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Three Daily Reminders

November 14th, I was proud to be part of the 2 year anniversary celebration of Core Revolution, the indoor cycling studio where I have taught since the doors opened in 2016.  Sarah Guseilo, the founder of Core Revolution, hired me to be an important part of her opening staff despite my “condition” at the time.  Sarah believed in me as I was going through my treatment for Stage 2 Breast Cancer.  She gave me the opportunity to be powerful and supported me at a time when I could have regressed, but I chose to do otherwise.

 

As often as I say that I refuse to let Cancer define me, I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge the fact that I’m scared every day of my life that the cancer will return.  I never lead with my cancer story and quite often even those closest to me will say “I forgot you went through that”, but there are three obvious things that are a daily reminder to me of my cancer journey.

 

First, my tattoos.  Sadly, I have three.  If you’re a fan forgive me but I’ve never embraced “permanent” anything.  No, I don’t have a Rose, an Anchor or “This too shall pass” written on my forearm.  I have three small green dots that guided my radiology techs for 28 days as they positioned my breast and lymph nodes for treatment.  They are there, forever.

 

My second reminder is the approximately 2 inch, gray shadowed dent in my left breast, the result of the lumpectomy and radiation.  This is the scar I can and will  live with as long as it is a sign of  health and recovery.

 

And last but not least, my crazy, curly hair.  I typically blow out and straighten my hair when going out but those of you who have seen me post yoga, post cycle or post menopause driven night sweats have witnessed what Tamoxifen can do.  The summer before I was diagnosed, oncologists increased the oral chemotherapy prescription from a 5 year to a 10 year commitment.  Because the oral dosage is a lot less than the IV doses, hair loss is highly unlikely.  What they don’t tell you is that the oral chemo can change the shape of your hair follicle and in my case the change took about 12 to 16 months and resulted in root to tip ringlet curls.  Some days I just embrace my crazy hair as a celebration of life and doing everything I can to live a happy one.

 

My cancer journey was easy.  I never felt sick.  I drove myself to my treatments.  I continued to teach my cycling and fusion classes and I did everything I could to remain positive and focused on health. 

 

Two years ago a young girl opened an exciting new business and two years ago an older girl did what she needed to do to beat Cancer.  That older girl is stronger than she’s ever been thanks to the support and love of her workout peers, friends and family.  Congratulations Sarah.  Cheers to Core Revolution and Cheers to ME for being Cancer Free.

Not feeling the need to demonstrate the tattoos or dent, but here is photo proof of Tamoxifen at work.

When one little surgery reminds you of your mental illness

2017 was a great year for me in terms of my health.   I had completed my breast cancer treatment on December 19, 2016, was deemed a survivor by my surgeon in June and quite honestly had never felt more healthy and fit than I did on my 52nd birthday, July 31, 2017.   My determination and strength continued through the end of the year but unfortunately in January my right knee began to "speak" to me.  There was no acute injury, probably overuse but for whatever the reason I was no longer able to be myself.  My knee swelled after teaching my cycling classes and I could no longer do pigeon or child's pose in yoga.  I had undergone a meniscus repair 11 years ago on my left knee so I had a pretty good idea what I was in for.

On February 13th I met Dr. Joe Guettler for a consult.  He took some X-rays, twisted, turned and bent my knee, sent me off for an MRI while instructing me to "chill".  I asked "Can I teach?" he said, "Do I need to define what chill means?" and from that moment forward I was STOPPED.

For the majority of the population this would not be a big deal... injury = rest, recovery = downtime.  For me it meant so much more.  From the day my doctor halted my activity, to the day I get the OK to be myself again, I deal, head on, with the demons in my head.

Serotonin is a thing.  A thing that I know, after years of therapy and drug management, I don't have enough of naturally.  I have never been a big fan of drugs.  Not that there is anything wrong with them, I'm just too lazy.  I learned after decades of sadness, blues and really high highs and crazy low lows, my serotonin could be elevated through activity.  Voila!  A natural answer to a serious problem.  The perfect resolution until your activity is taken away from you.

