I know I haven’t been very present lately – I’m sorry! There’s something about the winter season that makes me just want to hibernate. I think it starts with a C. crayons? cookies? (though i do love them)….cold! Yes, that’s it. COLD.
Right after finishing a mad rush to study for finals, I had to then delve into the rest of the material for my NASM certification so that I could take the exam on January 11th. Every day, I’ve been getting about 1-3 chapters done – I have about for more to go! If I stay on schedule, I’ll have a little over a week to review and memorize everything…That’ll work right? Well..it better. haha :p
I decided to actually think about how much has changed in the year of 2013. Ordinarily, it doesn’t mean much to me other than a new year, another birthday, etc. This year, my health attempted to take control of me (suck it, cancer.), but then I took it back. I learned a lot about what matters and what doesn’t – and I think I’ve become a little bit more soulful from the whole experience. Let’s go back and review, month by month…
(cue whooshing time-machine noise)
- New Years 2013 was a blast – I was able to spend it with some really special people.
- I started chemo for Hodgkins Lymphoma
- I had a my first really special Valentine’s Day with that same someone – a good friend to whom I wish the best of luck.
- I shaved my head since my hair was thinning so much, and got a gorgeous wig, thanks to Martino Cartier and Friends Are By Your Side
- I turned 20 years old (March 9th) and spent the day in New York City.
- Oddly enough, I had my fortune read that day. At the time, I still wanted to be a lighting designer and study technical theatre, although I was not in school for it anymore at the time. The lady had told me that a big change would be coming and change my career path – I would not see it coming and would not realize it as it was happening. But once it did happen, I would be very happy.
- Went rock climbing for the first time!! I think the thing I was most nervous about was having Kayla on belay, and whether or not she was gonna drop me! 😉 heheh
- I began my lifestyle change to start eating clean and wanted to lose some weight. Initially I thought I would just lose 10-15 lbs. It didn’t feel realistic for me to ever get to the weight I am currently at now. I struggled with cravings for junk food and needed a lot of support and understanding from my family – and I absolutely would not have been able to do it without Kayla.
- Started my blog – originally titled SeeYaAtChemo
- My brother, Ben, turned 10 years old!
- I left my job at Planet Fitness
- Finished my 2nd year of college at Penn State Lehigh Valley
- By the end of the month, I had lost a total of 10 lbs.
- Started a job at LA Fitness
- Weight loss was around 20 lbs at this point
- Celebrated finishing 6 months of chemotherapy with pedicures and an expensive, delicious dinner – and for the first time, did NOT wear my wig out in public since shaving all my hair!!! 😉
- I made the decision to change my career path towards fitness & nutrition. I purchased the materials to begin studying for my NASM CPT.
- I decided to attend Northampton Community College to continue with gen eds
- I spent much of my summer learning and developing habits to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle even when times get busy. Quite honestly, it is very difficult to develop these habits with the stress of school, work, kids (if you have them), house work, etc. so I’m glad I was able to utilize my summer for this purpose. I also think this is what helped me to want to stay more organized in school during the fall semester.
- Changed the title of my blog to Run 2 Your Own Beat 🙂
- Went on a lovely mini-vacation with my best friend to Ocean City, Maryland, where we went for a barefoot run on the beach, watched the sun rise, and spent some quality bonding time together. (which is no different than any other day, except we were at the beach….lol)
- Started classes at Northampton Community College
- Received a very generous $1,500 scholarship from My Hometown Heroes, thanks to Danny Heinsohn
- After a bunch of PET scans and doctor’s appointments, it was decided that it was in my best intersest to have radiation to ensure that the cancer did not come back.
- Went hiking for the first time with Kayla!
- Helped improve the health of my immediate family – including helping my mom to lose 30 lbs!! GO MOM!
- Started 3 weeks of involved site radiation at 30 gray
- Ran my first 5K
- Ran my first 10K
Running these two races within a week of each other while on radiation was definitely tough. Because they were radiating in my throat/chest area, my lung function was slightly decreased, I had a dry mouth, and it was very difficult to swallow. I feel really proud, however, that I pushed myself to overcome that. I never saw myself as someone who could push themself the way a “real athlete” could, but running has changed that for me.
- Went to my Kayla’s sister’s wedding – it was really nice!!
- I met my weight loss goal of 30 lbs!!!
- As winter sets in, I get more contemplative and introverted. I think about what is the right way to live my life, the right foods to eat, the right amount of exercise – this is when I started to realize it wasn’t always about being skinny. It’s about being happy AND healthy. It’s about finding balance.
- Celebrated homegirl’s 21st BIRTHDAY!!!
- Spent all of five hours cooking on Thanksgiving Day to ensure that my turkey day meal was healthy AND delicious!
- I made the decision to attend West Chester University for nutrition in the fall of 2014!
- I finished out my fall semester at NCC with relatively decent grades – and I PASSED ANATOMY & PHYSIOLOGY!! I was stressing out about that course (in case you couldn’t tell from other posts I’ve written) and was literally failing at one point. (no shame, i’ll admit it.) But, I managed to pull off a C- in it! I know that’s not always a grade to be happy about, but I’m extremely proud of the hard work I put in about midway through the semester.
- Had my last post-radiation PET scan – I’m just happy it’s all over.
- Squatted and deadlifted 135 lbs, heaviest I’ve done so far!!!
And so, here we are today, on New Years Eve, December 31st, 2013.
What a year it has been! I beat cancer, I got my life in order, and through it all, I learned so much about the person I want to be as an adult. I am continually learning what is important in life, and the things that should matter. Kindness, compassion, positivity, perseverance, discipline, independence, and balance. I could name a hundred more qualities I have learned to embrace this year. 2013 has made me more mindful to all of these things. I’ve got a new perspective – a more positive perspective.
Being diagnosed with cancer, no matter what kind, life just becomes so precious and so fragile – every moment of it. You want to make every moment worth it and you don’t want to waste any time. I wouldn’t want to waste another second living the way I used to live. I went my whole life thinking I’d never get cancer. Sure, it seemed scary and crazy to think that it could just happen. I don’t know what it was that caused me to get cancer, but I’ll be damned if I spend another day partaking in any habits that could contribute to it again.
I’ve been inspired by other cancer survivors who overcome adversity, not letting it get in their way. My bout with cancer, though less severe than some others, has, without a shadow of a doubt, changed who I am for the better. I could not be more thankful for it. Those little radiation tattoos on my chest and the scar from my port placement/removal will be a constant reminder of what I worked and fought to achieve – I will never forget it. Ever.
Like all human beings, I’m not perfect and I still have a lot to learn. I’m only 20 years old (21 on march 9th..WOO WOO!), and though I used to think that was such a mature age, in some ways, I still feel a bit like a child. I was never one for resolutions, but now that I’ve experienced what it takes to achieve a goal, I have a few to set for this coming year of 2014:
- Be more considerate to others
- Be kinder to my family
- Forgive those who have hurt me
- Accept my mistakes, and take action to ensure they don’t happen again
- Remember who I am and what is important to me – never sacrifice it for anybody
- Go to bed on time, wake up on time (at least 8 hours of sleep per night)
- Fitness Goal: 15 big-girl pull ups!!!
I hope you all have a fabulous new year!! I’m hoping to be able to blog a bit more this semester with recipes, workouts, giveaways, etc. so stay tuned! 😉
Questions for you:
What was your shining moment in 2013?
What are someof your resolutions in 2014?
How are you going to maintain those resolutions?