Monday, April 21, 2014

The Second Time is a Charm

I know, I know. I've been super lazy about keeping up with this blogging stuff. It's been a ridiculously long time since I last wrote an entry. But hey, no news is good news, right?! Since some of my readers are not on Facebook, let me catch you all up to speed with the "Life of Allyson".  Let me begin by saying, WE ARE FINALLY MARRIED! Yep, April 4, 2014 was the magical day. I can honestly say, married life has been wonderful. I feel as if Trevor and I fell in love all over again. It's the best feeling. I don't have all the photos from the wedding, but I have included a little "sneak peak" from our photographer Heidi. Ok, now to the "other stuff" (blah!)....

So yeah, I found another lump. In the exact same spot as the invasive tumor. Almost the exact day 2 years later. Found the exact same way as the first time around. Crazy? Yes. Coincidence? No. Yes, the same thoughts swirled my head as I'm sure are swirling yours right about now. How the heck can this be possible?! I have no breast tissue. Had lymph nodes removed. Have been on medication (Fareston) for 2 years. How?! Well, we will never 100% know exactly why or how it reoccurred. There is a theory that I'm just gonna stick to, because it's the only logical theory. All it takes is 1 teeny tiny microscopic cell to be left behind. Just one! Scar tissue formed around it, preventing blood to get to the cell, which prevents the medication from attacking it. Yes, all this developed the first week in January, so not only did we have to deal with this, BUT we had a wedding to plan. You can imagine the amount of stress I was under.

I had another core-needle biopsy in February that revealed cancerous cells. March 10, I had a lumpectomy (which is kinda funny sounding to some one who has already had a bi-lateral mastectomy) to remove more tissue. I don't know what tissue they removed, because all I had in that area was muscle and skin. Luckily, I healed nicely with minimal scaring...which was a huge sigh of relief when the Big Day was finally here. My 8th surgery and 7th scar was done and over with. Now on the oncology side of things.

Oh man, I don't even know where to begin with this topic. I don't think I have been more frustrated in my life dealing with a doctor than I have with my oncologist over the past 4 months. The time spent in the waiting room versus the time spent in the actual room with him is quite displeasing. Don't get me wrong, he is top notch in the field of oncology, however his bed-side manner lacks. I cannot tell you how many times we left his office feeling more confused and frustrated. We would wait for over an hour for literally a 3-5 minute talk that would tell us nothing. NOTHING! It was almost as if he never looked at my chart. Let's not get into the "additional tests" that took 2 WHOLE MONTHS to get around to. Yeah, I will spare those details. After several visits to his office, I finally was told I would need 3-5 weeks of radiation. No chemo (THANK the LORD!), but I will need iv-like injections once every six months. Oh, and the side effects of that are lovely! I get to go through menopause at the age of 35 and experience hot flashes. Aren't you jealous?! lol I am so thankful though we have embryos harvested from 2 years ago. Technology is amazing, and I will be forever grateful when the time comes to use them. :) I told my oncologist that I did not care nor was I scared of the treatment. I just wanted to get it done and over with, so I can move on with my life.

Today I met with my radiation oncologist, who was quite thorough and gave us so much more information than my medical oncologist. I was very pleased with him! I was quite optimistic about the visit and all the information we received about possible side effects, etc. It wasn't until I heard the words "6 ½ weeks of radiation 5 times a week"....which puts my last treatment literally 10 days before we depart for our honeymoon in Italy. I looked at him blankly and felt the knots in my stomach turn. If at any time during treatment my skin gets severely sunburned, they will have to "pause" treatment until it heals a little, then restart it. Then I face the possibility of not healing completely before we jet off. Of course, I am only hearing all the negative things as he is telling me this. So, I've had to take a step back, take many deep breaths, tell myself not to stress and remind myself of how resilient my body has been over the past 2 years. I only had 1 bump in the road after my first surgery, but every other survey has been smooth. My body heals nicely and quickly.

So that's the reader's digest version of the past 4 months. Not too exciting except for getting hitched to the most amazing man ever! I have faith every thing will work out, and we will soon be on our honeymoon. Thanks for all the love and healing words!

