This wasn’t supposed to be a big deal. I was in my doctor’s office for a short, quick visit getting a mole removed that looked “questionable”. He and I both agreed that this in-office procedure was more an insurance policy to be on the “safe side.” My doc was never more surprised then when he had to call me three days later with the results. The mole was actually cancerous and I needed surgery ASAP. He had already booked an appointment for me with a surgeon he knew personally and he recommended I drop everything in my life to have this out-patient procedure done.
Shock set in as I punched the “End Call” button. I was standing in the produce department of my local grocer picking out apples for my kids’ lunches. My 13-year-old daughter said, “What’s wrong, Mom?” I couldn’t speak. My throat was sandpaper and all I could think in that moment was, well, nothing. I was as blank as a sheet of paper. Finally, my brain kicked in and I mechanically started picking out tomatoes for dinner. I spoke as nonchalantly as I could and began telling her that I would need surgery and that it would be a quick one-day sort of thing.
Somehow, I drove home without incident and managed to find the right key to the front door. As I stuck the key into the lock and felt the teeth grab at tumblers inside the doork knob, my brain managed to ask me, “What would you change in your life if you found out that you were going to live beyond the 6 month prognosis?” I told myself, “I would go to Prague. I haven’t made it to Prague, yet, but other than that, I’m living the life I want for myself and my family.”
Surgery followed, staples and stitches were removed and then good news swept into me and my family’s world. The cancer hadn’t spread. The good doctors had managed to get all of it with the two procedures. Awesome! My birthday was coming up. I wanted to do something I had never done before. I wanted to run a race. I had never run in competition before and Colorado has running races almost every weekend during the summer months. However, my goal wasn’t huge. I wasn’t going to be running marathons or even half-marathons. My ultimate goal was to run a simple 5K with the only purpose being to NOT walk at all. I know this doesn’t seem like a big goal, but for a woman who has never run, this was huge.
My first thought was I needed a coach and I needed a plan. Both were going to be necessary to help me recovery from surgery as well as keep me accountable to the fitness and eating plan I was making for myself. Big Hugs and huge kudos go out to the two coaches (Yes, I needed two not one!) who helped me arrive on race day (July 4th, 2017) primed and ready for the event. Coach Andy of Farm Strong Coaching got me started with an incredible foundation through his Results-through-Recovery group. When my medical condition changed, Andy recommended I get a different coach and referred Monica Pelle. Her Organized-Wellness program supported the food and fitness changes that were required for me to recover from surgery and get improved range of motion out of my limbs.
After my first visit with Monica we formulated a plan and it looked something like this:
1. 30 minutes of movement for the first 4 weeks, 5 times a week. I was to start walking and jogging using interval training software apps on my phone to cue me as I ran around the local high school track. I was to do this for a grand total of 30 minutes. (I will describe the mental discipline required of the first 4 weeks in a later article.)
2. 60 minutes of movement for 4 weeks where I would continue the run/walk at one-minute intervals until I had successfully completed the duration of time on the track.
3. Eat a Vegan Menu Due to an increase in my cholesterol during this time, I decided to eat whole foods and vegetable proteins while I trained for the race.
The Results: Race Day (July 4, 2017)
I hit my goal. I ran the entire 5k without stopping and managed to complete the course in 35 minutes. As I crossed the finish line a wonderful woman on the course congratulated me on my first ever completion of a race. I was handed a cold towel and a medal that said, “5K finisher.” I was on a high and was grinning so wide I thought my face would split.
Then my sister came up to me and said, “You did it, Been! You did it! 35 minutes!” That’s when all the months of 5 AM runs, discipline, goal setting, food preparation, meal planning, and fear-fighting came rushing out of me and I hugged her and cried, because there were WAY too many emotions to express.
One more thing, I didn’t lose weight during this process. The scale in my bathroom stubbornly held to 160 pounds, but I’m stronger now than I’ve been in 17 years. My cholesterol numbers have dropped from 265 to 225. My doc wants my overall cholesterol to be 200, but when he sees the numbers decreasing so much in only 6 months, he told me, “Just keep doing what you’re doing and I’ll see you in another 6 months!”
So, the take home message is this. Celebrate with me! I’m not DEAD! I’m living the bonus round of life and I want to share the fun and excitement with you. How? Please go out and do something for yourself over the next few days. What is a goal you want to do strictly for you? Just because you want to do it? Just because it makes you laugh when you do it? One that you’ve never done before! Figure that out for me and then post your comments or pictures of your adventures below!
Janine Bolon, Fool & Founder of The8Gates, is a teacher of Native American Mysticism, Goal Setting & Financial Stability. You can book a free 30min consultation with her here: http://the8gates.com/old/contact/