Thursday, June 6, 2013


One of my proudest accomplishments before Battle #2 with melanoma was that I could do almost 10 dead hang pull ups. I know that might seem silly, but physical strength does not come naturally to me (nor does coordination or speed) and for years I've worked really hard to become stronger. After having my lymph nodes under my left arm removed, pull ups seemed impossible. Then after radiation cooked and burned everything left under there, my range of motion is shot, along with my strength. It's been frustrating to start all over with certain exercises, but it's been coming along. Yesterday I decided to see if I could even hang from a bar - I can't raise my hand straight up, so I wasn't sure. Sure enough, I could do that, so I tried to do a negative pull up, where you jump up to the top of a pull up (chin near the bar) and then lower yourself down slowly, to build up strength to be able to pull yourself up. The last time I tried a negative, I couldn't hold myself up at all. This time, I had a lot more control and I did much better. It was a very happy milestone for me. 

Ever since I've gotten into fitness, I've noticed how working out, and the accomplishments that go along with it, transition into the rest of life. When you lift weights, you are tearing up your muscle fibers, and when they repair, they grow back stronger and bigger (if you're a woman, don't take that to mean that you'll get body builder big from lifting weights - there are exceptions, but you won't!). When life throws things at us, we might be torn down for a little bit, but then we come back stronger than before. In fitness, you don't know how strong you are until you're pushed to your limits. When you think you can't run a mile, or lift a certain amount of weight, and then you do, it's an amazing feeling and you feel like you can accomplish anything at that point. In life, when you feel like you just can't take any more sadness or heartache, but you do and you deal with it and you move forward, you realize that you can handle ANYTHING. One of my favorite bible verses is Philippians 4:13: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". True Story! Whatever obstacles you're facing in life - physical, emotional, mental, spiritual - you CAN overcome them.  Sure, we have limits. I'm not going to stand on top of the roof and jump off, thinking I'll be able to fly. But we have the ability to do so much more than we think. Physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. 

My little mini accomplishment in the gym yesterday was a reminder of how strong and resilient I really am. I haven't been through a fraction of what so many others have had to go through, but I've been through enough to know that I can handle whatever may come along. And, wherever you are, so can you. Sometimes it takes making a choice to not let the hardships define you, and it always takes some time, but you CAN and if you want to, WILL heal from anything that tears you down. Let go of your bitterness and sadness, and choose to learn and grow from the bad stuff! 

Borrowed from Chasing a Miracle