Who knew that a diagnosis of breast cancer could change my life around in such a remarkable way? I feel that I'm nearing my goal, but that suggests that I had a definitive idea of where I was heading. I knew what I didn't want...and that was a job that exhausted me but left me unfulfilled, and more often than not, frustrated. My health had taken a downturn due to the job and the incessant feeling of self-doubt wore me out.
During my year of cancer treatment, I had time to reflect...not that much time as I started many projects, all of which I saw to fruition. (Apart from painting again and organising an exhibition in my local library!) I made my nutrition and exercise a top priority. They were very much part of my cancer 'treatment'.
My positive experience regarding my cancer treatment made me want to spread the word and also give something back. I volunteered with a local charity, Albion in the Community (the charitable branch of Brighton & Hove FC), on a cancer awareness project and my journey started. To physically work in my community talking about the benefits of early detection felt so right. The scientific side of my brain wanted answers though.. to so many questions, and I loved the work that Breast Cancer Campaign were funding. (Now known as Breast Cancer Now!)
This led me to run marathons to raise money. I loved becoming fit again and didn't want to stop. I wanted to tell everyone "Cancer doesn't have to be a death sentence" so I became even more involved with both fitness and the volunteering. When I had qualified as a fitness instructor, I realised that the qualification had glossed over nutrition. I knew it had a big part to play in our health and wellbeing, so I enrolled on a nutritional therapy course at uni. The biochemistry side of the studies pushed my buttons and simply made me want to understand more.
That’s when I started to realise that as a personal trainer I wanted to work holistically, with people living with and beyond cancer. I still have to juggle my work as an artist in residence at a large primary school, teach workouts on the beach and squeeze in being a mum and a wife, but I am so close now.
Next time I write a blog, I will have moved into my new studio....fingers crossed!
The journey has taken six truly amazing years. I didn't know then what the result was going to look like..and that didn't matter. There have been hiccups, and I've made a few mistakes, but the important thing is that every night when I went to bed, however, I was feeling...I knew that when I woke up, it was a new day, a fresh start. And for that, I am eternally thankful.
Most of the steps have been forward, some sideways, a very small number backward...but I have always had a burning desire to get 'there'.
So I guess that's my message for this week. Welcome each new day and take tiny steps towards something you really believe in. The tiny steps do add up!