Saturday, July 30, 2011

On My Way............

A few weeks ago, I read about this Greek yogurt called Fage, pronounced "Fa-yeah". I looked over the nutrition facts, and I saw that it had less carbs and more protein than other Greek yogurts. I tried it, and let's just say, I'd rather run an extra 10 mins than eat that yogurt. The worst part-I bought 4 of them!!! I feel bad for throwing away food when there are people in the world starving, but I just can't bring myself to eat it! :(

Last week, when I weighed in, it was 2 days early, plus the humidity was on its way back. I've come to learn, humidity is NOT my friend! LOL! While the factors were against me, I maintained. This past week, I've been splurging a little too much. I've been trying to get in my runs here while I'm visiting Mama, and so far, I haven't gained. Once I get back home to West Virginia, it's back to the gym!! I'll still go jogging on the trail, and I'll still do laps on the Law School steps, but I need to get back on the equipment as well.

In the last week, I've been told by some that I've been an inspiration. While it does add some pressure to not gain the weight back, it gives me the motivation I need to keep going with this. When I don't feel like working out, I replay the compliments people have given me, and I get up and moving. I have my days where I eat "bad things", like I did this past week. However, I will still succeed!!! You can't deprive yourself!!!!! That's when you set yourself up to fail. The things you restrict yourself from no longer become a restriction once you get to your goal and then you free yourself to have those things. A little becomes more, more, more. Next thing you know, the weight is back on and then some!!

I looked AWESOME 5 yrs ago after going from 196 to 154 in just 7 months ALL ON MY OWN!! And then-a little became more and so on. I gained back the 42lbs I lost PLUS another 20. I don't ever want to get that way again. I have so much more energy, and I'm doing things I never thought I'd be able to do-like run a 5K! Or run at all for that matter!! I'm hoping to do another 5K this Fall before I have to go back under the knife and have my reconstruction re-done. Once I heal from that, and I'm allowed to resume high-impact activity, I'm going to become a certified Zumba instructor. I was going to do it next week, but I can't become certified and then have to take 3 months off from it. That just wouldn't make sense. And my next goal...........well, that's TBA!!! ;)

And on that note, it's time to get ready for what is my last day of fun here in PA. I'm heading back home to West Virginia tomorrow. I need a day to relax before I have to go back to work for another 4 in a row before it's off to Myrtle Beach, SC for 3 days!!!!!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


After yet another 4-day stretch, I got back out on Tuesday and got in a little walk/run. I actually ran from the side of Mountaineer Field that the students enter in on all the way back home. Thanks to a friend at work who suggested I jog with my arms down lower than my heart, I actually didn't get as short of breath as I usually do. Not that I DIDN'T get short of breath-it was just easier. Tuesday night, I headed to Zumba as usual, where my instructor had me up front with her for not just one, but 2 songs!! I really think God is trying to tell me something. I should just dish out the $250 it costs to become certified and do it!!! After all, exercising is something that has become part of my life now, and I don't want to stop.

Wednesday was a busy day at work. I came home, sat down on the recliner, and said to myself, "OK-just a little rest and then it's out for a run". That "little rest" turned into a one-hour nap! :( When I woke up and realized there was no going out for a run, I told myself that no matter what the scale said at WWs this week, I would have to just accept it!! "IT IS WHAT IT IS" after all!!

This morning was my annual appt w/the oncologist for blood work and a check-up. All my blood work came back WNL and I was given a clean bill of health. PRAISE GOD!!! While I do go through periods where I feel guilty that my cancer was caught early and I'm doing well while there are others out there who are battling the disease through chemo & radiation, I have to tell myself that God has a plan for all of us. I do all I can do be an advocate for this disease. And, I'm doing all I can to get healthier so I can continue to fight for a cure!

