Growing up I was never an athlete. I was a cheerleader in High School. Don’t get me wrong I fully believe in Cheerleading as a sport and it can be hard but I was never one to “break a sweat”. When diagnosed with heart disease exercise was part of my prescription. I started using personal trainers to ensure that I was exercising safely. After my heart failure diagnosis I ran two different 5K races… very slowly. I had a trainer see me through my pregnancy allowing me to only gain 28lbs and very little body fat. I have all the faith in the world in personal trainers and what they can do to keep you healthy and help you exercise safely.
This past February I was in the best shape I’ve ever been in. I had tone in places I never had before and I was well on my way to “Michelle Obama arms”, which are still a personal goal! My trainer Ryan Beckett at Next Round Performance was kicking my butt in shape! I was amazed with the shape I was in when Dan and I attended the Kansas City Heart and Stroke Ball.
My doctors had alway told me “exercise as tolerated”. To me, this meant if I wasn’t dead on the floor or in extreme pain I was good to go. I was able to deadlift 90lbs and was well on my way to being able to do a pull-up! I felt great and I was happy with how my body looked. When I was put on the transplant list in March I asked again, “Can I exercise?” I got the usual response, “as tolerated”. I decided to make them clarify and the doctors were not pleased with what I had been doing. The restricted me to yoga (and NO hot yoga) and walking. I was devastated. I’d come so far and worked so hard and now I had to walk away.
We moved and I found the local yoga studio and dove right in! I loved it and was feeling pretty good and still strong. Then, almost four weeks ago, I got my PICC line and said see ya later to yoga. Once again, I was disappointed.
Fast forward to today. I’ve lost tone, muscle and motivation. I started cardiac rehab this week so now I can exercise with someone watching my heart rhythm the whole time. It is safe for me. It is also boring. My rehab nurse asked me, “What are your goals?” I told her flat out I just want my new heart. My mind wants to do so much and my body can’t keep up. I long for the day I can take my new heart back to Next Round Performance and, like a new car, see what it can do!
Who knows, maybe with me new heart I’ll be a straight up jock!
Courage, dear heart. C.S.Lewis