"Mrs. Lyle"

Friday, June 21, 2013

And the Journey Continues

I know I haven't written a blog in a while, so I only thought it appropriate to write one on the day of my 1 year Anniversary of being cancer free. It's hard to believe it was just a year ago today that I let go of something that defines me as a woman. For some reason, I've had butterflies and nervousness in my stomach leading up to this day. Not exactly sure why. Maybe it's all the emotions hanging so close to the surface. Maybe it's the effects of my body going through trauma. Or maybe it's the shear fact this is a really big feat in a person's life. Maybe it's a combination of these things. Whatever the reason, I am happy to be here right now, writing about my experience. So, without further ado, here is the latest update on me....

Just when you think you've almost reached the end of a long journey, you stumble upon a fork in the road. Either way you go will get you to the same destination, however one way will take a little more patience. Both ways have pros and cons, but it all comes down to confidence and satisfaction.

Let me start off by saying this, I realize and understand my body will never be what it use to be. I am quite ok with that, because it's free of cancer! I'm the healthiest and fittest I have been since...well, I would say ever. I can honestly say I love my body and all its flaws. I owe such confidence to a few factors but mostly to crossfit and diet. But what it all boils down to is what makes me feel "normal".

If you have been following my blog from day 1, then you know I went through the nipple sparing process to save my nipples. I had a slight detour with the healing process, thus losing a little of the areola on one side and a little discoloration on the other side. Fortunately, there are these amazing people who tattoo these things on your boobs (cool, huh?). To jump a little a head of the story, I had the first of the tattoo process done. During that office visit, I learned of a new breast implant that has me hopeful.

While I am forever grateful I at least have breasts again, I am not 100% satisfied in my appearance in lets say a bathing suit or tank top, etc. While my plastic surgeon says I look really good, there are a couple areas of concern that involve rippling and hollowness....which have been my own concerns over the healing process. This comes with not having any breast tissue (obviously) and minimal skin and fat in those areas. To me, I feel my breast look like 2 big grapefruits because the implants are so round. I recently had my 6 month check up to look at my progress and go over options. I am quite excited to learn more about this new implant, as it will minimize some of the problem areas and, more importantly, make me feel as close to "normal" as possible. I'm not the greatest at painting a good picture of what I am talking about, so to save time, I've included a diagram to the right. It's pretty straight forward as you can see. :)

So my journey continues. I'm a pro with surgery and recovery now with 4 surgeries in a matter of 6 months, so what's one more to add to the books. August 1st seems to be the day for my next surgery. Oh, and since the procedure is less invasive, the recovery time will be even shorter! Score for me! I won't be out of my crossfit routine for long, which I am proud to say I can now finally lift (with my upper body) more than I weigh. Movements such as push-ups and bench press are still difficult, but I am still pleased with my progress. To put things in perspective, I roughly lost about 25 to 30% of my chest muscles on both sides. When you think of it that way, then it makes more sense why certain movements are very difficult. I realize I will never have my true chest strength again, but I am determined to get as much of it back as possible, even if it takes me a while. In the meantime, I will just be patient.

Now, on to a bit of reflection....

Determination and Progress
It was on this day 1 year ago when I had my first ever overnight stay in a hospital after the most invasive 8 hours plus of surgery in my life. I took the entire experience by the horns, letting go of not only something that defined me as a woman but leaving all traces of cancer in the surgery room. As I think back on that day, a flood of memories and emotions come to me. I remember waking up after surgery and having a slight panic attack from the tightness, not pain, I felt in my chest. I was expecting a worse feeling. Being in a fog the rest of the evening and nervous to look at my chest. Smiling because the surgery was over but still exhausted. Mumbling affirmations in my sleep throughout the night that I had no boobs but it was alright (so I was told by my mom and the nurses). Waking up the next morning at 4:00am waiting for breakfast because I was STARVING (this Texas girl can EAT!). The feeling and emotion I felt when I first saw the drains. And most of all, the feeling and emotions I felt when I first saw my chest. I can remember being relieved, but at the same time thinking "Whoa, this is actually real. I can't believe this just happened." It was a little bit of reality that was initially difficult to bite, but I quickly embraced it.

For the first time in a year, I finally gave myself time to really absorb everything I have been through. As a tear now rolls down my cheek, feeling emotional and triumphant, words cannot begin to express my gratitude for everything. I pray and thank the dear Lord every day for all my blessings, as I realize how lucky I am to have my health and a good support system. I am grateful I beat something that could have taken my life. I am grateful for the courage that God had given me to endure such a test. I am grateful for being CANCER FREE.  I have come so far mentally and physically from just a year ago. My faith, determination and the strong support system all aided in such growth. I still am a work in progress, but for now I am where I am suppose to be....and that's healthy and happy.

