making sure to heed the right of way. I was more than confident that she could do it especially since she's taking driver's education. About half way home I applauded her on her judgment at a four way stop where her and another car had arrived at the same time. She yielded to the other driver and waited her turn to proceed through the intersection.
She turned to me as she began to make her way down the street and said, "it's really different driving compared to working on the rules of driving in books". The statement gave me a moment of pause and then I asked, "but you have been driving right?", to which she responded, "not yet in class, but I did drive with dad and grandma over the summer".
A small amount of anxiety boiled up but it had no place to go as she pulled us safely into our driveway. I had done it. I had conquered my fear of being a passenger in a vehicle driven by my first born daughter and I had overcome my anxiety of going back to the gym. I'd be lying to say that there were no tears.
Most were from pride over Olivia. Some were from realizing that my anxieties only hold power over me if I let them and finally there were the few tears that came with ripping off the paper towel which further enraged the fresh gash. I walked in the house and had to confess to it all. Jon gave support for Olivia and mine accomplishments. And in true Jon fashion he made sure to slip a little, "I told you so", glance about the injury.
All in all, I think it was a great lesson in believing in yourself and those you love but always remember to watch out for the sharp edges cause they'll get ya if your not careful.