As I prepared for my first radiation treatment last Friday, I got increasingly nervous as the day got closer. This may seem like a weird comparison but I was reminded of running workouts.
A week of training is split between workouts and distance runs. Workouts are tough and there were some you really didn’t look forward to because you knew they were going to hurt and be hard to get through. But you also knew that in order to get better and faster you needed to push through the workout and give your best effort.
Some workouts were not bad, others were rough. Some flew by, others seem to drag out and were painful. Either way, you toughed them out to finish.
I remember the long warmup from campus down Eggerts Crossing Road and the 1200s we would run at the Armory or the 1000s around the park across the street during the cross country season. For some reason the Armory workouts were also better than the 1000 repeats.
Tempo runs on the towpath were tough, some flew by and others were a challenge to keep pace. Hill workouts at Washington Crossing were probably my least favorite and one of the hardest workouts, but you learned to dig deep and give your best as you hit the bottom of the hill and made your way back up for the repeat around our home course.
Workouts on the track were always easier: no hills, better footing and easy to count down as you clicked off each lap of the assigned interval. Of course some workouts were a lot easier than others but speed workouts on the track were my favorite if I had a choice.
The mental aspect of workouts was always the hardest. I remember the nerves as we would look at the board outside the locker room where the workout was posted for the day. There was always certain workouts I dreaded more than others.
Even when workouts were tough and hurt, it was always the feeling after the workout that made it all worthwhile. Once the endorphins really kicked in, the sense of accomplishment and completion of a workout hit and you realized all the nerves, pain and struggles were worth it. You did it and would be better off for it.
The same was true of many of my cancer treatments including last week’s radiation. I had many nerves heading into each one, including the radiation, but knew I would have to tough it out in order to get better.
With radiation, the prepping of the treatment was almost harder than the actual treatment itself. It was like the long warmup, where you know discomfort lies ahead but you have to get through the warm up to get to the workout, to get faster and better.
And last Friday I had to get over the discomfort of a tight face mask and no movement in order to get through my treatment and get better. Much like the workouts I ran, the treatment went by faster than anticipated.
And fortunately I felt fine without any side effects in the days following this treatment. All the nerves I had leading up to this were just wasted energy. I toughed it out and did what I needed to get better, just as I did many years ago around fields and cross country courses to get faster and better.
There are lots of tasks we have to get through that we may dread or fear but know it’s what we need to do in order to get better. Radiation was a new treatment for me last week that I was very scared of, but able to complete, just as I finished different workouts during the cross country season.
Mentally workouts were always harder than physically and the same proved true of my latest treatment.
I am grateful that my years of training have prepared me to be able to handle the treatments I have faced just as I learned to balance the mental and physical challenges of workouts. If we dig deep, we get through the many obstacles and ups and downs of life.
#cancertreatment #radiation #nerves #runningworkouts #toughitout