Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Recovery Phase: Resilient Warrior

I'm not exactly sure how to begin today's blog except with the fact that Life is GOOD. I know many of my readers expressed their concerns after my previous post, which was some time ago, but you can rest assure knowing I survived the downward spiral (obviously). I was resilient enough to power through a very difficult part of this journey, and I couldn't have done it without such a strong support network sprinkled with some strong self-determination. In the very beginning of this journey, I notoriously said nothing but positivity was going to come out of this entire experience. Despite the valleys along the way, I still stand firm in that belief.

I took advantage of this time of turbulence, turned off technology for one entire day and did a little soul searching. We all get caught up in the daily hustle-and-bustle of what we call "life" outside of work: cell phones, internet, TV, kindle, texting, facebook, movies, pinterest, gossiping, etc. I am very grateful for such luxuries, because each allows me to enjoy mindless activities. But that's all they are, MINDLESS. I spent time with myself, my thoughts, my feelings all the while embracing life's beauty. I went to the bookstore to buy a book instead of uploading it to my kindle. I then decided to sit outside with a cup of tea and my book. There were times I would just sit there, close my eyes to take in the different sounds, smells, and warmth around me. I began to realize how such little things in life are so often taken for granted, then I opened my new book to read the first quote. [ Let me preface that while I am a believer in God and a spiritual person, I do not intend to push my faith or beliefs upon anyone. I am simply stating quotes from various religions and sources that have inspired and aided in my recent soul searching. So, take what you want from it. ]

"Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him."
~ Gospel of Matthew in the Holy Scriptures

Wow. It's talking about the golden thread of gratitude. If you're grateful, you will be given more, and you will have an abundance. It ties in with my life mantra of everything happens for a reason. After reading on, I soon realized the difference between being grateful and actually feeling grateful. Of course there have been times when saying the words thank you are just routine and being polite, but to actually feel the words from deep within is something that comes with actually believing your words. This book has 26 daily lessons to help you with feeling grateful, so I took it upon myself to give it a try. Each day I have written down 10 things I am grateful for and why. At first it was a little tough to believe my words, but with persistence, I began to feel the gratitude. It's a very invigorating experience to say the least. So during my time of dismay, I wrote down 10 things to be grateful for and really practiced meditating on each one. Soon the tears flowed and my heart was heavy, as I realized I was truly grateful. I am now on day 23 and have noticed a much happier and peaceful place in my heart. My faith and beliefs have now been restored thanks to persistence and self-determination.

"Reflect upon your present blessings of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes of which all men have some."
~ Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

Now, in response to "what the heck happened?" from my last post. As it turns out, I am not a crazy depressed person. Thank goodness! After setting up an appointment with my oncologist, it was in fact side effects from the Tamoxifen. Only 10% premenopausal have severe side effects, and well naturally I would fall in that percentage. Within 24 hours of being off the estrogen blocker, I was back to my old optimistic self. I'm now on a different medication, so we will see how my body reacts to this. I am so thankful to have an oncologist that listens to my concerns and is willing to try other options. Often doctors want you to stick with it despite how it affects your quality of life. Updates on this soon to follow...

CrossFit Battle Wound :)
As for the reconstruction side, things are coming along smoothly. I have about 1 more expansion to go before I will be back to my natural size. August 1st I started back to CrossFit and it has been a very motivating. At this point, I know my mind is resilient but was not too sure about my body. My first 3 days were beyond tough, as I had obviously not run or lifted anything over 5 pounds in 6 weeks. I scaled back my workouts to my ability, however I soon realized the effects of muscle memory. Although I am not at full strength, I am a lot further along than I had initially expected to be at this point in recovery. Heck, I may even be able to do the Rx weight of 95# (I'm already at 60#) for Amazing Grace come October in support of Barbells for Boobs. I know, I know...I won't push myself too much though. ;-) On weeks I have expansion, I do have to take it easy as the origin of my pectoralis muscles are pretty stretched and a little sore which limits some of my range of motion on certain exercises. I am so thankful for not only being physically tough but mentally tough as this plays the most important role during recovery. I am a resilient warrior.

So my life is somewhat getting back to normal, and I am finally able to enjoy what's left of summer. While I have endured such a trying time, I am grateful for the experience as it has made a better person of me in the process. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the love and continued support. Big virtual HUG to each of you! I leave you all with one last inspiring quote:

"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each one of us has a cause to think within deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us."
                                  ~ Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965)
                                                        Nobel Peace Prize -Winning Medical Missionary & Philosopher.



  1. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!!!! I so appreciate you taking us into the very vulnerable side of healing and growing! I couldn't be more ecstatic with your shift to normalcy! Such a strong lady deserves a strong story! xx Brita

  2. Been thinking about (and praying for) you Miss Allyson! :) Sounds like you're in a much better place since last I read, which makes me happy. Love love love all the positivity in this post too! Stay strong my friend, and look for an email from me in the not so distant future.