It’s Okay To Eat A French Fry

It's okay to eat a French cry

Because one French fry won’t make us fat.  One slip up won’t make us fat.  One bad meal or one bad day does not guarantee that we undo everything we are working hard towards.

I love food.  I also love living a healthy and active lifestyle.  It has taken me years to realize that food is fuel and that when I show my body love, I am feeding it healthy food.

This goes along with my blog post from last Friday You Are Your Only Limit.  In that post, I spoke about how we need to reset our mindset into thinking that we need to “diet” and we need to cut cold turkey on the foods we shouldn’t be eating.  These practices do not work most of the time, and while some people may have succeeded in this practice, I guarantee you it is not the popular way.  In order for these new methods to stick, we need to do a lifestyle change.

Making changes slowly but surely in our diet will help us succeed.  Start interchanging snacks and the liquids you consume throughout the day.

Our biggest failures are when we come up with this ENORMOUS HUGE plan for ourselves and immediately tell ourselves that we have to be PERFECT.  That mindset DOES NOT WORK AND WILL NEVER WORK FOR YOU.

Here is an example of this type of plan that is not fool proof:

*Imagine that it is Friday afternoon and you didn’t eat that great this week, drank a lot of calorie filled drinks, and didn’t work out at all*

Saying to yourself “Starting MONDAY, I’m going to eat nothing but home cooked meals, meal prep Sunday night.  Work out five days next week.  Give up pop, give up candy, give up fast food and I’m going to purge all of my snacks from my house”

Monday comes around and you have meals prepped for the entire week, and you are good to go to start your day!   You come home from work or start your day with a workout and you do really well!  I mean, you can’t miss Day 1!

Now imagine day 4 rolls around so it’s probably Thursday.  Body is sore, don’t feel like working out.  You are tired.  You don’t feel like cooking food and just want to go home and be lazy.  This ends up being the end to your “plan” because here comes Friday and now here comes the weekend.  You of course don’t participate in anything healthy on the weekends because you were so good for those three days last week so it’s okay to indulge.

And then, the cycle begins again.  It’s Monday again and you are here to drink all the water and eat all the greens!  But the weekend comes around again and your busy life takes hold and you go to all the restaurants!
I’m here to tell you that you need to BREAK THE CYCLE.  You can’t keep doing that to yourself and your body.  It is a vicious cycle that not only takes its toll on your body, but also your mindset.  We keep setting ourselves up for failure with these big elaborate – supposed-to-be permanent plans that it just doesn’t work out.

If you want to start eating healthier, you need to start slow.  You are in this for the long haul (aka the REST OF YOUR LIFE) because hey guess what, we aren’t getting younger every year!  You need to take care of your body, and the earlier the better.

Here are some KEY tips for lifestyle changes:

*That pop/soda you drink at lunch every day?  Switch that out with water and if you can’t stand water, get some fruity flavoring packets to mix in with your water (no sugar of course!)

*Plan your week – What do you have going on all week?  Do you work shifts or do you work a regular schedule?  What about extracurricular activities?  What’s going on during the weekend?  When can you get a workout in?!  Plan your workouts and your meals.  If you HAVE to go out to eat, what is on the menu that is still delicious but healthy?

*Going out to eat?  Skip the apps and skip the booze if you can.  I know that for me personally, if it is the weekend and I am going out to eat, I tend to also then go out for drinks after dinner so why do I need to have booze both places?  I really don’t and I really shouldn’t be spending all this extra money.  Appetizers are good and all, but again, I will probably get a late night snack if it’s a late night.  Think ahead before you plan your night out and plan and prepare.  Stick to the plan!

*WAKE UP EARLY if you have to.  I mean, I’m not going to sit here and tell you to wake up at 5:30 am everyday BUT if that is where the success comes in, you might need to do that.  I know that on Fridays, those are the days that tend to be the busiest in the evenings after work.  I got used to waking up before work to get my workout in so that no matter what I did Friday night, I felt less guilty.

