Time to Train…Post Prophylactic Bilateral Mastectomy

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I still remember sitting in the hospital 4 weeks ago and wondering how I might work through the recovery process after my prophylactic bilateral mastectomy.

When I say ‘work through’, I’m not referring to the emotional side of things, because after 10 years of knowing I would eventually be sitting in hospital recovery from this surgery, I am very stable in this area.  What I’m referring to is the physical recovery.

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There were many variables to consider.  So many that had I even bothered to start processing them in my head, I might have sent myself into some sort of overwhelmed and panicked state.  In the end, I made a conscious decision to just ‘let it be’, which to be honest, is not normally my nature.

You see, if you have read some of my earlier blogs, you would know that I’m a little OTT when it comes to being organised.  Everything is either on my to-do list, scheduled into our calendar or emailed to myself so I don’t forget.  There’s not many things that I forget or miss and it’s not because I mental superpowers, it all comes down to writing everything down.

I’m a little old fashioned, I still use a notebook and pen, but this person has it well and truly sorted with a tattoo’d template on his/her arm!!

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You see it’s just normal to me to have my gym and training schedule as recurring appointments in my calendar, I’ve been doing it for years.  In our house, both AM and PM sessions are up for grabs and with both Leigh and myself keen to keep fit and use exercise as our ‘time out’, we balance it well by having it all scheduled into our shared calendar.

One of the first steps I took to just ‘let it go’ was to remove my training regime from the calendar.  The last thing I needed daily while recovery in hospital, was a calendar reminder to go the the gym, jump on my bike, or head out for a run.  I applied the ‘ignorance is bliss’ philosophy to this one and it worked perfectly.

I still remember being in my hospital bed and my surgeon saying that by 4 weeks post mastectomy, she was confident that I could jump onto a wind trainer to do some cycling.  I thought this was fantastic news and my only worry was whether my foot would hold up on a wind trainer just 19 days after being surgically pinned.  I was the model student, ensuring that I pretty much did ‘nothing’ when I arrived home, under Dr’s orders of course.

As recovery continued to process perfectly, I decided to take a visit to the Kosama gym I train at on the eve of my 4 week anniversary post surgery.  I was there purely for a stretching session and despite spending an hour doing nothing more than slow and steady stretching, I felt amazing.  I decided at this time that I was going to brave the Tri Alliance wind trainer session the next morning, exactly 4 weeks after my surgery.

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I hobbled in, moon boot and all, ready to see whether I could even get on my bike without any foot pain.  In my mind it was just a given, I was going to train, it wasn’t a big deal whatsoever and other than the excitement of seeing some of my training buddies for the first time in 4 weeks, it was just another training session.

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Needless to say from the look on my face, it was fantastic!!  I loved the energy from everyone else smashing out a hard session, I gained confidence as more and more time passed and by about half way through, I realised that I was pushing pretty hard and feeling fantastic.  I was so excited to make it through that I decided to volunteer the home garage as an alternative training location for the Saturday morning cycle session.

Before I knew it, we were planning to complete a 3 hour wind trainer session at 5:30am the very next day.  Now I won’t lie, I did momentarily wonder whether I’d just overcommitted by agreeing to participate in this killer set, but in the end, I thought about one of my favourite sayings that I remind our young girls of regularly…….

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On a quick tangent, if you haven’t read Watty Piper’s book, The Little Engine that Could, it’s a MUST READ in life, for yourself and everyone you know.  After reading this book 100’s of times in my life so far, you can imagine how ‘over the moon’ I was about 12 months ago when I learnt that it had been made into a movie.  The DVD is a MUST see, even featuring the voices of Whoopi Goldberg, Jaime Lee Curtis, Alyson Stoner and Corbin Blue.  AMAZING!!!!!

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So with the ‘I think I can, I think I can, I think I can’ chant playing over and over in my mind, a 3 hour wind trainer session it was!!

Now I should point out that a 3 hour wind trainer session in your home garage isn’t usually something that people ‘volunteer’ to do, especially when the session entails a detailed minute-by-minute set from the Head Coach of your triathlon squad.  We all joked that he would have loved putting a hard set like this together, he’s a bit of a sadist (in the nicest possible way).

I printed off the details so we wouldn’t lose track along he way and before we knew it, there we were, all three of us rolling our legs over in the 30 minute warm up.  We laughed and had a great time looking outside at the non-existent rain clouds that made this session happen in the first place!!  We even had a visit from another triathlon training buddy who lives locally when he rode up the driveway to say ‘hi’ on his way to a leisurely ride.

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If you clicked on the image above for a closer look, you can clearly see that we’re all pretty happy.  This was definitely an image taken early on during the warm up.

Before too long, the musical tunes became our motivation, we talked less, pedalled more and started to really embrace the set.  A few hours later and the look on our faces really changed…..

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This is the sort of image a coach wants to see when he sets a solo session for his athletes.  Heads down, focused looks on those faces and a LOT of sweat.  We were all absolutely saturated, we could have filled a small bucket with the amount of sweat we were wringing out of our clothes after we finished.  The side-by-side comparison photo says it all…..what started with smiles, ended with satisfaction that we succeeded in getting through.

