I’m headed to the IDEA Personal Trainer Institute this week to learn new ways to enhance my training. I’m especially excited that they offer a course on training the cancer survivor.
This past year has been eventful, to say the least. I was diagnosed with breast cancer on February 7, 2014 and had a lumpectomy. Chemotherapy followed for 20 weeks and then the docs topped it off with 5 weeks of radiation. Despite the regimen, God gave me the strength to work out — and even run — during treatment. In fact, I had an Annie’s Radiation Challenge Facebook Page where I dared members to work out with me for the 36 days of my radiation. My 86-year-old father-in-law trumped me almost every day with 15-mile stationary bike rides!
Breast cancer has taken a few things from me, but in the end, it’s given me a lot of good. My relationship with my husband is closer than ever. He sat with me during chemo sessions, helped organize meals and provided an abundance of hugs. My relationship with God is much deeper. I used to be afraid of death, but after facing it, my fear has dissipated. But I have to say one of the best things that has happened due to this trial is that I found my Calling.
What’s a Calling, you ask? It’s your purpose. They “why are you here?” question answered. Through an amazing series of events, I discovered that our local YMCA offers a program for cancer survivors called LIVESTRONG. Okay — I don’t condone Lance’s actions — but one of the good things he did was set up a foundation to give support and education to cancer survivors. The Y offers a 12-week free membership to those who qualify where we give them support care to achieve their fitness goals. I have been working as a trainer with the LIVESTRONG program since October, and it has been the most rewarding and fulfilling thing I have ever done. Richard, who had brain cancer, faithfully showed up every week despite his neuropathy. Sue — a breast cancer survivor — has become more of a leader than a participant. Every time a new person joins, she makes them feel welcome and gives them a chance to tell their story. Mary Margaret has overcome depression since she’s started our workouts. And 80-year-old Jack — who hiked the ENTIRE Appalachian Trail just a few years ago — has regained the strength to get back on the trail again. These people bless me on a daily basis. And I know I’m operating in my sweet spot.
Have you found your “Calling” yet? You’ll know you’ve hit it when your skills and gifts collide with your willingness to say YES. You’ll know it when you look forward to work, because you find joy and fulfillment in the process. I’m excited to have the opportunity to inspire others to find the joy in fitness. Can’t wait to see what the week brings!