Every Day is a Bonus

This week I’d like to share a post that Denee wrote about her motivation — her “why” — to work hard in the gym and on her nutrition.  Now, I might be biased, but I think this is powerful stuff.  I hope you enjoy it, and as Denee suggests at the end, I hope it triggers some self-reflection on what your “why” is.  It’s good to always come back to this question — maybe it has changed over the years or maybe it’s still rock solid — but reminding yourself why you work so hard will keep you on the right path toward constant improvement.
“There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly live.”
— Dalai Lama
I’ve been conducting a lot of interviews at work recently (for those of you that don’t know, I work full-time in healthcare consulting and help Ryan run the gym in my spare time :)) and when I’m providing my personal introduction, I always mention the reason why I do CrossFit is to keep up with and beat Ryan every once in a while. It always brings some levity to the interview, but in reality it’s probably only like 30% true.  My CrossFit journey is not as simple as: my husband opened a gym so I should work out because I get to for free.  It’s hard to believe that this time last year I was just getting home from my first of two cardiac ablations that I’d have in one year. I have a much more important “why” getting me into the gym and making consistent decisions to positively impact my health day in and day out — keeping my heart healthy and strong.
I have been roughly the same size all of my adult life, but the hours on planes, a high stress job, and raising a family always got in the way of me taking better care of my health.  I was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy (essentially death of the heart muscle) after childbirth of our second son, Oliver, which resulted in a cardiologist telling me that I shouldn’t have any more children when Oliver was just 5 days old.  Along with that came the discovery that I also have Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome (WPP), an extra electrical pathway between your heart’s upper and lower chambers that sometimes causes a rapid heartbeat, which I’ve had since birth but it was never diagnosed.
At first I was devastated, but then realized I was so incredibly lucky to have two healthy little boys and now it was time to start taking better care of myself so I could be around for Ryan and them for as long as possible.  Thankfully I made a full recovery from the cardiomyopathy within 6 to 7 months by focusing on my heath and with the help of some beta blockers for a few months.  If I wanted to be around for years to come, I needed to get my cardiovascular health into tip top shape and I had to stomach the reality that building muscle was going to cause me to gain weight when I was still trying to lose baby weight.  While this was a hard pill to swallow at first, I started doing CrossFit consistently and shifted to a Paleo diet which Ryan joined in on too.  The consistency of just getting into the gym for a workout led to  improvements in movements, increased strength, and soon I became more fixated on what my body was starting to be able to accomplish instead of a number it was putting up on a scale.
The increase in my work capacity and confidence in what my body could do led to a slight obsession with completing mini endurance events like GORUCK Challenges, Ragnar trail races, and even the SEALFIT 20X. I continued to see my cardiologist to ensure my WPP was staying in check as I started to push my body to do more. Knowing how active I was now, we began discussions of a cardiac ablation to remove the extra electrical pathway so that I would never have to worry about it again. After consult with the electrophysiologist and a friend that is an interventional cardiologist, I had my first ablation the day before Thanksgiving in 2018.
Long story short, two ablations both failed (the WPP is still there) due to the tricky location of the cells causing the abnormal pathway.  This has been another very real reminder that every day I have the opportunity to make the decision to do what is best for my health and wellness so that I can best serve my family, friends, co-workers, etc. Yes, I now have to see an electrophysiologist every 6 months or so to make sure it’s still in check, but the good news is that the two ablations did weaken the extra pathway causing it to disappear when my heart rate elevates above 128 BPM. All the more reason to keep my endurance up, especially as I get older.
THIS is what drives me, one day at a time, to get into the gym and fuel my body in the best way possible, especially when I’m on the road for work. Am I perfect?  Emphatically NO, but I am consistent. If I make at least one decision today around doing something positive for my fitness and eating, that is the least I can do to try to ensure I get the opportunity to do that tomorrow, then another day after that. Every day is a blessing and honestly a bonus.  So what is your “why”? What a better time than now to reflect on that question as you spend time with close friends, family, and loved ones over this holiday season to provide some deeper motivation today, tomorrow, and forever.

Previous Post:


Next Post: