The ‘Me’ in the Mirror

Over the past six months, or so, with the treatments, my weight has dropped considerably. The first chemo had its impact with occasional bouts of nausea. The second chemo has not caused any nausea, but I’m still losing weight. Probably so far, I’ve lost about 18 pounds. I’m the lightest I’ve ever been; so light, I will float away any moment and dissipate in the breeze. Gone.

I’m writing this because yesterday I visited my brother’s gym. He is a personal trainer along with also being a Traditional Chinese Medicine Acupuncturist here in Ottawa. Very kindly, he will be helping me train. We need to build my body back up. We need to get the muscle regenerating (or whatever the word is). We need to fix the woman who looks like she’s missing 20 pounds.

It was weird looking in the mirror of that gym yesterday. All around me were people training themselves. They were sweating and pounding the bags – they had strong arms and strong strikes. They didn’t seem to worry about shattering a bone when hitting something. I’m scared to even lift a grocery bag, for fear of crushing a vertebrae. And in the mirror I watched myself amongst them, so noticeably different.

Beauty – is it in the eye of the beholder? Even more so, is health in the eye of the beholder? Does it count that I feel well for someone in my situation? Is this frail projection reflecting back at me a reality that my sensibilities won’t accept?

I’m at battle with the me in the mirror, because I’m a bit afraid she’s the me who is dying very slowly.

I guess that is really the truth of it. It scares me a little, you know? To wither away, it’s not cool. So I need to remember: the me in the mirror is doing her best. She is at the gym despite feeling totally awkward about it. She is eating the meat and fat, despite having no real desire for either. And she is trying her best. There is a ‘me’ in there who is healthy, beautiful, and striving to survive.

I just need to remember this. And keep trying. One pound at a time and one treatment at a time, I want to get my body back.

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8 thoughts on “The ‘Me’ in the Mirror

  1. Your courage is such that it can’t be beat, dear one. Effortless. Your use of the word death I find difficult to fathom. You’re so full of all that matters in this life. You have it to spare. Death be damned!

  2. Hi Catherine,

    So good to hear that you are using JP as your personal trainer. He is very knowledgeable about how train the body without injury, how to get rid of aches through massage therapy and acupuncture, and how to feed your body nutritionally. He will plan a fitness program just for you.

    I no longer worry about how I look compared to others because I am trying my best to be healthy. JP does a great job motivating me with mental images to keep me going … “You are the tiger” … “Be the goat” … “Amazon woman!”

    JP always tells me it’s mind over the body, that the body can handle a lot more than the mind says it can. Its true. When I do a tiger walk on all fours (very helpful with my lower back pain), I imagine that I am an orange tiger with black stripes, a shiny coat and rippling muscles walking through the jungle. That’s a much prettier picture than a fat lady with her butt in the air, her belly almost touching the floor, and her nose close to a gym floor that smells of sweat. 🙂

    Depending on which exercise I am doing, I can be the tiger, the goat, the frog, or the bunny. Find your own picture and it will help you through your personal training.

  3. Pingback: Weekly Round Up | Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

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