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.

American Heart Association Kansas City Heart and Stroke Ball
American Heart Association 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

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