It has been almost a month since I have been unable to "manage" my chemical imbalance and I can tell you it has been a living hell.  I expect a large number of people who read this to NOT understand.  I'm anticipating comments like "She's bitching because she can't exercise?" or "Seriously?".

I manage my mental state through daily activity.  My coping mechanism has been temporarily taken away from me.  Although my knee is recovering better than I had imagined, I am still suffering.  I'll be back.  I will be OK, but for now, it is a challenge.  A challenge for my husband, my children, my friends.

I often tell those I love that we only learn lessons in life when we are challenged to a point where not listening to the apparent message is no longer an option.  I have had a lot of those times and strangely, I am grateful.  I am even more grateful for the ability to share.

FINDING THE POSITIVE IN THE PAINFUL

This past holiday weekend, I celebrated an anniversary that most people would choose to forget.  OSU vs. Michigan in Ann Arbor two years ago, our family experienced a situation that stopped us in our tracks, but has forever changed our lives for the better.

Abby, our senior in high school at the time, went to visit her brother and friends in Ann Arbor.  Having been a high school student who visited University of Michigan often during high school and then attended as an undergrad, I was fully aware of the party scene before, during and after football games.  I also knew Abby, much like her mother, loved to have a good time.

The abbreviated version of our long drawn out tale reads this way... Intoxicated Abby leaves her friends at one fraternity tailgate ALONE to find her brother and his friends at another.  She sees her car and decides to drive to find him.  Within 4 blocks she sideswipes two parked cars then crashes into a tree.

The very next morning after Abby was released from jail, Mike and I emailed our closest friends and family explaining what had happened.  We asked everyone to support us in our "bubble" as we knew the judgement and rumor mill would be brutal.  We hired an attorney and Abby worked with him to understand what would be happening to her over the course of the next year to 18 months.  It was going to be a long haul, but she committed to all of the terms.

Again, abbreviated version, but these are some of the consequences... no driving unless to work or school, friends that once were besties were no longer around, crazy spring break trip to Mexico became a trip with Mom and Dad to Arizona, a secured admission to U of M went under review and somehow, sororities black ball mistakes like Abby's, go figure.

As Abby did her work release program, I watched my daughter do things that most people think only happen in the movies.  As a student who needed to be committed to school during the week, Abby could only participate in the work program on Saturdays and Sundays.  Her experiences were varied including picking up trash on various highways, cleaning police cars and jail cells and distributing groceries at the food bank.  Every time I reached out to her following her "time", she shared experiences with a sense of compassion for the others "working" with her and expressed real humor in the comings and goings of each and every day in the bright yellow work vest.

Abby worked diligently and satisfied all of her requirements.  Her probation officer challenged her, but in the end she could relate to his harsh approach.  She handled her client attorney relationship alone with little parent intervention... these are the "paper work" documented successes.

This past Saturday was Abby's 19th birthday.  So although it was the 2-year anniversary calendar day of the "bad" decision, we celebrate her determination, dedication and growth.  Abby's commitment to right her wrongs and our decision to step back and let her navigate her journey has made her stronger, more responsive and extremely resourceful.

We rarely learn things from the happy, easy times in our lives.  It is when we are brought to our knees that we are forced to listen, learn and make the changes necessary to move on.  Happy Birthday Abby, you experienced darkness and yet only two short years later you shine brighter than ever before.

 

CHANGE

It was the first weekend in August when I woke up on Saturday morning and decided I hated my hair.  I called my salon and whined to the receptionist that I would do anything to get an appointment with my stylist, Dayna.  Seriously?  Who calls Saturday morning and expects to get an appointmet?  I did.  "Dayna is booked solid today, sorry," the receptionist explained.  And yet, someone cancelled and I was able to make the CHANGE I wanted when I wanted it.

CHANGE is scary.  Most people don't love CHANGE.  Schedule changes are annoying, relocations are terrifying (I can personally relate) and operating outside of yourself or the self you have known forever is prickly.

