Thoughts on PCF 2010 Summer Challenge

07Aug10

Wendy’s PCF 2010 Summer Challenge Diary
Challenge pics – Before and After
Lessons Learned
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Joe was my roommate in Baltimore. We lived together through the stormiest and darkest years of our respective lives. Divorce, debt, unstable employment, illness, relationship drama, family crises – we marched through all of it.

Eventually, he found Terry – the woman of his dreams.

Terry is an artist by trade. A weightlifter by nature. She ate paleo before it had a name. Drank water and unsweetened tea – period. No extra fats, no sugar or sweeteners of any sort, no flour, no grains (except for the occasional bowl of plain oatmeal). No processed nothing. Lots of veggies and lean meats – always organic. She made a living doing what she loved. She trained old-school heavy. Easily one of the fittest and healthiest people I knew.

Last time I saw Terry was at the funeral for Joe’s father a year and a half ago. She had just closed her artist gallery in Columbia.
“You know Wendy, I’m just tired. Figured it was time for a change.”

I didn’t think anything of it at the time. She and Joe had been married for less than a year at that point. Newlywed, new house, lots of big life changes. Joe was doing really well in high-end boat sales – so they could afford to let her take a step back from running her own business. Joe finally had his life where he wanted it and had the perfect companion for the journey.

Soon afterwards, Terry was diagnosed with cancer. Still not sure what type. Joe is not volunteering the information, and I am not going to ask.

Initially, she was given 90 days. The doctors recommended some very aggressive chemo. Terry’s choice has been to do things that nurture her body. Improve her quality of life for the time she had left. Hydrotherapy, saunas, acupuncture, herbs, nutrition. Fuck chemo. For a year and a half – it seemed to be working.

Joe has always been one of these delusionally positive people. The boat could be sinking in a shark-infested sea and he’d exclaim “Hooray! We get to go swimming!”

He called me on Wednesday to catch up. I hadn’t talked to him since New Years. I asked how Terry was doing.

She’s OK. We installed a sauna and things so she could get her treatments at home. She’s getting treatments every couple of days rather than going down to DC every couple of weeks.
(She’s only “OK”?!? Uh oh.) Is she OK?
The pain is starting to get to her.
(silence)
I thought it had gone into remission by now.
They had only given her 90 days. We got past that. We’re now at a year and a half. The way I see it – we’ve beaten it.

Joe is watching his dream woman…the strongest and fittest woman he has ever known….a woman who tries to do all the right things to stay healthy…slowly die. On her terms.
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Paleo, Crossfit, all of that is not about weight loss, looking like a swimsuit model, or even preventing illness.

It’s about quality of life for the time we have.

Do I feel good?
Am I happy?

Does Paleo / Crossfit / etc make me feel good?
Does all of the tracking/workouts/planning make me happy?

I learned on Wednesday that I can’t predict how any of this is going to help me 1 year / 5 years / 20 years from now. It may not.
All I can answer is….does this make me feel good today? Am I happy doing this today?
All I can do is ask that question daily. And re-evaluate when the answer is “no” too many days in a row.

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Paleo and Crossfit are a couple of tools in the tool kit.

Right now, Crossfit makes me feel good. Makes me happy.

Paleo I still struggle with – 11 attempts and 1 year later. Some days, the answer is “Yes – I feel good and I am happy.” Some days, the answer is “no.”
I learn something on each “no” day. I learn something when those “no” days start to string together.

Ultimately, anything we do in the name of “Health and Fitness” is about cultivating habits that make you feel good and make you happy day-to-day.
For however long we have left.

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