Here's to living a long life free of cancer...and maybe getting a little stronger along the way! :)

Cheers to Life!

Thursday, March 7, 2013


So it was one year ago today I became a passenger on one of life's wildest roller coaster rides. I seriously can't believe it's already been 1 year! Never in my wildest of dreams would I have ever expected my body, mind and spirit to go through what it did in just a year's time. As I write this blog, I look back to my calendar and schedule a year ago and wonder how I managed to get through everything. My life as I knew it then was quite crazy to say the least. Doctor's appointments, doctor's appointments and more doctor's appointments, then throw in work and keeping up with my exercise regime. As I reflect upon the person I was then vs. the person I am now, not only am I a stronger person but learned to have faith. I'm not going to lie, there were times when I questioned my faith due to sheer stress, but in the end it was faith that got me through everything. Making the transition from Texas to California almost 4 years ago was a huge leap of faith in and of itself, but some where along the journey I lost confidence in my faith. I couldn't exactly tell you when or why it happened, it just did. And I'm not sure why it takes a major life event for a person to realize such things. But this is what life is all about, right? Self-reflection and rediscovering one's inner self to become a better person inside and out.

Yes, I am fully aware of my physical strength and emotional strength. If 2012 was any indicator of that, then I definitely mastered that test. But a person needs more than strength to sustain life. The truth of the reality is, I somehow lost some of my confidence. One day it's here, the next they are gone. As I move forward in 2013, I am learning to conquer confidence in all aspects of my life and learning to love myself just a little more (flaws and all). I have faith I will get to where I want to be, but I understand it's a process and everything will fall in its place in due time. I am just grateful I am alive, grateful I am in good health, grateful I only had to fight half the battle of breast cancer, grateful for my determination to become a better person, grateful for my strong support system and most of all I am grateful for being me.

Over the year, I contemplated with getting a tattoo to mark my hard fought victory. Then I came upon the picture to the right and asked myself, "Do I really need a tattoo reminding me of what I went through?" Granite, I will be getting my first set of tattoos soon for cosmetic reasons, however it will be the finishing touches to my reconstruction surgery. In my opinion, a scar definitely represents so much more than a tattoo. They have more meaning and definitely a better story. Whether it be scars from CrossFit or scars from cancer, each  one represents an accomplishment coupled with a learning experience and personal growth. Who knows, I may get spontaneous one day. But for know, I am content with my battle wounds. :)

Speaking of scars, in one of my first posts after diagnosis, I posted a link to a very powerful, raw, and moving project displaying women of beauty and strength called The Scar Project. The artist does an amazing job capturing the emotional and physical strength of each woman (I have included a couple images to the right). When I first looked at the images a year ago, a mix of emotions overcame me, mostly fear and uncertainty. Fear of pain. Fear of losing something that defines me as a woman. Fear of the unknown. Fear of my body looking and feeling different. Fear of the process. At present, there is obviously no fear. Only a lack of confidence and self love. Not sure what I had expected and hoped for before getting my implants, but I was more comfortable in my own skin after the mastectomy than I am now. The only thing I can think of is that they are not my natural breasts. They look and feel different. Although, my surgeon (and nurses) say my case is one of the best they have dealt with. I look like a breast augmentation patient rather than a breast cancer patient. I need to get over the idea of them being implants and embrace my womanhood. Embrace myself.

After much contemplation, I decided to honor the anniversary of my diagnosis by sharing my version of tattoos. I've included some photos of my scars after 2 of my surgeries. I want to preface by apologizing if some of the images offend some of my readers, but it's truth and reality...and me. My hopes are that it helps ease the nerves of those newly diagnosed and facing a mastectomy. If you have a good team of surgeons, they can do wonders with minimize scarring and pain (which I didn't feel much). I still have numbness in these areas in addition to any area where my bra hits, including my lats.

Sentinel-node Biopsy (right side): 2 weeks post surgery, now. You can also see in the 2nd image where my drains were inserted. I had them on both sides.


Sentinel-node Biopsy (left side) : post surgery, 2 weeks post surgery, now.


