About Me

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2 time ovarian cancer Survivor, Advocate for ovarian cancer awareness & research, Teacher of Zen Method Tai Chi, Blogger, sharing the wonderment and power of essential oils, proud fan of Cathe Friedrich's workouts, Reiki practitoner, A Course in Miracles student, paper crafter

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Overcoming with Thankfulness

handsoverfeet Shawnee

"Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it." Helen Keller

I'm thankful for thousands of things- big and minuscule. One of them is Twitter. Seriously. My life is enriched each day by Twitter and the inspirational people I'm ‘following’. This Helen Keller quote twittered in my head all day long after reading it this morning. Sad events suck, but they also give us the opportunity to grow and that's pretty cool.

That's what this blog is about, really. Having cancer twice sucked, but I'd choose to go through it again because of all that I've gained from the experiences. I've overcome a lot since that last chemo treatment nearly 8 months ago. My feet aren't numb anymore! The chemo induced arthritis in my knees is slowly melting away! In fact, I've been able to do step aerobics and some high impact aerobics the past couple weeks with only minor pain afterwards. This is an enormously wonderful sign for me!! I can walk down the stairs normally now instead of having to take one slow step at a time. These may seem like small issues, but to me it felt crippling and I wondered if my body would ever heal and be strong again. My body IS healing, thanks to self Reiki, Young Living essential oils, Reflexology treatments, consistent workouts, lots of sleep, prayers and love. I couldn't be more thankful or relieved. I'm still managing fatigue and chemo-brain, but I'm experiencing some good positive progress with those also.

Four weeks ago I started a journey called STS which stands for Shock Training System created by my fitness guru Cathe Friedrich. A month ago I bought a pair of 15 pound dumbbells and was convinced that I couldn't possibly need a heavier set for a very long time. Today I bought a pair of 20 pounders because I WILL need them for Meso Cycle 2 starting on Monday. I'm astounded and amazed with what my body can accomplish and overcome!! I'm lifting the heaviest weights I've ever lifted in my life- 8 months after chemo. That rocks!

This week is a recovery week in my STS rotation which means Yoga and light-ish cardio, but no weight lifting. So far I've had 4 wonderful Yoga sessions and 2 steady heart rate lower intensity cardios. 

Then there was Wednesday's epic workout~ Cathe's HiiT Double Wave Pyramid. Many Cathletes say that THIS is the toughest of Cathe's 3 HiiTs (high intensity interval training) which is why I haven't attempted it before now. It has a metabolic equivalent (MET) of 10. The most METs I've done up was 8.

I was totally amazed and proud of how well my ‘far from goal weight’ post chemo-ed body performed! 

I modified most of the movements by not going as deep into jumping squats or scissors, didn’t jump as high (would that be a hop then?), and did mountain climbers from the side of a chair instead putting my hands on the ground. But I DID IT and I did my absolute best. I’m very proud of my numbers especially since this is the first time I’ve ever done this HiiT!

The first number is how many seconds of the high intensity interval I did, the second is how many I rested.
60 seconds of blissful rest
 Felt like collapsing on the floor at this point but I just took a longer rest and kept going!

I was really surprised that I did this well, to be honest. It was exciting and a bit shocking! After I was finished I was bubbling over with thankfulness. Thank you, precious beautiful body, for being able to do this workout. Thank you for healing. Thank you for continuing to live and overcoming so many ailments and challenges.

How has your body amazed YOU lately? Brag about it, leave me a comment!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Thankful thru sadness

Pause for a few moments and allow your soul to be thankful. It doesn't matter what you are thankful for at this moment, just being thankful is powerful and grounding. 

I've had some very sad things happen to some people I care about already this week. A dear and sweet friend of mine lost her sister to cancer early Monday morning. She had the same kind of cancer I did. May she rest in the God's arms of peace and love. My own sister's surgery was cancelled at the last minute on Monday morning. It was incredibly frustrating and sad for her. My brother-in-law's Godmother passed away today. One of my Survivor-Sisters lost her health insurance in the midst of her war against cancer. This afternoon a friend of my sister lost his mother in a car accident. 

I've been praying for peace, comfort, acceptance, Love and Light for everyone touched by each of these sad events. Please send your Love and Light, too. 