So why am I suggesting that CHANGE is a good thing?  For SO many reasons.  CHANGE challenges our routines.  It makes us stop and question.

Back in August I decided to cut my hair.  Create a "new" me.  Hair is hair, so it's safely a temporary change but quite frankly, so is every other change you may decide to make.  Life is fluid, forever changing.  Growth is CHANGE, so if you are willing to learn and continue to grow, you are forever changing.

My closet consultation business is about changing the way men and women look and feel on a daily basis.  People, young and not so young, hire me to help them CHANGE the way they approach their wardrobe.  In 2012, a woman reached out to me to help her improve her style and daily approach to dressing.  I asked Randi to describe how I have "CHANGED" her...  
     "Because I hate to shop and have no fashion sense, my clothes were not contemporary and tended to be the same colors.  Thanks to Kara, I not only look more stylish, I am also more creative in putting things together.  I feel much more confident and receive more compliments than ever before"
Randi just celebrated her 70th birthday and is feeling extremely fashionable.

I'm challenging you to CHANGE.  Get a new look through hair, makeup or fashion.  Join a gym or studio and challenge yourself physically.  Abort your current job or career for something you have always wanted to do.  Eliminate the toxic relationships in your life.

In addition to embracing a CHANGE in your personal life for the betterment of you, investigate a personal behavior that will benefit others.

CHANGE is good.  We get comfortable in old habits and routines.  We have one fabulous life.  CHANGE it up!

KOBL with Dayna from FLIP Salon in Ferndale.JPG

Dayna from FLIP Salon in Ferndale

KOBL's MIL.JPG

Happy Birthday Beautiful!

 

 

CHANGE

It was the first weekend in August when I woke up on Saturday morning and decided I hated my hair.  I called my salon and whined to the receptionist that I would do anything to get an appointment with my stylist, Dayna.  Seriously?  Who calls Saturday morning and expects to get an appointmet?  I did.  "Dayna is booked solid today, sorry," the receptionist explained.  And yet, someone cancelled and I was able to make the CHANGE I wanted when I wanted it.

CHANGE is scary.  Most people don't love CHANGE.  Schedule changes are annoying, relocations are terrifying (I can personally relate) and operating outside of yourself or the self you have known forever is prickly.

So why am I suggesting that CHANGE is a good thing?  For SO many reasons.  CHANGE challenges our routines.  It makes us stop and question.

Back in August I decided to cut my hair.  Create a "new" me.  Hair is hair, so it's safely a temporary change but quite frankly, so is every other change you may decide to make.  Life is fluid, forever changing.  Growth is CHANGE, so if you are willing to learn and continue to grow, you are forever changing.

My closet consultation business is about changing the way men and women look and feel on a daily basis.  People, young and not so young, hire me to help them CHANGE the way they approach their wardrobe.  In 2012, a woman reached out to me to help her improve her style and daily approach to dressing.  I asked Randi to describe how I have "CHANGED" her...  
     "Because I hate to shop and have no fashion sense, my clothes were not contemporary and tended to be the same colors.  Thanks to Kara, I not only look more stylish, I am also more creative in putting things together.  I feel much more confident and receive more compliments than ever before"
Randi just celebrated her 70th birthday and is feeling extremely fashionable.

I'm challenging you to CHANGE.  Get a new look through hair, makeup or fashion.  Join a gym or studio and challenge yourself physically.  Abort your current job or career for something you have always wanted to do.  Eliminate the toxic relationships in your life.

In addition to embracing a CHANGE in your personal life for the betterment of you, investigate a personal behavior that will benefit others.

CHANGE is good.  We get comfortable in old habits and routines.  We have one fabulous life.  CHANGE it up!

KOBL with Dayna from FLIP Salon in Ferndale.JPG

Dayna from FLIP Salon in Ferndale

KOBL's MIL.JPG

Happy Birthday Beautiful!

 

 


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