We Still Do!

Twenty-three years ago today we said, “I do.” And we still do…

It’s official, I’ve now been married to this man longer than not. He has done far more than he vowed to me all those years ago…beyond the richer or poorer, the sickness and health…he’s literally seen me through thick and thin, weak and strong, grief and joy, broken and whole. He’s loved me completely through the rough spots and cheered on my finest moments, unconditionally. This guy, he makes my dreams come true!

I loved him then, love him still…always have always will.

 

Do You Know What Day it Is?

Guess what day it is, Friends?!? It’s National Get Outdoors Day!

It’s a soulful walk for me because nothing makes me feel more alive than breathing in that fresh air and embracing the warmth of the sun. With so many ways to enjoy the outdoors, what are you waiting for?

Friends, what’s your favorite way to play outside?

The Close of a Very Good Chapter

While raising two teenage boys, I often wondered what it would be like to have some girl time. Several years ago I’d seen a booth at a community event promoting a local mentorship program and knew it was speaking directly to my heart. The idea simply refused to leave me alone, so a year ago I acted on it.

Meeting up for a couple hours a week, we’ve had an unforgettable year. Running and bicycling are major components of this program and I love both, but Kiara was less of a fan; so the goal we set was to sample as many experiences as we could squeeze into that year, like Zumba on the Plaza…

Some orienteering and hiking…

 

And more hiking…

  

We worked on some tennis skills…

 

Headed to the pool…

Did some impressive cardio and strength training…

  

We did manage to hop on a bike a few times on open trails and studio cycling class.

 

We even climbed the walls!

  

We took some cooking classes and tried new foods like parfaits and pancakes and hummus, oh my!

We just kept showing up for one another, laughing all the way!

 

Playing hard was our job and we rocked it!

 

We met some great people like former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Tommy Kramer.

And hometown legend Darrell Thompson…we’ll forgive him for playing for the Green Bay Packers haha, because he’s the outstanding president of Bolder Options!

Motivational speaker, Inky Johnson inspired us to keep moving forward no matter what!

And that was valuable advice because throughout the disappointment and unpredictability associated with an injury and a halt to my beloved running, Kiara was the constant that kept me focused and determined. We just got creative and kept going…like to the library!

And her first yoga class, namaste!

One of my favorites was taking her on her first snowshoe trek. Yeah, she really blazed the trail!

  

This mentorship never felt like work because we played our way through the year!

  

What a treat to throw animals into the mix!

 

We did sneak in some volunteer “work” but that was fun too!

 

And went right back to play, although sometimes it was one heck of a workout. So proud of Kiara for squatting, lunging and drumming her way through BarreAmped and Pound Fusion. I don’t think we ever sweated more!

 

Where did time go? This week after countless adventures together, we graduated from Bolder Options stronger and more confident than ever. But I don’t think this is the end for us…it’s merely the close of a very good chapter.

Here We Go Again AKA It’s Still Nothing

Last week I wrote about a little test I was hoping to pass…if you missed it, you can catch up here.

Considering the experience I had last year, I wasn’t too excited about waiting a week for the results of that 2D mammogram. I did everything I could to remain positive, to breathe away the worry, to keep myself from emotionally eating my bodyweight in hummus and pita chips. Still, it came as no surprise I flunked that exam and had to return this week for another…here we go again.

Friends, I knew the drill and I was working my way through the order of events last year in my mind…mammogram, second mammogram, ultrasound, biopsy, lumpectomy. How ironic what they found was on the other side this year…would I have matching sharkbite scars when all was said and done? Eventually I caught myself in this useless thought process and gently moved it aside as I returned for that 3D mammogram. If you notice the look in this second photo, that’s me telling myself to shut up already! I knew the results of this test determined the next step.

And dang it, I flunked that test too. As I was immediately ushered down the hall to ultrasound, I reminded my shaky legs that this was nothing until it’s something…so it’s still nothing!

During that ultrasound, the technician seemed to zero in on an area that began to hurt. I could tell there was something there and the longer she investigated that spot, the more concerned I became. When the radiologist arrived to examine her findings, I dreaded his words and my anxiety made it difficult to comprehend them. They’d been looking at 3 cysts that were not suspect. He saw nothing suspicious and barring any new concerns, I was off the hook for a year!

Which, in my head, translated to no biopsy, no lumpectomy AND NO CANCER! Big sigh of relief. HUGE. I could have kissed that guy!

So thankful it’s still nothing.

This experience turned out to be educational because I picked up an important nugget from which we can all benefit. The 3D mammogram technology can reveal breast cancer up to 3 years earlier than the 2D exam and that’s great news in terms of early detection and survival rates. So those of you avoiding mammograms should know there is really nothing to fear here, but fear itself. I will keep that in mind next year when I opt for the 3D right away and convince my shaky legs to chill.

