About Me

My photo

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, September 15, 2011

1 Year Chemo- Free Cancerversary

Today is a special cancerversary for me. A year ago today, at exactly this time, I was getting my final chemo treatment. I was completely bald, and at the point having great pain in the bones of my legs, my feet were numb most of the time, I was very tired and very weak. Still, I was thankful that I had a loving family, especially my Mom who is the best Caregiver in the universe!!, a God who comforts, heals and loves me, sisters who made me feel confident in my beauty to be out in public completely bald and who kept me laughing, for my Peeps who showered me with their love and support in their own special and innocent toddler ways, new and old friends who cheered me on from near and far, and for the precious gift of life even though I was sick. 

Here's a look back at my very first post when I looked like a ghost. (That's right, I'm a poet too. ha!)

A year later and I've been in remission just over 10 months. I have a full head of very curly and darker brown hair. I still get tired sometimes, but it's happening much less often. I'm thankful for the energy level I have now, because I still clearly remember what it feels like to not have any energy. I'm still thankful for all the blessings in my life, and I'm grateful that over the last year that list has grown. I'm thankful to own my own business though I work hard and long hours, I get to choose the days and times I work. Sometimes I even get to work in my PJs! I also  get to choose who I work with and when, and I have the opportunity to be Leader and invest my energy into motivating other people to dream big and create wealth for themselves. I'm thankful to my body for amazing me as I completed Cathe's Shock Training System. I'm thankful that I get to spend  a day a week with 2 of my Peeps, and help my sister. 

I find myself with lots of tears today. Tears of joy. Some from the painful memories of chemo. Some for the people I know that won't get to celebrate a year free from chemo, or cancer. Some tears of guilt and confusion.Some of overwhelming thankfulness.  

And some of frustration with my body. About 3 weeks ago I had my first ever sciatica flare/issue/pain. For about a week it was excruciating to stand or walk, or do just about anything else.  Slowly, my body is healing thanks to 2 reflexology treatments and Young Living's essential oils. I haven't been able to work out, and it's extremely frustrating. Cathletes NEED their daily sweat and burn fix!!

Truth is that this sciatica issue, in my left leg, reminds me all too much of the pains of chemo. Instead of the crushing bone feeling, though, I have a burning cord feeling down the back of my leg. My left heel is partially numb. So even though I've come sooooooooooo far in a year, at this moment I'm not feeling it. There's a little voice in the back of head what's wondering if I'll ever be able to work out with Cathe Friedrich's DVDs again. Will I ever walk 100% normally? Will this numbness melt away? These are questions I was asking myself a year ago. It never occurred to me that I'd ask them again.

 I'm healing and I'm believing that I will walk normally again and have normal healthy body again. It happened once, right? 

Happy cancerversary to me! Here's to more cancerversaries to Fighters and Survivors everywhere!! 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Overdue Results, as promised

I've been a proud Cathlete for last 12 years. My final chemo treatment- for my second round of gynecologic cancer in 2 years- was September 15 in 2010. Seven months later on April 11 I had recovered enough to start on a fitness journey that I had been longing to go on for years. Cathe Friedrich's STS, or Shock Training Program. Initially, it was 14 week, or 3 1/2 month, commitment. It became a 17 week process for me due to some travelling. It's a 3 stage strength training program- endurance, hypertrophy, and strength. It was an amazing and surprising journey!!

When I started my body was quite weak, but my Spirit was- and still is!- strong and enduring. I choose this program because I wanted stronger muscles, and I wanted to earn back the (self) title of 'Cathlete'. During my second cancer's treatment I wasn't able to exercise very often and I missed it deeply. I wanted to follow a strength training program to combat the damage that chemo and radiation treatment did to my bones. Did you know that chemo often leads to bone loss? STS was the perfect fit for my goal.

I'm also on a weight loss journey, but I felt like gaining muscle and feeling my physical strength grow was more important than focusing on shedding pounds. Cathe helped me lose 75 pounds 8 years ago, and 20 more pounds in the last year. I have 50 more pounds that I'm in the process of losing, and I have no doubt that I will reach that goal thanks to Cathe's ultra effective DVDs and very helpful articles about living healthy.

Back to the STS results... I actually have noticeable tricep and bicep muscles!! This totally thrills me!! When I started STS the heaviest bicep curl I could do was 16 pounds. The heaviest week of STS I was curling 45.2 pounds. Crazy awesome!! When I started STS I could only do push- ups from the easiest knee position, and after STS I can do 6 full reps from my toes!! Astounding!! When I started STS the most I could chest press was 14 pounds, and during the heaviest week of STS I was benching 60 pounds! Totally amazing!!

The endurance and strength that my legs built up is the most incredible to me, but harder to measure because I substituted other Cathe leg DVDs for the Meso cycle 3. Meso cycle 3 is mostly plyo moves and my kness can't handle that kind of impact since chemo. When I first started with STS I couldn't hold any weight in my hands during any of the paper plate lunges, and I had to modify the depth of the move. At the end of STS, I could do the full Pyramid Lower Body lunges using 16, 22 and 30 pounds. That's the best comparison I can put together. When I started STS the heaviest weight I could squat with was 25 pounds, and at the end of STS I could do the full PLB squats using 30, 35 and 45 pounds.

I've never ever been this strong, and I absolutely love it!!! I recently had a bone density test as a post-cancer treatment follow up, and I'm very grateful to say that my bone density is completely normal!

Thank you, Cathe, from the bottom of my heart, for creating such an awesome strength building program. It gave me something to look forward to during treatment, and helped me create the strongest body and mind I've ever had in my life. I know I'll reach my weight loss goals by continuing to follow your lead.