Three years ago I suffered a personal loss. I lost Me. I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, treated and cured, and now… I’m here. Healed but different.
Just because you are free of disease; it is not the same as being in good physical shape. I am now on a journey to reinvent this new Me. I’m starting with these (3) steps to finding my own “healthy.”
I live in a relatively large city, so “workout” options were open to me. But I didn’t want “getting in shape” to be packaged in a trendy box gym or Barbie boot camp. And I didn’t want to buy designer training outfits just to sit at the local coffee shop; Which had been my morning workout routine for a while now.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Just because you are free of disease; it is not the same as being in good physical shape.” quote=”Just because you are free of disease; it is not the same as being in good physical shape.”]
So what do I want to get out of this?
I want to be strong. Being out of shape or unhealthy is an energy zapper and life sucker. I was tired of being tired all the time. Before the diagnosis, I used to run quite a bit since this was my “workout” of choice. I ran in the local Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon a few years ago. While I still love to run, my lungs don’t. It’s crushing when you can remember doing something well, and suddenly that ability is no longer there. I have often screamed “What’s wrong with me!” knowing full well that I am just not the same, physically.
I am a three-year cancer survivor, but I still battle the aftermath every day. My intention is not to be merely a survivor because this fight was not something I would have bravely chosen to do. And those who have lost their battle were no less fierce or bold. They were not weak because they suffered an attack on their own body. My strength is not in this fight it is in the life I choose. And I am choosing to be strong.
[clickToTweet tweet=”I am a three-year cancer survivor, but I still battle the aftermath every day.” quote=”I am a three-year cancer survivor, but I still battle the aftermath every day.”]
My Body Today
Here is what is going on with my body. Thyroid cancer is one of the most curable types of cancer, but its effects last a lifetime. Part of my treatment plan was a complete removal of my thyroid. The thyroid gland, which I no longer have, produces and regulates hormones that affect energy levels, mood, and weight gain. (So, the trifecta of “female issues”!)
My constant struggle combined with aging is:
- Forgetfulness (brain fog- yes, that’s a thing)
- Dry coarse hair
- A hoarse voice (which I lost completely for four months after surgery …that’s another story)
- weight gain/loss, feeling cold all the time (the thyroid also assists with regulating temperature)
- and hormonal issues
My recovery plan will be ongoing. I will see a doctor every 6-12 months for the rest of my life. My doctors will continuously “play” with my lab work and TSH levels. I require supplemental vitamins and nutrients because my muscles are so weak. I literally could not lift my groceries out of the cart without extreme effort. This was not only upsetting but scary. So now I’m diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I don’t suffer alone. Thyroid issues are more common in women, but it does not discriminate aginst gender, age, or race.
At first, I doubted that I would ever be able to get back to my “old” self. I didn’t know where to start. The first step was to leave my old self behind.
Being “healthy” is a mindset. You do not have to live up to others expectations or goals, but you do have to own yourself. For example, I can now lift a gallon of milk. And I don’t mind telling you this is very exciting for me. I recently started my journey by signing up for a cross-fit type of training called Camp Gladiator, and I am eight weeks in. I have lost a little weight (over six pounds of fat), and I’ve gained muscle! But that isn’t why I’m doing this. My goal is to prove to myself that I am not merely a survivor or a fighter. I am STRONG. I am BOLD. And once I put my mind to something, I’ll achieve it. I only want to continue to strengthen my body and my mind and am learning to balance life and everything it throws at you.
[clickToTweet tweet=”I didn’t know where to start. The first step was to leave my old self behind.” quote=”I didn’t know where to start. The first step was to leave my old self behind.”]
Here are the three steps I took to get back my Healthy.
Break up with your doubt.
I had to put aside my excuses and fear of getting ill and not being able to finish. Something that helped was me confiding in my friend Kelly who is dedicated to her fitness plan and goals (She’s a BEAST!), and she has been my accountability partner. Something I also had to do was leave the past behind; like how amazingly athletic I was before (it’s my story, I can tell it how I want. Lol) I had to remind myself to take small steps and be okay with short-term goals. (Get out of the bad situation, in this case, an unhealthy/lazyesque life-style). Talk to a friend (find someone who wants to try it with you). Leave the past behind. (don’t compare your present accomplishments or goals to your athletic HS or College physique).
Try New Programs.
Try all types of programs. Go to gyms, sign up for trial boot-camps or speak to a personal trainer. Very often these programs give “new member” discounts or offer trial runs. I also needed the motivation and encouragement that a personal trainer has to offer. That is one of the things I love about Camp Gladiator! I have a personal trainer named Bree who is fantastic! She takes my camp workout and is often able to modify it to my medical issues for the week since they are always changing. These athletic trainers are specially trained for a group and give individual workout sessions.
Commit to YOU.
After you’ve found an accountability partner and tried some different workouts, make a goal. Commit to being the best YOU for right now. Choose what works, do it until it doesn’t work anymore, and know when it’s okay to say no. Once I invested some time in selecting what worked for me, I found that I am extremely faithful to my regimen. I have been consistent in my workout attendance, going 4-5 days a week for the last sixty days. That’s long enough for me to know the honeymoon phase is over and I am committed to my goal. I have found my healthy.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Commit to being the best YOU for right now.” quote=”Commit to being the best YOU for right now.”]
And I have a new goal! I will be competing in the 2017 Camp Gladiator Games! I’m nowhere near ready…but I will be!
What is YOUR healthy? No matter what you think, your ability is or is not, your strength comes from within.
I challenge you to go out and find a workout plan that is best for you.
Stay focused on your intended goal. Let me know if you lose a pound or two of unwanted weight, or better yet, gain three pounds of muscle! I want to know you are stronger than you were yesterday. Through every ache and pain, we are bolder. I challenge you to come on this adventure with me.