It has been a long, cold winter. We would have liked significantly more snow than we received, and significantly fewer days below zero. But now I’ve set up my first tray of seeds: leeks, red onions and garlic, on the growing table. Steve is building me a larger, new-and-improved chicken coop so my chickens won’t have to go to the barn in winter but can live full-time in my backyard. Then it’s on to repairing machinery and getting the greenhouse ready.
The first week in January I started physical therapy. My shoulder was still bothering me and I was in a cycle of working too hard and injuring myself then doing nothing. After six weeks of baby steps, the shoulder no longer hurt, I had more range of motion, and we were moving on to my core. There’s nothing really wrong/injured with my core, other than not having a single ab muscle, so I ended PT.
I went straight to the nearby gym, though, signed up and got myself a physical trainer. I knew I needed to keep building, slowly, and needed accountability. We have had two sessions and she is delightful. She is the 13th of 15 children, grew up on a nearby farm, and she is also a cancer survivor, soft-tissue sarcoma. We share an oncologist.
I was gearing up for a good set of leg presses when I realized my oncologist, Dr. U., was across from me on the ab crunch machine. Dr. U. is a beautiful Nigerian man, and I had never seen him in anything but a suit before, so it took me a few takes. Of course his workout clothes were on point. Although he is known for his laugh, he is also a formal, somewhat reserved person. I ran into him once at the cafe at the Cancer Center back when I was in treatment, and he did not stop to make small talk. I wasn’t sure what the etiquette was, but determined to let him do his workout unbothered.
As we progressed through the circuit, another woman came over to shake his hand and thank him for the care he provided for her friend. Then another person walked by and greeted him. He was sitting in the machine next to me when my trainer came over to see how things were going. I turned to him and said, “Dr. U., are all these people your patients?” He laughed and said no, not at all. He asked how I was doing, I said trying to get back to my old self, and we went on.
I just could not shake wondering what this experience is like for him. I would imagine it is encouraging. The gym is like the other side of the mirror from the Cancer Center. Here we are, after treatment, with our gains and losses, training and being trained, going through the paces.
I like this gym because, unlike the college gym that is 5 minutes from my house, this one is full of middle-aged and older people like me. The college women are very friendly and kind, and it is fun to see what they are about (they know what they are about, those women). This gym is shabbier, and has ’80s music playing constantly, and the clean-the-machine etiquette is not so great (though Dr. U. had perfect etiquette, of course). I run into a lot more people I know at this gym, which has its ups and downs.
The order is in for my annual scan. So I will be doing that, and seeing Dr. U. in his office in a couple weeks. Everything seems to be fine. I am getting stronger. And we will see, but I expect all will be well.