I recently had a melanoma removed that had formed on a mole on my leg. I've had several basal cell spots removed in the past, but this was my first melanoma (cancer.)
I was a competitive swimmer, swim coach, swim lesson teacher and a lifeguard as a teen. Every day of summer was spent at the pool. Unfortunately, we didn't know then what we know now about the dangers of sun exposure without sunscreen.
When the mole biopsy came back, the nurse called me to schedule a minor in-office surgery to remove more tissue to make sure they got all of the cancerous cells. She was surprised how calm I was. It sounded manageable, but I think it was the reaction of others that affected me a little.
The word malignant melanoma -- the C word -- sounds scary. Believe me, I didn't take it lightly, but I felt very lucky that we caught it early and it could easily be addressed.
This happened at the start of Lent, so I saw this as a good offering and decided to dedicate my prayers for those who are fighting more serious cancer than my own and for their caregivers as well.
I prayed to be grateful for the blessings in my life and take this opportunity to grow closer to Jesus. I asked to see the good that comes out of something that our human minds perceive as bad.
I was very limited in how I could move and lift for awhile and I wouldn't be able to demo all the movements (no squats, high impact or ballistic kettlebells lifts) for my classes. I wouldn't be able to train the way I normally do, so I had more time for prayer and spiritual reading.
Adjusting my training seemed like a small thing, and a good Lenten offering, but I struggled with it more mentally than physically.
There were a couple times when I moved in ways that didn't feel good, so I learned from that, adjusted, and moved forward more cautiously.
I had to think of physical training as part of my healing, because my doctor still wanted me to keep moving, but I had to do it with more humility.
I couldn't focus on how much, how often or how fast. So I slowed down, listened and adjusted. Thankfully, this practice has carried into my prayer life as well.
It has been a few weeks now and I am cleared to get back to normal training activity next week.
I have a new appreciation for the ability to move and be able to exercise at all -- and a new gratefulness for my faith, overall good health and for excellent doctors and caring family and friends.
I know that I am still learning to see God in all things, but this experience has helped me be grow closer to Him this Lent and I am very grateful.