You have Cancer, maybe, nope …what?….!

Sometimes it feels like there are no words to describe how something went down, but then as I sit here there are so many words competing to make it to this page.  Regardless of all of the intelligent possible openers the only way to start is to say Holy Shit Batman, that was a f’n emotional ride!!!

To make the back story as minimal as possible I will cut right to the chase. For just about twenty years now I have had digestive issues. I call it “tap ass syndrome” <<warning – some may find the following gross>> meaning the liquid shyte comes out as fast as water from a tap.  Medical folks call it IBS.  I have had multiple colonoscopies, endoscopies, CT scans and ultra sounds over the years. I’ve taken foods out and brought others in.  Gone on meds, off meds. Still the same result – tap ass.  It makes face to face business encounters and social eating events stressful at times but for the most part I’ve learned to manage my issue. That said, sometimes it gets in the way of everything.  Be it cramps or shooting pains or bloating like I am nearing my third trimester there are times I become, as my mum would say, utterly useless… Two weeks ago I was in agony. I could feel my insides aching and every now and then it got so intense the feeling shot down my right leg.  I woke up the Friday morning and knew something was wrong and I took myself to the urgent care centre nearby.

There are times I could complain about an emergency room encounter, however, this was not one of them. Within three hours I had been assessed, blood and urine tests completed and had a CT scan.  It was amazing. That would have taken me about half a year to acquire via my family doctor. As an example, I saw my family doctor in July and she referred me to another gastro specialist. My appointment is December 18th….

After the CT scan, however, felt like forever. You haven’t changed in the way you feel but now you don’t get to lie down. You are sitting there on a hard chair against a wall (near the clean linen rack) rammed beside others also waiting on their findings.  Usually when you are waiting in the ER they just blurt your results out for all to hear (sometimes you feel like a dumb-ass like when they tell you its just a sprain vs a break or to put polysporin on it… ) In this case, I was called away to get my results. That doesn’t happen. I also wasn’t the next in what would be the sequence we went in. Up to that point everyone pretty much got them in order of who had gone in for their scan. I was about six people away from what should have been my turn when he called me to join him down the hall.  He spoke so softly saying they found something serious. I needed to have further exploration and so I would be hearing within a day from a gastro specialist who would perform a colonoscopy immediately.  I remember staring at his glasses and listening to him say something about how I am too young for colon cancer but it was important it be addressed right away…. He then shuffled me back to where I’d just been sitting to wait for paperwork.

I felt like everyone was staring at me. They weren’t , they were inside their own heads wondering what he could have said to me, what that could mean for their results. I know my face would have revealed what I was feeling. I was shocked.  Forty has meant cancer for people I care about. Some of them are not here anymore after dying horrible cancer deaths and so using that word just as I turned forty meant it could be real…  and of all cancers it had to be my ass. If you knew some of my relatives you would know that even if it were terminal, there would be ass jokes….it’s one of they many things I love about them.

CT Scan Results

CT Scan Results

Fast forward a few days and I had my colonoscopy. I was awake this time. Not my favorite – I prefer completely unconscious with no view of my colon. One, you can feel it. Two, you can see it. I watched my colon on the screen. I think she said twenty five feet were viewed but I was on drugs, it’s a blur. Why they share so much with you when you are whacked out watching your freakishly long colon is beyond me.

Long story short – diverticulosos perhaps? I have inflammation, spasms and another label but NOT cancer. NO CANCER. Who cares about the rest? For days this was what was wearing me down…what if… what then? Everything else is manageable.

So what then does this really all mean? A wonderful woman said to me this morning that “digestive issues reflect one’s inability to digest something in their life right now.”  She knows me well.  It’s so true.

I’ve been thinking about this for days. I’ve been given this gift of time to heal right now and I’m focusing on more than just my gut.  I am making significant changes in my life.

Basically, I am claiming back my life.

