October 15, 2019
It has been one year since my diagnosis. I am choosing to celebrate how far I have come. Cancer left me feeling lost and weak. But today, I’m not letting cancer define me or my future. I chose to do the workout Grace. It is 30 clean and jerks for time with a 95-pound barbell. I am stronger than before, physically and mentally. My support system is better than ever. I appreciate every day and what my family and loved ones mean to me. I am not taking anything for granted and I am living my best life. I still struggle with things but I’m not letting that stop me from sending it.
October fifteenth, a year ago in 2019, was also an important day in my life. I had overcome cancer and was finally feeling like myself again. I posted the above words to social media after I finished the workout. I remember I was so nervous about being able to complete all thirty lifts at that weight. I had done the workout before but never that heavy. I was so much stronger than I ever was before cancer. After my mastectomy I wasn’t sure if I would ever be able fully extend my arms over my head. I still have a fear of being weak lingering, but that day I proved to myself I was strong .
In October 2018, our sister gym held the annual Barbells for Boobs Grace fundraiser. (See my sponsor page for more info on Barbells for Boobs.) I couldn’t participate because of biopsies. My husband and I went anyways. Pink was everywhere. Newly diagnosed and seeing so many people donating to Barbells for Boobs opened my eyes to the amazing community. They showed me it was possible to work out again, to be physically strong AND to have cancer. When I first heard I had cancer I told my gym I would have to leave. Now, I saw a survivor completing Grace and I knew one day I would do it too.
In 2019, I raised $370 for Barbells for Boobs and I completed the workout in 5 mins and 6 seconds. (Click here to donate to my fundraiser this year.) Many of the gym members also did the workout. I remember how proud I felt when I completed the workout. Cancer took a lot from me but it also gave me goals and a drive I never knew I desired or possessed. I discovered a will to be strong, healthy and to challenge myself. Before cancer, looking back, I realized I lacked purpose. I lacked determination. But now, I find myself looking for a challenge. I search for a goal to work toward and push myself to be all that I was born to be.
I sometimes think about what I would be doing if I was never diagnosed. I think about the choices we have made as a family to live life to the fullest. Remember that old saying, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade?” What happens if life doesn’t give you lemons? Are you satisfied with water? Would you know that there was a drink sweeter and more delicious if you had only ever tasted water? I don’t wish cancer on anyone. I don’t compare treatment and what I went through to lemonade. I do appreciate what I have gained from it all, though. I am grateful for learning from it and changing how I live for the better. I don’t dwell on the past. My mind likes to drift back there but I make the conscious effort to look ahead and search for what is waiting for me. Finding the negative is easy, but choosing to find the happy is when you shine.
Today, I cheers to another year and all I have accomplished. Cheers to finding purpose. Cheers to a new challenge.