Through my sadness and tears I see more and more reasons to be thankful. I'm thankful for the ability to improve my health, for the power of laughter, the cleansing release of crying, the ability to lighten the sadness of others, and Loving Energy that connects us. I'm thankful to be able to lessen the sadness of others. I'm thankful that everything, even sad things, happen for a reason. I'm thankful that I don't have to know or understand that reason now, or ever. I can trust and believe. I'm thankful that this blog is reaching out to Survivors and showing them that they're not alone. I'm thankful for Twitter which led me to The Day I Found Out site. I'm thankful for the strength and opportunity to share my 'day I found out' stories with the world. (It's a work in progress, and I promise to post the video here too. Soon.)

 My sister, Heidi, had some wise words that resonated deeply inside my being today. She said, "Thank you being my strength when I am weak, your faith when mine is low, courageous when I am scared, friends through the thick and thin, and always your unconditional love." I, too, am deeply thankful to have family and friends who have been all of these things for me not only through cancer treatments, but through all of life's wild ride. May everyone know this kind of love and support on the darkest and brightest days. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Memorable Mother's Day

My mom and I shared a peaceful Mother's Day together, and I'm so thankful for the time we shared. We spent a couple hours of our day driving and walking around downtown Memphis to see the flooding. A few of my long distance friends have asked me about what it's like and if my family is safe. This is the worst flood in a hundred years, it's incredible to experience the power of the Mighty Mississippi and very sad to watch the destruction of homes and other property. There are people that live around downtown, Millington (which is north of Memphis and houses a Navy base), and Arkansas that have to paddle in a BOAT to their homes. My prayers and heart go out to everyone being affected by this wild force of nature.

Thankfully, my home hasn't had any flooding problems at all. One of the main intersections about a mile away from my place was flooded last weekend when it was raining so hard for so long, but no flooding near my home. I don't live near the downtown area where the Mississippi River is supposed to crest on Wednesday, or the Wolf River.

If you'd like help to help flood victims in the Mid-South, please donate to the American Red Cross.

Here's how the flooding looked through my eyes today, May 8, 2011. Take a ride with me...

This is the corner of Union Ave and Front Street, on top of a hill. Once you are on the very top of the hill, a few farther feet from where this was taken, you can see the Mississippi River and Riverside Drive. 

Those the trees in the distance are on Mud Island. Click on that link to see what it normally looks like on the Island. Just to the left of this picture are police on crowd control and big road block signs. The road is blocked because the River has flooded out part of Riverside Drive. 

Driving on Interstate 40 west, towards Arkansas. All that water on the right is not supposed to be there. 

The water rarely crosses over that tree line, either. 

Yes, the river water is really that close to I-40. It's almost unfathomable. 

This sign shows that we are 2 whole miles West of the Mississippi River and there is STILL River water.

These are barricades to help keep the water off the interstate. 

This is farm land, now covered by the River. See the train tracks? The railroads aren't running right now because parts of the track are flooded. I saw it with my own eyes and it's still hard to wrap my head around!

No zooming in, this is really what it looked like out my passenger window on I 40 today. 

Nearly 3 miles into Arkansas before it starts to look a little bit normal.  My heart aches for these farmers...

We exited I-40 and got on I-55 North in West Memphis, AR. Even worse on that side...

Again, no zoom used here. 

All the water you see here should NOT be there. It's amazing how w i d e the Mississippi River has spread!

The water is very close to the barricades!! 

Water + power lines = disaster waiting to happen. Scary surreal stuff!

And then there's the sludge and stink of River water. When the River recedes, in about a week or so it's going to leave behind an enormous and stinky mess. Brings back bad memories of  Hurricane Georges destroying all my stuff when I lived in the Lower Florida Keys in 1998. 

This is just over a mile from where the Mississippi River usually starts.

Water, water everywhere!

This is the other end of Riverside Drive. You can see the River in the distance.

We stopped at park that runs along the top of a hill over Riverside Drive. The spot where all those trees are is usually where many Memphians watch the fireworks on the 4th of July. 

This shows how high up we were from Riverside Drive. Also, shows that the River not only crossed the road but has flowed up the big hill onto the grass. In the far distance you can see the famous Memphis 'M' bridge. 

I zoomed in here to get a better shot of the crazy high water line. 

The downtown trolley is still running, though! 

If you'd like to see more (and, yes, better) pictures of the Memphis flood, take a look at my personal favorite local station News Channel 3, WREG. Making history in Memphis, which made for a very memorable Mother's Day.