I’ve spent the last few years working towards several goals and I achieved all of them. I also opened and small coaching practice which I run in addition to my full time position. I have been fortunate to connect with some amazing clients. The past few days I realized how much I have enjoyed this, and, that I do not want to continue. Although it is very rewarding work I want those hours back in my personal life. I work early mornings or evenings with my clients and although it has benefited my career, my finances, my ability to provide for my family – I’m closing my “office” doors.  I am fortunate that I love what I do by day and I am able to use all of my learning/development.  It’s either or and so I’m choosing to put the pause button on this one and to shift my time.

I want to play more. I want to take more half days off, take the kids out of school and go play together.  I want to go on more of their school trips and not feel guilty about what I’ve left behind for a day at work. It’s one day. It’s time to end all of the little stories I tell myself about why I just can’t…. yes…. I can.

I want to make the time to create the foods I need to nurture and heal myself. It’s easy to do when I am not working, it’s hard to do when I am. I want to create a better balance. Tying into this, I also need to give myself more credit for what I do accomplish. I am a driven person and I always see potential to grow / maximize / enhance.  We rarely eat anything from a box or can or picked up/out….we make fresh meals three times a day.  I have to remember to be kind to myself about what I am achieving versus the one thing I did not. Negative self talk leads to an angry ass – completely avoidable by choosing another way. I do not have to put this kind of pressure on myself.

I need to pause and ask myself if the action I am taking is one of self – love or not.  In every sense. Money cannot buy this time back. Yes it can buy awesome things like Jamaica trips and a new pool in the backyard BUT I’ve been pushing myself this way for three years and clearly my ass cannot handle it. Your body will always reveal the truth about how it has been cared for.  The key is to create a platform that, in every sense, creates a balanced life.

Sitting here now with days between all that happened what amazes me is what came to mind when I was worried about having to deal with something that could compromise my life. We are constantly reminded, sometimes a little more bluntly than other times, of all we have in our lives. When we forget or let things get in the way the universe reminds us. I’ve clearly not been paying attention and so this time it took more of a screaming effort vs a gentle nudge. It’s up to me to make this lesson stick…this one is worth it.

Be well.

N.

I did it, and the world didn’t end!

Who knew I could do it. I went a whole day without texting, logging on or such. The world didn’t end, no tragedies unfolded,  and…the kiddos were so happy to be with me! Holy ego boosting, I should have put my phone down a while ago.  It’s amazing how positive the kids are when they realize the whole focus is on them vs shared with gizmo’s and gadgets galore. 

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courtesy of google

We all have them, those friends who you get together with who never put their phone away. It may have taken weeks to dedicate time to get together and there they are, texting away to others while your live ass is right in front of them. I cannot stand it. I find it to be so rude and inconsiderate, especially when I’ve dragged myself out (when really I just wanted to pop the big bra off and get in my jammies!).  

What I didn’t realize was how often I’ve been like that around my kiddos. My hubby will text me, my friends and while I am making dinner or whatever I’m reading and replying with my live little monkeys around me. What message am I sending them?

My folks, their folks, my friends and cousins (same age or older-the younger ones would “die” if they did this apparently) all survived without being this connected. We were ok with waiting for letters to take a week to get to each other and feverishly wrote back excited about the reply that would come in a few weeks. Who knew what could unfold in that gap? Well now, there is no gap. If someone farts they have a status update about it….you know what’s going down in almost real time. 

I’m keeping screen-less Sundays (my hubby is still dealing with his addiction and cannot fully commit at this time LOL). IF people want to reach me, they have to use that old fashioned land line OR get in their car and come see me. It ‘s a crazy wild idea, I know…but I’m liking it….

Has anyone else taken this plunge?  What did you realize?

 

Wishing you a wonderful Monday,

Cheers!

Nicole  

 

Hitting the juice…

Life has been an adventure as of late. When I think of this past year and all that has been….. well, it’s led to a lot of wine ha ha. 

October is proving to be no less eventful than all previous months. We are ten days in and five of them were spent in hospital with my 18 month old.  She’s on the mend and back at home now. So grateful!!!

Now that my little monkey and I are back at home, it’s back to my need to address something I’ve been avoiding. 

I have had IBS for just over fifteen years now. Sometimes it is a non-issue. Other times, like lately, it’s impacted my over all well being. I’m a digestive disaster. The foods I rely on for weight management are becoming a problem. I’m shooting some of what I’m eating out within the hour.