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While mentally these sessions are tough, I must admit that I was probably on a bit of a ‘high’ the whole way through.  Mainly because I was feeling just so very appreciative that I had two amazing ladies beside me, sharing such a gruelling session with me, just 4 weeks after my surgery.  I was also feeling physically strong, with no pain in my foot, or my chest area.  We rode down on the tri-bars for virtually the entire set, it kept me stable and it wasn’t until just before the last 5 minute ‘all out’ effort that I began to feel a little fatigued in my legs.

We all celebrated with a dip in the pool, where our bodies and minds really appreciated what we had just accomplished.  We were each very spoilt by my super-dooper husband who went to the local coffee shop to pick up some amazing coffee for each of us, which we drank in the pool accompanied by a delicious ‘breakfast’ prepared by our two girls,  consisting of an apple each, along with some Cadbury chocolate buttons.

I did wonder momentarily where they got the idea that chocolate was a great breakfast food, but to be honest, it really didn’t matter.  The gesture of them preparing a tray for us was just wonderful and I think they secretly included the chocolates for themselves, because I don’t think I actually got even 1 choccy button!  We all spent the next hour in the pool playing games, watching the girls do dives, handstands, tricks and laps.

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It was only when I tried to play the game ‘Marco Polo’ that I remembered I’d just had a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy.  You see I launched myself into the deep end trying to avoid being caught, but when I tried to do a freestyle stroke to power away from ‘Marco’, I couldn’t get my arm all the way around. I still have limited mobility when it comes to ‘arm swings’, so I was left bobbing around in the deep end and had to ‘scull’ my way to the side of the pool.

I laughed to myself, reflecting just how powerful the mind really is.  Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, either way you’re right!!

A 3 hour wind trainer session in a home garage just 4 weeks after a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy and just 19 days after having my 5th Metatarsal operated on and pinned into place!!

Thanks to some fantastic company, great tunes and a killer set….

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Jodie’s Update

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Remember my awesome cousin Jodie?  She’s the super strong and determined young woman who came up with the great idea to ‘train’ for me while I’m off my feet.  If you missed the blog about it, you can read about it all in the Jodie’s Story blog.  Jodie has sent through an update and I’d love to share it with you….

I share with you Jodie’s update…..

“This week I started my fitness challenge after pledging myself to Yasmin’s fitness regime. When I first told a few people I got “you’re mental”, “it’s not natural to work our that much”, “you’re not fit enough”.  All of these people are people that are drilling holes on my boat, so I chose to ignore them.  Then I have the amazing people in my life that said things like “that’s brave”, “good on you” and “I’ll help you out along the way”.

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One of those people helping row my boat is my amazing Dad.  Most people reading this don’t know who I am.  So quickly, about 5 months ago I moved to perth from Brisbane with my boyfriend Carlo after being presented with a great work opportunity.  We left behind both of your very loving families.  My dad has came over for a 2 week visit and half way through the time when he was here, I made my commitment to Yas.

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After I told dad, he offered for me to come on his morning walks that he had been doing everyday.  So off we went!  The track we walked is gorgeous and runs down beside the swan river for kilometres.  It was a great time to spend quality time with him and also for him to share some tips as he actually has never held a drivers license and walks everywhere!  We also spent some of our quality time and went to Rottnest Island where there are no cars, which meant GRAB A BIKE!

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I myself had not been on a bike in over 15 years but got the hang quite easy.  I was super impressed with Dad who has not ridden a bike in 35 years!!!!!! Total for the day we ended up riding over 13kms and had a great time stopping to snorkel and swim in between.

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I also just got back from a work conference where we participated in some very fun physical activities.  The company I work for prides themselves on the “outdoor culture” so of course we were going to get sweaty!!  It started off as an ‘amazing race’ type journey and I had nominated myself as team leader.  I grabbed a business card and our team was off and running to find the business!  We ran for about 2kms until we got to a bike shop! How ironic considering I had just been on a bike for the first time in a long time a few days ago.  We got told to “find the boss” so we rang to him and he gave us clues. Off we rode we cycled for about 4kms before we found him and picked him up.  He gave us a direction to go in and we cycled back another 2kms, by this point my legs were killing me. We got to the beach and realised we were doing stand up paddling boarding which is awesome!!!!!  It was my first time trying it and yes I ended up in the water multiples of times.  After all the different teams finished the race we all joined together and played a few games of beach volley ball.  I had no idea how good at serving a was! 🙂  I was very happy to discover this.

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I’m now back at home in Perth and back to work, I also bought a cold home with me.  So to be 100% honest I have no worked out the last two days and I feel very guilty.  It’s starting to pass though which means I will be getting back to it very soon.  I hope everyone is enjoying following this as much as I am enjoying doing it.  Keep watching this space and watching me shrink. I promise I will.”

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Jodie xx

Isn’t she awesome?  Seriously, I’m so proud of Jodie not only for sharing her story, but for being so determined and strong, despite the challenges that she has ahead of her.

Go Jodie!!!