*Plan for your cravings!  OMG who doesn’t have cravings?  I have one just about everyday and no, I have never been pregnant.  Intense cravings for sugar, or chocolate or pop or fast food etc….. I know myself enough that I KNOW I will plan for these cravings.  What can I get that has less calories, a little bit healthier and of course satisfy my craving??  This is probably the most important tip I am going to give you!  I know I will have days where I want ALL THE CHOCOLATE so we keep one big plain chocolate bar in the house.  I have one little piece if I must.  If I need a 2nd, I HAVE A SECOND one.  But there is no way I need to eat the whole bar, and to be honest I don’t really need to eat it.  When your body is eating healthy all day, your body tends to crave bad food less IF YOU ARE DOING IT RIGHT and not starving yourself.  My husband is an AVID Reese’s peanut butter cup eater.  AVID (as a lot of us are!) Rather than having Reese’s on hand everyday, he will eat a spoonful of peanut butter (all natural) and get organic chocolate syrup to sprinkle on.  Craving solved!!

*Stop waiting until Monday!  Why are we waiting until Monday?  Why are we waiting at all?  As soon as you think that you want to start eating healthy, do so at your next meal if you can.  Sure, you might need to go grocery shopping and whatnot but why do we all have this in our minds of “starting on Monday?!”  Start ASAP – start on a Tuesday or a Friday!  Stop letting those days get you further and further away from what you truly desire!

As I proclaimed in the title of this post, it is okay to have a French fry!  So what do I mean by that?  It’s okay to have bumps in the road because again, this is a LIFESTYLE change.  You can’t be perfect forever right?  Obviously, I don’t mean a literal French fry, but it is important to understand that it is okay to indulge and have one of those things we crave, but only if it comes to the point where we can stop it.  It is important to have the mindset that if you have a slip up, or a bad meal that we get right back on track again!  Don’t wait to finish the week out or the weekend out – just get back on track.

The idea we need to starve ourselves from everything that is bad and unhealthy is just completely absurd.  To give up so many things right away that you are used to eating is setting yourself up to fail.  I want you to feel empowered in your choices and less guilt in your choices.  Oh well if you didn’t work out one day or maybe you did but only for a short time, you aren’t going to gain all of your weight back in a day.  Think about this; how long did it take you to get to the point of where you’re at now?  It was not overnight – I guarantee that.

So once you make your lifestyle change to being a little bit healthier, remember that if you have these little cravings for bad food, it is more than okay to have one meal to cheat or one snack to cheat.  It is a slow process with many ups and downs!

If you think you are wanting to make a lifestyle change, or you are on a health journey and you need a little bit more accountability, I would love for you to join my Facebook group!  We celebrate victories, run little challenges and provide you with motivation!  Some of us share some yummy recipes too!  Join us here! —> Laugh Always Fitness Group  I would love to have some new people join!

Thanks for reading!

Until next time,

Lo

You Are Your Only Limit

As Summer Approaches... (2)

 

As the summer months approach (especially for us Midwestern people!) we tend to all of a sudden want to look better, lose weight, and show off a bunch of skin in these warmer months.

The ideas and marketing are everywhere!  “Drop 10 pounds for summer!”  “Bikini season!”  “Bikini abs in 30 days!”  Why is that mindset in place?  Why do we only want to lose weight when it’s warm out?  Why don’t we work on our bodies year round?  In my opinion, we should be healthy year round right?  Isn’t that something called yo-yo dieting?

Most of us scramble around the spring time trying to all of a sudden eat healthier (which may be starving ourselves) and working out like crazy.  These sudden changes in behaviors will NEVER stick.  You HAVE to start a routine if you want any real changes!

So why do we fall off the wagon when it comes to health and fitness?  Most of us do the same routine year in and year out.  Summer/Warmer weather approaches and we rush to drop the pounds.  What are our EXCUSES?  Let’s take a good hard look in the mirror, what is seriously stopping us from achieving what we want?

There it is!  Right in the mirror in front of us!  IT IS US!  We are stopping ourselves; we are our biggest challenges.  It is ALL a mental game!  I know with myself it is a BIG mental game when it comes to stress eating, being lazy or not getting up in time to work out in the morning.  There is NOTHING ELSE STANDING IN OUR WAY!  It is only us.

How do we change this mental game?  Well, how bad do you want to be in shape?  How bad do you want to drop those pounds?  I mean, don’t you get frustrated when it comes to losing weight EVERY YEAR?!  It is SO much harder to drop weight and it seems so easy to gain it!  It is all a mental game so here are some tips to keep you from falling off that wagon again!

So here are five tips to keep you on track all year long and break that mentality of cycle dieting!

