Let's face it... No matter what time of day we say we're going to workout, it can be difficult to take ourselves from the talk to the actual walk (or power walk as it were). Whether we're too busy, too stressed, too tired or too whatever, it seems there's always a [supposedly] good reason to skip exercise for a day, a week or (yikes!) even longer. I'm as guilty of this phenomenon as anyone else—even though I know (like most of you) that exercise is essential for both our physical and mental health.
And yet, how would we feel about exercise if we suddenly couldn't workout—or were unable to move our bodies in beneficial ways?
My amazing and beautiful friend Karen was recently confronted with this very question. In fact, she had the rug completely pulled out from under her, health-wise. But she rose to the occasion and has, in turn, become an amazing inspiration to so many people—including myself.
Because of Karen's ordeal, I realize that, going forward, I never have a real reason to not move my body in some productive way (even if only taking a 10 minute walk around the block if that's all I have time for)—and that I need to make every exercise session a celebration of life and health when doing so. I am so in awe of Karen’s journey (not to mention her courage), that I asked her to share what she’s gone through, in hopes it might move and inspire some of you.
Karen inspires me daily with her message that, no matter what we might be facing, there is always hope. Like Karen, we can become the hope. It’s all about taking the next step (no matter how small of a step it might seem to be). And for those of us who sometimes complain that we don’t feel like exercising, Karen’s commitment to fitness and to being her best self is incredibly motivating. Don’t believe me? Keep reading…
My Friend Karen’s Story (In Her Own Words):
"I am a runner and I love to cycle—on the road or better yet on the trails. I play tennis two to three times a week. I am an athlete and cant ‘t seem to get enough of the great outdoors. The running, biking and tennis came to a screeching halt December 24, 2014 (yes—Christmas Eve) when I was diagnosed with not one but two cancers—ovarian and uterine.
I had surgery that same morning and stayed in the hospital for a few days until I went home to start my recovery. I began my journey by walking around the island in my kitchen, I could only complete four laps around that kitchen island before having to take a break. After a week of this I was ready to get outside—even though living in Michigan in January can be cold (really cold).
We had record low temperatures this past winter but it wasn’t going to stop me. I layered up and was out the door going for my walk. I started by walking around the block and then around the block twice, which eventually lead to three times. It was then that I started putting the miles on and found myself walking for over an hour at a time in the bitter cold and snow. I then began my 18 week chemotherapy program the end of January. I also went out for my first run (okay—slow jog) since my surgery and ten days after my first chemo—and I was never so happy to be moving.
“I am a runner and I am running,” I would tell myself—“Chemo or not!”
Backing off from tennis for two months while my 12″ incision started its healing process, I decided to pick up come spinning classes at my club. These activities continued through my treatment. Not every day. And slower on some days than others. But on my good days, I was out there doing something and having fun doing it. When I rang “The Bell” (see picture of this event) on May 28th of this year (in celebration of my last chemo treatment), I felt like I was on the podium after a big race and I had just won first place.
I see myself as a winner—one that has won big! I am a survivor and so blessed to have the medical care, my husband, friends and family—along with the mental and physical strength and drive to be where I am at this moment. Today I am so grateful to be cancer free for 7 months.
I have just returned from a three week trip to Moab, Utah, Fruita, Colorado, and Prescott, Arizona—where I was mountain biking on some of the best trails, running and getting back to the mountains and the great outdoors. Happy trails to all of you—and may those trails always lead you on a wonderful journey."