With that being said, I went to WWs this AM in between getting my blood drawn and seeing the oncologist. I hit a milestone today, and I said GOOD-BYE to the 180s and HELLO to the 170s for the first time in 3 YEARS!!!!!! 179.5 was my weight this week!! I'm down 37lbs in 19 weeks!!! I am just a short 3lbs away from being 1/2 way to my goal!! I mentioned before that I'm hoping to get there by August 7th. I have 10 days. Whether I get there or not-we'll see!! Even if I'm just a pound shy of it, I can still celebrate the 170s and celebrate LIFE!!!! I give God the Glory for the strength and determination He has instilled in me to continue to work hard to achieve this goal!!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

It's Not a "Diet"-It's a "Lifestyle Change"!

Here is where you can read about my progress and how I'm doing with my "lifestyle change"! I've decided I'm going to write about my adventures here in my blog instead of posting them in my statuses. I'm getting bored with always posting about my weight loss and what I did for exercise that day. So, with that being goes!!

I want to make it clear that I've made a LIFESTYLE CHANGE, and that I'm NOT ON A DIET. This is not temporary. All of the exercising I've been doing is not a temporary thing, either. It's part of my life. I was told by my surgeons and doctors I NEEDED to take off some weight to help prevent a cancer recurrence. While my cancer was caught EARLY, and I was blessed to not have had to go through chemo & radiation because of the route I took to rid my body of that horrible beast, it was what it was, and I want to do all I can in my power to prevent it from coming back.

While YES, there are those who lead the healthiest lifestyles and still end up with heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc., I'm doing what I can to HELP prevent those things from happening. Some things we can't control, and I am a firm believer that when God is ready to call us home, we have no say. I want to make the most of my life while I still got it! That is why I made the decision to join Weight Watchers 4 months ago. I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired all the time. I was also getting ready to run my first 5K, so I thought I'd try to lose weight in the process. When I trained for the 3-Day last year, I didn't eat healthy, which is why I didn't lose weight in the training process!

I joined Weight Watchers because I needed support to help me lose weight. I had a problem with food, and it wasn't that I just loved to eat. I seriously had a problem with food. I was always eating fast food. Sometimes I would eat it 3 times a day. On my days off, I would go to Chik-Fil-A for breakfast, McD's or BK for lunch, and some other fast food place for dinner. On the days I worked, I would always stop for breakfast. If I didn't have time to stop, I would get angry. When I'd come home from work, I would order dinner from Domino's or I'd stop at one of the fast food places down the street. Or Johnathan & I would go out and have a huge dinner somewhere. I was able to eat a small pizza, a whole order of cheesy bread and 2 chocolate lava crunch cakes ALL BY MYSELF!! I ate out of boredom. I would sit here and think, "I really should go over to the gym". Never made it there. The only cardio I had at the time was walking around at work!! Sad, isn't it?

4 months on Weight Watchers, and I have not touched a french fry since I joined! I still have my "treats" once in awhile. However, I've learned control. I've found things that I can have that are tasty and low in points!! Which is one thing I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE about Weight Watchers!! I am a HUGE advocate for this program. It's because it's not a diet, it's a weight loss plan!! I'm at a point where the weight loss is starting to slow down. I've lost 35lbs so far. My goal is to be out of the 180's or at my 40lb goal by August 7th. I CAN do it, but I'd have to be extremely strict and work out like a banshee!! I'm learning that Summer is difficult for me because of all of the traveling I do. I've been using more of my points for those "treats" and I haven't been working out like I should be!

Soooooooo.......with that being said, I need to get back that motivation and reignite that fire that was once burning ever so brightly in my heart. I'm doing this for ME and MY happiness and NOTHING else. I'm not in competition with anyone. Bob Harper on the Biggest Loser says it best when he says, "this isn't about winning a game. it's about fixing what's broken"! I'm not trying to out-do anyone with how much I exercise or how much weight I've lost so far. Everyone is different. We all have different abilities and our bodies all burn fat and calories at different paces. For me, I know I need to change things up a bit in order to get back to being more consistent with how much I'm losing each week. I'm still at a weight where to lose 3-4lbs in a week is still considered SAFE. Once I hit the 50lb mark, 1-2lbs will be the safest pace.

