Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

Nobody Puts Baby In The Corner

I am not comparing myself to Jennifer Gray, but I definitely do not take kindly when I am told I cannot do something, must not do something, or will not do something.  As a small child does when you give the warning “noooo” and the child looks at you while reaching for the forbidden activity, defiance rules.

After I had completed my cancer treatments, I had just one goal, to lose the sixty pounds that I gained.  Yes, I gained weight while on chemo.  I had my mind made up, through exercise and diet (a really bad one), I committed to a daily regimen and got my physique back to my pre-cancer condition.

Following my heart surgery, I could not wait to begin physical therapy.  The surgery had taken so much out of me in just a matter of days, but again I was not going to take “no” for an answer.  I completed my cardiac rehab taking any opportunity that I could, when my trainer was not watching, to test my limits.  Again, I was determined to get back to my condition that I was in before the surgery.  Repeated warnings about heavy weight training went ignored, all because I was told I shouldn’t do it.

But something happened after that.  My body started to reject my efforts.  Other issues that had developed over the years, along with my cardiac issues, finally started to make themselves present.   And with that, came the warnings, “you shouldn’t do that”, “you mustn’t do that”, “you can’t do that.”

You see, while I recognize my cancer anniversary every year, currently standing at 22 years, each year, side effects from radiation and chemo have been wreaking havoc on my body.  Decades ago, cancer patients were not expected to live more than five or so years.  But now many live decades and beyond.  And if a patient is fortunate enough as I am, I can find out why my body has begun to feel the way that it does.

With the recognition of the damage has come two things.  The first is the reality that the damage cannot be reversed or cured.  It can be slowed down, but is something that will continue to worsen or develop.  But the second thing is that I have been warned that I could actually make things worse by not heeding my bodies cries for rest.  Pushing my body too hard could actually make my health issues worsen or even devastating. 

“You cannot do this.  You must not do that.  You should not do this.”

So unlike the past, I finally listened to the negative.  I finally quit fighting.  Emotionally it has taken its toll.  I am at a crossroad.  Physically my body is failing because mentally I am allowing it.  Actually it is my attitude making a bad situation worse.

Tonight, I made a change.  I have finally made the decision that I am going to fight again.  I realize the risks involved at making some things worse.  But as I completed my first night, once again I felt like I was fighting.  I was not letting the things I am dealing with decide for me how I am going to be defined.  I am going to be careful as I do not want to get hurt.  But until my body has finally had enough, I am not going to live that way.

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