Back on the treadmill...

Yes, it is Monday morning. This picture is my Sunday dinner of grilled Filet covered w/sauteed mushrooms, baked potato stuffed with broccoli and cheese sauce, ranch style beans and a glass of Riesling. I didn't take a picture of my appetizer (tortilla strips and an avocado sprinkled with sea salt). I didn't eat the whole potato. I skipped the dinner rolls and dessert. (I didn't touch even one piece of Easter chocolate after dinner!) But I'm certainly not bragging about my self-discpline. Just look at that plate!

Since I typically eat a little more over the weekend, I always start the week feeling the consequences. I'm extra tired. I feel swollen. I'm still full from dinner. I won't be hungry until mid-afternoon. And the treadmill of compensating for the weekend begins again...literally. I have an hour of walking to do as soon as I post this to my blog.

I read an article yesterday that stated there are new guidelines on how much weekly exercise is necessary for women to avoid mid-life weight gain. It has been upped to an HOUR of exercise, SEVEN days a week. Currently, I exercise for 45 to 60 minutes (and sometimes more than an hour) six days a week. I guess that's not going to be enough. Although I do have the option of eating less, I conveniently seem to forget that (especially on the weekends). So until I can get some added discipline in THAT area, I suppose I will have to spend more time burning off the calories.

However, when I typed "Back on the treadmill..." into the subject line, I was thinking of John. It has been about eight months since he stopped running on the treadmill. Our treadmill broke down one night last summer and we started walking outside in the evenings. But John's lymph nodes were growing so large that the ones in his groin area were making even an evening walk painful. So he stopped. And then, of course, he began chemotherapy in September. He was zapped. It started getting cooler in the evenings and the treadmill remained unusable. (Fortunately, for me, I still had a fully operational semi-recumbent bike and a stairmaster.)

Well, chemo ended the last week of January and a few weeks ago we got the treadmill fixed. I had been the only one using it ... until yesterday! John walked at a modest incline for forty minutes. I know he won't be content to just walk for very long, but I urged him to start out with walking so he doesn't suffer an injury. I really do think that getting back to a regular exercise routine will help him regain more of his energy. And I can't tell you how exciting it was for me just to see him put on his workout clothes and get on that treadmill again.

John is still feeling the effects of chemo. He still suffers from fatigue and he has had a long bout with his sinuses, which seem to finally be clearing up. He has been on prophylactic antibiotics since September, plus an anti-viral. And he had to take a stronger antibiotic for his sinuses recently. His lymph nodes are still "waxing and waning." Some days they seem to be returning in his neck and that is obviously disconcerting for both of us.

Our doctor's expectation - and our hope - was that this chemo would knock out the CLL for a number of years. We know there may be more treatment ahead a lot sooner than we would like; possibly even a stem cell transplant. So getting back to working out is important. And, truthfully, it gave me an emotional boost to see him back on that treadmill after so many months of exhaustion and inactivity.

We will keep plugging along and making the most of every day. We are thankful that he feels as good as he does. Thank you for your continued prayers. We both believe in God's power to heal completely and we trust in His will for all our tomorrows. It isn't easy. We don't want this battle. Nobody wants cancer to invade their lives and disrupt their plans. But life hands us ALL many challenges and in every one of them is the opportunity to grow and overcome. And, most of all, I know that God is equipping me in every difficulty to be an encouragement to someone else along the way. I don't know what I would do without those who have been there to help me navigate the journey. I have many mentors and friends in this CLL battle. Their faith, strength and courage are a constant inspiration to me. (You know who you are, my CLL Christian Friends.)

So, it's back to the treadmill for the Howertons. John needs to regain strength and I simply need to burn calories. Life goes on. And there is joy in every day. I am so thankful for John, and truly thankful for the life God has given us. I spend a lot of time contemplating how blessed I am to have him. But every once in a while I allow myself to contemplate the blessing God has allowed me to be in his life. He would have had CLL with or without me. I'm glad it's with me. Nobody in this whole world could have loved him more or taken better care of him than me. And I say that proudly ... (hoping it's not sinful to feel that way).


Ann said…
Those mushrooms and an amazing memory of your delicious fillet mignon came back vividly with that picture!
Oh Shari and John, what a wonderful visit we had with you. Life has been so busy, I've hardly had the chance to say how glad I am that you have each other.
Shari said…
Great to hear from you, Ann. We so enjoyed our time with you and Eric! And how appropriate that the picture on the back of my book was taken the night we celebrated your anniversary with a great meal! (When friends tell me how much they like that picture, I love telling them it was taken standing at my kitchen sink!)