And this would be 4 days post surgery without any saline in the expanders (Please disregard my aweful looking greasy hair. I wasn't allowed to wash my hair...which if you really know me then you understand how much it drove me nutts!!!!). Happy the scary part was over, over joyed my surgeon cleared the margins, proud of my battle wounds, and comfortable in my own skin. Scars that will be forever tattooed on my body. This is reality, but not something I let define me. I could easily hold a grudge on "March 7th", but instead I will embrace the day, be grateful I am alive and celebrate the beauty of life. I think the most important thing to keep in mind when faced with adversity is that it is only temporary and there is a lesson to be learned. This is what I took from the experience: Find your courage, laugh, acknowledge your support system (whether it be family, friends, support groups or therapy), laugh more, allow yourself to be vulnerable, and most important keep your faith, be grateful and keep living life. It is ok to show weakness and have others take care of you. It doesn't make you less of a person or mean your weak; it just means you are human. I am grateful for each and every person in my support system that made the past year a little easier to cope with. I will never forget March 7th, 2012, but I can now close this chapter in my life and begin the next...focusing on inner growth, love and my future nuptials. :)

One year after diagnosis...with new boobs & still going strong. :)



Friday, January 18, 2013

The Fine Print

One thing's for sure, I am so glad to be done with everything related to breast cancer. For the most part, that is. I still see my oncologist every 3 months to make sure my body is doing well with the medication I have to be on for the next 5 years of my life. But aside from that, I am done with surgery. Done with healing. Done with weekly doctor's appointments. Done. I can now move forward in my life...kinda.

I feel like I was pretty prepared with every surgery and recovery period. As much as I could be anyway. But I do feel like there are some things that even the doctors can't prepare you for. Things that are learned  either through support groups with other breast cancer survivor or on your own. **I will admit, out of shear laziness, I haven't been to my support groups since the summer time. I enjoy the group and having that kind of support, but I have felt I'm in a much stable place emotionally.** Anyhow, back on topic... After my bi-lateral mastectomy the end of June, I had plenty of time for recovery before heading back to work. Boy, I had no idea trying to get back into a regular routine would be such a task. Granite, I do understand my best interests are being taken into consideration.

My plastic surgeon released me to go back to work, but with the restrictions of "light duty and no lifting over 40 pounds". Ummm, okay. Are you sure? I tried to explain to him the nature of my job, but it is difficult for people who are not around children with Autism and behavior problems to know exactly what it is like. To make a long story short, I went back to work on a Monday and was sent home Tuesday due to my restrictions. I mean, "light duty" and pre-school Autism kiddos don't exactly mesh well. So per the school district,  I am now on medical leave for another week until I am re-released from my doctor with "no restrictions". I am so grateful for working with a school district that is so accommodating and understanding, however, it would be nice to get on with life.

How are the new tatas you ask? Meh, they are silicone implants. I did not know what to expect or how I thought they would look. I mean, I know how the breasts of a normal female with implants look, but the implants on a breast cancer patient are a little different. We don't have breast tissue or fat (in my case) to add to the fullness of the implant, so they look just like how the implant looks (wide and round). I am so grateful I at least have breast again, but I have to get use to the look of them. I also still have quite a bit of scar tissue the surgeon was not able to release in surgery, which gives a little rippling effect. Not gonna lie, there are times when I feel a little unhappy because they don't look like my real breasts did. However, my daily boob stretches should help release the remaining scar tissue. I have to keep reminding myself I'm only 4 weeks out from surgery and everything will look better in a few months. And that, my friends are just a few things written in fine print in the handbook of a breast cancer survivor's journey.

I feel 2012 so far was the biggest test of faith, courage and strength for me. If I survived that, then I can definitely get through anything. In 2012, I accepted a new job, got engaged, was diagnosed and beat breast cancer within a matter of months, unearthed my true strength and self, started loving myself more and discovered my true friendships near and far. I am so grateful for everything 2012 brought me, but it's a new year. A new year, with a healthy cancer-free body. I couldn't ask for more right now. Thank you, Trevor, for always being there for me. We make the perfect team when life throws a curve ball. 

Welcome 2013! I look forward to getting to know you. :)


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Tears of Joy

"Welcome 2012!" When I look back at this very first post of 2012, a mixture of emotions and thoughts fill my heart and mind. It's crazy how your life can completely change course in the blink of an eye. It definitely is not the course I had visioned for myself, but this just shows you can never plan out your life the way you want it. You just have to let go, have faith and trust in Him.

