It’s time to get back up

If you are reading this, then I think it is safe to assume you are someone who knows me and has read a few of my previous posts chronicling my walk with Parkinson’s.  Good. No need to rehash previous thoughts, feelings and challenges. They are nicely preserved here for anyone who would like to read them.   You probably also know that the last 8 months have kind of been like a bad country song.  My first failed race, followed by a cervical disc removal & fusion, coupled with a cancer scare (only a scare thank God).  Then my dad passes away. Throw in realignments at work and I’m only missing a sad story about a dog and I’d have a number 1 hit on the country charts.

I’m having some fun and making light, because frankly, what else is there to do?  Well, I’ll tell ya what. I can get back up.  I’ve promised from my first post to try and be honest, transparent and real. Well, here you go.  I’ve been licking my wounds for 8 months.  I haven’t posted because I just didn’t want to. I’ve relived sitting on the curb at the Raleigh 70.3 half ironman too many times.  I’ve stayed in bed a little longer each morning pissed because my neck hurts. I’ve eaten like crap and I haven’t swum a lap or run a mile in a very long time.  I’ve had an 8 month pity party……..and that’s ok. What is not ok, is prolonging this party one more day.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my dad lately.  I was fortunate enough to share a few thoughts at his funeral.  Below is an excerpt regarding one of the life lessons he taught me.

When I was wrestling in high school my junior year, I was doing everything I could to make the varsity line up. We had an amazing team with 2 state champions right around my weight class. I was cutting weight (which is to say I wasn’t eating for days at a time). One afternoon I was just an emotional wreck. I wasn’t confident that I’d even get a varsity match and I was getting my butt kicked every day in the wresting room.  I remember sitting on the edge of my bed full of teenage angst and rage. My dad pulled up a chair right in front of me. We were knee to knee. He put his had on my shoulder and he didn’t promise that it would all be alright. Instead, he talked to me about GRIT, and what it means to get back up after you’ve been knocked down. He explained to me that for the rest of my life, outside and well beyond the wrestling room, there would be challenges.  He told me I was learning to get back up.  Then he did one more thing. It seems silly now, but I needed new wrestling shoes. At that time all the varsity wrestlers wore Dan Gables. I knew they cost more, and we didn’t have a lot of money. I told Dad that it was ok because I really only wanted them if I was going to be a varsity wrestler.  Without missing a beat, he said “Then we need to get you those Dan Gables.”  Is there anything more important than knowing your Dad believes in you?

I guess my point of this post is that there are many challenges in life that will come your way. I’ve learned this past year that Parkinson’s, difficult as it may be, is only one them.  Some of these challenges you’ll handle, and some will knock you on your ass.  It’s ok to take a beat and clear the cobwebs. Then the moment will come when It’s time to get back up.

This week I’ve begun training again in earnest. I’m now working with a terrific trainer at Renu. Except, he is more than a trainer. As an exercise physiologist, he is helping me train my brain as well as my body.  Remaining active with Parkinson’s is going to require improving my neurological and muscular connection.  I will need to Strengthen or create new neuro pathways with the goal of managing or possibly slowing down the progression of the disease. If all goes well, I’ll test the waters with a short, “super sprint” triathlon in mid-summer.  3 days into training, I can honestly say things hurt, I’m more sore than before and I feel better than I have in 8 months.  Are you currently taking a knee from one of life’s less than fair circumstances? Is it time to get back up?

“When everything seems to be going against you, remember an airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.” Henry Ford



3 thoughts on “It’s time to get back up

  1. You set a great example for all of us, Keith…one more reminder that my daughter picked the right guy!


  2. Keith this is so inspiring! God has big plans for you my friend and I see bright things in your future. Keep on fighting the good fight. I’m praying for you and your family and it helps me know I have now excuses!


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