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Flo Makes A Confession

An old pic of me and Susan, which has absolutely nothing to do with this post.

An old pic of me and Susan, which has absolutely nothing to do with this post.

 

In a recent blog post, my esteemed co-author, Susan made a shocking confession.   (See full confession HERE ). Right there on camera, she shamelessly confessed to not having exercised in two full weeks! Shame on you Susan. What kind of an example are you setting for the rest of us? “I had a lot of family stuff…….a lot of family coming in from out of town.” Really? That’s the best you can do? Excuses, and you know it! Tutt-tutt-tutt.

Weeeeelllllllll, as long as we are being totally honest, I suppose I should make a confession as well. (We may need a priest for this one!)

-It’s been three full weeks since I have unrolled my yoga matt, and three-score and ten since I went for a run. (I actually don’t have a clue what “three score and ten” means, but it sounds like a long time.) Hey, what can I say? I have been battling a nasty head cold.

-While I am still adhering to my “no meats, no sweets, no dairy” rules, there are a lot of junky foods that slip through the cracks. (By which I mean the crack of my lips.) Let’s just say, there are tins of Pringles in me that haven’t even been opened yet.   But hey, I’ve been too busy to get to the grocery store, so I didn’t have any healthy snacks on hand.

-While there are “three score and ten” bottles of vitamins and supplements staring accusingly at me from a shelf in my kitchen, I will confess that I have not been faithfully taking them lately. In my own defense, it is hard to remember everything that I have to do to stay healthy! (Geeze, give me a break!)

-Of course I would be remiss not to mention my arch-nemesis/best friend, wine. While I try to limit my libations to weekends only, and “just the one”, I have vague recollections of  over indulging in  the stuff on the May 24th long weekend. Not that it is entirely my fault. I mean, I was camping, and “gravel pit” camping, no less. I would have been kicked out of the pit had I not sat around the camp fire and had “just the one” with my fellow campers.

There is no better day than Monday to get back on track with the ole health habits, so yesterday I kicked my excuses to the wayside and got to work. I got up early and did yoga. I ate only nutritious, healthy foods. I took my supplements. Best of all, I went for a run after work! I honestly thought I could hear the theme song from Rocky playing as I sprinted around the trail! By “sprinted” of course I mean a slow jog. So slow in fact that a duck pulled out and passed me at one point. But hey, I was running! No more excuses.

 

 

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My Tribe

ta ta

At the end of a hard day’s work (and by the way, my REAL work begins when my paid job ends), after I cook, clean, do homework, pack the lunch bags, do a load of laundry, and get my youngest off to bed, there is nothing I enjoy more than pouring myself a glass of wine and checking out the latest Scientific Journals.  By “Scientific Journals”, of course, I mean Facebook.

While some people are very private and selective about their Facebook endeavors, I admit to being quite open about mine.  In fact, in my personal opinion, if you are the type to get upset if someone with whom you are not intimately acquainted “likes” or (God forbid) comments on a post you made, maybe you need to look for another form of social media.  I think they should invent a new form for those people who really value their privacy.  They couldn’t call it “Facebook” of course, as the “face” is the most exposed part of the body. I think “Butt-book” would be a more appropriate name, as that is a part of the anatomy that is private and we normally only expose to our nearest and dearest, but I digress……

I don’t know how I got off on that tangent, but the point I am trying to make is this: I am not overly cautious or selective when it comes to accepting friend requests on Facebook.  I just assume, rightly or wrongly, that those who want to add me either:

  1.  Know me and want to keep in touch
  2. Are fans of my blog/book
  3. Are trying to add to the numbers on their own Facebook page or
  4. Are just plain nosey

I am fine either way.  I may be naïve in thinking that these Facebookers are not insane criminals who are out to harm me and my family in some way.  However, so far I have been right in judging them as safe approximately 100% of the time.

In recent weeks I added three new friends to my Facebook repertoire.  One of these ladies I had met briefly at a cancer survivors convention.  The other two I have never met.    All three of these are young mothers who have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer (one with a reoccurrence).

I cannot begin to explain to you the terror that comes with a cancer diagnosis.  The fear of dying an untimely and painful death usually takes the forefront of these fears.  Then, in many cases, there is the extreme sorrow that comes when thinking of your children and how they will survive without their mother.  What lasting psychological damage will be done to your beautiful babies if their mom is taken in her prime?  Will you ever see them graduate from high school?  Get married? Or hold their own babies?   Breast cancer also generally brings with it unsightly physical changes as well.  While “creeping” my three new Facebook friend’s photos, I was struck by their physical beauty.  Judging by their clothes, make-up and impeccable hair, it is obvious that they take pride in their appearance.  I imagine that these  women have been haunted by thoughts of losing their breasts and their beautiful hair, while gaining the puffy “moon face” features brought on by chemotherapy.

