Wednesday, April 6, 2016

A year did it sneak up on me so quickly?

Had a sudden and emotional revelation this 'survivor' anniversary is tomorrow...HOLY SHIT!  It totally snuck up on me. There was a sudden panic,'s always in the back of my mind.  I never know what will prompt a reminder; it's something I will live with the rest of my life. But then there was joy...I am a fighter! Wow, what a roller coaster the last year has been!  There is so much I have learned about myself, it's unbelievable!!!

Hearing you have 'THE BIG C' is something none of us ever wants to hear.  It's a...the words are hard to find.  It is a surreal moment.  You go through such a range of emotions.  There have been just a few moments where I let my diagnosis get to me.  I've worked hard to have a positive attitude through the whole thing.  Learning to deal with the medical world, pushing to get the answers and find a doctor who would listen to me and help me work toward over-coming the few symptoms that remain following my surgeries and treatment has been challenging, but I finally found one.  He's a saint!

The constant and overwhelming fatigue fucking pisses me off (sorry, language)!!!  My desire to be super fit and healthy remains, yet the exhaustion is something many do not understand and will never comprehend.  We take for granted the 10 systems (yep - I said 10!) our thyroid runs and the huge impact it has on the body, brain and it's overall performance.  Having a 'drug induced metabolism' as I like to call it, is not for the faint of heart!  Dragging yourself out of bed in the morning, and fighting to not want to crawl back in it at 6 p.m. is challenging some days.  Let alone get your booty to the gym!  I appreciate the support and encouragement, but please understand and don't be upset or disappointed when I tell you I am tired.  I know you hear those words cross my lips frequently and it probably makes you tired hearing me say it.  It is a simple fact of my life right now, but I am working hard to get my energy back.  If this is the only complaint I have, I am beyond fortunate!  So many others have had it far worse, and I feel somewhat guilty yet incredibly thankful at the same time.

The lessons the last year has taught me are priceless.  I am strong!  Damn, I am stronger than I ever imagined.  I've learned I have an amazing network of friends who have my six and have been there to encourage me and offer support at every turn.  I am forever thankful, you have no idea what this has meant to me and my family! No longer sweating the small stuff, worrying if the table is set just perfect or the laundry isn't completely caught up is freeing - everyone should try it.  So what if something isn't just so.  I am not perfect either, nor do I ever want to be!  It gives me something to work on, striving to always be better, to be a better person.

Appreciating the little things has become so important to me...time with friends and family, simple gestures, good music, stolen moments, laughing, a good glass of wine or bourbon and just stopping to take in what's going on around me (if you find me being quiet and simply smiling, that's what's going on - I'm just taking things in and enjoying the moment).  I have purged the drama from my life and those who brought it.  I also decided it was time to tear down the fortress I built around my heart and let go of the hurt and horrible things someone did and said to me many years ago.  Low and behold, when you least expect and aren't meet someone really great!  I am enjoying living in the moment and loving every second of it!

Who knows where this journey or life will take me.  We are not promised a tomorrow, and for now I plan to keep wearing this smile on my face, celebrating every day as the precious gift it is, and telling those I care about how much I love them every chance I get!

Thank you to all who have been there for me through this journey and who continue to show me such amazing friendship, love, encouragement and support.  I could not do it without you!

Celebrate life and live every day, love with all your heart!

All My Love,


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Quick Update...

How are things, how are you, what's going on you with you?  Many of you have asked me these questions recently....I'm good, thanks for asking!

You don't realize what hearing the words 'It's cancer' will mean to you or how it will impact your life. It changes you, no matter how much you try not to let it impact your thoughts and life.  It changes how people look at you and how some treat you.  But it's ok!  Some days are easier than others, and I'm still dealing with my diagnosis and am somewhat in denial.  It's crazy, what do you mean I have cancer?  I'm working towards being a survivor at this point!  This is my story and my experience, and I'm sure not everybody has the same experience.