I’m in the gym when I can, moving myself as much as possible, eating healthy foods and yet it’s all in vain. When you pass it out that quick there’s little of the health benefit being utilized by the body. Some staples in my diet are actually proving more of an issue than others. Like salads. The thirty minutes of enjoyment isn’t worth the torture that follows. Same goes with pretty much everything raw. 

So, in order to get the results I am seeking, I’m trying different things. An example, juicing!

I have researched ways to heal my condition using food. I’m not a pill popper and so I’m not really interested in my Dr’s prescription. It doesn’t address the problem, just temporarily disguises it.

One major life shift is to add green juice to the daily do (the thought being remove the pulp that interferes with my digestion and maximize on the enzymes and nutrients).  My uncle was an obsessed juicer while he fought Pancreatic Cancer. I admit I didn’t jump at the chance to partake despite his many attempts. It was very, well, green looking.

Now, a year later, here I am, a green juice consumer. It tastes like I am licking the front lawn BUT I feel amazing. 

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Wheat grass, kale, spinach, parsley, celery, cucumber….
I’ve learned a few tricks to lesson the foam from the grass since this pic 🙂

In addition to this I’ve also taken out red meat ( NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO), started eating Fish. I’m still working on the fish part….and am seriously mourning the absence of beef.

In the meantime it’s just nice to be home. Our Thanksgiving was full of thanks for amazing pediatric nurses, family/friends and good food (hospital food sucks! ).

I hope that those that were celebrating also enjoyed the opportunity to give thanks to those they love. It’s not just a one time event, take time every day to celebrate those you love. You never know when the moment may come wherein you wish you had ceased moments before…

Be well,

N.

September = time baby! The kiddos are back in school :)

Things have been so busy I forgot about my blog. I have spent some time on-line, but no where the volume I was six months ago.

“Me” time has been on the steady decline. My 6 year old and 5 year old both have social agenda’s that require my transporting/hanging with parents. I’m not complaining. It’s just so different than life was just one year ago! The result meant offline time with the kiddos over summer vacation. I will say, although I love them, I had a GREAT first day of school.

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Courtesy of Funny or Die

It’s amazing how productive I was! Back in the gym, meals cooked, snacks prepared. Amazing. I had been on vacation for two weeks leading into the Labour Day weekend. My boss suggested when I initially requested the time to add the first day of school if I’d like. It was soooo worth it.

Now that; I’m back at work, the kids have made NEW friends in addition to the existing friends, lessons for the kiddos have started, I’m working towards my CPCC as of Sept 18th which is approx 10 hrs/wk + client work….I’m feeling a bit pinched for time.

What does that do for me? Well, it seems to lead to more wine really.  By the time I get to sit down at night I find myself practically inhaling my wine. My husband and I have, post vacation mass consumption, now placed limits on ourselves during the week. I could not believe the empties pile post vaca. I’m making him take it back this time!!

My workouts aren’t as relaxing as they once were. I have such an agenda by the time I’m at the gym my one factor of stress is time. I can’t go more than 30 minutes, so every minute counts.  I’m getting in power workouts, but sometimes wish I could stay longer to stretch. I squeeze that in after the kids go down but it would be waaaaaaaaaaaay more relaxing to do so post workout.  The upside to the style of workouts I am completing in the gym is I am gaining some serious strength. My ISO Rows are back to what I once could pull prior to my baby break.  I love it.  Now only if I could actually do an unassisted pull up. I’m working on it!

Otherwise, life is good. My daughter has begun grade 2. Her tears from the discovery that none of her friends from last year were in her new class have since stopped. She has found a new friend two doors down and they are hilarious together.

My son is the big cheese in SK. I have no idea how they squeeze learning into the two milliseconds he spends in his class ( you blink and it’s pick up time ).

Rachel is now 17 months old and never stops moving. She dances, she sings. She is awesome. I love this phase.  It won’t be long now until she is as expressive of her dislikes like her siblings….

