OK - as I noted in my last post, things are looking more and more normal. And they are feeling pretty normal too. I will admit to several second thoughts when it comes to a beer or a glass of wine, and my weight is at a place where I need to think about saying "no" to a second helping (or two). But all-in-all I am ready to think and act like 2011 just didn't exist.
As you will all remember, I have made a point of exercising throughout the whole non-existent 2011 cancer odyssey (redux). I highly recommend to any cancer patient/survivor that they explore the possibility of regular group exercise before, during, and after surgery/chemo. Even though there were (and will be) occasions when you just feel too fatigued to pull off any repetitions, I encourage you to stay with it. In the group setting, with other cancer patients/survivors, I gained a lot of energy and solid support. I cannot say enough about how good that ultimately made me feel. Having a trainer that is aware of cancer and its limitations was an unbelievable experience, and I think I am a better (and stronger) person for that.
Alas, stronger does not mean strong. A couple weeks ago I was chatting with the trainer, wondering if maybe I was ready to "graduate" since I was done with treatment. She simply asked me what my exercise plan was, and when I said I didn't have one she said I had to stay until I did. Wow. Sooooo.... I decided to try out the exercise class/trainer that my wife has been using, in a very basic "CrossFit" program that he was hosting on Thanksgiving Day. Now let me say that he is a great guy, and was very accommodating with my revealed weaknesses, but that class kicked my proverbial butt (and I was using only 15 pound barbells). For context, I have been benching 40+ pound barbells in each hand for a couple of weeks now. As it turns out, my core muscles are terribly weak.
Several "duhs" later - I now realize that I am in no condition for long cycling yet. Apparently have someone slice across your abdomen weakens your core incredibly, and sometimes it takes years to recover strength "down there." My lower back muscles are proportionately over-strong, and they are quick to cramp. I have a lot to learn, and lots of muscle to restore... but I plan several long rides in 2012 - maybe an STP and a Cycle Oregon? Anyone interested in joining me?