Jodie’s Story

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My gorgeous cousin Jodie is a pretty amazing young lady.  Ever since she was born, there has been a ray of light that surrounds her.  As a toddler, Jodie was cheeky, funny and a super dooper cutie and as an adult, she’s honestly still very much the same.

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Our family is very close and we always grew up visiting our Nan and Pop weekly, so it meant that as cousins, we would spend a lot of time together. Sometimes we’d complain, but it’s now we all realise how important this time with each other really was.

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Jodie has been incredibly supportive throughout my whole Prophylactic Bilateral Mastectomy decision making process.  I received an email this week from Jodie about an idea she had to help support me during the recovery.  Instead of trying to tell you Jodie’s story in my words, I invited Jodie to write a blog article for me to share on the page.  Not only has Jodie told an amazing story, she shows tremendous courage as she not only lets us into her world, but she has proudly stepped out of her comfort zone to put herself ‘out there’ for all to see.

In her own words and straight from the heart, here’s Jodie’s idea…..

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“Ever since I can remember, Yas has been the most competitive, driven, passionate person I have ever known.  She is very passionate about our family, helping people and fitness. These are things that I have always loved about her.  It didn’t matter if it was family Singstar night and her doing “power squats” to reach certain notes while screaming into the Singstar mic, competing in Tri’s all over the country and Internationally, helping raise over $20,000 for a charity in 2013 or even most recently, winning multiple games at a family baby shower, Yas does EVERYTHING to the best of her ability.  So to me it was no surprise when she decided to get a preventative double mastectomy.

To me, this is just her making the choice to live her life to the best of her ability, making sure she is there for her two gorgeous daughters and her husband for a long long time.  To someone like me who thinks logically and passionately, it’s the right decision.  You process what’s most important to you in life, factor in obstacles, find a way to remove them or change them into stepping stones and move on.  This is exactly how I see what Yas is doing and that is just my opinion and I know it will differ from person to person.

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I have many memories from when I was a child with Yas, one of my cool older cousins.  I remember things like her doing my hair and makeup for special occasions, making up dancing to songs like “Barbie Girl” with my sister and always having sleep overs!   As I got older, the focus turned to other things, Yas took me shopping for my first bra, she tried to help me get back on the rails when I was a big trouble maker kid and tried to help me manage my weight, all things that she knew I was struggling with.  When I was in my early teens I remember having a race from my family home over to our Nan and Pops home which was just under 2kms away.  As a pretty chubby kid it took me quite a while to run (pretty sure I walked ALOT of it) the 2kms, but one thing I distinctly remember was Yas coming back and encouraging me to keep going. 

I did eventually get there and I’m pretty positive I jumped straight in the pool fully clothed!  Now as a pretty put together (I like to think) 24 year old, I can reflect on things like this and see what Yas was trying to help me achieve, I just wasn’t ready at the time.  

As I was undressing to hop into the shower a few days ago I realised how uncomfortable I am starting to feel in my body.  Over two years I managed go from 110kgs down to 80kgs and now I’m back around to 95kg mark again after getting a bit comfortable and lazy in my relationship.  One thing’s for sure, I never want to be 100+kgs again.   Here I am at my biggest…..

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So I started to think about fitness and motivation and what I could do to get me going again, instantly Yas came to mind.  To me Yas is always on her game when it comes to fitness, people call her fitness crazy and obsessed, but hey, if that’s what you like then power too you!!!  Here I am at my most healthy…….

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I then realised with her upcoming mastectomy and foot surgery (yes she is doing both one after the other!) she isn’t going to be able to work out then there was the EUREKA moment. I will work out for Yas while she can’t, crazy right?!  Hell yeah it is!  But crazy is ok with me and crazy isn’t definitely ok with Yas haha. 

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So for the next 6-8 weeks I will following a similar schedule to what Yas would normally do, this involves working out about 12 times a week for around 60 – 90mins at a time and I am PUMPED!  

I have taken photos to track my progression and they were probably the hardest bit of committing to this.  But here they are and here goes nothing!!”

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 Luv Jodie xxxx

WOW, WOW, WOW!!  Seriously, Jodie’s pretty amazing hey!!!

Jodie is one of the most beautiful souls you will ever meet.  I remember at our Smiling for Smiddy Garage Sale last year, she worked an all-nighter to help with the setup, then she took herself off to work for the day and soldiered on without a blink of the eye.  She had fun doing it too, even finding time to dress up along the way….

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When I received Jodie’s message about her idea to follow my training schedule during my down time, I was seriously blown away.   I sent her the regime and once again, she didn’t hesitate.

I love her idea and I’m even more proud of the fact that she has courageously shared her story today.

Go Jodie!  You absolutely ROCK my world and I’m looking forward to training in spirit with you as you undertake this challenge you have set for yourself.

Here’s the schedule for anyone that wants to join Jodie:

  • Monday 6:00am & 6:00pm
  • Tuesday 5:30am & 5:30pm
  • Wednesday 5:30am & 5:30pm
  • Thursday 6:00am & 5:30pm
  • Friday 5:30am & optional 5:00pm
  • Saturday 6:30am & optional 4:30pm
  • Sunday 6:00am & rest or walk PM

Yas xxxx

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