To understand where I am now you must first understand where I have been. I believe that everything in our past leads us to be able to accomplish what we must do in the present. So here it goes.
In the summer of 2012 I was sitting pretty. I had just turned 34 and had celebrated my youngest child’s 2nd birthday. I had just lost a few pound before going on a dream family vacation to Florida. My four children seemed to be loving the beach, the ocean, and the pool. I was still nursing my youngest at two and I was even enjoying the ocean! I have a great fear of drowning and have always sunk in water so this was a huge accomplishment! I had received my first job offer as a math teacher and was getting an even more promising job opportunity while we were there. I felt pretty healthy as I could keep up with my kids and even carry my two youngest around at the same time almost everywhere. Granted their total weight was a whopping 40 pounds, but I could do it for long distances!
Our return led to a great change in all that bliss. I breast lump that I had been watching for two years seemed a little different, but given that I had been watching it for two years I was not worried. Luckily my doctor was. This began the worst health year of my life as I was diagnosed with stage 2 or 3 breast cancer. We don’t know the exact staging as I choose to start with chemotherapy first rather than surgery which is where they usually stage cancer. I had 6 rounds of chemo, a mastectomy, more chemo, a hysterectomy, and radiation. I tried a few osteoporosis medications but they left me crippled with joint pain. Now I am just on an anti estrogen medication.
I have a completely changed body from where I was 3.5 years ago. I have persistent joint pain in my hands and feet from osteoporosis medication. Some days I cannot grip things tight enough to open things due to the pain. I must ask my children for help or use scissors. My left chest and shoulder musculature are week and scar filled. I must be careful not to have any wounds or scratches on my left arm to avoid infections as I have no lymph nodes for that arm. I must also not wear anything tight on that side to make sure I have no fluid accumulation in that arm. My math brain is mush. I have a hard time doing simple calculations. I had to quit my job to focus on treatment and my children and I can no longer return to teaching as I have such a hard time with simple math. Teenagers generally don’t trust a math teacher who has to use a calculator for everything.
My body is different and so am I. I had a strong desire to spend a lot of time outside after the treatment was over and so I started hiking. I live in the mountains and finished treatment in the spring so this was a cheap easy activity to do. I had lost a great deal of musculature so the start of my hiking was slow as I gradually rebuilt my muscles. I had to be sure to workout frequently or I would lose what small gain I had made. I worked toward a goal of hiking a 14,000ft peak in Colorado. As I worked toward that goal I had to fit in short hikes where I could and one day I discovered I had a short amount of time before the sun went down. So I ran a few sections of the trail and discovered that running wasn’t altogether terrible! So I continued running with my dog who seemed to love the activity far more than I. The more I ran the less pain I noticed in my feet and hands! This activity that I had avoided my whole life seemed to be the only thing to keep my pain down in my joints!
I jumped in with two feet and started running 4 days a week. At first I would just jog as far as I could and then walk until I felt I could run again. I repeated this until I could run most of the way down my road. As soon as I had that down I had to work on the big hill that led back to my house! Once I conquered that, which took months, I decided that this new activity was really fun and my pain had virtually disappeared. Thus began my running life.
Since then I have run one half marathon and am training for a trail half marathon now. I have spent many hours reading and researching nutrition. I have become a vegetarian and every day I work towards becoming healthier to be around for my children and to help them to become healthier. This blog will be about my journey to better fitness and health and how I can help my family in the process. I hope that posting will help keep me trying new recipes and setting new exercise goals!