Back to Fit Chick Challenge

I have been a lifelong “fit chick” blessed with super fast metabolism and always ate predominantly keto to paleo diet even before it was a “thing.” My diet has always consisted of lots of veggies and protein and I’ve always shied away from wheat, corn, soy, sugar, and any filler crap.

Five years ago around half way through my 48th year of being the awesomely slender Fit Chick I was, I began getting tired, little by little over the next year to my 49th birthday. Everyone tried telling me I was just getting older and it was normal for the body to start slowing down. Screw that! I wasn’t buying it because I knew my body. After peaking out with temperatures over 102 degrees a few months later got me checked into the emergency room in July 2015, I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma, a thankfully readily-curable cancer.

For my 50th birthday in 2015, I got chemo.

Here is me one year prior in June and July of 2014:

062414 My Fit Chick Self at 117 lbs

071714 My Fit Chick Self at 117 lbs

Everyone who knows me knows that I eat nutritiously and exercise, yet following the chemo course (completely remediated the lymphoma, thank you), the doctors ganged up on me. They told me (with straight faces) that since my age meant my “girl parts” were likely to be discontinued and therefore more susceptible to any lingering problems settling there because the body will protect unused parts less and less (what??? what medical book did they get that out of??), I got talked into letting the surgeon remove my ovaries and uterus.

While most hysterectomies these days are done neatly with just two small incisions, my scar is vertical, brown and puckered, looking like Jack the Ripper operated on me.

I’m still pretty miffed about that, to put it nicely. The problem in that isn’t the ugly scar. It was that taking out my ovaries meant slamming me straight into the wall of menopause from losing my hormones with no natural wind-down period for my metabolism to adjust.

And before it even comes up, let me emphasize that I DO NOT willingly ingest chemicals, toxins and other things the pharmaceutical companies push on us. So why a Big No to hormone replacement therapy or Rx problem solvers? Not for Miss Organic Girl here. And before I’m accused of being a hypocrite about all that, the answer to what kind of hand cream, toothpaste, shampoo, etc. do I use on my body that are laced with petroleum and plastic byproducts and all kinds of chemical nasties, the answer is: I don’t use that crap. I use baking soda and coconut oil as toothpaste and I use natural-based products like hemp-based anything, herbal teas, castille soap, etc. I grow my own veggies whenever possible. If this is your first day, you get a free pass on even asking that question, but seriously, I have walked the talk for many, many years (way back to my 20s) on the organic topic in case you are new to meeting me.

You will notice I have strong opinions about certain things, this being one of them.

Instant Menopause.

Having been horizontal in bed for most of 8 months in 2015, I lost all my muscle tone. I have a minor scoliosis twist in my low back that regular exercise had combatted by keeping my back muscles strong. Over the past four years, it has gotten harder to find energy to exercise. The want-to is strong, but I have failed miserably at finding the able-to. Really hard to get your body back when you feel blah and like you’ve got no more energy like the Energizer Bunny’s battery finally zapped out.

Here is me post-chemo in early 2016 looking like death warmed over:

011116 Hair is coming back

And me trying to get back to my formerly physically active self in mid-2016 right before the hormones faded:

070816 Trying to be my old normal active self

By early 2017, I was seeing the detrimental effects of lack of hormones and less energy (shows in my face):

021917 Cannot help but see the post chemo effects on my face

Winter 2018 into 2019, I had put on around 8 to 10 lbs that looked like 30 lbs in my eyes. I couldn’t stand to take pictures of myself anymore, not because I think I’m “fat” but because I’m so untoned and looking “old”:

122618 Oh H no that mess gotta change NOW

Oh, h*&& NO! Although I’m only 122 lbs, the lack of muscle tone makes me go “eww” every time I see myself all flabby in the mirror. I’m over it. This mess is changing NOW.

070419 weight check in is fine

It is flat out time to get my body back. No excuses.

My research over the past six months has come upon not just information rallying me on a lot of stuff I already knew but needed to be re-motivated about, but also several products that I will be using to help get my 53-about-to-turn-54-year-old body back to a state of optimal health acceptable to me, not just “good enough” or “it’ll do.” I’ve slowly gotten my chemo brain toned up to where I feel I’m back around 95% in the head (took a statistics course in Fall 2018 to be sure and got a 98 for the semester, so there’s that).

For Summer 2019, I will be taking careful note of what is working and what isn’t for me. I plan on logging my exercise routines along with my menus (something I used to do on Facebook when it was just family on my page – I eventually deleted most of that from the timeline).

Even though I created this blog years ago as my music director’s site, my actual main stream of visitors come for my writing projects, specifically the academic papers I have written and posted as examples of how to write. I will work on my personal Back to Fit Chick Challenge in a Facebook Group I created rather than here as I don’t see that my blog audience comes here for health and fitness tips. I could be wrong, but I rarely get any “likes” on my posts that have to do with sharing that kind of post or the occasional musing pertaining to my dissertation on my vocation in music ministry.

That doesn’t stop me, of course. I believe a fit spiritual life feeds a fit physical life and vice versa. It’s not something new I’ll be popping onto my peeps. Just maybe not so much over here any more. Anyone who knows me knows it is what I preach and teach.

So, what’s the plan, Suzanne?

I am about to launch myself not just back into my pre-cancer vitality, but Better Than Ever. I am also in the process of reinventing myself as my goals for my life have changed. I never have backed down from any challenge in my life (I’m a Jersey Girl, we just don’t wooss). I expect to climb fast and furious using the tools I have been researching for the past six months. I will be logging my progress for others who need some inspiration that not only do I fully expect the best of myself that I CAN but that I WILL.

My story is one of recovering optimum health through the best natural God-created and man-captured products available. I invite you to come along on the journey if you are so interested: Facebook.com/groups/CaffeinatedMusic or my Facebook.com/BigBlackDogStudio page which I’m using to promote my newest cat and dog work projects I do that not only feeds my dogs but helps local animal rescue groups near my home.