Yet again, I guess the moral of my story boils down to this…

Five Years of Climbing!

Fantastic feelings surrounded me when a fun little memory popped up in my Facebook feed this morning, a priceless reminder of what I embarked upon five years ago this week…

At a glance, I barely remember that lady. But when I pause to recall what it felt like to exist in that body, so many feelings flood back. I see that smile and know it was merely a facade. I was suffering within, physically, mentally, emotionally.

I think back to the continuous hard work and dedication necessary to be where I am today and don’t regret one single day of those five years it took to get healthy.

I liken my transformation to climbing a mountain. It was a giagantic undertaking, one which couldn’t be achieved quickly. Looking up, this task seemed unsurmountable from the trailhead. But, with clear goals, a keen sense of direction and a fire deep within, I put one foot in front of the other over and over again. I encountered many obstacles along the way, but did my best to navigate each of them with focus. I climbed.

Some moments I put forth more effort than others. Often times I gained a lot of ground, others I stumbled. Still others, I fell flat on my face. The true gift in this journey was grace. When the going got tough, I forgave. I picked myself up, brushed off the dirt and realigned my mind with my body and soul. I climbed on.

Sometimes I could see the top of that mountain clearly, others I couldn’t make it out at all. Thank goodness, I knew in my heart it was up there just waiting for me! So I continued climbing.

On the toughest of trials, I stopped to look down, to consider giving up, turning back. But I knew I’d never be happy if I quit…never forgive myself. So I kept climbing.

 My favorite part of the adventure was never being alone. So many wonderful people jumped in to join me for sections of the ascent, and that made ALL the difference.

Reaching the top was a precious gift of an extraordinary view. A fresh new awakening of immense affirmation. As I peered down to where it began, I remember those crushing feelings of heaviness within. Each step upward a bit lighter, a little easier until I reached that summit where I breathed deep, that fresh mountain air, and knew in my heart…I DID IT!

PSA…Don’t Delay!

If you’ve been following me, you know health is a major priority in my life. I’ve spent some time here the past few days…

Not for any reason other than preventive care. Yesterday I took care of my yearly girly-business check-up and this morning I returned in hopes of passing one more test!

Recently, I’ve come to revere the mammogram; this test is of utmost importance to me. Why? Because I put one off for an extra year, and when I got around to the next one, there were issues. I told myself it was nothing until it was something, to keep my nerves in check. Biopsy results came back benign. Nothing.

But when my medical team called back to schedule surgery for removal of the tumor in question, it no longer felt like nothing.  In fact, as a bit of a flight response from the whole situation, I literally ran away. Twice!

 

Avoidance didn’t accomplish anything but prolonged worry. Sometimes you just learn the hard way I guess. It was time to take care of business.

So I did, but you should know I beat myself up over missing that annual mammogram. However, I’m also damn thankful I went in when I did because that precancerous tumor, left undiscovered, could have told a much different story.

Lesson learned.

So, Friends, I am here to tell you…don’t delay! Just as in my case, it could be the difference between nothing and SOMETHING!

Here’s what the American Cancer Society recommends as screening guidelines:

  • Women ages 40 to 44 should have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms (x-rays of the breast) if they wish to do so.
  • Women age 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.
  • Women 55 and older should switch to mammograms every 2 years, or can continue yearly screening.
  • All women should be familiar with the known benefits, limitations, and potential harms linked to breast cancer screening. They also should know how their breasts normally look and feel and report any breast changes to a health care provider right away.

Those of you who’ve been scared off by what others have said of the discomfort associated with mammograms should know, this is not your mom’s mammogram. Technology has improved to allow the test to be performed under less pressure. Amen to that!

If you’ve had mammograms in the past but have let them lapse, it’s time to make that appointment! Prevention is great medicine and a wonderful way to put our Best Foot Forward!

Time-Saving Smoothie Hack

Hey Friends, I just got out of the kitchen. I had the ingredients out for my lunch smoothie and figured since I had a little extra time, I’d invest it to save for later!

By pre-measuring and pre-packaging some ingredients, I’ve saved myself the time of taking these out and measuring the next 12 times I prepare a smoothie. I’ve been enjoying this hack for the past two years. If you’d like my little smoothie booster recipe, click here.

Streamlining a task creates efficiency, affording me more time to do the things I love! Friends, that’s just one more way we can all put our Best Foot Forward!

