It’s week 6 of our exercise regime and feats I thought impossible are happening – holding a plank position for over two minutes, concentration curls with eight pound weights, and skull crushers with a 45 pound bar. With gentle pressure from Coach D. and the support and laughter from companions, we are getting stronger, inch by inch, pound by pound. Strength conditioning takes time, Coach D. tells us and although I don’t look much different than I did six weeks ago, I do feel stronger.
I thought about our exercise training this week when someone asked me, “How did you have the strength to get through that time?” referring to my husband’s cardiac arrest and brain injury 13 years ago. In the long journey we have taken in those 13 years, it was a gradual conditioning process, adjusting to a life with disability. Each challenge seemed insurmountable but we kept at it, adapting a little bit at a time. It was just like the reps and crunches we do in our exercise sessions, gritting our teeth, sweating and wishing it was over. And then Coach D. introduces something new and we have to work even harder.
In retrospect, I don’t know how I got through that time and wouldn’t know what advice to give anyone going through catastrophic illness or disability. I do know I grew stronger over time, with the aid of family and friends providing love and support every step of the way.