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Fear Is What If; Faith Is Even If

Looking back on the past year I don't think there's a better description of many pivotal moments during this process than the title of this blog. Eight months ago if you'd had told me I would be faster, stronger and feeling better than ever I'm not sure I would have believed it.

I remember the day clearly when the doctor phoned me at work to confirm what I already knew. You have cancer. I finished my work day and delivered well cribs to an oilfield lease as though everything was normal. Not able to grasp what was ahead of me.

Time was crippling, to say the least, as the weight of having to tell our adult children was so heavy. I remember exactly where I was when I was told my parents had cancer. It alters you as a person. You lose trust in life running smoothly. The fear of what if takes over.

After a few days of not knowing what to do, where to go and waiting for an appointment I stopped being helpless. I felt weak and tired physically/emotionally but I continued to walk, do yoga and paddle board. Those activities saved my soul, faith thrived.

After surgery, I felt so much better. Tired but healing and raring to go. Walking, lifting light weights and paddling were attainable quite quickly.

I was back to what I felt like physically before my diagnosis. Strong but still achy with my normal arthritis, back pain and joint problems.

When I was put on Tamoxifen and warned of the joint pain I laughed because I live in daily pain. Could it be worse? Yup, it was a bit more in new places. Some days walking is a shuffle, squatting is painful and moving sucks. Before this I was hitting new Personal Records (PRs) while lifting weights.

As the winter has progressed it's been three steps forward and one back, but I'm still progressing! Just today I had a deadlift PR of 155lbs/6 reps which I honestly never thought I would get close to.

All the basic movement patterns in the gym I'm excelling at. For someone like me who has lived through physical movement, it is a high like no other.

Back in October when my dear friends and I decided we'd do The Canadian Death Race in 2024 it was on a two-mile walk. Only one of our team of five was regularly running. I'll let you guess which friend had the idea to enter lol. In my mind when we got the race registration confirmation I still thought there's no way in hell this is going to happen.

My winter goal was to do three running races to prepare after not running a race in nearly a decade. Running is not as enjoyable as it used to be, some days I'm a ninety-year-old woman and others I'm a rockstar. At this point, I simply roll with it.

Recently while visiting Arizona I completed a 5 Mile Hill Climb event. Unsure of how it would go my goal was to finish feeling good. Surprisingly I pushed hard felt pretty tanked at the end of it and was hardly sore the next day.

My body is getting stronger and more resilient than ever. There will always be dips and valleys in one's progress. I succumbed to the idea years ago that my longest run would be 2 miles in pain forever; not true!

Perhaps the gift was cancer giving me the kick in the ass to pursue and believe in my capabilities more than I was. As a society, we are led to believe that we shouldn't look our age on the exterior but in the next breath people say they're too old for x, y,'s all a lie.

Muscle growth occurs at all ages if the muscle is taxed to a certain point it repairs stronger. This is linear if you are 20 or 80 years old. Joints can be mobilized to move better if we keep using them with purpose and add mobility into our daily lives. I'm happy to be strong with grey hair and wrinkles as I age.

Faith is that even if this level of strength is lost somehow I can still pivot and move forward to being the best version of that self at that time. Halving my intake of Tamoxifen has been a game changer, less mental stress and far less joint pain. Thank goodness!

Fear is a trap, it convinces you what if this happens, what if that happens and paralyzes you from even trying. No one has improved in fear. Only faith breeds hope, trust that even if something happens there's a solution even if it isn't apparent immediately.

Have faith.

Sending You Love N' SUP,

Lisa Stocking

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