I need to get fit. I've fought fatigue since the ICU. My endurance has improved over time but fatigue hasn't gone away. If I exert myself one day (standing too long, walking too far, riding a scooter for twenty minutes, getting too cold) I may find myself in bed for several hours or a day or two to recover, depending on how bad the "offense." My hope is that if I gradually and mindfully work to increase my endurance, I might be able to extend my reach. Walking, the elliptical machine, and swimming are all I am allowed to do. Swimming can't really be done without an abdomen. Pandora.com set to Sean Paul is my friend on the elliptical.
I'm fortunate in that I have an old elliptical by our bathroom and it overlooks the marshland in front of our house. The first month was agonizing. Starting out with 5 minutes, then 7 minutes, for a couple of days, then working up to 12 minutes, with several day breaks in between. When I finally made it to 20 minutes, even at a slow pace, I was down for five days after. It is three months later and I'm able to work 20 minutes every other day for a few days before I break for a few days.
I so desperately want the steady pace required for results. At three months in, I feel like I should have it by now. But I'm doing the best I can and I am grateful that at least some progress. So I might get it yet.
And then there is the diet/nutrition/weight --- ugh. I have a reputation for eating small portions, so I figured if I just cut back a little more and recorded what I ate I would lose weight for certain. Not so. After two months I went to see a nutritionist and was put on the hideous counting calorie plan. To be honest, I couldn't do it if I didn't have help from Michael with the looking up, the figuring and the counting. After 10 days on this plan I've finally lost two pounds. I have another 28 to go. This isn't going to change the distorted shape of my body, but I will no longer be dragging around weight that isn't working for me.
Workout programs and new eating plans are supposed to have slow results, but unfortunately for me they are even slower. During the presidential race I had a button that said Obama = Sanity. Although it doesn't say this exactly it conjured up an idea for me about how Obama was playing his own steady game, doing what he knew was right and not being bandied about by all the chaos around him. I put this button on my elliptical as a reminder that is is my game. I've set the course and I set parameters and I'm the one that I decides how I'm going to go about this, but I need to do this from a level-headed place not a crazy-headed let's get this job done head. I know I need to do a slow and steady wins the race, just like Obama. This is not my "natural" or old style, but it is the only style that is going to get me to France or get me home safely.
Ara Lucia Ashburne is a writer, artist and director with physical and hidden disabilities. She is booking a reading tour, featuring selections from her narrative (August 10 – November 1 2011). She is also an advocate for International LGBT human rights, a social media votary, nerd lover, and food sensualist.
She divides her times between Berrien Springs, Michigan and Chicago, Illinois.
You can also find her on her Facebook page at Ara Lucia Ashburne and on Twitter at @Ara_Lucia.