I am sure that my new facebook friends are experiencing all of these fears, plus feelings of anger, depression, hopelessness, and utter devestation.  Yet you won’t find them boo-hooing, “poor me” on Facebook!  To read their posts, you will find only strength, courage and determination.  As one said, “I’m ready to fight like a girl!”; and another: “This will not define me.”  THAT, my friends, is a Survivor’s Attitude!

These women are part of my “tribe”, a secret sisterhood that nobody chooses to be a part of, yet when you join you instantly become bonded with your “pink sorority.”  That’s why these women felt safe in reaching out to me.  Having been there, I am able to offer to them encouragement and hope from a place of knowing.

Last night, I was reading a book called Divine Secrets of the Ta-Ta Sisterhood, by Joanna Chapman. (A great read which I would recommend, especially to those just starting treatment.) I came across a letter that she had written to her “sisters”, i.e those currently fighting cancer.  There is a part of this letter that really resonated with me, and I would like to share it with you, my new Facebook friends, as you face your battle:

I wish I could wrap you up in a fuzzy blanket of your favorite color-which I am guessing is probably not pink.  I’d sit you down beside a cozy fire and bring you hot chai tea and chocolate croissants.  Fill your book-shelves with new releases from your favorite authors and your iPod with soothing music.  Invite your closest friends over-the ones who could make you laugh, but would also let you curse and cry. 

When you were tired, I’d help you to a comfy bedroom overlooking the ocean, where the sounds of the waves could lull you to sleep.  I’d scatter scented candles and framed photos of your favorite memories on the dresser and nightstand.  I’d help you write letters to your loved ones.  I’d hold your hand whenever you were scared until you no longer needed me.

Thinking of you, wishing you fortitude, comfort and peace.

Love, Florence

The Chubby Vegetarian

There is nothing like a good ole Griswald family vacation to make you forget all those healthy living vows you made to yourself.   Like a skilled seductress, the menu will beckon to you, luring you in with its greasy fare of fries, onion rings and cheesy pizza.  I will be honest with you, my friends, I was unfaithful to my vegan diet (or plant based diet as we like to call it), while I was on vacation in Tennessee.   The minute I landed in Nashville, I chowed down on a big piece of cheesy vegetarian pizza.  Since cheese comes from an animal and is not a plant based food, you might say I lost my veg-ginity on that fateful night.   (What can I say? I’m a Ho!)   In my own defense however, I did not eat any animals as such, and so remained a vegetarian for the duration of my vacation….albeit a chubby vegetarian by the time the trip was over.

As far as I can tell, down South there are only two forms of food preparation.  One: barbequed and Two: deep fried.  Since I do not eat animals, my choices were severely limited.  Those Southerners deep fry EVERYTHING!  I am used to seeing French fries, sweet potato fries and onion rings on a menu….but fried okra?  Corn fritters?  Deep friend pickles?  And even deep fried ice cream?!!! (As if ice cream is not already fattening enough without dropping it into a vat of bubbling oil.)  However, you know what they say, when in Rome do as Romans do.  So I shamelessly chowed down on all kinds of deep fried goodies, thereby annihilating the healthy eating portion of my Survival Plan.

foodA typical down south meal: black bean burger, chips, sweet potato fries and onion rings.

So what about the exercise portion of my plan, you may ask?  HEY! I FORGOT TO TAKE MY SNEAKERS, OK?!!!!  (Jeeze, gimme a break.)

That leaves my other vice: wine.  Let’s just say copious amounts were consumed on this vacation.  Along with a few marguarita coolers by the pool.   And the occasional Bud light…..but only to quench my thirst.

mississippiMe and Shawn quenching our thirst on a Mississippi river boat cruise.

I had no idea how much damage I had done to my body until I got back to St. John’s and tried to wrestle myself into a pair of Levis.  Driving out over the highway I had to unbutton my jeans AND unzip them to allow the belly fat to flow freely out over my seat belt, like an over-risen pan of bread dough.  I am not proud of it, I’m just sayin’.  Folks, if gluttony is a sin, I’m going to hell in a hand basket.

