Updated: Aug 15
Cancer is a life changing experience.
To survivors, we know surviving cancer doesn't leave a magic wand of unrelenting motivation for emotional & physical healing.
In fact, often the residual effects are just as tough as the diagnosis and treatments themselves.
On top of physical pain and healing, life's obstacles and challenges are inevitable, regardless of one's health.
There are still everyday stresses like; juggling family and career, paying bills on time, managing personal habits, and working towards goals.
In part one of Tracy's story we shared how her cancer diagnosis helped shape the concept of Pro Push Fitness.
Here, in part two, we share some insight from Tracy and highlight the brave steps taken to improve her life - body, mind, and soul.
Tracy's priorities have shifted.
Tracy was diagnosed with cancer 10 years ago. Last year was the first time she experienced a significant improvement in her overall health, that included losing 50 pounds.
It may surprise you to hear during the nine year gap, she was going to the gym and trying to eat healthy.
So, what changed last year?
She changed her Mindset.
She advocated for herself medically.
She found balance with family, career, and health.
1) She Changed her Mindset
"I had to choose not to give way to anxiety, stress, and distraction anymore. This was the only way I was ever going to avoid getting stuck and being stagnant" Tracy shared.
This may seem like a small change, it isn't. Changing a belief system to accept you are worthy and capable is some of the bravest and toughest work in a lifetime.
In Tracy's words, "I decided to start believing the "impossible" was "possible".
I work with all body types, gender, age, goals and fitness levels. I work with athletes, moms, dads, people with chronic illness and injuries, business executives, students and everything in between.
In all walks of life, what we tell ourselves we can do - is what we can do. And nothing more.
Positive change rarely follows negative thoughts. If you're conditioned to believe you are doomed to fail - even if it is subconscious - it's important to recognize and stop negative patterns of thinking.
In a recent Mindset Clinic hosted by Pro Push Fitness we talked a lot about the power of thought and what we can do to improve.
Tracy participated in the clinic and shared, "I had to stop the habit of negative self talk. I had to start telling myself "it is impossible" for me."
"I changed my thinking, and that alone made the biggest impact on my goals. It can be a daily struggle. But I am understanding I'm changing my lifestyle, not something temporary. And it is possible for me to grow and change for the better in my thoughts and my physical health."
2) Be Your Own Advocate - Find a Doctor Who Will Listen
Tracy had a complete hysterotomy at 27. She struggled with hormonal imbalances and other significant health concerns for most of her life, in addition to cancer.
Over the years I encouraged her to find different doctors, but it understandably felt both aggravating and disheartening for her.
Most doctors glanced at her blood work and dismissed it with "everything is within normal range".
She didn't feel confident to challenge a doctor who had her blood work and telling her she was within normal range.
Tracy shares, "I actually thought it was all in my mind for a while because so many doctors discounted how I was feeling. I started giving up and thinking, “okay, well I guess this is how I have to feel”.
I finally found a doctor through a Pro Push referral. I cried in their office because someone finally listened and believed me. They ran the right tests and started me on the right protocol and it changed my life".
After decades of struggle, Tracy found a doctor who practices functional medicine and got her body in balance. Functional medicine is specialized training and techniques doctors can use to find the root causes of complex illnesses.
"They [Functional Medicine Doctors] consider factors like diet, genetics, hormonal changes, prescription and over the counter medications, and other lifestyle components. This type of doctor may be ideal for people with chronic illnesses that aren't easily managed by conventional medical techniques". - WebMD
"I had been trying to lose weight for literally years and just not feeling good. I really felt like giving up so many times. It has made a huge difference to finally have my body's chemistry in balance and functioning properly".
3) Find Balance in Your Life
Tracy carries a lot of responsibilities in her career, is a single mother, and grandmother.
Regardless of the many demands on her time, she decided it was time to prioritize her health so she could more fully enjoy quality moments with her family.
Tracy shares, "I want control over what I do. I want to choose what I am capable of participating in during family time. I want to decide which activities I do with friends or on my own.
I don't want outside influences determining how I spend my time when it can be helped. That includes giving up to many hours to work or having physical limitations I could have done something to improve".
Here are three things Tracy implemented to help balance her health, career, and family.
1. In addition to gym 3 x a week: Set a timer to go for a 5 to 10 minute walk, 3 x a day.
2. She started meal prepping each Sunday afternoon
3. She started babysitting a grand daughters a couple times a week after work.
Basic needs of movement, nutrition, and strengthening relationships is a great place to start when trying to find balance.
Taking time to structure these needs into action is worth all the effort. No one should postpone taking care of their health - both mental and physical.
Here are four primary areas I encourage clients to focus:
1. Eat properly daily
2. Get good sleep every night
3. Exercise / Move daily
4. Meditate / Relax often
Additionally, more resources and tips can be found in 4 Ways to Balance Family, Work, and Fitness. Here we shared insight from three clients who consistently achieve personal goals.
Our hearts and prayers are with all who are battling cancer and other illness. Our hearts are especially with families who have lost loved ones. We don't take your pain lightly and hope you will feel genuine friendship and hope in your time of need.
We look forward to more updates on Tracy's journey and are excited to see her and all survivors soar!