 

1.)  PLAN PLAN PLAN

We all have crazy lives, I totally understand.  I LIKE to be busy, which  might make me crazy!  However, I have been a horrible planner and I always run out of time.  What I have started to do is take advantage of my down time and really write down things I need to do.  Maybe it’s an adult thing to do!  Write out your week, plan your meals, your workouts and write out everything you have going on this week.  Where can you find time to workout?  Where do you have an extra ten minutes?  Do you think you need to start getting up a little earlier?  Or maybe after the kids go to sleep, do something for you?  Whatever it is, you can plan it.  You can plan your workouts, you can plan your meals and as long as you STICK to the plan, you will have success.  I know that when I don’t plan, I eat bad, I grab fast food and I absolutely do not work out.  Plan your work outfits the night before or lay out your exercise clothes so when 5:30 am rolls around, you don’t complain about trying to find clothes when you are barely awake!  PLAN!

2.)  STICK TO YOUR PLAN

I mean we can plan all we want, but what is the point of a plan when we don’t follow it?  Let me put it to you this way, challenge yourself for five days to follow the plan.  At the end of the week, how do you feel?  Did your week go by fast?  I know mine does when I follow a plan.  Cooking at home and meal prepping typically saves you money too so how is that bank account of yours?  Stick to your plan!  I know that when I concentrate on a plan for a few days in a row, it then becomes harder to break.  You are setting yourself up for a new routine!

3.)  STOP DIETING

Yes – stop saying you are on a diet.  Diets are temporary.  To keep the weight off and have any type of long lasting effect, it needs to be a permanent change.  Lifestyle change anyone?  So when it comes to dieting, we typically do an immediate change to what we are eating and drinking on a daily basis.  While some people can quit things “cold turkey”, this is usually not the case and it can be detrimental to our changes.  When someone typically stop eating bad food all of a sudden, that craving doesn’t go away and leads to a binge further down the road.  I’m telling you that you can have these bad foods, but you can’t eat them all the time.  It is a lifestyle change and of course during a LIFESTYLE you will have some bumps along the road.  Turn those cheat days into cheat meals, or cheat items.  Don’t undo a week of progress in simply just a week’s time because you had a full cheat day or cheat weekend.  Keep it going and don’t just suddenly make drastic changes.  Start gradually with getting more water in your diet and changing out for healthier foods.  Again, if you do this gradually and make permanent changes, you will be more successful!

4.)  Eat For Fuel

What do I mean by this?  You should eat to nourish your body.  Your body can do some pretty amazing things right?  Our bodies withstand a lot.  We need to be showing our body love and be thankful for what it does for us on a daily basis.  I mean it keeps us alive right?  Why do we feed it bad things?  Sure, those French fries make us comfortable at first when we crave it but the next morning are you feeling great?  Don’t you feel a little sluggish?  We need to eat things that our body and mind will benefit from.  Eating better will put all of these other practices into place also.  We will be more motivated to conquer our weight loss and health journeys!

5.) Find Your Why (and write it down!)

Why do you want to lose weight?  Why do you want to workout?  We all need to be honest with ourselves.  It is okay to admit you are unhappy with how you look, how you feel, or how clothes fit you.  No matter what size you are, it matters how you FEEL inside and out.  What is your why?  Find that reason deep down inside of you and write about it.  If you have to, post it in your bathroom or write it somewhere that you look everyday.  Remind yourself everyday WHY you want to start a healthy journey and become a healthier person.

 

I hope that these are helpful tips that you haven’t thought about yet.  I know that when I truly plan and think about WHY I want to stay on my healthy journey, the fast food and the real sugary drinks don’t see to be craved as often.  I crave feeling great and I know I can only reach that point by truly sticking to my plan.  I am most successful when I plan and record and prepare for my week ahead.

Another thing that I have found beneficial to my fitness journey is yoga —> read about my journey here I Bend So I Don’t Break

What are some tips that have worked for you in your health journey?  Sound off below!

 

Thanks for reading!

Lo

 

 

 

 

Memories & Thank You’s – Five Years Cancer Free

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I recently celebrated five years cancer free – WOOO!!! This is a HUGE milestone because this magical five year mark means that I AM CURED!!!  The disease has not come back and it better never come back!  I have too much life to live!  It means a lot to me, and means more than some other birthdays I have had.  This milestone seemed so far away and difficult to get to but I made it.

This post is dedicated to my time spent during cancer and my thoughts and memories. I also thank a whole heck of a lot of people in this blog post.  So if you really want to read this, you might want to grab some coffee or a snack because this is a long post!  This isn’t all happy either!   (Thank you in advance for reading!!)