Life is pretty amazing right now. I’m trying to take time intentionally to just be with myself and my family / friends. It’s easy to let my schedule run me. It’s going to be a really heavy seven months with my course certification, my work, the famdamily…. but I’ve chosen it. So, to make it work and to create the balance I want in my life…less on-line time.

I love these moments where in I get to write. It’s one of my favorite releases. It also means, however, that I’m sitting on my butt…I should get up and move!

<3.

N.

 

Laying the foundation…

The time has come for me to launch this next chapter of my fitness/wellness business and I find myself toggling between perspectives.

In listening to clientele at present, as well as, potential clients, I recognize now more than ever how the way we measure our successes at present really tear us down vs build us up. Stepping on the scale in front of large groups, points systems – these can cause more harm then they can good. The scale does not at all reflect one’s wellness and yet it is used as a tool to determine if someone is “successful” in their attempt to control their physical well being.

I’ve decided this is not the side of wellness or fitness I want to focus on.

My target audience is women. Single women, mothers, daughters….females.  I can relate to women (naturally ha ha) and so I want more for them.  Their lives should be more than numerically focused. It’s time to change it up and bring women to a new level of awareness.

We are more than we are currently seen at present.

We are capable of pushing and lifting heavy weights. We are capable of strength, power, determination.  We are capable of leading our families to another way of living, one that honors their well being and their inner selves vs becoming the next woman working out in a bikini and see-through heels. Image

 

As I sit here attempting to recreate my professional pathway I really wonder what it’s going to take for us to retrain our way of thinking.  How do I empower women to be themselves vs a societal byproduct?

Not sure.

But it’s time to open some wine and ponder this….

I’m not your usual wellness woman. I’ve competed and seen the error in that lifestyles ways. I’ve denied myself things saying it was in my best interest. I know better now…and this knowledge means no more denying myself wine to save an inch on my waist. I workout, I eat real food, I drink wine. I have muscles and am continuing to lose the prego blub.

I’ve, after a decade of searching, finally found balance.

Amen…

Blind to the obvious…

Once a summer, in July, my hubby and I receive a “pass”.  It’s an over night babysitting gig via my hubby’s mother. We are not in the habit of rejecting this type of generosity as once you have a third child, babysitter’s disappear.

July is both my husband’s, as well as, my birthday month. It’s also our wedding anniversary. It’s the perfect reason to leave over night, that’s for sure!

I will say, my mother in law was awesome. She arrived at 8am Saturday morning and told Dave and I to take off.  We were out within twenty minutes.  I don’t recall showering at that speed in a long time but I was really impressed with our ability to exit quickly and fully prepared!  We had not yet packed before she arrived. Really an amazing accomplishment, I was very proud of us.

Our check in time was 3pm. It was 8:30am. It was a gorgeous summer day. The sun was shining, the humidity was non existent.  It was hot, cloudless and gorgeous.

After first having stuffed our faces in at a local breakfast place, we opted to hop on a boat and head over to Toronto Island.

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Toronto, ON

I have not been to the Island in years. Many, many years. I was a kid.

It is so beautiful there.  Dave and I loved the boat ride over.  We were kid-less and so the mission was to hit a patio and have a beer immediately. It was just past 11am.

We arrived and immediately claimed the last of the waterside tables.  We sat here for a few hours enjoying pints and sharing some food.  It was fantastic. I miss this grown up time. Where you can just sit back and not worry about washroom trips, who peed their pants, why is the baby screaming, why aren’t they eating and what not.

We didn’t have to drive. We had no time lines or schedules to adhere to.  For the first time in ages, this was just “us” time with no agenda.

That first stop at the restaurant pretty much set the tone for the day.

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My handsome hubby waterside on the patio….

We wandered around the island, soaking in what we both forgot existed within our little universe. After returning via boat to the city we just wandered around the water front. Again reminded of what’s been right in front of us the entire time.

It was absolutely gorgeous. The day was awesome. Pints on different patio’s. We ate well. We met up with friends and then spent our evening alone together.  The Royal York hotel was great (location is amazing for wandering around).

