Day 29 // 5:52 PM


The alarm pierced my ears at 5:00 AM the morning after the diagnosis. In some ways, it felt like Groundhog Day as my morning regime up to this point was like clockwork – alarm sounds, Beth showers, dresses, prepares breakfast, packs lunch, drives to work – robotic but reliable. Today however I opted to squeeze “Google” into the mix and of course that was a mistake. Entirely too much at this point, I gave up before I even began.

Anxious to arrive at the studio, it was the last conditioning session for a phenomenal group – ME vs. ME – that carried in them a remarkable amount of strength and love to which growth in the previous twelve weeks bloomed. Having been with these ladies three times a week at 5:15 AM, their energy and desire to improve never disappointed. Blessed with this experience, the true reward came when one of the MEs posted on FB about losing three pant sizes since the first of the year. Yes – success! Every early morning, late night, email, text, chat, etc. put into the ME vs. ME program had been worth it. BIG sigh.

But that didn’t change the pain – the physical discomfort throbbing near my lower right pelvic area. Numb to the pang for several months, today it was arresting. Was it because I knew such a repulsive disease had slowly infiltrated my temple and now a war was looming? And the bloating – where did that come from? It wasn’t there yesterday – or was it? Ugh! A temporary moment of insanity.

Regroup! My thoughts fast forwarded to August. By then, I would be fully recovered from surgery and life would resume as normal. NOT!

The afternoon was spent at the hospital with my mother as she had a seizure that morning. What was happening to our family? God gives you what you can handle but I began to question if he was confusing a few families with one another! My little trooper, Gia, however managed to calm the storm with her endearing words. On two random occasions, once on the highway and then at the hospital, she whispered “I love you”. It was as if she knew. And when she found a penny – heads up – in the parking lot of the hospital, it reaffirmed that somehow life would be just fine.

Exhausted from the day, a nap outdoors was my prescription for peace. The warm sun energized my senses as I held back the tears attempting to beat down my fortress. A promise is a promise – no “whys?” and no “tears”.

With reflections wandering to my competition training, I pondered the last five months of growth. Consistent effort and of course struggle led to immeasurable physical and mental gains. The courage, tenacity and love for myself had erupted within like a volcano. And finally after years of abuse to the sacred temple, I had “owned my strong”.

No one…nothing…nobody…nada…and certainly not cancer was about to stop me.

It was at that moment, 5:52 PM on May 23rd, that an epiphany transpired. My training was never about a fitness competition – it was always about this journey. Shortly after the cancer formed it’s alliance, I committed to the competition. God had been the one training me all along – guiding me to increase my fortitude and grit in order to battle the adversity placed beforehand while revealing how grace would carry me through.

God had a Plan B – fully executed with a schedule and blueprints. And I thank him every day for it.