Two surgeries later, and RAI treatment...I'm doing well.  Tired beyond words, but I am vertical.  I'm breathing, living life and have a new appreciation for everyday.  Cliche...I know!  It's the little things that mean the most.  I make time to enjoy things and do what I want.  Guess what...the floors and laundry are going to be here tomorrow (and no my house isn't a disaster!) LOL!  Have I told you how much I love the pool and spending time with my friends???

People often don't know what to say or do when they find out someone they know or love has cancer, and that's ok.  I didn't know what to do or say or how to feel, and I'm the one with it.  (See...some days, I don't even want to say that crappy word either!  Cancer...freak'n cancer!)   I don't think there's a rule book or a set of guidelines.  Just be yourself, and be understanding - that's my advice.  There are going to be good days and bad days.  There are going to be days when it's all you can do to take a shower and go to work. 

What have I patient and be persistent!  Let me say that patient and be persistent!  Give yourself a break and when you don't feel you are getting the answers or care you need, or think your treatment is not what it should other help!  You have to be our own advocate.  I've also learned no matter how fit you are (and I was pretty fit going into this ordeal), multiple surgeries and treatment can leave you feeling weak physically and emotionally.  Don't let this discourage you!  You have to keep fueling your body with good nutrition and stay active.  Easier said than done, and I am guilty of slacking in both departments.  And guess what, that's ok!  I'm back on track, fueling my body well and hitting the gym.  

Lastly, surround yourself with positive, supportive people!  I can't tell you how much the kindness and love of so many great friends and my family has meant to me through this ordeal!  Words do no express my appreciate to each and every one of you!!!

This is just a small hurdle in the game of life for me.  I'm back on the track training.  Not sure my high school friend, Keeven White knows it or not, but he said it best - 'Cancer picked the wrong girl!' Boy was he right!!!  Thank you for making me smile, Keeven!  And for motivating me to keep up my fight!  

To all of you, I wish you good healthy and fitness!  As my beautiful sister would say...TTFN!

Monday, April 13, 2015

I came to a round-about in my journey...but that's not going to stop me!

Over the course of the past couple years, I started this blog for my own benefit, as much as the hope of maybe helping inspire someone else who might be struggling with their journey to be fit and healthy.  One of the key things I've always said is you need to find what works for you, know your body, and listen to will talk to you.  Well, mine talked to me.  It kind of started screaming!

Before Christmas, I had what I thought was a cold and a cough that then persisted.  I tried some things, worked with my family doctor, and I just couldn't shake the darn thing.  Knowing something just wasn't right, I saw an ENT to try and figure this thing out.  Through some testing and etc., and after some surgery a little over a week ago, I got the news nobody wants to hear.  I am taking a little round-about on my journey.  

I debated - do I share this news?  Do I write about my feelings, my fear, my fight, how mad I am I've worked so hard to get fit and healthy...and now my this?  Yep!  It's good therapy.  And if it gets one of you to listen to your damn body and what it's telling you, it's worth it! 

I am not going to share the intimate details, but I have cancer.  And don't anybody go getting teared up, I am going to be fine!  I don't want pity, I don't want sympathy, what I want is for you to listen to your body and be well.  We caught this early, it's totally treatable, and I'm a fighter!  I've got this, y'all!!! (Good thing I'm full of piss and vinegar, as my mom would say!  Haha!)  

My point is twofold...the first is, you know when something's not quite right.  Listen to your body and see the doctor.  Secondly, you can't let a little round-about take you back to where you started. You double knot your laces and keep going!  

Sunday, November 2, 2014


It's been a long time since I have written a post on my blog, and I kept saying I needed to write an update.  So, here it is...

June of 2013, my sister encouraged me to try a program that started with an elimination diet - which turned into a pretty clean style of eating.  I've stuck to this for nearly a year and half and have no plan of going back to my unhealthy ways.  Have I been perfect? No.  Have I had a few cheeseburgers, pizza and the occasional beer here and there?  Yep!  But on the whole, I have been pretty consistent with my program and prefer to eat clean.  It's about choices and living a healthier lifestyle.