This is a new week. I don't weigh in until Thursday, and then I will be weighing in the following Tuesday, which will only be 5 days later. I have 2 weeks from today to get to my goal of either being in the 170s or being at my 40lb goal. I need to take off 3.5 to get into the 170s or 6lbs to get to my 40lb goal. I'm thinking I'll be in the 170s in 2 weeks. I'll still be happy, though! It's progress. I'm not giving up until I get to 135lbs. And no, I'm not going to look like death. And yes, I can still afford to lose another 45lbs. Can't post pics to prove it on Facebook, though! HA!

Again, this is where I will be updating my progress each week and what worked(or didn't work) for me. Stay tuned!!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I Made a Promise & I WILL Stick to It!!

When I was declared a breast cancer survivor on August 7, 2009, I couldn't believe I had beaten such a horrible disease. While there are other women out there who went through an even tougher situation than me, breast cancer at ANY stage is not easy. I may not have had to go through chemo or radiation, nor did I have to take medication for 5 yrs, but I endured 2 major surgeries which left my body altered for the rest of my life. I went through a very short period of depression post-op. However, I got back up and I decided to take my experience with this disease and reach out to other women who have been affected by this disease.

Back in October, I completed all 60 miles in the Susan G Komen 3-Day for the Cure in Washington, DC. Each walker is required to raise $2300 in order to participate in the event. It was stressful raising all of that money. There were times I felt like it was impossible. I kept my faith and I ended up raising $2816 total. Not too bad considering they were all individual donations and 1 giftcard fundraiser! While I do plan on participating in another 3-Day, I've decided to wait until 2012. I'm going to get a head start on fundraising starting this Summer.

In the meantime, I NEED to stick to the promise I made to help put an end to to breast cancer forever! I've decided to participate in the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure in Philadelphia, PA on Sunday, May 8th, 2011. The Race for the Cure is a 5K, which one can choose to either run or walk. I'm opting to walk. I'm going to register this coming Friday and I will post the link to my fundraising page on Facebook. You all WILL see this link frequently. I have 3 promised donations already, but I haven't decided on a goal yet. There is no minimum donation requirement to participate in the Race, which makes it less stressful. I am very excited to do this. 2 of my colleagues are participating in the Pittsburgh race, which will be held on the same day as the Philadelphia race. I am very grateful to both of them for helping to put an end to breast cancer forever!!

When people pull together, incredible things can happen! :) I WILL NOT GIVE UP until there is a cure or a 100% survival rate! I received TONS of support in my 3-Day journey, and there is not a doubt in my mind I will receive the same love and support in participating in the Race for the Cure! Again, keep an eye out for the link!! THANK YOU IN ADVANCE!! :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Life-Changing Experience