Back to Gardening

Friends, I cringe to show you a piece of my backyard. It’s that same piece of yard I’m sure my neighbors wince at everytime they see it too. I’ve neglected my garden for the past five years while I took better care of myself.

Truth be told, I was never all that good at it; some years were better than others. The growing seasons I nurtured it well, it produced a beautiful harvest. Others, not so much. Kind of like my health, huh?

Well this is the year my garden makes a comeback, Friends! I was in heaven a few weeks back, strolling through an abundant farmers’ market in Portland. Take a look, here’s just a bit of what I saw…

 

 

 

While there, it dawned on me. Why don’t I get my gardening groove back? I have zero excuses this year. I’m not quite as busy with my kids this summer, my calendar is wide open, I’m not following an intense running schedule. This is my year, and the time is NOW!

So here it is, what I’m starting with. Boy, do I have a job ahead of me. But no matter, I’ve got this!

I just enjoyed the most cathartic couple hours back there pulling up weeds. I remember now what I used to love about it; I used to spend hours helping with the gardens of several loved ones that are no longer here. Yup, it was just like hanging out with them again.

I had some birds back there keeping me company too. By the time it started getting dark, I’d managed to clear nearly half of it. My arms and back can vouch for that. I can’t wait to get the tiller through the dirt and get planting!

Soon I won’t need the farmers’ market, I’ll only have to go as far as my own backyard. Fellow FIT BFFs, do you garden? If so, what do you plant? Leave me a comment, I’d love to hear what you grow!

Fresh, healthy foods from our own backyards…one more way to put our Best Foot Forward!

New Month, New Goals

Happy May Day, Friends. I don’t know about you, but April was a complete blur for me.

I had setbacks, I made progress. There were struggles, but also victories. I made some poor choices, yet achieved some big stuff. I experienced some ordinary doldrums, but knocked several accomplishments off my bucket list. It’s truly amazing what a single month can hold, yet so easy for 3o days to slip by without creating momentum toward an intention.

That’s why goal setting is imperative for success. What better time than today?

I’m setting some clear, simple goals to move myself forward during the month of May and I’ve enlisted the help of my new accountability buddy to get it done!

Together, we will shoot for 10,000 steps every day!

Friends, a plan without a goal is just a wish. So set a goal today, then get busy working on it.

I’d love to hear what you plan to do with your month. Let’s all put our Best Foot Forward!

 

Self-Avoider or Advocator? That’s the Question!

Fellow FIT BFFs, I have a confession to make. I have a ridiculous tendency to ignore my basic needs; do any of you relate?

Here’s an example…I’ve been struggling with knee issues for 8 months. After cortisone and physical therapy didn’t solve my issues, rather than pursue further care, I settled by overlooking the pain, limitations and frustrations. Day after day, I allowed this to continue by not making its resolution a priority. Although it was keeping me from activities I’ve desperately missed (RUNNING), I simply ignored it. Now how ridiculous is that?!?

If this was my husband or either of my kids, I’d be on it! Why do I still struggle with this idea? Why did I put me off for so long? After messaging a friend over the weekend, I realized it was time to address this. Of course he was right. What the heck was I afraid of? Yeah…I won’t even go there haha!

So yesterday I called Sports Med and made myself an appointment. But it isn’t for another few weeks. I needed relief now…more relief than icing can provide. I looked at my shoes and realized I’d been putting myself off in that department too. There was nothing left to do but get to the running store!

It’s been quite a while since I’ve had my gait analyzed, and was kind of surprised to find I needed an entirely different type of shoe. Mallory, the shoe guru at TerraLoco had me try a couple options and I knew the instant I put these Hokas on that I’d found the ones!

My cat completely agreed with my choice the minute I got them home…oh, Spanky!

I could hardly wait to get to the gym this morning to get my new kicks on the track. And do you know what? Although my older shoes still, theoretically, had many more miles to go, my new ones felt a hundred times more supportive!

I guess I took a step in the right direction, who doesn’t want dynamic stability? Ha!

I’m actually looking forward to that Sports Med appointment because with today’s diminished pain, I’m already happier…think of what no pain will do for me!

While I was at this self-advocacy thing, I decided to give my comfort zone another square kick in the behind. Following last year’s multiple episodes of mammogram/biopsy/surgery drama, I realized it was time for me to make my annual date with the boob-smasher…yikes!

Although this was the very last thing I wanted to do, I picked up the phone and scheduled that too. Why give it any more energy or power than it deserves…time to just get er done!

Friends, can you relate? Are you a self-avoider or advocator? Is there something important you need to deal with that you’ve been putting off? It’s time to treat yourself at least as well as your loved ones. And if I can do it, so can you. It’s just one more way we can all put our Best Foot Forward!