So enough about my cardinal sins, I am sure you want to hear a bit about Memphis, since I told you about my  Nashville experience in my last post.  In addition to having more greasy spoons per square mile than any other city in North America (by my estimation),  Memphis has one other claim to fame.  No, I don’t mean Elvis, I mean the crime rate.  I don’t know whether to believe it or not, but the locals were boasting to us that they have the highest rate of violent crime in the entire U.S.A.   They warned us to never walk alone; never, ever walk outside at night, even with a group; and no matter where you are, always watch your back.  That coming from a Walmart greeter can sound very foreboding.   While we were there, twelve shootings took place on the weekend alone, and a guy was killed in the parking lot right across from our hotel, which was situated next to Graceland.  Needless to say, folks, the s**t was scared out of us innocent Newfies!   On the cab drive to the Mississippi Riverboat cruise, we heard a loud bang, and mom shouted:  “Drive by shooting!  Get down!!!.”  As I was ducking, I happened to glance through the window and see that it was just a truck having a tire blow out, but what a rush!  (True story.)

Memphis

(L to R:  Mom, Theresa, Me and Margaret, in our Elvis themed hotel room)

I guess I am not helping Memphis tourism much with this post, so I will try to redeem myself with a little about Graceland.   I am not an Elvis fanatic, or even an Elvis fan for that matter, although I do enjoy his music.  The only reason I went to Graceland in the first place was because I was in Tennessee and figured it would be a shame not to see it.  But I was very pleasantly surprised by this popular tourist attraction.  The tour itself was fabulous, and I have to say, I gained a new respect for this man.   I would recommend it to anyone (but get in and out of Memphis as fast as you can!).

gracelandMe and Shawn outside of Graceland, with an Elvis wannabe.

The moral of the story is this:  if you have fallen off the healthy eating wagon over the summer, do not despair.  Even famous authors like me (well, I’m famous in Lewin’s Cove at least) can slip up from time to time when it comes to healthy living.  The important thing is to brush the crumbs from your lips, lick the grease from your fingers, and hop right back on that healthy living wagon!

 pink cadillac(L to R: Theresa, Me, Shawn, Mom and Margaret, getting ready to ride in a pink Cadillac)

…3…2…1…Blast Off!!!

blast off

“Houston, we have lift off”  were the words echoing through my mind when the Perks of Cancer Booth opened in Nashville on August 23rd, officially launching our book into the world!  Literally within seconds we were swamped by fans, in a mob-like frenzy, charging at us for a chance to get an autographed copy.  I cringed as I saw one elderly lady with a walker being pushed over by a couple of younger cancer survivors.  Luckily, Susan shouted to security to help her up before she got trampled by the fans.  It was like a scene from an English football match, I tell you.  Gone mad, they were!  As the last copy was sold, a hush fell over the crowd and then, with what looked like a re-enactment of the Cabbage Patch Kid Frenzy of the early nineties, a roar went up as they tried to snatch books from one another.  My panic was rising and I was seriously considering bolting for the nearest exit, when……………. Shawn nudged me and I woke up.

But seriously folks, the launch was a great success, and both Susan and I are simply thrilled with all the great connections and new friends we made in Nashville.   I am sure you will be hearing lots more about this adventure in future posts, but for now, I would love to share with you just a few highlights of the trip:

DSCN3995[1]The Perks of Cancer Team at the National Women’s Survivors Convention in Nashville!

The Fashion Show:  Much to my surprise, I was chosen to be one of 12 cancer survivor models at a fashion show on Friday night, modeling really cool and comfy Coldwater Creek clothes.   It all started with a make-over, where a whole team worked on me for well over an hour, fussing with my hair and make-up to make me fit for the bright lights of the runway.  They really made me feel like a super star!  I sat with bated breath, as I watched my co-models being transformed before my very eyes from ordinary women to gorgeous cover girls.  I just could not wait to see how I looked!  So you can only imagine my horror when they swung me around to see myself in the mirror, and what I saw was a drag queen looking back at me.  And I don’t mean one of those really sexy drag queens who throws you for a loop when you hear a man’s voice coming from a woman’s body.  Nope.  I was a butt ugly drag queen, with spiked hair and the eyebrows of Groucho Marks.  If I had opened my mouth to speak, I am sure people would have pointed to me and shouted, “Oh my God, that drag queen sounds just like a real woman!” And mothers would pull away their petrified children whispering, “Don’t stare at him, it’s not polite!”  (BTW no offence to drag queens….I wish I looked half as sexy as y’all.)  However, when I explained that I did not want to look like an edgy-punk-rocker-model, I wanted to look like a middle-aged-cancer-survivor-model, they fixed me up right pretty. As a PERK, I got to keep one of the outfits I modeled.   (Thanks Melanie and the folks from Coldwater Creek for the opportunity, it was awesome!)