Not only did I re-discover Toronto, I was reminded of how much fun it is just hanging out with Dave.  We enjoy each other. We like spending time with each other.  Get away’s like this allow you to really, really have fun with one another. We were only away for just over 24 hours and I feel so very full right now.  We’ve been smiling all week.

Or maybe our bodies just don’t know how to respond to actually sleeping.  One passes out quite heavily post many pints a’wanderin’ the town!!

I was really impressed though with our ability to plan ahead.

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First time ever having breakfast delivered to the room. Ridiculous amount of money for a bran muffin and fruit BUT worth every penny for the carafe of coffee!

Not only did we sleep in ( just past 8am!! MIRACLE. Can’t believe we made it that late!),  but we didn’t have to feed people. They fed us. Amazing.

I’ve got so many ideas on how to spend time with the kiddos now that we’ve seen all that we have. Family bike rides on the water front. Ferry rides, family bikes ( 4 ppl bikes) and picnics on the island.  I love how inexpensive these ideas are AND that they remind us all that has been in front of us the entire time.

There’s so much more than the hustle and bustle available to us.

I will also say of myself this past weekend, I ate well. Really well. We found locations with organic chicken breasts and salads…I felt so well.

Beer and salad. Yum.

A source of inspiration…..

86 YEARS OLD – Johanna Quaas is a true inspiration to all of us as she is spending her days tumbling, spinning and twirling on the gym floor and on the parallel bars no less!

Just recently, Cottbus, Germany hosted the 2012 Cottbus World Cup where Quaas performed her exhibition routine on the floor and on the parallel bars. Although the 86 year old has won 11 medals in senior gymnastics competitions, she ultimately just continues to practice “for fun.”

I doubt that this lovely white-haired athlete sat around at home watching TV all day when she was younger. In fact, in 1954, Quaas was a member of the handball team that took the Eastern German Championship! Today, she continues to astonish audiences in events across the globe.

Stories like these that make me feel like I should detach myself from my computer screens and go outside and do some push ups or something! ♥

The Social Side of Parenting. Act 1, Scene 1 (as I suspect there will be many)

My kiddos had a play date that honestly made me want to stop having kids over. It was exhausting! Not because of play or anything like that, the kids were honestly good. It was the eating part.  Things have become so complicated!

Sure, sure, there’s always that kid who won’t eat anything. This was kiddos who eat processed foods who were visiting my whole foods only house. Yes, there are treats in the house that are not wholesome, but our main food is just that – food.  They ate nothing. I made macaroni and cheese for lunch, but it was home made cheese sauce. Our guests had never had this before. They both announced they only eat Kraft and refused. No problemo I thought, I will counter offer! I offered some cheese and crackers to play it safe (or so I thought).  I pulled my cheese (cheddar) block out and showed it to the girls. They rejected. The asked for cheese squares. I offered cheese blocks of cheddar (the traveler packs) that I thought were what they meant, they announced they only eat Kraft cheese slices.

I scanned my fridge and realized I had nothing Kraft (thought maybe grandma brought over Ranch dressing or something I could use as dip).  Once upon a time yes, I was a Kraft person, that was pre-kids and pre-IBS.  I decided to by-pass what would be normal go-to’s and offered fruit. They could select one of; watermelon,apples,bananas,pears,strawberries,raspberries,oranges, cantaloupe,pineapple or blue berries. It was the day after grocery shopping, my fridge was stacked! My kids love weekend’s for just that, a fridge stacked with fruit. The younger of the two told me she only eats fruit roll ups. The elder of the two told me she doesn’t like it – any of it.  They were scheduled to hang out for three more hours.

I was so exhausted when they left as a result of worrying that they had nothing to eat all day as they continued to refute my offerings that I’m not sure if it was worth it!! Is it polite to screen a kids eating habits before offering a lunch date?  I remember being a pain in the butt when friends parents made fish dishes ( I don’t do fish – I gag it down – even now and I’m 37) but there was always an agreeable alternative.

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I wish I had one of these, I’d sew it on my purse!

 

I think I will stick to my son having his little boy playmates over. They eat everything and just run around all day.

Girls, exhausting……

Lessons learned along the way.

