The Gr8t 8!

JodiIt was a small lump, nothing to be concerned about I told myself. Besides I had already done the 'cancer thing' with my son. Michael was diagnosed with a brain tumor at 21 months, and given 6 months to live. He is now ten years old, healthy, happy, and strong. It was clearly someone else's turn.

My routine mammogram went as planned. The small lump, I was told, was nothing. It wasn't until I had come home from a friend's funeral, which had died from breast cancer, that I got 'œthe phone call.' They would like me to go in for a biopsy, but not for the lump issue. Something on the other breast looked 'œsuspicious.' I immediately thought they were wasting my time. I could not have the big 'œC.'

After a phone call to my son's oncologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, I found the best surgeon and I found myself having surgery to remove the 'œsuspicious looking thing.' Again I was reassured that the 'lump' is probably nothing.

Well you can imagine to my surprise when I was told the lump, turned out to be cancer and the 'œsuspicious thing' was nothing! Who would have thought! The challenge began. There were all the doctors and hospital visits. There where three surgeries and 8 weeks of radiation. Running and weight training were two of my most important anchors.

As a 44-year-old mother of 3 children I had no time to be 'œdown and out.' Lunches had to be made, children had to be driven here and there, grocery shopping had to be done and never mind the laundry!! I knew radiation causes fatigue, depression and weight gain. I then made one of the best decisions in my life. I had decided that those rules don't apply to me. I needed to be on point and keep my 'œlife' running smoothly.

My 8-week 'œvoyage' began everyday at 4:00 am with prayer and meditation and then I was out the door for a run. No matter what the weather, running was a must! Many windy, rainy, snowy mornings could not keep me indoors. As I was layering my clothes on for my run, I kept on thinking about the awesome high I would feel, as I would open my front door from my exhilarating run. The running was a great boost and 'œhead clearer' for me. It was my time to let everything go, enjoy the peacefulness of the morning, and see the many bright stars that reminded me that there is always hope and more for us beyond what we see actually see.

My radiation appointment was everyday at 7:20 am. Doctors and nurses often told me that my running might get difficult as we progress into the radiation. It didn't. Remember - the rules don't apply. They told me my breathing would become difficult and my skin would become very irritated and I may have to stop running. It didn't and I kept on running and strength training and living my life. I was determined to not let anything hold me back. After the radiation, I was off to the gym for a combination of strength training, plyometrics and cardio endurance training. Nutrition was always an important part of my life, but now it was essential. I trained most consistently for the next 8 weeks and there was no better cure for my cancer than my own remedy of attitude, fitness and heart.

Throughout my radiation, fatigue, depression and weight gain never entered my life. My endurance and attitude remained strong and carried me through the 'voyage.'

I started a year and a half ago to become serious about my weight training. I knew God wanted me to put my heart into it and I did. In return, he put all the right people in the right places in my life to help me succeed. I felt He was preparing me for something Gr8t. Many people at the gym would ask me what I was training for. My answer would simply be, 'œLife.' Little did I know what I was actually saying, and training for 'life' took a whole new meaning. I had the strongest 8 weeks of my life. Without strength training, running and my attitude, the side affects that all the doctors and nurses talked about probably would have occurred. My exercise acted as my barrier to keep me high on life, as I reflect back on the 'œvoyage' it was a blessing in disguise. It was the most meaningful 8 weeks of my life and it truly was something Gr8t!

I think my daughter, Jordan said it best:
Mom, God chose you because you are at your best, physically, mentally and spiritually that you have ever been in your life to handle this and you are going to be fine."

Yes, I am going to be fine and I am fine and I have a Gr8t story to tell...