My progress was steady and slowed this last spring when I made a major life decision to sell my home of 12 years, change jobs, and relocate out of state.  It was a big change with lots of emotions.  I was putting in a lot of hours and my workouts were few and far between.  But I've refocussed and am back on track, working out 5-6 days per week.

The changes I have seen in my body and how I feel over the past year and half have been amazing!  I have lost and kept off 35+ pounds for the most part during this time and am dedicated to trying to lose a few more pounds.  My body has changed in ways I can't believe...I went from being tired and unhealthy to the fittest I've been in years!  I am strong, and happy. (Want to do a push-up challenge? Be forewarned, I am good at them now and can knock out a ton of them!  LOL) My self-confidence has risen, and I am no longer embarrassed or afraid to show my body.  I even bought a black leather mini-skirt!  I've gone from a size 12-14 to a size 4-6, sometimes an 8 depending on the brand.  Most important for me is that I feel better and am the healthiest I've been in years.

To those of you trying to figure out what to do and how to start, jump into the pool!  Start by picking a program and give it a fair chance to work.  You can expect overnight results.  If you try a program and it truly isn't for you, there's no shame in that.  I tried all kinds of things, fad diets, etc.  You have to find what works for you and change your lifestyle.  Yo-yo dieting is hard on your body and your emotions.  Make a commitment to change your way of eating for good.  You can have a treat or splurge now and again.  There's nothing wrong with that.  But try to fuel your body well with healthy food on the whole.  You will be surprised what a difference it makes.  And it's's 80% diet, 20% exercise!  So eat well and move your body!!!

And to those who have been so kind and supported me through my journey, I thank you!  Your kind words, encouragement, and support have helped me along my journey.  It's your encouragement that kept me going on the days it was hardest.  I am truly blessed to have a great support group.  Love you all!

Be well!


Monday, February 11, 2013


Every body is different, no two perform or respond in the same way.  There is no cookie-cutter program that works for every person out there.  It seems like an over-simplified deduction, but it's what I have come to believe.

There are programs recommending you follow a low fat, low carb, no carb, grapefruit, vegan, or raw name it kind of program.  Most of you who follow my blog are pretty health conscious and fitness minded.  Many of you have researched different diets online, through fitness magazines, books, etc. Lord knows I've done my share of following crazy ideas and programs in the past.  You'd have thought being a well educated woman, I would have learned this lesson long ago.  I have struggled with my weight for a long time, and it's been a lot of trial and error on my part.  I've done the "no added sugar" challenge, low-carb, low-fat, portion plans, and a few other programs.  Guess what?  I've come to the conclusion it's time to stop looking for a miracle, over-night solution and time to figure out what drives me to sabotage my best efforts.  It's time to figure out what works for ME! And it's time for you to figure out what works for YOU!

I think the key to success in weight loss is acceptance.  I think we have to accept we are all different and what works for you may not work for me and visa versa.  I think I have finally learned my lesson - I know I am easily derailed by sweets and crackers.  I feed my emotions.  I can't have certain junk food items in my house.  Moderation is key for me.  I think by cutting out the things I really enjoy, I set myself up for failure - the exact opposite of what I was trying to achieve.  I also need to find something constructive to do with my time when I am stressed.  I have to take little bits and pieces from my experiences and what I have read, etc and figure out how to make it work for me.

Do I want to be super model thin?  No.
Do I want to be 5'4?  Hell yes, but let's be realistic.  That one is out of my control.
Do I want to be fit, healthy, and dare I even say "sexy"?  Of course I do!  And those are achievable goals, and they are realistic goals!  Another key to success...let's be realistic!

The question is, how do I achieve it?  I have to find a happy medium on a number of levels...find what makes me happy, fuel my body well, sleep 7-8 hours, and workout regularly. I have to accept there are only so many hours in a day and there's only so much I can do.  It, no matter what "it" is, has to be enough.  A healthy balance is what I think many of us need to learn to achieve.  

Life is a challenge, are you going to accept the challenge or are you going to submit to it?  I am going to accept it and keep plugging away at it daily!

