I had so-so luck with 2016 challenges.
I was optimistic about my energy levels.
I was put on a prevention medication that had some pretty significant side effects. After lowering the dose 3 times, it was clear that I would have to give up a lot to stay on it.
My cancer journey began with the declaration that I would not do anything that affected my quality of life. Each person is different and I respect the choices that people make for themselves. For me, I would rather have fewer awesome days than more miserable ones. It is the reason I quit chemo early and why I ultimately quit the prevention medication.
The problem is that it’s taken almost 10 months for my body to recover from the side effects. Amazing isn’t it? Something that is supposed to save our bodies from our own bodies simply breaks our bodies? Each person has a different experience on the med but mine was fraught with extreme fatigue, pain, sleeplessness, and the inability to exercise. I had been making some progress but that all went down in flames once I started the med. Not worth it.
So as I write this update I can report that in the last few weeks I have finally turned a physical corner. I’ve finally after months and months of being unable to run just 2 miles, I can run 3 miles with ease. I’m slow, but I could care less. I can enjoy the sheer joy of running, being able to take in air, and well simply being okay instead of breathless and fatigued.
One of the 2016 challenges was to complete a 3 mile run and finally sign up for a race. While the race didn’t happen, it will in 2017, guaranteed.
Another challenge was to get back on my mountain bike, simply because it was easier than running. I didn’t get to do a race but I ended up with two new bikes, some new acquaintances, and a LOT of miles. I got back to riding trails. I built a gravel bike and discovered I loved riding dirt on a road-style bike. I plan to enter my very first race in March 2017, stay tuned.
Hitting the gun range, making music, and making art all fell to the wayside. Given my reduced energy levels it was super important to make the most of the hours I had. Work and exercise dominated.
I did, however, spend lots of time at the symphony and theater. There’s more than one way to take in art and music.
Working on my house has been a process, and again, simply because of energy. I was careful to make sure that I spent a good amount of energy on things I enjoyed first. I did get ½ the house painted and floored. I still have details like installing new base and door casings. But the improvements have really increased my well-being. I know that as I begin to increase my energy I’ll get so much more done. It’s a good feeling.
An important part of the Challenges process is realizing that progress is the “win”. Even if you don’t get to your goal, the steps you take towards the goal are exquisite all on their own.
Finally, learning to control my feelings of anger has had the biggest impact. The lesson? Patience. Just being patient can calm the flare of anger. Practicing Ninja Calm can change your life! (Read all about Ninja Calm in my Kindle book What to Say, How to Say It.)
Except once… I got hot, like really hot. I remained as calm as possible but it was obvious that I was angry. Still, I let it go. I thought about what went wrong, what could have been done differently, what lessons could be learned, and more importantly what would be my next steps so that I could practice being a better leader and person.
The idea that I won’t ever get angry is crazy, right? But being aware of when we are angry and asking smart questions about why and what could be improved is another lesson.
The take-away is this… When you work on yourself, everything around you improves.
Next week I’ll have the Epic Challenges 2017 post and some new exciting stuff as well! Yay!