Sunday, April 3, 2011

Tears On The Treadmill

I took this picture today because I got a new 'do... But I'm posting it here so you can see that my cheeks are FINALLY back to normal!
To those on or newly off of Prednisone, hang in there!

I came perilously close to crying on the treadmill last night. Not because I was in pain. Not because I was frustrated. These were tears of victory, of relief, of renewed hope.

A couple of months ago I decided I would participate in the Donate Life 5k in June, and I set a lofty goal. I wanted to jog one full mile of the 5k straight, without walking. In the time since setting this goal, gaining strength and endurance has proven far more difficult than expected. I’ve been pushing myself along, with nearly imperceptible increases in my workouts, but it just wasn’t getting any easier for me. Every trip to the gym was like a game of Russian Roulette, with no ability to predict which work-outs would be decent and which ones would feel terrible.

My best running workouts consisted of me getting on the treadmill for 45 minutes and jogging for three intervals of three minutes each. This got me to three quarters of a mile in three spurts. My plan was to continue gradually increasing my longevity, but something happened on the treadmill last night. When I passed the three-minute mark I felt like I could do another minute, so I kept going. And the same thing happened after four minutes, and five and even six – until I’d jogged seven minutes straight!! I know it doesn’t sound like much, but seven minutes is 230% of my previous best! After walking for about ten minutes to bring my heart rate back down, I was able to run another five minutes straight to round out the full mile.

I was nearly overcome with emotion – not because I had one good workout – but because of what that workout represented: HOPE.

I was told to expect to feel ‘normal’ about six months post-transplant. I still felt very sluggish at that point, and I feared I’d set my expectations too high. Now I see that maybe I was just running a little behind and I’ve turned a real corner here. Alternatively, maybe the iron treatments have caused an increase in my energy. I don’t know. Whatever is responsible for the way I’ve felt this weekend has given me renewed hope – that I can achieve my goal of running a mile straight in June and that I am not finished recovering from this ordeal. I’m just beginning.


  1. Yay you!

    I guess it makes sense that it'd take you longer to feel "normal." For most heart transplant patients "normal" is not 28 and perfectly healthy, because that's not where they started out.

    And congrats on the cheeks.

  2. That's awesome, Andrea! You look great and I am so proud of your jogging progress. Keep it up, girl! XOXO

  3. 7 Minutes??? Holy cow, that's amazing. And I don't usually use the word amazing (totally over used) but wow. That must have felt so unreal as you were doing it. I'm getting a little teary. Good job!!!!!

  4. Thanks for the linked message! Good to hear from you and good you are doing well. I'll try to keep in touch here. You are an amazing woman, Andrea Fuller. I have always felt that way about you since I first met you. Keep that hope (that you mention above) in your heart and move forward. Each step gets you closer to your goal. Please know I think of you often and it always brings a smile to my face! Remember Phoenix. I'll never forget that morning after! :) You go, girl!

  5. Love the new do! You are amazing - so thrilled about your progress. Impressed by all you are doing!! xoxo