There's a quote that hits home with me, and I'll end this post with it.

"The first step toward change is awareness.  The second step is acceptance." Nathaniel Branden

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sugar...Part 2!

The 31 day sugar challenge has ended, and it was a big success!  I learned a lot from doing this challenge and thought I owed it to you to share a few things and my experience.

The biggest thing the sugar challenge did for me was it made me very aware of what I was putting in my body.  You need to not only look at the nutrition panel on any packaged food (of which I ate very, very little of during the challenge), but you must look at the ingredients.  There are some foods which have naturally occurring sugars, like low-fat milk, greek yogurt, and fruit.  Would you ever dream organic chicken stock would have added sugar?  Not me, I would never have thought chicken stock would have added sugar.  But guess what?  A major store brand has added sugar!  My point is, processed food often has added sugar to accentuate the flavor - so be certain to read the ingredient list below the nutrition panel if you use processed foods.  I had to chuckle at a friend who was stunned when she figured out there was sugar in pickles.  She was devastated!  

Sugar has all kinds of adverse effects on the body and is truly highly addictive.  The more you eat it, the more you want it.  Sugar messes with your metabolism, causes fluctuations in blood sugar (insulin) levels, can cause inflammation, can impact your cholesterol levels, and the list goes on.  You get my point.

One thing to remember when you decide to remove added sugar from your diet, you can experience headaches and flu-like symptoms.  Five days in, I started feeling bad and thought I had a bug.  A friend suggested I read more about the side effects of detoxing (so to speak) from sugar.  Low and behold, the symptoms I was experiencing were signs of my body detoxing from sugar.  I wish I had known about this before the challenge so I would have been a little better prepared.  Not that I could do anything about it, but to know I probably wasn't really ill and that it would run it's course pretty quickly...I think I felt bad for about 8-10 hours.

The sugar challenge is essentially eating super clean, lots of veggies, 3 servings of fresh fruit (or dried without added sugar, or frozen), lean protein, good fats, and whole grains.  One hurdle for me was making sure I was getting enough calories to not only support my daily needs for everyday living but enough to support the workouts I was doing as well.  Please remember for women we need a minimum of 1,200 calories and for men it's a minimum of 1,800 calories per day just to function.  If you workout, you need to accommodate for the calorie deficit to ensure you don't dip below the minimum.  Otherwise, your body thinks you are starving it and will hang onto every thing you put in it.

How about cravings, you might ask?  I craved chocolate/sweets a few evenings early on, around 7 p.m. (and I'm not really an evening snacker - usually it's during the day for me).  I found about a tablespoon of no-added sugar peanut butter did the trick.  You just have to aware of the extra calories and fat it adds to your intake for the day.  I also struggled to get chocolate cake off my mind.  That damn cake haunted me the whole 31 days, so when the challenge was over I had a small piece the next evening.  Guess what?  It didn't taste nearly as good as I thought it would, and my body totally retaliated.  I had a headache within 20 minutes, and my stomach didn't feel great.  And the next morning, let's just say my system reminded me why I stopped putting sugar in my body!  Needless to say, I'm back to eating almost zero added sugar.  I will likely have a half a serving of my favorite cereal (9 grams of sugar per serving) with half a serving of Cheerio's (one gram of sugar per serving) a couple times a week at best.  And I will likely add back in a half a serving of a protein shake a few times a week as well.  Other than that, I have no desire to go back to eating the way I did before.  Never did I think I'd tell you I didn't want to see chocolate cake again!  Somebody mark this on the calendar!  

What changes have I noticed over the course of the challenge?  The first week or so, I was very tired.  I think some of this was not only my body adjusting to the lack of sugar, but I was struggling with getting in the minimum calories I needed daily.  My energy has come back, and I think there's more of it.  My face started to thin first, then the rest of my body followed (no more bloated belly look/feel).  My body (and every body is different, yours included) loses inches before it loses pounds.  I've noticed I have lost quite a few inches and have dropped a size in shirts and jeans.  The scale has also moved, and I am down about 8 pounds.  My skin and eyes seem to be brighter a well.

