Harry’s Journey: One Couples Journey Through Cancer: Part 2

16 Jun

“The doctors were astounded. Harry’s cancer hasn’t come back. They were amazed at how well he’s doing.”

Carol couldn’t hide her smile when she told me the good news. “He was told that he’d have 6-8 months to live. That was two years ago.” Back in January his Doctors couldn’t believe the progress he made from September of 2016. Not only has his cancer not returned his functionally and mobility has improved remarkably.

Harry was diagnosed with Glioblastoma. He has one of the most aggressive forms of brain cancer. Family and friends have noticed far less dependence on a cane or walker. To balance on one foot was impossible four months ago. “I made him stand on one foot for the doctors. He didn’t falter.” Carol beamed. The doctors were surprised to say the least.

Carol may credit us with Harry’s improvement, but as my mom said, “ He wants to improve. That’s the difference. He wants to get better.” Not only can he move around more confidently, getting in and out of a chair is effortless. The little things that once were big mountains to climb are slowly being conquered. “He’s getting so strong! I have to come up with new challenges.” My mom said.

If the past has proven anything it’s that Harry and Carol can face life’s greatest challenge and come out on top. “He’s always positive.” Carol tells me, “He always has a great sense of humour. He never complains.” I can see from the look on her face that not only is she proud of her husband but more than anything she tells me, “I’m just glad we can do it together.”

 

Helping Harry: One Couples Journey through Cancer Part 1

16 Jun

“I read your article about your work with a woman who had brain cancer and felt that this might assist Harry to make life easier for him.”

We first met Carol and Harry in July. Cancer treatments left his balance a little shaky so he relied on a cane and walker to get around. Carol was eager to help her husband, “He had a brain tumour which was removed in June 2015. Further testing showed he had glioblastoma, an aggressive form of cancer.” The goal was clear. Help Harry gain his independence to enjoy the little things.

“He was in excellent health and living an active life until he had a seizure at the end of February 2015.” At seventy nine years of age, Harry and Carol have a good attitude. Carol was a competitive swimmer and taught exercise classes for thirty years. Having to manage health issues on top of taking care of Harry, “I regretfully let myself go.” She is naturally strong and has done very well. “Exercise with weights never appealed to me before and I have been pleasantly surprised how much I am enjoying it, how much energy I have and how much better I am feeling.”

Harry walked in to our gym the other day without his cane, “You look so confident walking in here today. It’s a noticeable difference!” My mom beamed.

“There is obvious improvement. He can walk more without any cane or walker.” Carol told me recently.

When I asked about featuring them, “I’d rather this article be about Harry.” Carol told me. “He has such a good attitude. He doesn’t get angry or sad about it.” Watching Harry exercising she turned to me with a warm smile,

“I’m just glad he and I can to do this together.”

 

 

           

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mind/Body Connection: Exercise & Dementia

15 May

Dementia affects more people than just those suffering from severe health issues. My grandmother was an otherwise active individual. During her last few years became less active which subsequently affected her mobility as well as her memory. The mind and body may disconnect. My wonder is if exercise can be the bridge through which new connections can be made.

I’ve taken on a new client recently. We work together twice a week. His wife explained to me he has mild forms of memory loss. Retaining information has become a bit of a problem. The connection between the mind and body is there. He has the ability to co-ordinate opposite arm and leg movement while counting. His ability to recognize an exercise before I explain it has improved. I no longer have to demonstrate en exercise in order for him to know what to do. I encourage counting out loud. Why? He can verbalize the numbers and know exactly what repetition and how many to do. I find he’s much more accurate when he’s counting out loud vs. counting to himself.

The brain is a muscle. It has the capacity to learn an infinite amount of patterns. While I am no expert on dementia, I am learning so much. What I decided to do was keep the movement patterns within his capability and practice that every day we work together. I also make sure he counts out loud during every exercise. My goal is to teach my client new movement patterns through repetition and gradually adjust the program difficulty.

What affects the body affects the mind and vice versa. Exercise is important to keep the mind and body connection strong. What I’m learning is that exercise may be a key factor in keeping those connections strong for as long as possible.

