March 19, 2013

Francie: No One Knows You Better

Part two of three in a series

If you missed my first post, Running as Grace, I can catch you up to speed: Girl trains for third Ironman, has breast cancer surgery three weeks before race, scratches race, running is (again) her saving grace. You can read the full story in The Competitor in Me II: Conquer Fear. Though I had running for strength, facing treatment for cancer wasn’t easy. Staring down 31 days of this therapy, I had to take stock in a few things: my faith, and that no one knows me better than me.

Halfway through my sessions, I met with my doctor to talk about progress, side effects, and ways to stay as healthy as possible through the process. Over and over, I was told how two thirds of all patients experience fatigue some time after the halfway point. I was waiting for the shoe to fall but now halfway through my 31 therapies, I had great energy. “How’s your energy?” She asked, though she looked at my chart, not me.

“Good. I have been trying to be conservative with my workouts. It’s working.” “Tell me more. What does that mean?” She asked, her physician’s assistant sitting beside her.

“I limit my training to an hour and fifteen minutes or less; then everything stays in balance. Except swimming. I only do 45 minutes of that.” I was a little worried that telling her this would somehow cause me to be benched.

“That’s a lot of working out.” She looked at me, eyebrows raised. What part of me training for Ironman did she miss? All of it. We talked about all of this before I began radiation, but now it was clear Dr. Gray wasn’t listening. The physician’s assistant, who had followed my story, smirked. “How often do you do that, Francie?”

I hesitated with a crooked smile. “Six days.” “Exceptional. But that is a lot of working out.” Spoken by someone who sees a lot of sick, not healthy people. And by someone who wasn’t listening to me from the get-go. “My theory is that if I am a moving target, I will be harder to hit. Just keep moving.” Dr. Gray went on to say I had to be careful about listening for signals from my body. How ironic that she was telling me to listen to my body when in fact she could not listen to me! Yes, of course I would listen for those signals. I am an Ironman and a mommy. Signals are my life.

I hope you see the signals in this post. You must know your body in order to know your limits during times of stress and illness. There is a time to play hard, and a time to rest hard. Miss out on the signals for either one, and you are missing out on taking care of you. Trust me, no one else will do as good of a job of taking care of you.

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