Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is not always easy.
I’ll admit, as a 26-year-old guy, I struggle to maintain the health that I wish to, and I am fortunate to not have any medical issues that prevent me from doing so.
I recently finished my story regarding Warwick native Sue Flesia, a former body builder and personal trainer who was diagnosed with a chronic kidney disease in her 20’s that has forced her to fight harder than ever to maintain her well-being each day.
I do not cover stories such as this on a regular basis, but when I do, it always serves as a reminder to appreciate what you have, to never give up, and to keep things in perspective as much as you can.
Health is not something that I think about every day, nor is it something that I truly appreciate regularly. Of course, I am happy to have no chronic illnesses, and I am thankful that I am able to live a normal life without having to go to great lengths in order to do it. But do I appreciate these things enough, unprovoked? Probably not, and like I said, these stories are what help me to do so once in awhile.
When talking to Sue, the one thing that really stuck with me was her attitude of, “I have no choice but to fight, so I’m going to go all in and do it.”
It would be easy for Sue to make excuses, especially since she would be genuinely justified. I am sure that her home dialysis treatments are exhausting and take their toll. At the same time, I can’t imagine that it ever gets easier, I’m not sure if you can say that someone experiencing it ever gets used to it even. So for her not to complain, not to use it as an excuse to back down, and to attack it head on while still remaining active, is something that is beyond impressive to me.
After some time putting exercise and working out on the back burner as her condition progressed, Sue has finally began exercising on a regular basis again. She began to pick up the pace about three months ago. She is now doing cardio on the exercise bike, lifting free weights, doing yoga … as someone with a chronic, debilitating disease, she is more active than most people that are in perfect health.
Her next message was to do anything that you can to remain healthy. Everyone is different, everyone is capable of different things, but Sue’s message certainly rings true in my eyes. Mental and physical health go hand in hand, and to be able to have both is an incredible thing.
Once again, when speaking with Sue and going through her daily routine, it really put things in perspective for me. Here is a woman who spends nearly her entire day fighting just to remain comfortable, but still manages to find the time to devote to staying in shape. Many people, including myself, struggle to get to the gym and to eat right just because it is inconvenient and sometimes a drag. It makes me realize that I am fortunate to have my health, and that I should be taking advantage of every day that I have it, instead of taking days off and not appreciating the good fortune that I have been given.
More than anything though, what stands out to me the most about Sue and her fight, is that she is an example of how much humans are capable of.
It is easy to get discouraged in life. Whether it is maintaining your health, performing well at work, contributing in the community, raising a family, people face challenges on a daily basis. No one is perfect, and everyone fails from time to time. It always hurts when you come up short, but seeing people like Sue should help you stay confident in yourself and abilities, and push yourself more than what is comfortable.
In my opinion, comfort too often results in complacency. When you find a routine that works, when you find a limit that you can reach with ease, when you find a safe place where your worries are minimal, it prevents you from seeing how strong you can actually be. I’ll be the first one to admit that I fall into ruts such as this from time to time, so to see people like Sue who refuse to do so is inspiring.
It’s always scary, daunting, and at times downright miserable to push yourself past the point of comfort. Whether it is during exercise, at work, or simply just putting yourself in new social situations, it is always a challenge. However, it almost always is worth it in the end, and helps you be a better, more well-rounded individual. I have learned things about myself during times of discomfort and unfamiliarity that I would have never learned in my normal routine, and am thankful for the times that I pushed my limits.
Seeing Sue go through her struggle while remaining confident, driven, and upbeat is something that everyone should respect. Like I said, stories like hers really help me appreciate the things that sometimes go overlooked in life, and it is something that is truly inspiring.
Appreciate what you have in life. Although we are all unique and face different obstacles, there is always something that is going right for us, even if it is not in your direct line of sight. Make the most of what you have and follow Sue’s model, because life happens quick, and can change at any moment.