Last November, I took a leap of faith and registered for the Susan G Komen 3-Day for the Cure in Washington, DC in 2010. Perhaps you gave a donation to help me reach the required $2300 fundraising goal. Perhaps you took a walk on the trail with me to help me get physically ready to take on those 60 miles. Perhaps you gave me a word of encourgement or clicked the "like" button on my various posts about the 3-Day. No matter what you did to help me in preparation for this journey, I want to say THANK YOU, and please give yourself a HUGE hug from me :) It was truly an awesome experience which I'm going to share with you now. The weekend began Friday morning at the Washington Nationals' baseball stadium which is where the opening ceremony began. When I arrived at the stadium, I couldn't believe I was actually there!!! I was excited, yet nervous about walking 60+ miles in 3-Days. YES, we walked a little more than 60 miles! I learned a "Komen mile" is not the standard 5,280ft mile!! There may have only been 1 mile until the next pit stop, but it was more like 2! HAHA!! It was all worth it, though! Of course, not everyone can walk all 60 miles. "Sweep vans" are provided for individuals who cannot make it all the way to the end of the day, and there were walkers who needed them. I'm not going to lie-there were times it was tempting. I kept telling myself that last summer, I felt like my chest was in a vice for 2 weeks, and I SURVIVED!!! With that in mind, I kept going! I even fell flat on my face ending up with scraped knees & hands and a scratch on my upper lip! I got back up, though and kept going!!!!! NOTHING HOLDS THIS GIRL DOWN!!! I just kept remembering all of the encouragement I received from everybody from the day I was diagnosed with breast cancer until the moment I crossed the finish line yesterday! Along the walk, I met so many awesome and amazing people. I was a single walker, but I certainly wasn't alone. I am a social butterfly, and as my dear friend Lisa put it when she commented on one of my statuses this weekend, "you're like me-you could talk to a fence":) I heard a lot of inspiring stories. I read a lot of inspiring t-shirts. I came up with ideas for my next 3-Day journey. YES, there is going to be another one!!! Last year, I decided to take my experience and reach out to other women who have been affected by breast cancer, and I'm not giving up until there is a 100% survival rate! With that in mind, fundraising ideas are going through my head, and this week, as I recover, I'm making phone calls to see how to go about putting something awesome together!!!! I also met people from West Virginia. As I crossed at an intersection in DC, a guy at a cheering station saw my WV hat and chanted, "Let's GOOOOOO Mountaineers!" I met a WVU fan from Buffalo-a guy named Scott whose sister is a 3 yr survivor. He noticed my hat at a pit-stop on Day 1 and I saw he had a WV hat on as well. We got a pic together that day, and at the finish line. I told him I was going to friend request him on FB so I can see our pics. I found him today and I sent the request, so hopefully, I'll hear from him soon. He's probably recovering, too! LOL! I walked with a girl who is a WVU alum and her friend on Saturday. I also met up with a WV native who, everytime she saw me, she'd say-"it's a great day to be a Mountaineer wherever you may be!" My tentmate was OK. I definitely need a partner for next year, though. While I'm on the tent subject, let me tell y'all that I've only ever went camping once and I didn't sleep outdoors in a tent! HA!! I forgot to go to Cabela's to grab some "necessities"(mini miner's light; mag light, etc). We were limited to one piece of luggage and a sleeping bag. YEAH-OK! I take 4 bags to my mom's when I go for 2 days, and I was supposed to take 1 BAG for 3 days? HA! I managed, though! ;) So I know now what to do for next year as far as the whole camping and packing part of the experience goes! :) While out on the walk, I came across some reminders of other friends. I heard "Build Me Up Buttercup" & "Boogie Shoes"-2 songs Rick K sings! :) We also did the "Y-M-C-A" at the dance party Saturday night! Day 2 was the lonnnnnnnnnngest day of the 3 days. I took advantage of the free foot massages that night!!! Oh, was it awesome!!! Internet access and cell phone chargers were available for free so we could keep in touch with the outside world. Y'all know I would've been lost without my Blackberry!! HA!HA! Day 3 went pretty fast. I have to admit, I felt a little lonely knowing my family wasn't able to come to see me at the finish line. Once I got there, I was greeted by lots of people cheering us on. I received lots of hugs as I cried tears of joy for finishing all 60 miles. After the last walker made it to the finish line, we lined up for the closing ceremony at the Washington Monument. Crew members wearing gray 3-Day t-shirts were first, followed by walkers in white t-shirts, and last, but certainly not least-us survivors in pink t-shirts. We were in our own little circle surrounded by crew, fellow walkers, and family & friends. We walked to our circle arm in arm as our fellow walkers & crew raised their sneakers to us. It was AWESOME!!! The walk concluded with 8 specially selected survivors raising the "A World Without Breast Cancer" flag, and country singer Candy Coburn singing "Pink Warrior", which was the song that kept me motivated during my fundraising and training for the last year. We danced, sang, and hugged each other. It was such an awesome feeling, and with everyone telling me via comments over the weekend that I rocked, I truly felt like a rockstar for the first time in my life knowing that I reached out to help other women affected by this disease. After Candy was through singing, the 3-Day had officially ended and on the way out, we got cupcakes from TLC's "DC Cupcakes". They were taping for an upcoming episode. I realllllly hope I don't end up on TV! HAHA!! I will say, those cupcakes are AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They're pricey, but like they say, ya get what ya pay for! After I ate my cupcake, I grabbed my gear and headed to the shuttle bus which took us back over to the Nationals' Stadium where we parked on Friday. As I headed back down to my nephew's house for the night, I was still in amazement that I finished all 60 miles. When I saw my 2 little great-nieces, I gave them big hugs and I cried tears of joy in hopes that they will live in a world without breast cancer one day. My mission for 2010 has been accomplished. Thoughts and ideas for 2011 are brewing. Look for "Mountain Mamas 4 Ta-tas"........coming soon! :) THANKS AGAIN FOR ALL OF THE LOVE, SUPPORT, AND ENCOURAGEMENT! I COULD NOT HAVE WALKED 60 MILES WITHOUT IT!!!!!!!!!! I love you guys!!!!!!!!!!!


