A few years ago, I felt I was very nearly at the top of my game. I would often times head out for a run and just see where the road would take me. I’d go 3, 4, or 8 miles if I felt like it. Sometimes I’d drop and do some push-ups, or I’d see a hill and sprint up it, or I’d run into town and charge up and down stairs in a parking structure there. I’d run when it was nearly 100-degrees, and I’d run when it was below zero. I’d swim a quarter-mile or a half-mile, and then towel off and ride on a bike for 10 or 20 miles. Why? Because I was a triathlete. I was a runner. I enjoyed the challenge of working towards something, of competing against myself and my past run and swim times, and most importantly, I just liked how I looked and felt. (And it was pretty awesome to be able to brag about it …because if there’s one thing I love doing, it’s bragging . . . and especially when it’s about myself)
But, things don’t always go exactly as planned. Somehow over the past 6 years, I’ve had some lung trauma caused by, and complicated by, an infection, scar tissue, and a condition my pulmonologist calls “bronchiectasis”. Yes, I have a pulmonologist I reference as “my pulmonologist.”
Bronchiectasis comes in many forms, but mostly I’ve determined it’s just annoying and, well … there. It won’t go away. My chest always feels just a little bit tight, and I’m never completely without a slight cough. There are good days and bad days – a good day is a day where I don’t cough and can just clear my throat, a bad day is a day I cough up some blood. But mostly, it’s just … there.
If I believe my doctors, then, yes, that’s what I have and I will just learn to live with it. And if I don’t believe my doctors, I need to wait for something to happen (like bleeding that won’t stop) and go back into the hospital so I can look them in the eye and say, “I told you so.” There’s a part of me that thinks (hopes) the doctors are wrong and I don’t have a condition that will simply be “there”, but maybe I have something else that can be cured.
However, as I charge toward my 39th birthday, which, if my math and calculations are correct, leads to my 40th birthday, I guess I should do something rather than nothing. Ever since I had my random flare-up back in September at Meet-the-Teacher Night at my kids’s school while vigorously talking about the upcoming MSU football season with my friend Tony, I’ve been stagnant.
I want to be awesome again, so I’m going to start small and work my way back up to awesomeness. And truth be told, if the rest of my life is relegated to brisk walking for 45-minutes a day and engaging in some Sit-and-be-Fit type exercises, and curling 4-pound weights . . . ya know what? I’ll still be healthier than if I’m doing nothing. Now imagine if I can start to eat right.
Yesterday was January 23rd, my Mom’s birthday. She passed away 7 1/2 years ago. She only lived to see her 58th year. It was unexpected and perhaps unavoidable, but we’ll never truly know. But if there’s even the slightest possibility that her life could’ve been extended with a little healthier eating and some brisk walking, well, then I shall not live my life and ignore her message she sends me from heaven or the lesson she might’ve given me by leaving us.
And then, there’s this Snapple bottle cap someone (my ex-sister-in-law Meg, actually) shared on Facebook which I just happened to see yesterday when all these emotions were going on. Maybe it’s all coincidence, or maybe it’s my Mom, again, telling me to get my act together and mix in a little light exercise.
I went to the church by my house last night and did some brisk walking side by side with 4 or 5 seniors who were also there trying to figure out a way to add a few more days to our all-to0-short lives. It felt good to get my heart pumpin’, my muscles pulsing, and my lungs opening, again. Here’s to exercise, and here’s to the rest of my awesome life.