What's the key to succeeding at this kind of challenge?  It is planning ahead!  Clear out the junk from your fridge and cupboards, and plan head so you have healthy snacks and meal options at your finger tips.  I make sure there are healthy snacks in my desk drawer so I am not tempted to eat from the snack machine.  Eating out is challenging, but can be done.  Remember to fill your plate with lots of veggies and lean protein.  Try having a small apple before you head out to dinner to avoid temptation.  Have your friends keep the bread basket out of reach or better yet, ask your server not to bring one and order a side salad to start off.  Again, this keeps you from feeling like you're starving and less tempted to eat something you'll regret later.  

Should you decide to undertake a sugar challenge and want additional information, please feel free to contact me.  I would be happy to answer your questions, provide info on a website with info regarding doing this kind of challenge, share what I learned about various products with no added sugar, and support you as much as I can.  Success is sweet, and I would be surprised if you didn't feel better physically and emotionally after completing a sugar challenge!

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Who doesn't love a sugary, sweet treat now and again?  I think we all do!  The key here is "now and again", not on a regular basis.  Sugar is addicting and can present all kinds of problems for our bodies.  Sugar has been linked to various types of cancer, diabetes, food allergies, increased cholesterol, decreases growth hormones, obesity related ailments, and on and on.

Sugar comes in all kinds of forms...refined white sugar, raw sugar, high fructose corn syrup, sucralose, dextrose, fructose, maltose, lactose, sucrose, evaporated cane juice/syrup, brown rice syrup, and a few others.  Then, there are the natural forms of sugar - honey, maple syrup, molasses, and fruit to name a few.

Do you read nutrition labels?  Well, after you read this blog I hope you do.  I found myself shocked recently when I picked up a container of organic chicken stock.  Never dreaming there would sugar in it, I picked up the stock while it was on special.  I later read the nutrition label to find how many servings were in the container as I went to use it and noticed the list of ingredients...big as life was "sugar"!  In chicken stock???  Food manufacturers put sugar in more things than you can even begin to imagine.  They do this to enhance the flavor and entice us to consume more of their products.

Think about the things you consume daily - cereal, bread, hamburger buns, bagels, english muffins, yogurt - sweetened or even plain (sugars occur naturally in yogurt and milk), protein bars or shakes, crackers, peanut butter, soda (don't get me started on soda, that's a whole other topic in itself), juice, condiments, salad dressing, soup, the list goes on and on.  

I found this little tidbit about how much sugar the average American consumes per year...

"One hundred and fifty-six pounds. That's how much added sugar Americans consume each year on a per capita basis, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Imagine it: 31 five-pound bags for each of us."

Is it me, or is that number shocking?  I think most people are totally oblivious to how much sugar we consume daily.

I am participating in a sugar challenge that started May 1st.  The goal is not to eat anything with added sugar, with the exception of 3 servings of fresh fruit per day.  It hasn't been too bad on the whole.  I had a few cravings in the evening but over-came them by eating a little fruit or some no-sugar added, organic peanut butter.  I also had some flu-like symptoms about 5 days into it.  Surprisingly though, I think my face is not as puffy and my tummy is flatter.  The scale also reflects about a 4 pound deficit.  I'm 13 days in and anxious to see the changes in my body over the course of the 30 days.  If nothing less, it has definitely made me very aware of how I am fueling my body.  It forces you to eat clean, no added sauces, mayo, catsup, etc, high quality carbs, lean protein and lots of good fruits and veggies.

The point I am trying to make with all this is we need to be aware of what we put in our bodies every day.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, you can't put crappy fuel in a Maserati and expect it to perform optimally!  The same goes for your have to fuel your body with high quality nutrients if you want to feel good and have the energy to do the things you need and want to do in life.  I also want to be healthy and fit as I age.  Eating foods in their naturally occurring state is really what we're going for here.  

Wishing you all good health!