I remember…

I remember crying alone in my car when I got the news from my new primary care doctor and how I needed to try to hold it together when I needed to call off work because I was being sent to an oncologist immediately when my first results came back.

I remember coming home to tell my brother, who had to drive me to the oncologist (my brother was 19 at the time) and my sister (22 at the time) meeting us there straight after work.  I remember their faces and I remember how I felt.  I remember trying to relax and be calm because they were so worried.

I remember getting a bone marrow biopsy which still makes me cringe to this day.  It was painful.

I remember shutting everyone out and having my brother and my boyfriend at the time call my family members to tell them the news.  I couldn’t bare to talk to anyone and only hung out with a few people that weekend (Memorial Day weekend – so long weekend thank God!)

I remember going for my first PET scan and so many other procedures that I never had to do ever in my life.

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I remember my first chemo and how I can’t stand the taste of honey nut cheerios anymore.  My first chemo was seven hours and my aunt brought me and then my sister sat with me all of those hours after she worked beforehand.

I remember the taste of those bitter steroid pills that instantly dissolved in your mouth – I would eat them with sour patch kids!

I remember the day my hair starting falling out – I barely could brush it and by the next day, my brother was shaving my head because I couldn’t stand it anymore.

I remember all of my chemo sessions afterwards – my grandma came with me to each one and my grandpa drove us.  We sat and talked for four hours every time about everything and anything.

I remember getting the call that I didn’t need chemo anymore and my excitement was short lived because I called you and you couldn’t talk to me to celebrate.  We then had a fight and I had to celebrate without you.  I remember thinking this wasn’t that big of a deal.

I remember my brother in law and sister taking me out to celebrate I didn’t need chemo anymore because my cancer was gone.  I remember some of my friends coming out also since it was so last minute.  They made me feel this was a big deal.

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I remember my first radiation treatment and how all of the nurses were so nice.  My radiologist was so awesome too and I learned so much from him as he too was a Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Cancer survivor.  I learned so much more from him that I ever did from my oncologist. 

I remember the nurses at St. Margaret’s gave me a head wrap because I wore head wraps to radiation all the time.

I remember celebrating two times with my groups of friends because I was done with radiation and I was cancer free.

I remember getting back to my life somewhat normally – and getting a haircut for the first time and how scary it was to not need a wig anymore.

I remember going in for my 6 month check-up after being declared cancer free.  My treatment had worked – 6 months of chemo and three weeks of radiation.  I also went for my first mammogram.  I had no reason to believe I was going to be a cancer patient again in a week’s time.  I was so focused on my life outside of my health and focused on boy drama that it never crossed my mind that I would end up having cancer again.

I remember about a week later I was talking to my oncologist that I had cancer again and then being referred to a fertility specialist all within an hour on the same day because I was also told that my eggs would basically be gone after this round of chemo after a second time.  Within an hour, everything came crashing down and I was alone to receive this news.

I remember depending on a person to help me find solace – I remember wanting that person to make me feel better and be there to support me.  I felt so broken and lost and lonely and again, it was about how this person was treating me and not how the news of having cancer again affected me.  I remember that was my dead on focus and unfortunately I hadn’t let this news sink in of having cancer again.  I was a mess and very down. 

I remember seeing a therapist for the first time – it is a requirement of someone who is “under duress” needing to freeze eggs caused by a medical condition.  We had an hour together and it was on a day where I found out a relationship was no longer going to happen because it was solidified that the other person had moved on. I was devastated all around.  I also had to make up my mind in who I would gift my eggs to if something were to happen to me.  This is the moment where everything sank in.

I remember going to Northwestern every day for three weeks – driving myself early in the morning going to a fertility clinic where there were couples and pregnant woman and me, being single and nowhere near having babies in my life, was waiting among them. I felt so odd and out of place. I had to go for daily ultrasounds because they were speeding up the “freezing of my eggs” process so I could start chemo ASAP.

I remember having my egg procedure done and the nurse in the room holding my hand, both of her hands gripped my hand tight and how sweet she was. Whoever she was, she brought me so much comfort that day. At this point in the process, I was going through the motions and I always expected the unexpected and was ready for whatever was coming because no matter what, the next few months were very unknown to me.

I remember the day before I started my first chemo I had the day off. I ran errands and made myself up and worked out and ate like a queen that day. It was also the first time I could put my hair in a ponytail for over a year.

