TWO DAYS LEFT (now I will be caught up and things will be orderly again)
Today was my last day of my workout boot camp. Not for everyone else in the camp, but just for me because I knew that I wouldn’t have been able to do the entire camp this time and by now we all know why. What I love about my boot camp is it is like a real camp. I pay a large sum of money, I see the same people two days a week who also pay large sums of money to do crazy creative exercise activities together. We also get the shit beat out of us by a trainer who has also become a friend, mentor and inspiration. I consider myself in great shape, but these peeps I have been working out with on and off for at least five years make me look like a lightweight.
The camaraderie between people who pay separately for a private work out routine is really special. We seldom talk to each other because we are all so out of fucking breath for an hour, we don’t really socialize outside of camp, but there is a connection that happens that I really miss when I have tried to save money and go to a gym where you pay a normal monthly membership. My dear friend, Morgan says it is like spending $500 a pound. I don’t even want to calculate how much money She and I have spent on fitness in the last six years since I really started getting serious about working out thanks to my super fit life partner who is just about 70. He puts me to shame, but he has been a huge inspiring influence on me and my health. When I was diagnosed the first time around, I would have never recovered at the speed of light if it hadn’t been for my workout schedule and his awesome motivation for me.
When I first heard the words, “you have breast cancer,” my first thought was, what the fuck, I work out, I eat healthy, organic, grass fed everything, even wine and that is even biofucking $25 a bottle dynamic wine. (I know I am completely nuts and I still got breast cancer again so maybe I should just go to a box of wine… no OMG did I just say that?) I meditate, I have a positive outlook on life, I take care of myself. Once I went through my two surgeries and bounced back as fast as I did, I started to look at fitness from a different perspective. I realized that staying fit and healthy is partly to try to beat the system of a shitty health diagnosis, but even more important is to bounce back if you do get the shitty diagnosis. So while everyone is cheering me on to eat the fucking PVD rice crispy treat donut, it is exactly why I don’t eat it that I am able to be the fierce, courageous, you got this warrior everyone is telling me I am.
My friends at Pulse boot camp in Newport, RI keep me on my toes. They are stunning, kind, focused and hilarious. The workouts are in front of mirrors with weights and contraptions I never thought I would ever be using, doing, completing, paying for or enjoying. Yes enjoying. I love working out with this group. I modify just about everything and it is not because I am 52. The fact is that most in the class with the exception of a few young moms are over 52. Who else is going to spend $300, excuse me, $299, on a 8 week camp, 6 times a year besides fifty somethings?
I modify everything because after five years of this, I am officially in the ‘it’s good enough camp.’ I don’t need to prove my fitness, my muscle strength, my body fat percentage, I am good enough. I am ok with my curvy hip and my over 25% body fat. I don’t need to be in the scale stepping obsessed. Freedom at last. Working out taught me to love my shape, to not be so self deprecating, to be grateful for my legs, my healthy heart, my lungs, my arms and my stamina. The fact that I can do these workouts is good enough for me. When we are outdoors running or doing ridiculous amounts of stadium steps, I am so happy on so many levels. That I can do it, that I can pay for it, that I can also not do it by choice because it is good enough and I am too. Pulse workouts taught me this. I taught me this.
Kathy Martin, the craziest fitness instructor I have ever seen in the sense that she teaches like four classes a day and does most of them. She is not human, of course she has no body fat either, and her abs are the abs you think you can obtain by pulling out your old Jane Fonda workout tapes, but not even Jane had abs like Kathy. I am always smiling when I am in her class because she makes me so happy and grateful that I am there celebrating my healthy hips and ass and heart with every burpee, squat jump and plank jack.
The support I feel from this group even though we never talk about this bummer of a health prognosis I am facing is just motivation to keep being surrounded by their healthy beautiful bodies. Their ability to allow me to use my hour to escape from the upcoming mastectomy and let me just be a normal chick working out is a blessing and makes me really motivated to get my ass and my new tits back to Pulse pronto.
ZERO DAYS LEFT is fast approaching. I am nervous and I am sick of waiting. I just want to get back to my life. I am trying to surrender, to say it over and over again as I contemplate the change of my quality of life, the way that my openness about this experience will automatically make people look at my breasts as soon as they see me. The way I can hug people. That has never really happened before and it is strange to think about.
The women I have met who have had surgeries and who have been kind enough to share their stories, photos and experiences after surgery are always lifting their shirts up and showing me their breasts and asking me to feel them. It sounds like something I would probably be doing myself once I am in their situation, but the whole thing is so surreal. My surgery takes almost seven hours, for me it will be like five minutes, but for my family and friends, it will be a long stretch to have to wait for. When I wake up and look down, everything about my life will be different. Physically, sure. But no one really talks about the psychological changes that will happen.
What will sex and and intimacy be like, what will I look like in a bathing suit? Will I be able to run up second beach hill for my beloved beach boot camp? When I change at the gym, will I be self-conscious about the scars left on my back and my breasts? Will people who don’t know me think that I had cosmetic breast implants and why would that even bother me as I don’t usually care what people think about me. As I read this, I think I think too much so I must stop and take my own advice and surrender. I surrender. I surrender.
My rockin Pulse peeps. Kathy Martin is the one in the baseball cap next to me and my last vestige of real deal cleavage.