modelFlo the model, with Susan, the Model Buddy

Dana’s Song:  My friend Dana Blackwood Cox is a phenomenal woman, who is not just surviving with cancer, she is sur-Thriving!  Although she is living with metastatic breast cancer, she continues to inspire others through her music and her winning attitude.  At the convention, she had the opportunity to sing her song “No Time for You” on stage and she rocked the friggin’ house!  I am so proud to call her my friend.  Dana hooked up with a big time songwriter in Nashville (FYI…he co-wrote the Dirty Dancing song “She’s Like The Wind” with THE Patrick Swayze.  How cool is THAT?).   So remember that name, folks:  Dana Blackwood Cox, cause y’all just might be seeing her on stage at the Grand Ole Opry some day!   A big Newfie thank you to the organizers, especially Karyn, Judy and Melanie who helped to make Dana’s dream come true.  You ladies rock!

DanaDana, with her signature “Believe” guitar, giving one of her many performances.

Grand Ole Opry:  No trip to Nashville would be complete without a visit to the Grand Ole Opry, and what an experience that was!  I just cannot put into words the feeling that came over me as I sat so close to the stage where every major country super star has made an appearance.  We had pre-purchased our tickets to see Martina McBride, and I was expecting a “Martina McBride concert.”  However what we got was not a concert, but the full Opry experience:  a star lined show with performances by legendary singers, like Ricky Skaggs (A Simple Life), John Conlee (Rose Colored Glasses) and  Jeannie Seely (Ode to Billy Joe), just to name a few.  A lot of them were Golden Oldies, I will admit (so old in fact that it prompted Shawn to say, “Jeeze, next they will be wheeling them out in coffins to perform!”).  But there was nothing “old” about Martina McBride.  Her music is so touching.  There was not a dry eye in the place, least of all mine, when she sang, “I’m Gonna Love You Through It”, which is an anthem for many women cancer survivors.

MartinaMartina McBride at the Grand Ole Opry

So there you have it y’all, lots of laughs and loads of great memories.  I am actually writing this post while sitting on a Greyhound bus en route to Memphis where I will finally be able to breathe a sigh of relief and just have some fun after working so hard at my book launch.  So stay tuned for the sequel to this post when I share with you my experiences in Memphis…..a post which I will likely title, “The Hangover”.

hangoever-copy(Oh yeah, and in case you haven’t noticed, I picked up a new word down South.  Can y’all guess what it is?).

 

Da Bile Up!

 

trout

Once agin, anudder ole mauzey twenty-fort of May weekend.  It never fails!  The wedder could be perfect all week, but come da long weekend, and you’re guaranteed drizzle or sloppy snow (or like the poor buggers in Cent-rel got, full blown snow!).  So I wakes up Saturday morning and looks trew me window.  R, D & F, as us Newfies are so accustomed to: Rain, Drizzle and Fog.  I pulls da blankets up over me head.  Not even the taughts of a bile up can entice me out of da fart sack.  But he’s self  would have none of it!  He was goin’ troutin’ no matter what the wedder.  Since I drove all da way to Town to see ‘in, I spose I had to get up and go troutin’ wit ‘in.   So off we goes and loads the Rhino aboard da truck.

I wasn’t too concerned wit  gettin’ cold.  I had me winter parka wit me, see?  And a good pair of cowshit rubbers, right?  So I was all sot.  Just to be on the safe side, doh, I trew a blanket in da Rhino to go over me legs in case it got too cold.  So off we goes, in around Bay Bulls-Big Pond (which Townies tinks is the cunt-ry.  Sure if dey goes past da over-pass dey tinks dere out in da bay!  But I digress…..)

So da troutin’ was goin’ good, right?  I caught meself two beauts (as you can see in dee above snap).  But den, go figure, I goes and falls head over heels in a mud bog.  Honest to my God, I was mud arse hole to naval.  And friggin’ froze to det besides!   So I curls up in da Rhino under me blanket and texts he’s self, who had shagged off about a mull down the gully:  “Get me da frig outta here, I’m froze!”   So dat was the end of it fer me.  I was so pissed off, I didn’t even bodder wit da bile up, and you can ask anybody, dat’s not like me.  Not atall. I fair loves me bile ups!