Five surgeries later, I am finally DONE and couldn't be any more relieved. I had my "swap out" this past Thursday and everything went as smoothly as could be expected. I know I've said this a million times in previous posts, but I couldn't be more grateful for my team of superhero doctors at Breastlink. Words cannot express how thankful I am of their skill and talent. I was told this surgery would be less painful than last surgery. I didn't experience much pain with the mastectomy, so I wasn't the least bit nervous going into the surgery. I figured I've already been through the worst of it, so this should be a walk in the park. When I woke up from the anesthesia, tears began to flow from my eyes. Concerned, the nurse asked if I was in pain. I shook my head no and said I was just happy to finally be done with everything. They are tears of relief and joy. Apparently the anesthesia can make you emotional, but I hadn't experienced that before, so I know in my heart it wasn't that. I was truly grateful to be done and beginning 2013 healthy! I couldn't have asked for a better Christmas gift than the gift of a healthy, cancer-free body.

I went in for my post-op appointment yesterday morning and saw my "new healthy boobs" for the first time. Again, emotions ran all through my body: excitement, gratefulness, relief, victorious, love, and well it's hard to explain. Until you've lost something that defines you as a woman, then to see it back on your body....I can't find the right words to express the powerful and emotional feeling that ran through me. The best part is the scars are minimal! It's amazing! My plastic surgeon is a true artist in what he does and I couldn't be any more pleased with the way everything turned out. Of course, any one who really knows me, knows how proud I am of any "victory scars". Whether it be from all the surgeries or from a torturous WOD at CrossFit. They each have a story behind them that represents a hard battle fought and won. :) I can finally close this chapter and begin the next with a new sense of appreciation and gratefulness. Tears of joy and relief!

That's all the energy I can muster out for today. Although I haven't experienced much pain, my body is still pretty sore and in recovery mode making me easily tired. Much love to each and every one of you for the love, prayers and positive vibes. I hope you all have a Joyful Holiday filled with love, laughter and good health. Here's to a happy and healthy 2013! Cheers!


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The End is Near

I couldn't have found a better quote to describe my life as it is. When I initially was diagnosed on March 7, 2012 my entire world as I knew it turned upside down. Looking back, I realized I was on a 4 month adrenaline rush stacked with doctor's appointments, support groups, work, more doctor's appointment and more doctor's appointments. Of course I could have easily locked myself in the bathroom to shut out the world, but you all know that's not my style (unless I was having a serious side effect from Tamoxifen ha!). I decided to let my faith carry me. Despite everything I have been through, nothing but good things have come from the experience. And for this I am filled with gratitude, love, and peace. The relationships most important to me have flourished, and I've moved pass the stale friendships. As a person, I feel I am finally living life and absorbing every little moment. I thank God everyday for not only giving me another chance at life but for my health mentally, physically and emotionally. The reality is, it's all coming to a bitter sweet end and I couldn't have planned it any better way.

I went back to work when the school year began September 4th, and I forgot how much I enjoyed my career. I can't believe October is half over and soon it will be Thanksgiving then Christmas, but I am enjoying each day as it comes. Although I was pretty tired the first couple of weeks getting back into the old routine, I soon overcame the struggle. My stamina and physical strength have exceeded my expectations over the past couple of months, and I couldn't be more satisfied of my progress. I am physically stronger than before surgery, although push-ups are still very tough for me. My stamina and endurance took a little longer, but with persistence and patience it has slowly returned. 

The end of September I decided to run in the Komen Race for The Cure 5K. I had not run that distance since the beginning of May. The days leading up to it I was only able to run 1 mile. It was a little frustrating, however I reset my thinking to "hey I just ran a mile!".  With this, my goal was to run at least the first 1.5 miles of the race without stopping. I am very proud to say I ran the ENTIRE race without stopping once....AND at a good pace too. :) The emotional moment of the day had to be the last 400 meters of the race. I came upon a fellow survivor that stopped running to walk. I decided to run beside her to motivate her to finish strong. We ran the last bit together, and she gave me the biggest hug when we crossed the finish line together and couldn't thank me enough. She had been 6 weeks out from surgery herself and dug deep to finish the way she did. Needless to say I was filled with gratitude, joy, and excitement.

Earlier that same week I accomplished yet another small defeat. If you have been following my blog, then you know about the CrossFit WOD Grace. I am very proud to say I completed the WOD as RXd! It may have been a little slow, but I finished all 30 clean and jerks at 95#. Another empowering moment added to this chapter. :)

As for the medical side of things, I am finally done with the expansion process. With a little patience, gratitude and positive thinking I was able to schedule the surgery when I had hoped. On December 20th, 2 days before my Christmas break, I will have the last part of my reconstruction surgery. The expanders will be taken out (thank goodness because they are as hard as oranges) and the implants will be put in place (Merry Christmas to me!). Very happy I won't be missing a lot of work! We will see how the recovery goes, but I am pretty optimistic it will be speedy.

