For several years I participated in a gym class called Les Mills Body Combat. I spent 1 or 2 hrs a week punching and kicking without ever hitting anything. It wasn’t that my aim was so bad, it was just that I was concentrating so hard on the choreography that if there had been something to hit I would have been even more confused.
I was in my early 60’s and was in peak physical condition. I ran two half-marathons and two 25K trail races. I was trail running, swimming, doing spin classes, pushing weights and even did a triathlon. I liked to say that I would be running forever and would live to be a 100.
Then, in June of 2015, after experiencing a few weeks of tremors in my right hand and foot and a couple of stumbles while running due to dragging my foot, the doctor told me I had Parkinson’s Disease. I took the news rather well. I could deal with a little shakiness and I just needed to focus on picking my feet up, especially when I was running.
I quickly realized that it was a little more involved than that. I would go out for a run and fatigue would set in so quickly that I couldn’t do more than 30 seconds at a time. As Parkinson’s progressed even walking fast became a bit of a challenge because of increasing stability and balance issues. I went to a Spin class and had to leave after about 15 minutes, totally exhausted. The same thing happened when I tried to do a Body Combat class.
Don’t think for a moment that I am celebrating at a pity party. Not so. Quite the contrary, I am more encouraged than I have been since my diagnosis. You see, I realized that if I want to participate in a particular activity, I can. I may have to modify my expectations but I can do something.
So I am currently running again. I run for one minute, then walk for a minute, then repeat for as many segments as I can on a given day. I usually complete about 2 miles total. I will do a 5K soon, probably in the fall. I intend to go to a Spinning class soon and do at least 15 minutes. And I go hiking every chance I get.
The grace of God and the encouragement of friends and family have carried me this far. I really believe He wants me to continue to do all I can, as a testimony to His power in my life and as an inspiration and encouragement to others who may be struggling with whether or not they can do something.
So, the question is, does God want me to fight? I of course am referring to Body Combat, Rock Steady boxing and cardio shadow boxing routines, not causing someone to require maxilla-facial surgery or expel excess amounts of air from their solar plexus.
Well I successfully completed 15 minutes of Body Combat class this past week, so I think the answer is yes. God wants me to fight, literally (non-contact) and figuratively, He wants me to fight with all I have to be as healthy as I can so that I can be the most effective disciple and lay minister that I can be.