TRANSLATION:

Once again, another unseasonably cold Victoria Day weekend in Newfoundland.  It never fails! The weather could be perfect all week, but once the long weekend arrives, the weather forecast is likely to be drizzle or light snow (or as those poor people in Central Newfoundland experienced, several centimeters of snow!).  So I woke up on Saturday morning and looked through my window.  R, D & F, as we Newfoundlanders  are so accustomed to: Rain, Drizzle and Fog.  I pulled the duvet up over my head.  Not even the thought of a meal cooked on the trial could  entice me out of the bed.  But my partner  would have none of it!  He was going fishing for trout no matter what the weather.  Since I drove all the way to St. John’s to see him, I suppose I had to get up and go fishing with him.   So we loaded our side-by-side all terrain vehicle (ATV) on to the truck.

I wasn’t too concerned with getting cold, since I had a winter jacket and a pair of rubber boots.  So I was all set.  Just to be on the safe side though, I threw a blanket in the ATV to go over my legs in case it got too cold.  So off we went, to Bay Bulls-Big Pond (which people from St. John’s tend to think is in the country.  If they even go past the over-pass, they tend to think they are “out in the bay”.  But I digress…..)

The fishing for trout was proceeding very well.  I had caught myself two fine specimens (as you can see in the above photo).  But then, as fate would have it, I fell into a mud bog.  I was completely covered in mud, and cold besides!   So I curled up in the ATV under my blanket and texted my partner, who had wandered about a mile  down the river:  “Please take me home, Darling.  I am really cold!”   So that was the end of the adventure for me.   I was so disillusioned, I didn’t even bother with the outdoor cook-up, and you can ask anybody, that is not like me.  Not at all.  I absolutely love having boil ups!

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Da Bile Up in July, 2011!

How Flo Got Her Groove Back!

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(L to R) Kelly Ray, Me, Dana, and Suze being photo-bombed!)

If you are as old as me, you might recall the 1998 movie, “How Stella got her Groove Back”.   It is the story of how a forty-something year old woman had gotten into a bit of a rut in her life.  However, she managed to get her groove back by having a romantic fling with a much younger man.  Well, let me tell ya, there is nothing like a battle with cancer to suck the groove right outta ya!  To be honest however, I can’t completely blame cancer for the loss of my groove.  I think it actually took a hike a number of years before cancer attacked me.  Don’t get me wrong, I was happy and I certainly enjoyed my life.  But due to the stresses of daily living, being a single mom and just plain getting older, I had lost my sense of playfulness…..my sexiness…..my OOOMPH!  But guess what guys?   Last weekend, Flo got her groove back!  No, I did not bed a handsome young stud.  Nor did I jet off to Tuscany on a wine-tasting tour.  Believe it or not, I got MY groove back at a breast cancer retreat with a group of nearly 200 survivors, ranging in age from their early thirties to their eighties.

Before I tell the story of how I got my groove back, I will set the scene by introducing you to the old Flo.  The old Flo, “Groovy Flo”, as I like to call her, loved to dance.   And man could she shake her stuff on the dance floor!  Not only could she dance, but she had this amazing ability to remember the lyrics to nearly every song she ever heard (a talent which her guitar playing boyfriend, Shawn really envies).   So while she was grooving on the dance floor, she would also belt the tunes out of her as if she was some kind of rock star. It mattered not that she could not carry a tune, as she couldn’t be heard over the roar of the music anyway.  But boy did she look cool using a beer bottle as a pretend microphone and throwing in a bit of air guitar at random intervals.  Yeah, Groovy Flo could really rock, and rock she did nearly every weekend in her twenties and thirties.

Groovy Flo got a few curve balls thrown at her in her forties.  Her relationships with men were just not working out (despite her sexy dance moves).  Her youngest son was diagnosed with autism.  Then to put the icing on the cake, she was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer.   That was the death of Groovy Flo.  Then along came Spiritual Flo.  You would like her.  Spiritual Flo was really in to meditation, prayer, positive attitude, and trying to find the good in every person and every situation.  Although Spiritual Flo did not EVER rock down (well, except for a few times in the hot tub with her favorite cuz, Lil), she was very much at peace and more content with her life than she had ever been.

Then, as fate would have it, Spiritual Flo went to a breast cancer retreat in May, 2013, where she hooked up with two amazing survivors:  Judy and Suze.

