The Struggle to Rebuild
There's been so much in the news lately about The Evil Cancer Coming Back: Elizabeth Edwards, Tony Snow; I'm sure there's not a cancer survivor alive who doesn't shudder with terror when these horrible headlines start flashing all over the place, reminding us daily of our tenuous reality. Yes, it could happen. The odds are uncomfortably high that it WILL happen. And marching confidently into the Department of Minor Surgery and having the hideous port yanked out two years ahead of schedule seems to be just asking for it, you know what I mean?
But here's how I rationalize it. The hideous port is holding me back from lifting weights at my full capacity, and therefore it's preventing me from regaining the significant amount of muscle and bone I lost during the past year to cancer and chemotherapy. With the hideous port gone, I can get my game back. I can repair the damage, restore the lean body mass, rebuild the strength I will most definitely need to fight and even to survive if the cancer does come back. So it's not about vanity, it's about staying alive.
Skinny little pipe cleaner arms: not good.
I mentioned a few weeks ago that the gym where I used to work as a personal trainer asked to help out with teaching a weight loss class. Never mind the appallingly bad taste in having an emaciated cancer patient get up and instruct anybody about how to lose weight. I can't tell you how frustrating it is, trying to reeducate these women who've been brainwashed into the whole conventional starvation diet combined with excessive cardio mentality. They are slowly killing themselves with their unhealthy eating habits. They turn in their food logs, and when I see things like "Breakfast: 1 slice of toast and a Coke," I want to scream and tear out my pitiful little peach fuzz (fortunately it's too short for me to get a good grip and pull). No no a thousand times NO!
I try to tell them to stop thinking in terms of breaking their bodies down and literally destroying themselves, and start thinking in terms of building their bodies up. The way to be healthy and lean is to think good health, think excellent nourishment, think superb strength and beautiful muscle. But they refuse to listen. And I guarantee they will fail. I also guarantee that if they ever find themselves fighting for their lives, they'll be at a severe disadvantage.
My favorite inspirational quote of the decade comes from my all-time top role model and weight lifting guru over at Little Professor. She says:
"My email inbox is full of women complaining about how strong they are getting, and how much they desperately want to be frail. I started weight training and now I am too big! Too strong! My shriveled sinews are suddenly plump and energized! My metabolism that I fucked up from years of ascetic rice cake rationing is suddenly zippy and industrious! I may not die a horrible death from a crumbled hip at 65! The horror!
What the fuck is wrong with young women that 200 years after the first wave of feminism they are still whittling away at their bodies, starving, plucking, shaving, stumbling around incapacitated? Where are the daughters of the mothers who screamed Keep your laws off our bodies 30 years ago and now buy tickets to the Vagina Monologues? Do they not understand that they desperately need to hoard muscle and bone density and overall wellbeing like an obsessive compulsive cat lady hanging on to National Geographics and bits of string?"
This is exactly why I'm having my hideous port removed on May 1st, two years before the doctors recommended. Because I desperately need to hoard muscle and bone density, in order to fucking survive.
Slowly but surely, it's coming back.
And here, by popular demand, is the super healthy high-protein blueberry muffin recipe.
Preheat over to 400 degrees F.
Blend dry ingredients in a bowl:
1 cup milled flax seed
3/4 cup soy flour
1/3 cup Splenda
3 scoops vanilla whey protein
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup whole flax seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
In a separate bowl, combine wet stuff:
1/2 cup egg whites (or Egg Beaters)
3 tbs. flax oil
1/2 cup nonfat milk (or soy milk)
Add dry ingredients to wet stuff and stir until just blended.
Fold in 1 1/2 cups blueberries (frozen or fresh), or any other berries or chopped fruit. Batter will be thick. Fill oiled muffin cups (I use canola oil spray) about 2/3 full. Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes. Yields 12 muffins.
Tomorrow: more about my workouts. Stay tuned.