The end is finally near and what a year 2012 has been, but I would not have changed a thing. I've learned a great deal from this entire experience and have met some pretty badass people a long the way. I am humbled by the continued support and encouragement from all my faithful cheerleaders. I am deeply grateful for all the prayers and positive vibes. I'm even more grateful for my wonderful Fiance! I never knew it possible to love a person more and more as each day passes. He has been at my side from day 1 and continues to be my #1 supporter. I thank God every day for leading me to him. I end my blog today with a few simple, yet important words of wisdom, that have become part of my life mantra....

Peace and Love,

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Peace, Love and Strength

"Really?! I am not shocked but very surprised. I knew you were in great shape before surgery, so I didn't have doubts you would recover quickly. But to be able to lift THAT much this soon is surprising considering all the muscle fibers that have been cut in your chest muscle. You are one of the very few exceptions. Why do I get the feelings you're pushing yourself too much?" Words per my plastic surgeon from my most recent appointment with him. I think it would be very fitting to insert the following words right about now....

Obviously I've been focused on myself emotionally and physically this past month. I believe I finally conquered the soul purpose and process of meditation, in addition to feeling grateful for everything in my life. As hippy as it sounds, my heart is happy, my mind at peace, and I feel filled with an abundance of love. I love this place happiness! It makes day to day life that much easier, however like any other normal person, I still have my moments where I am overly annoyed or just in a bad mood. I've worked really hard to to recognize these moments and turn my thoughts around the best way I can. Some days are a little more tough than others, but more often then not I don't let it continue to bring me down. Where did all this self-work come from you ask? Well a few sources actually! Of course books, meditation, exercise, time away from technological distractors, and other blogs written by warriors like myself. I would like to share one of the blogs I've been following religiously. Fiercely Happy is sincerely written straight from the heart.

On to the nit-and-gritty of my speedy recovery. My oncologist put me on a different hormone medication called Fareston. While it is way more pricer than Tamoxifen, it is so much more compatible with this young body of mine. No, I don't have any of the emotional cookiness that occurred with Tamoxifen. (YAY!) In fact I don't have any of the side effects I experienced with Tamoxifen, except an occasional hot flash....but even those are not as severe. If my body does well, there is a possibility of me being on it for only 2-3 years as opposed to 5 years. As for my expansions, they were going smoothly until my most recent visit which caused quite a bit of discomfort and a little pain due to overly stretching the muscle and skin. The discomfort and pain resided in less than 24 hours, so it was nothing I could not handle. That is that and there isn't much else to say in regards to my doctor visits.

To answer the question my doctor asked, NO! Despite what many may believe and think, I actually listened to my body. I do, however, get a little frustrated at times during my workout. This is only because I cannot figure out why certain movements are more painful than others. It makes no sense that I can easily perform all the olympic lifts that involve the bar going overhead or using quite a bit of upper body strength, however, it is quite difficult to hang from the bar. Like, really?! Just hanging from the bar?! Obviously I have listened to my body and avoid anything "hanging from the bar" for now until I am more healed. The one thing I've learned from the healing process of my first surgery is, the body has a mind of its own and sometimes there is no logical reasoning behind certain things (words from my surgeon and plastic surgeon that I have carried with me). Which leads into my next point, most patients do not recover full strength for several months to a year post surgery. In fact, the end of July my plastic surgeon told me not to count on regaining my full strength until probably the Spring time. Little did he know who he was talking to. I have recovered almost ALL of my strength and then some since June 21. Patience, persistence and being grateful have been the magic formula for me. The photo bellow was taken earlier this week and it happens to be the exact weight I performed prior to surgery (tooting my own horn right now!).

105# Overhead Squat
In addition to all this progress, I went back to work this past Tuesday. While it was a little difficult to wake up to an alarm the first day, I quickly was back into the swing of things by the second day. I didn't realize how much I enjoyed my job and how fun it is without the whirlwind stress of missing so much work due to all the doctors appointments that accumulated last semester. I guess I can look at it as a blessing in disguise because this whole experience has opened up more than my eyes. I am more grateful now for my health (mentally and physically) than I have ever been.

I leave today's blog with one more image that I'm sure some of you will appreciate while others may cringe. It's officially football season, so what else would you expect from me?! :)