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(L to R) Me, Judy and Suze

The three had an instant connection, like three old souls who had been sisters in a previous life and were finally reunited.  At the retreat, they were inseparable.  So it goes to follow that the three of them wound up sitting together at the Saturday night survivor’s dance.  Now let me tell you, you haven’t seen a place being rocked until you are in a room with nearly 200 breast cancer survivors, alcohol and loud music!  But Spiritual Flo was feeling a little out of place.  It had been at least six years since she had rocked it on the dance floor.  Watching those women with their sexy moves really intimidated her.  One was dancing burlesque for God’s sake!   Finally, Suze and Judy enticed her to the dance floor (after a couple of glasses of courage).  At first, she was a little stiff, but the more she danced, the better she moved.  It turns out that Groovy Flo was not actually dead after all.  She had just been sleeping for a few years, and despite the fact that she was 46 years old, she could still rock it on the dance floor.

Now you might think that a battle ensued between Groovy Flo and Spiritual Flo.  After all, how could the two distinct personalities possibly inhabit the same body?    But alas, the two personalities combined perfectly and melded to form a new Flo: a Flo who can meditate in the morning, and rock it down at night.  I like to call this Flo, “Survivor Flo”.

There are not enough words in the world for me to express my gratitude to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF), its coordinator, Paula Tessier, and the amazing committee who work so hard to put off this annual event.  We, the participants, are in different stages of our healing journeys.  Some are still going through treatments, while others are celebrating 50 or more years of survivorship!  For most of us, our bodies have mended and our physical scars have healed.  But many of us still carry with us deep emotional and mental wounds from our cancer journeys.  While our bodies have healed, we still need to heal our fragile spirits.  By coming together to laugh, to cry, to learn from each other, to sing a song with Dana, and to dance with wild abandon, we make great strides in healing our broken spirits.  Again, thank you CBCF!

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I like to call this one “7 women, 5 boobs between them”

Running For My Life

perk pic 031

It’s a lucky thing that I was born with a good metabolism, because let’s face it, for most of my life I have been a complete slob…albeit a skinny one.  I ate whatever I wanted without any regards to whether it was good for me or bad for me, and I did ZERO exercise!  Even as a kid I hated exercise.  While every other kid in my school loved gym class, I would do anything to avoid it.  By the time I got to grade 8, I was forging my mother’s signature on notes to my gym teacher:  “Dear Mr. White, please excuse Florence from gym class.  She got her period.”  Poor Mr. White, I don’t know if he ever figured out that it was impossible for me to have my period every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  Or maybe he was just too embarrassed to call me on it.   It was such a relief to start high school where gym class was an option.  Give me Biology, give me French, give me Economics…..anything but gym!   Don’t get me wrong, I loved sports……….just so long as I was sitting in the stands cheering on the boys in their hockey or soccer game.  But you would never find me strapping on a pair of ice skates or cleats!

When I reached my twenties, the Olivia Newton John “Let’s Get Physical” craze was sweeping the nation.  Aerobics was the new sex.  I had no choice but to give it a try.  However, while Olivia made aerobics look sexy, I looked more like a rabid monkey, arms flailing, tripping over my two left feet.  I soon retired my leg warmers and decided to give myself a decade off from exercise.  In my thirties I was having my babies and needless to say I added a few inches to my girly figure.  But lucky for me, a new state of the art scientifically proven form of exercise had just been developed that was right up my alley: toning beds!   All I had to do was get strapped to these beds, which painlessly moved my body while I could watch the inches disappear.  Sadly, I did not lose any inches from this scam.  All I lost was a wad of cash.  I decided to give myself another decade off.

True to my word, when I reached 40, I bought myself a pair of running shoes and hit the trail.  Believe it or not, I finally found a form of exercise that I actually enjoyed.  I started off slowly, but within months I was able to run five kilometers!  Don’t get me wrong, I am no marathon runner.  The most trial I have ever covered is about 7 ½ kilometers.  Nor am I a speed runner.  A duck once pulled out and passed me while I was running around Salt Pond Trail.  But I am a runner all the same.  I can outrun my kids, and a lot of people who are half my age.  I take great pride in that.

After my diagnosis of cancer, running became something more than an ego booster.  It became an important component of my survival plan.  Studies show that a regular exercise program can reduce the risk of a cancer recurrence by as much as 40%.  Now that is something really worth running for.  So when I run now, it is not just so that I can brag to my kids that I just ran 5 kilometers…..now I am literally running for my life!