I never thought this exercise would be hard (see Wall Walk) Seriously, try it. I did it with my left arm and it did not feel like exercise. I tried it with my right side, now sans two lymph nodes, and it was excruciating. I started sweating. I wanted to cry. The pain got to be so much I thought I would barf. I stopped.

Anyone who has worked out with me will know that I love doing awful, painful arm exercises. With weights. Now I can't even walk my fingers up a wall. I can't raise my arm all the way up, or stretch it out. I can't get a glass from the top shelf in the cupboard anymore. I'm right handed so by instinct, without thinking, I always reach with that hand first. It HURTS.

The worst part? I haven't even had my REAL surgery yet. This is just a little prelude. I'm scared.

Physical health is always something I took for granted. And now that I'm getting closer and closer to treatment and the reality of my situation is setting in I've realized that I am going to need to get used to asking for help. Not emotional help (or not JUST) but also physical help. There are going to be things I just can't do.

I'll admit I've been pushing myself hard. Possibly too hard. My 60 pound dogs has been pulling me around all over the place and I am just not willing to give up our walks yet. I will just deal with the pain and discomfort, and sign up for training classes ASAP.

But if I need to ask for help walking the dog, I'm also going to work on not feeling bad about it. I'm working on giving myself some slack.

I had a mantra that I started saying to myself a few years back, when my brother was dying of cancer and I was having a really hard time with, well, life. I found it in a book that was given to me to help teens but something about this passage resonated with me, it soothed me.

Beyond a wholesome discipline be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe. As much as the trees and the stars, you have a right to be here. And whether or not you understand it, things are unfolding as they should.

This is a really great mantra when your plan veers of course, because really, who's harder on us then ourselves. I can really put myself through the ringer. I am always GO, GO, GO and suddenly my life is on pause. It's hard.

A friend sent me a link today on Twitter. It was an article from a 24 year old with a much, much, much more severe cancer diagnosis than me. I loved all of her articles but one thing she said really stuck with me:

Be Kind to Yourself
Instead of feeling mad at my body for failing me, I’m trying to give myself permission to take it easy. Easier said than done — I almost didn’t include this point because I’m still struggling with being kind to myself. I can’t help but feel frustrated with myself when my body is overly tired, or when my mind is fuzzy. (They call it “chemo brain.”) Sometimes I beat myself up over sleeping late into the afternoon. Or when I can’t eat more than a few bites of any meal. Or when my muscles are too weak to pick up the pitcher of water on the counter. It’s a daily struggle not to view these setbacks as failures or weakness. But I’m trying not to punish myself for the things I can’t change. In the time we should be the easiest on ourselves, I’ve found that we can often be the most judgmental and harsh.

A lot of you who read this aren't sick, but you are human. I think there's a message in this for all of us.

Be kind, be gentle to yourself. You can do anything, but you can't do everything. For me, the anything will be kicking this cancer with a lot of help from my friends, and everything else we can just figure out together.