I should have known it would be a good day when I discovered I'd lost another pound. Yippie-ki-ay to that! Over the last 11 days, my average daily calories are 1535, ranging on a daily basis from 1193 to 1953. During that time, I've lost 5 pounds! Obviously, lots of that is water, but that's normal and to be expected. I've been feeling so awful, just so depressed, about the 25 pounds I'd gained since the diagnosis in December. At first, it was as someone else said, like somehow getting diagnosed with cancer gave me carte blanche to eat ice cream, chips, and creamy pasta whenever I wanted. Then, once I started the steroids, my appetites increased. It's amazing that even as you're feeling queasy, you can still eat. In fact, sometimes eating can totally help you to feel better. It's an odd thing. And forget exercise. Really, just forget it. This chemo thing is just such a butt-kicker. But then, you might have already heard that from me or someone else. Hmm -- ya' think?
So anyway, in that big talk I was having with myself last night, I'd made a commitment to myself that I was going to just plain try harder to get in some frequent exercise. Ok, so I won't always be able to pull it off, but something's gotta give. My muscles are atrophying, my waistline's expanding, and I'm not reaping any of the psychological benefits of exercise. You all know what I know: exercise helps with depression, energy levels, and an overall sense of well-being. Well, sometimes it's a case of the horse and the cart, you know? You've got to come up with some juice in order to earn yourself some more juice! So today was the first day of Operation Improvement.
I worked out with Maya. Do you all know Maya? Here she is:
And here she is again:
Yep, that's Maya. For those of you not in the know, Maya is the virtual personal trainer of Yourself!Fitness, this extremely cool interactive fitness "game" you can "play" on your PC, PS2, or Xbox. Santa -- who, by the way, has a great rack and sometimes goes by the name of Lorraine -- gave her to me last Christmas. Santa purchased her for me prior to my diagnosis, after the dropping of some extremely broad hints. What with all the chemo fun, Maya sat in a box after an initial appreciative perusal.
So today I put on my sneaks and broke her out. I set my goals and took her fitness test - a workout in itself. We're talking jumping jacks (I thought I was going to pass out,) push-ups (of the girly variety for me,) sit-ups (can you say, "Good God!?") and a stretch for flexibility (I'm not as flexible as I was, but it involved sitting, something at which I now excel.) I checked my heart rate before and after. You enter all the results, establish your goals, set up your workout schedule, and off you go! If you do the exercise you committed to at the time you committed too doing it, you are rewarded with new workout environments and tunes. If you don't, Maya apparently gets all snide and bitchy -- and, according to the folks at the Y!F Forum, you tend to take this to heart and feel that you've failed Maya. Yikes! Apparently that Maya is no joke.
Anyway, you let her know what equipment you have (stability ball, hand weights, step, heart monitor) to work into the routine, pick your setting and tunes, and then she works you, adapting the workout to your previous performance and goals. You'll never have the same workout.
So, I did my first workout today, after the workout that was the fitness test, and thought I was going to die. I was already on the lowest difficulty level, and I asked her to reduce the difficulty still further -- ummm, turned out not to be a possible thing, but at least she could note it for the next time and maybe not try to kill me. It was cool! For now, I'm sticking to 15-minute workouts.
That puts me at 2-for-2! Pilates yesterday, and aerobics today! Itty bitty workouts, at 20- and 25-minutes a pop, but it's a start. Operation Improvement is well underway, and I'm proud of myself. How good it is to feel that I've accomplished something.
As for my feelings about being a Person With Cancer, see this piece of absolute brilliance for the words that speak for me. Louise commented here, expressing support and agreement on both my feelings of yesterday and the evil that is Decadron (nasty steroid,) and that prompted my visit to her absolutely amazing blog. She's just completely fabulous, so you should definitely check her out.
For those of you who commented so sweetly on my darkness, thank you. You're really just absolutely lovely people, and very patient with me.