 

True Love Starts with You

05 Apr

We grow up thinking that when we fall in love and meet that special someone, that’s where “true love” begins. What a fantasy! As little girls we watch Disney movies where the Princess falls in love with her Prince Charming and it’s happily ever after…. I can tell you it’s all a crock!
There are those of us that are searching desperately for that other half of us to make our lives complete. We are looking for external things to make our lives complete. I can tell you from experience that no person, no amount of money or beauty will ever make our lives complete.
True love starts with you. Being a woman I understand when we grow up and how we’re taught that fantasy of meeting a man (prince charming) and he makes our life a fairy tale. Well, I guess I missed that part of childhood. I was always taught that I should never rely nor expect someone to come along and make me happy. It was up to me to be happy. It was up to me to love myself. My life wouldn’t become complete when I met the “other half”. My life would always be complete and when I met someone then I could offer them my whole heart.
The trouble with the “true love” idea is that we’re taught that it comes from someone else. We have to wait all our lives to find it. We have to search our lives to find it. I’m a simple kind of person. I believe that everything we need in life is usually right in front of us. I believe that the “true love” we seek to find is right here. It always has been and always will be.

I promised that I wouldn’t spend my life disliking myself because of so-called imperfections. I’ve seen too many women and young girls beat themselves up for things they cannot change. They’ve asked me “How do I change this?” “How do I get rid of this?” “How do I lose weight?” I decided something a long time ago… I’m going to take control of things that I CAN control. The rest is up to fate. I cannot change the cellulite on my hips nor the scars on my legs. I’m not going to spend my life chasing some version of myself that’s already pretty awesome. You must keep in mind one thing. Stop looking for “true love”.  Stop looking for someone or something to “complete you”. The only person capable of doing that is YOU. The key to finding true love is learning to love yourself first. I think the sooner you come to this conclusion, the happier you can be. We are so hell bent on finding it. We are so sad when we don’t. We are taught that it’s given to us by another. It’s all nonsense. Our society has put ideas in to our head that as women, our life is not complete until we “have it all”. What does that even mean?

What kind of lies are they feeding us?
Ladies, those of you out there who have spent your life in misery because you can’t find it… the power is ALWAYS yours. I want to encourage you to have a good look in the mirror. The key to your happiness is that person staring back at you. I believe that when you really and truly learn to give yourself love, you can offer it to others.

My advice for today: Stop searching. Stop trying. Stop being miserable. Start with you. The person who is aching the most for true love is you. Why not be the first to give yourself what you’re looking for? Let’s face it… no one else can. True love will ALWAYS start with you. Start loving yourself today 🙂 You deserve it.

Your Life is Your Creation

05 Apr

I’m a simple kind of girl. What I choose has nothing to do with you. What you choose has nothing to do with me. I feel as if we all take things so damn personally. We can’t even say something without being accused of being “politically incorrect”.  Is there really nothing else to do than pay attention to people who say or do dumb things? Everyone has an opinion on someone or something. I feel like a majority of the people care too damn much about what everyone else things. We are an approval seeking culture. That’s fairly obvious to me. There is strange idea that we need to fit in with the norm on order to be accepted. Granted, I’m not saying everyone is that way. I can discern
between what I think and what every one else thinks. I’ve never had that issue. I’m speaking to those who are so easily persuaded by what is popular. I don’t know who decided what is or isn’t in fashion. I certainly don’t need a magazine or social media to tell me what to wear. It’s like this whole wide world is High School. The more popular kids have the look, the style, the money and popularity to sway the “lesser” masses. Not only that, a majority of those people will follow the so called “popular” clique. As if one day, those cool kids will look at you and say, “I accept you, come join us.” We really have become a society of “followers.” If you know anyone with a Twitter account I’m sure you can appreciate my thought.

Why are we so desperate to fit in? Why do we feel the need to sacrifice our self identity to do so? Unfortunately
the media is savvy like this. You’ll notice a lot of their hair and make up commercials are designed to make you feel ugly. They use terminology to manipulate you into thinking that having the latest beauty trend will curb the aging process. They want you to “fit in” to what their version of beauty is. If I’m correct, they want you to avoid having gray hair and wrinkles. I hear “anti-age” a whole lot. I want you to think for yourselves. Please don’t let yourself be told what is or isn’t allowed. “Cool” or “Uncool” is a label you choose for yourself. The sooner you realize those popular kids are just like you, then you’re taking the first step to independent thinking. There is truly no box that you have to fit in to. That is something that is created in the mind. There is no box. There is no mold or shape you have to fit in to.

Your life is your own creation. When you start to live your life according to what everyone else thinks, then you’re truly living inside a box. I’ve always been accused of being “outside the box.” I learned there is no box so who I am is just limitless and boundless. That’s what freedom means.
My advice for today: Always, always follow YOUR heart. No one can tell you what to do. No one can tell you who to be. I hope when you choose a path in life, it is your own. I came up with this saying… “The only path to follow is the one that is yet to be created.”