I remember starting my first chemo – this time around I would be admitted for 48 hours (over the course of 3 days) and spent most of this time alone.

I remember my best friend spending the night on a hard hospital bed next to me and it was the best thing ever. Anything I could to distract my mind from what was happening would be a good thing for me. Social media was my friend where I lived on it to communicate with the outside world. I was administered chemo straight for 12 hours.

I remember having a positive outlook on moving on from my ended relationship and started up a new one – a distraction really. I remember also when this quickly ended as being bald was not ideal for this person.

I remember again focusing on things that should not have mattered. I needed to focus on my health and my mindset and these distractions needed to go away. I was going to put myself first and focus on getting through these next unknown months.

I remember losing my hair and this time I was able to simply pull it out from my head – I didn’t use clippers or anything. It was like pulling string and it was painless to pull out. I lost it all within a day (this would be my second time losing hair).

I remember going on a date and it was when I was bald and thinking how in the world am I pulling this off? I felt so self-conscious about this and was so nervous.  I never expected anything from it but it took my mindset to a whole new direction.

I remember actually having FUN during my chemo visits and in between my chemo rounds. I would have 2.5 weeks off in between treatments and I made sure to get out and do stuff when I was feeling fine. I celebrated every little milestone – I had so many things to be grateful for and I was actually happy for a change. It was an odd feeling because the first time I went through chemo was a very stressful and difficult time and the people around me then did not fully support me how I needed to be supported.

I remember going out with all of my friends and celebrating the fact I had a chest x-ray that showed no signs of my cancer! This was after my 2nd round and I would still have to go through a 3rd round and then a stem-cell transplant. I felt great and it was awesome to be around with a group of people who were all fully supporting you.

I remember then becoming obsessed with Seagram’s ginger ale with some cranberry juice! My nurse that made that for me was the best nurse ever and my obsession with ginger ale is still thriving five years later!

I remember being in the hospital in the dead of winter.  I remember for the most time being alone and not having communication with any of the outside world.  I remember not WANTING to speak to anyone except for a select few.  My sister was really the only person I truly wanted to talk to. 

I remember the nurses having me meet another patient who was on my floor and had a similar story as mine.  We met in the computer room and she was going through the same treatment as me.  Her mom and her would check in on me all the time.  We still communicate to this day.

I remember when walking around once on the hospital floor was a long journey.  I needed to wear a mask and gloves and I couldn’t walk fast or without losing my breath.

I remember only consuming diet coke and Reese’s pieces and maybe some ginger ale as that was the only thing that I wanted.  Some days I even sprung for some popcorn.  I was the weakest I had ever been and with my busy mind and my “go go go” attitude that I can’t even imagine how I was able to lay in a bed for 12 hours a day.  I didn’t want to get up and walk around.  I felt that crummy.

This was right around the time I was having horrible fevers and had an infection in my system that the doctors didn’t know the cause for.  I was cleared to go home with all other stats but I remember being so upset and frustrated that this reinforced the idea that sometimes you might do the right things with your body and be healthy and active your whole life, that you can’t do anything about it.  You have to play the mental game and mentally get through these times. 

I remember my sister would come and visit and take dirty clothes away and by the time I left the hospital, my suitcases were packed full with snacks and no clothes!

I remember sitting in my hospital room every night living on Facebook (Facebook memories also reminds me of this!) and planning out my next year of things I wanted to do.  I remember signing up for races WHILE going through chemotherapy.

I remember coming home and not being able to walk a flight of stairs without being out of breath. I can’t believe how fast your body gets weak with being bed ridden for so long.

I remember coming home to my puppy, who from what I heard was acting really strange because I was gone.  My sister had made me a cake and decorated the house for me to come home!

I remember getting another huge blow as someone important to my recovery and my happiness was once again leaving my life and I would need to pick up more pieces. I remember also not dwelling over this too much as I was going back to work and finally going to get my normal routine back. I was determined to get my strength back and walking on a treadmill for 8 minutes straight was a big accomplishment.

I remember a month after my auto transplant I ran a 5 mile race (yes one that I signed up for while getting treatment).

I remember after my first x-ray that I had signs of possible cancer growth again and had to have another surgery. This was a huge blow to my recovery. I went through this surgery and it ended up being dead cells. It was a scary moment but it was another speed bump in recovery.

I remember celebrating every milestone this time around and the people around me made it a big deal with every test, every procedure, every declaration of clear scans.  I remember having a better support system this time around.

