Imagine if you will. Starting an exercise program, after almost 3 years of being a nurse during a pandemic, right after going through a long battle with breast cancer and everything that comes along with that, including 5 surgeries. As a single mom having just gone through a divorce.
I remember meeting Erin in 2012. She walked into the gym for her first intro session and told me she wanted to try something different. She wanted to do this because she was recently diagnosed with high blood pressure and wanted to take her health more seriously. So she gave CrossFit a go. She lost some weight, got off the blood pressure medicine and made a bunch of new friends. Myself included.
In 2015 she went through that divorce. 2017, the cancer. And then the pandemic hit.
Divorce is tough for anyone, but she made it through. She has a great relationship with her ex husband and their son (Troy) is doing great.
The cancer was much harder. And after talking to her, and remembering how difficult and painful it was, you might be surprised to hear how positive she was after going through such an ordeal. Those of us that know her weren’t surprised at all. She’s always been a great friend. Grateful, supportive, laid back and fun to be around. She was always able to deal with the many problems we encounter in life and this was no different. What did change was her confidence. Confident in her ability to get through anything regardless of how bad it was. And confident that she was on the right path.
And now, more than ever, she realized that tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.
Then the pandemic. Something so difficult for so many of us, to simply endure, was even harder on our front line workers. As a nurse, Erin didn’t have much of a choice but keep moving forward. As she has always done. This was no different.
Erin didn’t have to start a new exercise program after all that. Because she never stopped.
She did what she could when she was going through chemo treatments. She stayed within her limits after her many surgeries and just kept on showing up. Some days were certainly better than others, but she did what she always does and moved forward.
Looking back, I specifically remember when she ran in a workout for the first time after her long layoff. After an extended period of time away, It can be discouraging when you come back, knowing how fit/strong you ‘used to be’ and being worried that you’ll never get there again. For some, this is an insurmountable wall. It can be such a psychological blow to so many people that they never fully recover. Erin reacted a bit differently.
Not only was she not able to make it the whole (short) distance. She walked most of the way. When she came back, she didn’t look sad or discouraged.
She just looked at me and laughed.