Monday, February 13, 2012

Great Expectations

Before my diagnosis I felt unstoppable. My CrossFit workouts were getting better and better, and I was getting stronger and stronger. I felt so good, and I loved doing the workouts. I wasn’t overly confident about what I could do, but I knew I could do most things as prescribed in a decent time.

Lately I have been struggling. I don’t expect to be where I was before my diagnosis. I know that is not possible. I have been through so much, and my body has been, and still is, a battlefield. I lost weight and I lost muscle. I have been gaining weight, and slowly gaining muscle. I sometimes wonder if things move differently because of that. It would make sense, but I really don’t know. I am still going through treatments, and my body and mind are still fighting.

The other night I could not do a double-under. I struggled and struggled, and eventually got enough to finish the WOD. It was something I wasn’t prepared to deal with, and I broke down in tears as soon as I got home. Now, just the thought of doing them begins to worry me. Will I be able to? Will I struggle? Will people be watching me, wondering why I cannot do them?

I also find that what may have taken me 10 minutes to complete previously, may take me twice as long. I sometimes have to scale WODs, midway through the WOD. And for the first time since I started to do CrossFit, I have had a couple of WODs that I did not finish. I DNF’d.

I also get fatigued much faster. It is not uncommon for me to take a breather midway through a WOD. To just let my breath catch up to my body. Every WOD feels like “Fran”.

I am starting to really struggle with this loss. The loss of my abilities as they previously were. My family keeps telling me that I am being too hard on myself, that I have unreal expectations as to where I should be in my recovery. My counselor tells me the same. But it is hard for me to not be this way. I see other people doing workouts the way I should be able to do them – the way I use to be able to do them. And it is a constant reminder of where I was. Are my expectations too great?

In a way, I am going through a grieving process over the loss of who and what I was, from a CrossFit perspective. But in reality, deep down, I am the same person. My “who” has not changed. It is who I am, and who I will always be. It is my “what” that has changed. My physical capabilities have changed, and the “what” can be worked on. I said before that every day is a new opportunity for improvement, and attitude and perspective are important.

Now, I look at every WOD and wonder what I can do. Will I need to scale rounds, reps, weight? Will I even finish? Sometimes WODs come up that I know I cannot do. This is not the perspective I use to have. I use to look at every WOD as a challenge. I guess I need to change that attitude and perspective as well. Rather than the WODs reminding me of where I was, I need them to challenge me to try harder. To push myself a little harder.

I love CrossFit, and I love the community – my community. I know I need to be listening to my own advice right now. So I will do my best. And if you see me being too hard on myself, or maybe not really pushing myself, please remind me of where my perspective should be. And if I see you being too hard on yourself, or maybe not pushing yourself, I will give you perspective. We each have a different perspective on things, and it is important to remember that, especially when every WOD may be a struggle, and a reminder of the past.

I wrote the piece above a couple of weeks ago, and have been stewing on it. Since then, I have made it a goal to get better at double-unders. I practice them almost every time I go to CrossFit. Today, I did 30 unbroken. I screamed with excitement, and cried a little. I have also started to think about the “shoulds” in my life. These “shoulds” are perhaps “unrealistic expectations that I have in terms of where I should be in my recovery”. I need to box up the "shoulds" and set them on the curb.


alisha said...

I am so proud of what you are today!

Katie B. said...

Hey Lady- I haven't been where you are, so I can only give an outsider's perspective. I think your expectations ARE reasonable- they are the fuel for your fire. Everything you're doing right now has a purpose- and that purpose is not to be what it once was, or could have been. It's the foundation for the future. It's also time for you to go to that "happy" place where you are panting, sweating, rebuilding your muscle fibers and not thinking about chemo, blood tests and being sick. It's soul food!

Caroline said...

I love this post. It is sooo true. Not only for you but for others too. It is for anyone who has had injury or been out of the box for a while due to circumstances in life. It is all out of our control.

I can't even imagine what it must feel like to go from being on top of your CF game to taking twice as long to do some WODs and not being able to do things that were so easy to you before. You're completely justified in grieving the old CF you. From a strength perspective, I think it will come back quickly. You're already soooo strong. The rest of it, you're going to have to work on. I like taking the perspective of using each WOD as a chance to work on it and challenge yourself to be better. After all, this is truly what CF is all about. Instead of thinking about completing a WOD and comparing it to where you use to be, you need to focus on the WOD at hand. Was it the best you could do that day? Was it right after a treatment? Could you have gone faster? Could you have gone faster with more weight? I think this means that you're going to have to drop weight in WOD's so that you can go faster and gain back some of your metcon. I know you can rx the weight in any WOD (you're strong!) but I don't think that you should in some WODs.

As far as DU's go... be kind to yourself. For everyone, DU's seem to come and go. They are on their own schedule and often don't care if they're there or not when we need them in a WOD. I've seen Dan get so frustrated that he literally threw his rope across the gym, cussing it, and acting like a 6 year old in a full blown temper tantrum. :) So practice everyday, they'll come back, and we'll both be grateful for the chance to practice them.

I'm curious to see what happens when you finish your treatments. Will you be able to catch your breath during those smoker metcons? Will it make a difference? We have a lot to look forward to! You're here and you're doing it, that's all that matters. Every day you do your best and that is something to be proud of. I don't think the majority of people in this world can say that they give their best every day. I'll try to remind you of perspective during and after WODs if you're struggling, but I'm going to also remind you to celebrate the challenging journey, to keep it fun, and the great accomplishment!

I love this post. Perfect!


Sooooo happy to see you string together your DU's yesterday! Bam! When we least expect it, there they are! Well done!

Lauriel said...

Ladies, thank you so very much. Your love and suport has meant so much to me.

Anonymous said...

Lauriel, It's Your cousin Tom. I don't know about all your exercise goals.... I'm just glad to see your like Charlie Sheen..... a winner!

With my Mom and all I've been thinking about you a lot. I hope to see ya sometime soon and give ya a hug.

Tom Moorehouse

Lauriel said...

Tom, thank you for reaching out. I think about you, your brother, and your families quite often. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. I hope we can one day share that hug!