Once upon a time this had such different purpose.  Maybe I was more passionate about it or maybe it was really just that I had that extra time or drive, but I feel rather lack luster about it in comparison this time around.

I’ve taken all the same steps, followed what proved once to be successful for me in terms of staying focused and tracking successes (and lessons).  This time around, it’s very different.  I care, I sense I do indeed have passion surrounding this subject, but not PASSION.

I’m okay with not always executing things as planned.

This is not like me, not at all like me.

What I am discovering about the evolving me is that I am perfectly okay with going with what feels like I should be doing in that moment.  Not being lazy, there is a difference.  I am not okay with not executing my workout plan to sit on my ars. Arses expand with lack of mobility, that’s not what we are talking about here. I am okay with missing my workout to play with the kids. I am okay with missing my workout to sit down and have an hour lunch break with my kids or my hubby or a good friend.  I find other ways to move around all the while maximizing on the moments I have, while I have them.

This does not lead to the physical results I have longed for in the time frame I longed for.

So here’s what else I have learned, who cares.  It’s falling off, an inch or half-inch at a time. It will continue to do so until there isn’t chunks o’ post baby making chub to rid myself of….but I’m really enjoying my life right now.  I haven’t felt this satisfied with my life before.

This is something much more meaningful.  I discovered this by accident while focusing on my workouts.  My very meaningful workouts have led to another chapter in my life. A satisfied one. One where in I feel like I am living on purpose. I am doing exactly what I should be doing in the moments I sense I should be doing them.  I’m seizing moments to socialize or network when I would normally isolate myself in the gym.  I’m walking outdoors more and taking in the fresh air vs walking on the treadmill.  I feel very connected, very alive.  Very full.  My relationships are deepening as I invest my time into them. I’m focusing on my studies, my personal growth.  I’m now working from home and able to use my time to create a new balance in my life. I feel so fortunate right now.  I am realizing just how truly fortunate I am.

I sit here reflecting on my day feeling full.

Here’s the thing I love most about working out. It always leads to a deeper connection with self.  Investing time in myself leads to this sense of self love that opens  me to a new level of appreciation.  I know what I am capable of, I know I am capable of more.  Every time I set a goal for myself in my workout and achieve it ( a specific weight or rep amount for example), I KNOW I can do MORE.  We limit ourselves with our minds and I am no exception.

I’m opening my mind to more and creating more for myself in my life.  This is my commitment to self. It reaches far beyond the gym floor.

Courtesy of Google

 

A rebirth….

I saw this picture yesterday and the image has stayed with me. Not just because I; am into gardening, obsessed with growing my own organic foods / supporting organic lifestyles or because as a coach it bares such symbolism/metaphoric representation but rather just as it is so simple. It’s gorgeous.

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via Organic Green Roots on Facebook

Sitting at my office desk in the midst of my boxes ( I’m officially home based at the end of this week) I found myself just kind of staring at it. I love when people find creative usefulness to things. It reminds me how different our perspectives are on anything and everything.

Once upon a time the thought of being home all day did not inspire me. I would have found it torturous I think.  Now sitting here in this chair a midst an even larger pile of boxes, I’m so excited.  I’m creating a whole other chapter in my life, one with balance.

As a Mom it feels like sometimes I am carrying this huge load. I know my hubby feels his own weight with all that is in our household and even though they are both huge, sometimes I feel over loaded. I’ve been heavily loaded nearing over loading for a while.  I see it in him as well, he is tired looking. Worn out.

My hampers look like they are barfing out clothing.  I have piles of boxes, books, files and trinkets spewed all over what it to be my office.  I am running off to my daughter’s soccer game tonight with all 3 kiddos (hubby pulling O/T to make up for his reduced hours last week while I traveled).  I’m thinking I’m picking the kids up for lunch at school tomorrow as I am honestly really not into making any lunches tonight. I just want to park my butt on a comfortable chair. Chat with my hubby about the days we’ve both had. Have a glass of vino and pass out. I’m totally OK with this going down before 10pm too…..

In fact, I’d better get on it. It’s nearing 9…..

Be well,

N.

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