I remember finally being declared cancer free and I held a huge part at my house that involved a keg.  It was one of the best parties our house had ever seen!

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I remember that summer was one of the best summers I had with my friends. I got so close with so many people and developed relationships that would last the rest of my life. Those people are still my family today.

I came out of this stronger than before. I think that my first time with cancer really didn’t change me for the better because I was more of the same person – I depended on others for happiness and I wasn’t the independent person I was supposed to be. I lost myself in a relationship and during my first cancer battle, all I wanted to do was “get back to normal”. No one was there to tell me that I will have a new normal and through my 2nd battle and all the other side heartaches that happened, I love the person I have developed into today. Now being 30 years old, I think about how I was 23 years old being diagnosed, alone in a car on my way to work and needing to go see an oncologist right away. I was roped into this whirlwind and unfamiliar territory where I didn’t have my mom or dad to call or take me to my appointments. There was so much stress put on this life of a young adult that it makes me tear up thinking of my young self and how much she had to deal with. Thinking of 23 year olds today, my goodness! I can’t tell you how I got through it, I can just tell you that I did get through it. I don’t know how I did it. You just get through. I didn’t get through this alone though.

My Thank You’s

Thank you to my best friend, where I remember going out to dinner to a local Chili’s to catch up and as she was going through nursing school I decided to tell her about a painless lump in my neck that wouldn’t go away. I could tell by the way she looked at me when I told her that she was immediately concerned. I didn’t have a primary care doctor established (never needed one as I was relatively healthy) and she referred me to her local family doctor.

Thank you to that family doctor who sent me straight to get tests done because she had some major concerns. Also, thank you to her when she immediately had arranged for me to see an oncologist after I was read my cancer results.

Thank you to my assistant manager at the time, who was very caring and understanding when I had to call off work that day because I got this news and couldn’t come in because I was seeing the oncologist.

Thank you to my brother and my sister that day – my brother (who is 4 years younger than me) drove me to the oncologist because I was so upset. My sister left work and met me there as well.

Thank you to my uncle who was there for me every single step of the way and for all of the major appointments.

Thank you to my boyfriend at the time who took me to my very first PET scan and made sure I ate well and took me out for chicken wings. He calmed my fears that day.

Thank you to my aunt, uncle and boyfriend who came with me for my surgery and my boyfriend and his family buying us food all weekend.

Thank you to my sister, who sat with me for seven hours straight during my first chemo session (after she had worked all morning).

Thank you to my aunt who also came with me to my first chemo session and made sure to bring a bunch of snacks for me. (who was also caring for her sick mom at the time)

Thank you to my grandma who sat with me at every other chemo session after that. We would talk and talk and talk about life and everything else. Thank you to my grandpa for driving my grandma and me there and back every time.

Thank you to my boyfriend’s family at the time, because they took care of me and thank you for the golf outing that was put on to support me. Thank you to all of the wonderful people who donated and sponsored golf holes and thank you to my friends who made shirts, designed shirts, made jello shots and did just about everything for me that day.

Thank you to all of my friends who celebrated with me for each milestone of being done with chemo and being done with radiation and being cancer free.

Thank you to my brother in law for always driving me around and taking care of me when my sister needed a break.

Thank you to my sister who made dinner every night for me and kept the household running when I couldn’t even walk around because I was so sore and sick.

Thank you to my brother who used his clippers to shave my head when I couldn’t stand it anymore.

Thank you to so many wonderful friends, co-workers and acquaintances who sent me gift cards to myself and my family. So many random acts of kindness that it was overwhelming.

Thank you to my oncologist at Northwestern, because now I actually miss seeing you as much as I did before. I was always nervous to go to my doctor here locally, but all of the doctors and nurses at Northwestern eased my worries and actually cared about me.

Thank you to my uncle and my aunt who were with me every single step of the way when it came to more surgeries, doctors’ appointments and other procedures. Thank you to my uncle especially for sitting with me for 8 hours in a really boring room while I had my stem cells harvested.

Thank you to my sister who doesn’t like driving on the highway and made it to Northwestern once a week by train to visit me on her own.

Thank you to my brother in law for driving me or picking me up from Northwestern when my uncle couldn’t.

Thank you to my best friends, who came and visited me and most notably one of my friends always spending the night with me.

Thank you to my boyfriend at the time, who provided overwhelming support for me while I endured this, and who was so good to me when I needed him to be. It kept me distracted a lot of the times and you were one of the only people I wanted to talk to or lean on.

