My beautiful friend Karen recently had the rug pulled out from under her, health-wise. And yet she rose to the occasion and has become am amazing inspiration for so many people — including myself. I am so moved by Karen’s journey (not to mention her courage), that I asked her to write a little about what she’s gone through, in hopes it might move and inspire some of you. I know Karen inspires me daily. No matter what we might be facing, there is hope. In fact, like Karen, we can become the hope. It’s all about taking the next step (no matter how small of a step it might seem to be).
And for those of us (including myself) who sometimes complain that we don’t feel like exercising, Karen’s commitment to fitness and to being her best self is incredibly motivating. Don’t believe me? Keep reading…
My Friend Karen’s Story in Her Own Words:
I am a runner, love to cycle on the road or better yet on the trails. I play tennis two to three times a week. I am an athlete and cant ‘t seem to get enough of the great outdoors. The running, biking and tennis came to a screeching halt December 24, 2014 (yes — Christmas Eve) when I was diagnosed with not one but two cancers — ovarian and uterine.
I had surgery that morning and stayed in the hospital for a few days until I went home to start my recovery. I began my journey by walking around the island in my kitchen, I could complete four laps before having to take a break. After a week of this I was ready to get outside, however living in Michigan in January can be cold — really cold.
We had record low temperatures this past winter but it wasn’t going to stop me, I layered up and was out the door going for my walk. I started by walking around the block and then around the block twice — three times. It was then I started putting the miles on and found myself walking for over an hour at a time in the bitter cold and snow. I then began my 18 week chemotherapy program the end of January. I also went out for my first run (okay — slow jog) since my surgery ten days after my first chemo and I was never so happy.
“I am a runner and I am running,” I would tell myself — “Chemo or not!”
Backing off from tennis for two months while my 12″ incision started its healing process, I decided to pick up come spinning classes at my club. These activities continued through my treatment, not every day, slower on some days than others, but on my good days I was out there doing something and having fun doing it. When I rang “The Bell” (see picture of this event) on May 28th in celebration of my last chemo treatment I felt like I was on the podium after a big race and I had just won 1st place.
I am the winner and I have won BIG! I am a SURVIVOR and ever so blessed to have the medical care, my husband, friends and family along with the mental and physical strength and drive to be where I am today. Today I celebrate and am so grateful to be cancer free for 7 months.
I have just returned from a three week trip to Moab, Utah, Fruita, Colorado, and Prescott, Arizona — where I was mountain biking on some of the best trails, running and getting back to the mountains and the great outdoors. Happy trails and may they always lead you on a wonderful journey.
Photos Source: Karen B. (Used with permission.)