Thursday, September 2, 2010


Last evening, I accomplished what I thought was impossible. I reached the $2300 required fundraising minimum to participate in the Susan G Komen 3-Day for the Cure. With a few more donation promises on their way, I will go above that minimum. I still have 5 weeks until the walk, so I'm going to do all I can until then. It's not about just getting by. It's about doing all I can to help win the fight against this disease. I am very blessed to have caught this disease early. I am a one-year survivor so far. I decided to take my situation and use it for good. After my surgery last year, I went through a couple of days where I was depressed and I thought my family and friends forgot about me. I was told by Dr Hazard(the awesome surgeon who played a major role in saving my life!) that it was normal to feel down after going through what I had gone through as long as it didn't consume my life. It was then that I decided that I wanted to make a difference and reach out to help this cause. When my sister submitted her donation, making it official for me to go to DC, I was ecstatic! I know I've been going on and on about this for the last 9 months, but this is as important to me as a wedding or a pregnancy! After all, it took 9 months to reach the goal, and there is a lot of preparation involved for the "big event". I have no significant other. My son is 17 and self-sufficient. I guess one would say this is what I live for now-fighting to help put an end to breast cancer. While there are women out there who were blessed to have survived stage 4 breast cancer, there are still women who die from it everyday. There are millions of women who can't afford mammograms. Chemo and radiation can get rather expensive. PET scans cost approx $4,000. This isn't about ME-it's about those who have won the fight. It's about those who continue to fight. It's about those who lost the fight too soon. Most importantly, it's about making sure future generations(such as my beautiful niece Erica and my 3 beautiful great-nieces Penelope Layne, Marlena Verity, & Isabelle Grace) don't have to go through what my sister and I went through. I have 5 weeks of intense training ahead of me! A BIG THANK YOU to those who have supported me in this journey!!! It means more to me than y'all will ever know!! I will keep everyone updated on my progress!! God Bless!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Don't Stop Thinkin' About Tomorrow

Originally done by Fleetwood Mac in the 1980's, it was the first song I heard Rick K perform 5 years ago in Knoebels. It was at a time when I was "almost" healed from my badly broken heart. Yeah, it took THAT long for my heart to heal after my last heartbreak. I remember that particular summer, I kept praying and asking God to heal my heart completely. Looking back, I feel there was a "hidden message" in that song that afternoon. Think about it-"yesterday's gone......." Indeed, "yesterday" was most certainly gone. As I sit here this evening thinking about how my plans changed so quickly, I have to keep telling myself, "don't stop thinking about tomorrow"! Yesterday is gone, and while I have some control over this situation, I know God is ultimately in control. I know what I need to do in order to achieve my goal, and in the meantime, I am going to keep my head up and keep a positive attitude over this situation. We all have the ability to choose our attitude over the situations we encounter in life. I have to keep telling myself, I did not fail. I made it into the National Honor Society last year, and I've kept that status since. A's & B's dominated my transcript. I have things to be proud of despite everything I went through. Someone told me not too long ago, I have endured some of the top stressors in life-moving to another state, starting a new career, starting a new school, and having had cancer. I've managed to survive it all, and I became a stronger and better person through it all. Perhaps God saw I was becoming too stressed with this crazy-busy life I lead and decided He needed to give me a break for a little while. I am keeping my hope and faith that He has something AMAZING in store for me!!! I won't stop thinking about tomorrow because yesterday IS gone!