"When it becomes uncomfortable, take a deep breath and find the comfort in the discomfort"Why do unforeseen hardships disrupt our lives? One of the certainties in life, it seems, is that there is uncertainty. Unfortunate events happen to us all. It's how we deal with those events that determines our character and shape of our lives.
2016 was the year of my diagnosis and my treatment...breast cancer...The phone call happened the day before my 48th birthday..ironically while at lunch with a friend celebrating that birthday. Shocking..I was young in "cancer years" and an endurance athlete who had plans to compete in two more IRONMAN triathlons in 2016. That type of lifestyle was my passion, where most of my friendships were formed. I have to smile when I read articles about the research and studies that have been completed on how exercise and fitness reduces one's risk of the most common cancers...lung, breast, and colon. Sigh..not necessarily applicable to all of us.
|My face before the MRI procedure after my diagnosis|
I will spare all the details of the cancer treatment. Cancer doesn't deserve more than a single blog entry...seriously. In summary, between May and November I went through a lumpectomy, 3 months of chemo treatments and 4 weeks of 5 days/week radiation. Exercise was my therapy. My friends who exercised were my therapy. Seeing improvements in my fitness after the chemo was my therapy. Exercise was the one of the most important things that helped me keep my sanity. Are you seeing a pattern here? Ha Ha. I swam when they told me not to swim. I exercised on all but a few days during the chemo treatments.
I've started the rebuild process, not knowing how long it will take but setting my sights on goals for 2017. It's those goals that keep us positive, our chins up, our hope strong. It's also the blessing of finding those special doctors and nurses (there are just a few) that understand you and what drives you that gives you hope.
I think the average person's view of cancer has cancer patients resting much more than what really happens. My year of racing after the diagnosis was more than my doctors knew...helping keep my sanity and my fitness.
Starved Rock Half Marathon - overall female winner 1:34:22 - 7:12 min/mile avg (ARE YOU SURE I HAVE CANCER??)
Half IRONMAN Raleigh 70.3 - 5:30:06 - 6th 45-49 AG
Lake Zurich Olympic Triathlon - 1st 45-49 AG
IronGirl Sprint Triathlon - 2nd 45-49 AG
Cancer survivors like to use cliche phrases to describe their circumstances. I'm annoyed by some of those phrases. My least favorite is "YOU NEED TO GET USE TO THE NEW NORMAL". No...I don't..you see I'm not going to accept that...it's a mindset. No one should have to get use to a new normal. I believe that cancer opens up new doors...new opportunities..not only for us but for others.
This awesome friend that's been though this whole experience with me blasted this song on the radio on the eve of IRONMAN Wisconsin on our way to dinner. I might have been a little sad that I wasn't racing but she always knows what to do to keep me positive. It can be applied to anyone that is going through a hard time in their life. Stay positive...and say "Yes, I'm a overcomer..watch me."
OVERCOMER - By Mandisa
Whatever it is you may be going through
I know He's not gonna let it get the best of you
You're an overcomer
Stay in the fight 'til the final round
You're not going under
Cause God is holding you right now
You might be down for a moment
Feeling like it's hopeless
That's when He reminds you
That you're an overcomer