Ninja Warrior

Watch this video.

There was a time, before muscle loss, that I was 5 feet tall and 100 pounds. I may not have been a ninja warrior or even an athlete, but I felt like I was. I believed I could do anything and had complete faith in my body. I look at this video and think, “I could totally do that.”

This, more than anything — more than working, more than going places, more than seeing family and friends — this might be what I miss the most. The knowledge that my body is strong and capable. That despite my height and build, I can do what you do. And maybe do it better. I can lift, hold, climb, squeeze, balance, press or carry any thing, any weight, for any length of time. I was a ninja warrior in my head and that sense memory is still there. I watch this video and my whole body trembles with eagerness to try navigating that course.

The same is true for my brain. I had utter faith that I could master any complicated material or ace exams or do all things at once — and do them well. I miss that, too — that appetite for digesting information and feeling unfazed by the complexity or subject matter. Not only unfazed, but excited to learn, to break it down, to absorb it and retain it. But, still… I miss my strong body more.

Maybe because my cognitive function is so low that, cognitively, I am not cognizant of how slowly my clogged cognitive cogs are turning. Or maybe I just had more room for error. My brain at 50% is still passable on paper. I have the internet, lists, spell-check. However, my body at 20% means almost total dependence. I have my husband. And the few thin muscles that are keeping me moving on and moving up. I relish each time they do their job: You go, peristalsis muscles, I’m proud of you! Yes, bicep and tricep, you lift that kettle! Oh, extraocular muscles, you’re not sore today, good job!

I may never be as strong as I was, but, like I said almost a year and a half ago, I am grateful for every moment that I feel like the fierce warrior I thought I was… That I think I am… That I will be again.