Lessons Learned Days 8, 9 and 10

DAY 8           11:59 AM on Feb. 16, 2009


Today starts week two and I am still on vacation for a couple more days.  While the rest of the group slept in this morning I was on my way to Gold’s Gym at 6:00 a.m.  The workout went a little faster than Friday since I was more familiar with the layout and the equipment.

I have had trouble getting week two work outs to load on the website and have had some frustrating experiences with the software … thank goodness for trainer Brad.  He is helping me through this.  Boy did I luck out with him.  He is so positive, so encouraging and so genuine.  He has provided motivation and sanity when I was totally done with the computer part of this thing.  Glad to have such a self-less guy on my side.

Today I did chest, back and biceps.  I burned over 800 calories and maintained an average heart rate of 122 (110 – 141).  I truly appreciate my wireless heart rate monitor.  It takes the distraction of recordkeeping out of the way.

Lessons Learned:

Food has been a struggle on vacation.  As guests in our friend’s home I can only make due with what is decided upon and comes my way.  No one knows the plan or understands the program.  My goal is to simply maintain where I was before vacation and not backslide.  Yikes!  But isn’t that just life and the way it always is?  So, I need to figure out how to do this EVERY day!


Day 9          6:22 AM on Feb. 17, 2009

I appreciate the helpful messages from my support community.  Today was day nine and workout two of week two.  I am beginning to feel different.

It was so great to have the Gold’s Gym so close to our friend’s home in Florida.  Today I burned 850 calories, maintained an average heart rate of 122 (115 – 146).  I actually woke up this morning looking forward to getting to the gym … anticipation of the morning.  That is a good thing.  Every day I begin to see more focus and more intensity.

Tonight we return home for life as usual … a good life!

Lessons Learned: 
I never thought is just 9 short days I might actually start feeling different and anticipating exercise.  What might several months feel like?


Day 10 – An Epiphany          6:44 PM on Feb. 18, 2009

Epiphany … rarely occurs for most of us … or does it?  This blog has a very positive ending, so stay with it.

Yesterday, vacation was over, we said goodbye to our friends of over 25 years and headed for the airport.  We decided since it was a longer flight that we would upgrade to first class.  It was late, we were tired. The room, comfort and attention “up front” felt luxurious.  We were fortunate to have the means to do this for this trip. I had worked out in the morning and had a good success with food throughout the day and believe it or not I was ready to return home and to routine.  After all, tomorrow was another step in my wellness journey.

As we began our decent into Minneapolis, my wife removed her sweater, leaned over and said, “Mark, I really don’t feel well”.  I no sooner got my arm around her back and she passed out, appearing to seize and convulse for what seemed an eternity (really only a few seconds).  Within minutes, flight attendants and nearby passengers were supporting her, and me.  Oxygen was administered.  Cold compresses were applied to the back of her neck.  She revived a minute into the event and we kept her comfortable for the last 15 minutes of the flight.  When we landed, the paramedics met us and off we went to the ER by ambulance.  As you can imagine, a long night of tests and uncertainty was before us.  I was really scared.  After all, we’ve been together for almost 35 years.

The results were marvelously underwhelming,!  Her test all returned negative for ay issues and the diagnosis came back as a common stress response that can trigger a rapid drop in blood pressure and lack of blood to the brain, causing the person to pass out, sometimes appearing as a seizure.  It could have been triggered by the change in altitude, a sudden feeling of anxiety or a closed and warm environment.  It will probably happen again.  The doctor taught her how to recognize the on-set and taught me how position her to recover, to check and read her pulse and how to treat the symptoms next time so no fuss happens.  We were all quite relieved and thankful, albeit a little tired and stressed from the experience.

Lessons Learned:
I was supposed to get up this morning for an extended cardio session.  I was supposed to have my meals all made in advance and eaten periodically throughout the day.  I was supposed to plan out the rest of my week for food and work outs.  I was supposed  to email some of my friends in the support community.  But what really happened.? Today, life got in the way.  Today, I could have quit.  Today, I could have been angry for the interruption. Today, I could have complained about the circumstance.
Instead, today, I counted my blessings for my dearest partner of 35 years.  I looked at tomorrow as another point to pick it up … not begin again … not to start over … but rather RESUME.  There is no “should”. There is no anxiety or guilt.  The cardio didn’t get done.  I ate as well as I could, not perfectly but as well as I could for today.
But today, what overwhelmingly remained for me was relief and thankfulness, self-confidence in my abilities, continuity in the realm of what is possible and excitement about tomorrow.  Honestly … what a powerful place to be …
It occurred to me that my support community is a lot like my experience on the airplane.  There is support when in crisis.  There is education when necessary.  There is affirmation for things accomplished in the present and and hope for things to be accomplished in the future.  Overall, there is a strong creation of possibility.  Honestly … what a powerful place to be …
Funny how life is so DAILY.  I enjoy the humaness of my existence!

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