This past monday, I worked until eleven at night, and my whole shift, I was so sore from getting back into working out all weekend. I was trying to make excuses why I shouldn’t workout after work. ‘I have chemo early in the morning tomorrow’. ‘ I ate really healthy today’. ‘I’m still sore from this weekend.’ But then I told my self, be a freaking man!!!! and I DID IT! I alternated every minute between running and walking for 20 minutes, then did 3 sets of 15 reps for abs, chest, and triceps. I was so proud of myself for following through!
A friend of mine sent me an article that helped keep me going that whole time I was on the treadmill Monday night. It outlines seven traits of mentally tough runners. The article describes mental thoughness as the capacity to reliably perform at your best regardless of external conditions, distractions or emotions. I feel like this mental toughness doesn’t just apply to running, it applies to a lot of things in life, chemo in particular.
These traits are:
1. Resilience – ability to bounce back from adversity.
I always recover from my chemo treatments with a 100% positive attitude.
2. Focus – ability to focus in the face of distractions or unexpected circumstances.
Even though I’m on chemo, I still need to go to school and maintain a job. I have my life goals in mind, and I’m not letting cancer get in the way of that.
3. Strength – ability to handle an unforseen turn of events and remain balanced and calm.
I feel stronger than I ever have, emotionally. Dealing with a break up only a month after starting chemo was not easy. Obviously, this was unforseen but carrying on with my daily life helped me to move past it.
4. Preparation – ability to anticipate situations ahead of time and feel prepared that there is a plan of action.
I prepare my meals ahead of time, and I’m sure to get foods that are healthy but easy on my stomach for when I have my chemo treatments.
5. Vision – ability to move closer to your objective, even when there are no immediate signs of getting closer to the finish line.
This one really hits home for me. Six months of chemotherapy seems like a long time. Even now, I still have two more months of treatment left and it seems like forever. Every week when I recover, and then have to go in for treatment again and basically knock myself back down, I remind myself of how much better I’m going to feel when it’s over. I think of the future I’m going to have and the fact that I know I now have what it takes to accomplish my goals.
6. Openness – ability to learn and be open to all possibilities.
This was difficult for me at first. I was very stubborn and didn’t want to live back in PA after moving back from Manhattan. I was also extremely stubborn in the fact that I did NOT want to go to community college. I know, it sounds snobby. Eventually, I needed to make a decision that was both financially smart and would get me on the path to where I want to be.
7. Trust – ability to have faith in oneself.
There have been points throughout my chemo treatment where I felt so alone, misunderstood, and felt like I was going nowhere. I had no control over my health or my immediate future. With everything I’ve had to overcome so far, I feel so confident in the fact that I will finish chemo and I will move on with my life to achieve my goals.