Thank you to all of my friends who visited me and brought me snacks and stuffed animals and had dinner with me. I will never forget all of my visitors.

Thank you to one of my nurses at Northwestern – who made a special “cocktail” for me for the Super Bowl and made everything so painless for me. Being a big sports fan, I watched the Super Bowl alone and it was weird for me because I was used to parties. She made a special concoction of ginger ale and cranberry for me and now I am addicted.

Thank you to my friend who visited me on Sundays – those were the best days to look forward to.

Thank you to my wonderful aunt who came with me to my last surgery because it was amazing to get to spend the day with you and get to talk to you like that.

Thank you to my awesome group of friends – where you believed in my ideas and my will power and signed up for many races to run in while I was still in the hospital fully knowing I was going to be okay and run with you.

Thank you to my amazing family who constantly checked in on me, brought me food and cared for me while I needed it.

Thank you to one of my bosses (and my now husband!) for emailing me while I was in the hospital demanding pictures of food and basically just demanding contact. It is amazing how you are a little part of this story and now you are the biggest part.

Thank you to my girls – you know who you are. You are all amazing to me and I just can’t imagine not having you in my life.

Thank you to my sister – because you were my biggest champion through all of this and there were times where I couldn’t take care of myself. I can’t list the millions of things you did for me, but know I will be forever grateful. When I came home from my long stay, I walked into a house that was already decorated.

Thank you to everyone who gave me encouragement, a card, a gift card, monetary donation, said a prayer or anything else – I had an immense amount of support and I’m sure there are people that I don’t even know who supported me also.  If you are no longer a part of my life anymore or we have drifted a part, please know that if you were a part of my story you helped in some way and I will be forever grateful.  I am the person I am today thanks to everyone who has come into my life.

I don’t feel what I did is extraordinary – the best quote I can share with you is “You don’t know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have”.  That was my only choice.  In my mind, I feel I did what anyone else would have done.  It honestly took a lot of nights of self-reflection and days where I sat alone thinking in silence about certain situations or my road to recovery, but it also took a lot of venting sessions with a lot of my friends and a lot of my distractions helped also.  It takes a village, and really, there isn’t enough support for the family or friends that go through this with you.  Sure, you might be the cancer patient and you can only help yourself but what about the caretakers who feel helpless and try to understand what you are going through?  I had so many people in my life who were my caretakers, but my core friends and family, I will never understand what they were thinking, just as they won’t understand my feelings.  I was diagnosed at 23, my sister was 22 and my brother was 19.  For my sister to go through this as well, we were all so young dealing with so many adult issues.  The same goes for my friends and my various significant others throughout this road; they do not understand and everyone reacts differently.  Some people aren’t geared to be there for other people or geared to take on such a big responsibility and it doesn’t make them a bad person, it’s just that they aren’t the ones that need to be there for you.  The people that can handle these unfortunate events are the ones that are the strongest.  I don’t blame the people who I lost along the road, because like I said, everyone reacts differently.  I was so young, we were all so young going through this mess and I didn’t have parents that were there to help or be there for me.  A lot of young people dealing with a mess of adult issues.

 

The last five years have been nothing but amazing; and while there has been heartache along the road and ups and downs, I know how to live life now. When I turned 30 last summer, it was very bittersweet because I was saying good-bye to my 20’s, which were truly life changing in every way. I know how to get through tough times and really dig deep and know that certain situations are only temporary. All that matters is your reaction and what you are going to do next. You absolutely cannot control life sometimes, but you can control how you react and your actions towards your outcome. I have amazing people in my life and people that support me in whatever I do and I only hope that I show that back. You can’t waste your life on people who don’t lift you up and on not being happy with yourself. You are missing out on so much if you aren’t doing things you truly love with the people who truly build you up and make you feel great.

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Thank you for reading my longest post ever – this was an ode to the young girl who didn’t know what she was getting in to and how proud I am of that girl for getting through the hardest trials of her young life.

Until next time,

Lo

If you are a cancer survivor or cancer warrior right now and have some questions or need to talk, I am here.  I am a part of several groups on Facebook where I give advice and share my story and experiences to other cancer survivors or current cancer patients now.  If you need to talk to someone, I am here for you to vent <3
You can connect with me on any social media outlet or email me at laughalwayswithlo@gmail.com or go to the contact tab at the top of this page.

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