The Beast

Since my cancer surgery in November 2020, I’ve walked more than 60 miles on my treadmill. I went from a non-exercising couch potato to a person that gets 60 – 90 minutes of treadmill per day. When I started I was slow and weak but I continue to increase my aerobic fitness, little by little, each day. About 3 months ago, I could only walk 20 minutes before needing to rest. Today, I walk 4 miles a day and have lost 23 pounds. I need to lose more weight and to increase my healthiness.

To help me ignore all the signals my body sends me during my walks, I listen to music. You might say, music is my post-surgery healing therapy. I connect my iPhone to either a Bluetooth speaker or ear buds, open my music app, and select an album. I set the album to repeat play until stopped. I have several dozen albums to choose from.

I ensure the ceiling fan is on, chewing gum is in my mouth, and I have my water bottle. I usually perform around 10 minutes of stretching exercises before climbing on to the treadmill. Stretching might be the wrong word to describe my routine. I think *torture* better describes what I do. My muscles scream with pain as my brain floods my body the hormone that signals me to go lay down on the couch.

You may be curious about the chewing gum. It helps keep my mouth moist during extended periods of panting, huffing, and puffing. I do have to be careful, and remember to push the gum to the side, when I gulp for air. Accidentally swallowing chewing gum is dangerous. The water bottle is there to freshen the gum periodically.

Around the ½ mile mark, I begin to keep track of the remaining distance. It’s also when I start panting, huffing, and puffing. This is about the time my left foot sends a signal to the brain for me to go lay down on the couch. I ignore my foot as I continue to battle the beast I call “treadmill”.

At one mile, I crank the volume up till I can no longer hear my knees popping with each step. I remind myself of how lucky I am and how I need to focus more energy on getting healthy. My right knee joins my left knee in sending signals for me to go lay down on the couch. I ignore my feet and knees as I continue to battle the beast I call “treadmill”.

At two miles, my lower back screams for me to stop. I begin to question my luck and ask myself, “Am I happier focusing energy on health or running the channels on the TV?”. I begin to sense that my hips are unhappy. I turn the volume up a notch as I continue to battle the beast I call “treadmill”.

At three miles, it’s a symphony of body parts demanding I immediately stop and go lay down on the couch. My hips hurt so bad, I think they are going to explode. My knees are barking so loudly, I can barely hear the music playing. I remember happier times of laying on the couch watching repeats of my favorite shows. I crank the volume all the way up as I continue to battle the beast I call “treadmill”.

At four miles, panting like a dog trying to draw air into over stimulated lungs, I turn off the music. I press the stop button and the beast growls as it slows to a crawl. I pump my fist as the beast lets out a final whimper. I once again feel lucky

I kicked cancer’s ass and I have slayed the beast that I call “treadmill”.

Tomorrow, I start the fight again.