Press play on "workout" playlist: energetic pop hits, hard rock and rap, songs from cancer treatment that trigger flashbulb memories. Grab handles on this plate-loaded incline press machine. Take a deep, slow breath. Now, explode.
You're too short for her. No amount of ambition, personality or strength will change her mind. One repetition down.
She thinks you're weak and sick because of your limp. She needs a guy who will beat her in a 5k and you can't run ever again. You even use crutches to walk a few blocks. Two repetitions down.
She thinks you're too open and narcissistic -- writing books and blogs about yourself, displaying your shirtless torso online, discussing improper topics like chemo's humiliating effects. Yeah, she's probably right. Three repetitions down.
She thinks you're too healthy for her -- eating too few fries and too many greens, counting too many calories and body fat millimeters. Yeah, she's definitely right. Four repetitions down.
She thinks you've had too much cancer and you're abnormal and maybe you're even contagious and you would get sick again and wouldn't produce healthy children and wouldn't be around when they grow up. Five repetitions down.
Eminem and Rihanna on "The Monster": "'Cause I need an interventionist / To intervene between me and this monster." This weight stack certainly won't intervene. Must reach six repetitions, one more than two days ago.
Halfway through repetition six and can't push further. Disregard it -- must reach six. Slouch deep into the seat and push until the blood fills your capillaries red as fire and drowns nonacceptance. Six repetitions down.
Begin three-minute countdown for the next of five sets. Record weight training -- 30 pounds more than one month ago. Thanks to unwavering dedication; Koss PortaPro Headphones; egg protein; maltodextrin and branched chain amino acids drink consumed immediately after training; and motivation.
Staind's 2003-ballad "So Far Away" hits playlist. With three minutes until phone vibrates commencing the next set, there's no stopping this flashbulb memory...
Will these sweatpants and five top layers be enough to prevent shivering? Look at bro, JD, driving me towards the National Institutes of Health. He better not change this pop radio station because "So Far Away" just started. Will I ever return to the University of Virginia, be able to eat more than three bites of food without vomiting, get back over 100 pounds?
If back to health, will I ever see the small beauties of the world again like I do right now? For instance, recent college grad JD is rocking his black soft top Jeep en route to my frequent doctor appointments instead of a job. Or, JD watching television with me at night instead of partying with friends or going on dates.
Other small beauties: time's purpose is to simply reach health instead of productivity, like, writing a new article for The Huffington Post. Autumn brings newness instead of an end. All these people in all these different kinds of cars are all going in the same direction for all different reasons, and it's so more than just 'traffic.'
If I could eat a sandwich, walk up a flight of stairs and wash my car then that would be a good day. That would be a hell of a day.
You're so far away from that passenger seat in JD's soft top Jeep Wrangler 11 years ago. Look at you now.
A man more than twice your weight who lifts less than half your stack just left the plate-loaded front lat pulldown machine. Your turn. Stack the 45-pound plates: one, two, three, four, five, six. Add 15 more pounds to each side to reach 300.
You're a monster.