Two women. One story.

IMG_7017Sometimes I get very angry that anorexia and excessive/compulsive exercising stole almost a decade of my life and that daunting negative thoughts still slip into my days surrounding the simple act of eating, taking care of myself and acknowledging my own worth.

Then I have moments of clarity and hope that shine through the darkness and fill me with motivation and strength, such as Monday night with survivor, warrior and my  amazingly resilient and driven friend, Meggie Sexton. 

I’m pretty sure our paths would not have crossed if we both hadn’t struggled with this demon. And for that I’m thankful for the struggles we’ve had.

We had an incredible opportunity to share our stories and our fights for recovery and life with 300 students at the University of Dayton for NEDA (National Eating Disorder Association Awareness Week 2016.

We feel our message might have touched some lives… Some who were on the verge of the slippery slope; some who had been living the horrific battle already; some who were searching for a solution as they watched their best friends, girl friends, roommates shrink to skeletons.

We were scared to get up on stage and I was scared to be so exposed. But we realized our disorders no longer have control over us and can’t stop us from sharing our battle and our strength to others.

We are winning, we are stronger, more determined. We have a job to do.

In the end… I’m thankful for this fight for my life. It has taught me resiliency and priorities, it’s taught me how much more capable I am than ever thought and it’s introduced me to some of the toughest people I’ve ever met…. Myself included.

TRUE Strength

Take on Cancer with Fitness

I am so excited to welcome our special guest blogger today, Melanie Bowen.  Melanie is very passionate about physical health and wellness and the connection between being physically fit and preventing many serious diseases, including cancer.  Cancer will strike all of our lives in one way or another. It’s time to start battling back and look at preventative actions before reactionary treatments. Once cancer is diagnosed it is incredibly valuable to “treat” your physical health and wellbeing along with the cancer. As Melanie shows, physical health is not only very important to beating cancer and a successful recovery but also to your mental state which is also key to survival. 

I wholeheartedly believe that the choices we make today, impact our future – it’s time to make sure we’re making the most of our life and wellness NOW so we can live a long,  healthy and happy life. 

Thank you Melanie for your wonderful piece!

Taking on Cancer with Physical Fitness

By the time a person is diagnosed with cancer, that individual often is already feeling under the weather, if not entirely exhausted.  This disease, which can come in many forms, may compromise a person’s physical wellbeing over a period of time that eventually it leads to him or her going to the doctor and receiving a cancer diagnosis.  The last thing people want to do, or even think about doing, after receiving this news is exercise.  However, doctors urge patients to act quickly by taking up an exercise regimen if they want to be proactive in aiding their own recoveries.  Cancer patients who exercise regularly often recover better and remain in remission longer than those who remain inactive.

According to research, fitness should be a top priority of people undergoing treatment for cancer.  Regular exercise benefits their bodies and helps people feel like they are in charge of their physical conditions and recovery.  Many patients feel helpless about what is happening to them as they go through countless rounds of chemotherapy and radiation.  They may feel like they have no control over their pain and ability to get out of bed after surgery.  However, when they exercise regularly, people may find that they feel stronger after treatments and have higher thresholds for pain and nausea.  Their commitment to their physical fitness can help them withstand the worst side effects of cancer treatments.

Battling breast cancer, leukemia, mesothelioma and other forms of cancer also proves to be mentally difficult.  In a moment of solitude and silence, it is very easy for a patient to worry about his or her prognosis.  Even with the best of treatment results, people still tend to wonder if they will survive.  Putting their minds at ease and keeping depression and anxiety at bay can be accomplished through regular exercise.  Working out calls for patients to focus on the tasks at hand.  They must concentrate on lifting weights, balancing their bodies, focusing their minds, and other aspects of exercise.  This mental focus distracts them from their fears and anxieties.  By the time their workouts are done for the day, people may find that they are in better moods and that they are more optimistic.

Being committed to one’s physical fitness during cancer treatments also can keep a person in touch with the outside world.  Many people going through treatments may be tempted to shut themselves off from the world and focus on their fears and doubts about the disease and their prognosis.  However, this self-imposed isolation is detrimental and cuts off the social support that people need from friends, neighbors, and relatives.  When patients get out of their houses to walk around the block, meet friends at a gym, or stroll around a local shopping center with relatives, people are reminded that others care about them and their prognoses.  Cancer patients can keep their spirits lifted and remember that others are there to help during their cancer fight.  Physical fitness during cancer treatments should remain a top priority for people going through treatments.

Be well, TRUE Strength!