“Health is not valued until sickness comes”
I’ve been struggling with the best way to go about this post for a few weeks now and each time I keep deleting everything I write. You see, I’m nervous. I’m nervous to be vulnerable and put myself out there to be judged and criticized regarding my life and my health and my journey. So I’m just going to do it. I’m going to bite the bullet and share my story because I truly believe that if sharing my story can help one person, then it will all be worth it for me.
When the twins were diagnosed with cancer, I was in the early stages of training for my third half-marathon. My first one since having the twins. It was August and I was up to running about 5 miles at a time. I had also started eating healthier again. Not super healthy, but healthier. During my pregnancy, Kenedi had IUGR so in order to get her to gain as much weight as possible, I was told to eat whatever, whenever. “Can I get that in writing?” I asked, as I indulged on velveeta mac-n-cheese, endless pizza, ice cream and cookies. I also was drinking 3 boost protein shakes a day and ended up gaining 65 pounds (The twins only weighed 7.5 pounds at birth combined so that was a lot of extra weight on my body!) I was back on the healthy living train when our family was smacked in the face with a cancer diagnosis. Times two.
We were quickly whisked away into the hospital living world where food is EXPENSIVE and GREASY. Not only were we not able to cook for ourselves anymore, but we were at the mercy of what was being served in the cafeteria. Which was a lot of pizza, tater-tots, mac-n-cheese, fountain pop, cheese curds, French fries, chips, candy, etc. We also were left to deal with funny cafeteria hours. It was open from 7:00 am to 10:00 am; 11:00 am to 2:00 pm; and 4:45 pm to 7:00 pm. This didn’t always line up with the girls’ schedules so we were often left with no options at 9:00 pm. So what did we do? Ordered out pizza of course. I think the first month in the hospital we probably ordered delivery pizza at least 3 times a week. I was gaining back all that weight I had just started losing, and gaining it back fast.
On top of eating all this junk food, we weren’t getting any rest. We would get to bed after 1:00 am and be up at 3:00 am for a feed and then up at 6:00 am for a feed and then up at 8:00 am for rounds and nurse shift change and sprinkle in some other random times fussy and/or puking babies. Most nights during round 1 of chemo, Aaron, bless him, would sleep in the rocking chair holding Kenedi because that’s the only way she would sleep. If we barely had time for sleep you can bet we didn’t have time to work out. Plus, it was so hard to even leave my girls in the room to just go get food. I would feel so guilty just doing that, so I couldn’t make myself go get a run or workout in. At the time, I just wanted to be next to them at every possible second of the day. But it quickly started wearing on me.
So, there I was, eating crap food at all hours of the day/night, sleeping 3-5 hours a day, and not exercising a bit (one day I got 3000 steps on my fitbit. Only 3000!) Something had to change.
I think it was in September that I started back up in a 21 day fix bootcamp with my friend Amber. This was a game changer. Although I didn’t go in hardcore my first round, I noticed a difference in how I was feeling. I started being pickier about which foods I took at the cafeteria, I also got myself a mini fridge and a mini crock-pot and went grocery shopping. I started going for runs here and there (this happened after becoming more comfortable with the nurses). I began getting into a routine and slowly but surely I started feeling better.
On top of incorporating healthy eating, I started working out right in our hospital room. With the 21 day fix workouts you don’t need much for room or equipment (a lot of the time I just used my body weight) and they are only 30 minutes. I also started drinking Shakeology which was SO handy when living in a hospital. By doing this I was able to eliminate one meal I had to eat from the cafeteria a day. I eliminated one meal that I had to try to find time to make. After about 2 months of getting back on track, I felt so much better. I was able to stay up those long nights when one or both of the girls were fussy and not be dragging the next day. I was able to stay calm during stressful situations and not get frustrated as quickly when things weren’t going our way. I wasn’t groggy and exhausted all day every day. Not only was I feeling and looking better physically, but I was feeling better mentally. Living in a hospital with twins who are going through intense chemotherapy is not an easy task. Being able to spend 30 minutes a day on myself to clear my mind and take out my stress on a good workout was so necessary. I realized that I needed to take care of myself in order to take care of my girls to the best of my abilities.
In November I decided to take the leap and become a health and fitness coach with Beachbody and I am so glad that I did. I know that if I can reach another person who is struggling like I was to take care of themselves because of how busy they are taking care of everyone else, it will be worth it. It is because of my girls, all three of them, that I am so passionate about this. About health. About fitness. About taking care of yourself FIRST. I think that’s something moms and dads and caregivers alike don’t do. We put ourselves on the back burner to pour everything we have into our kids, whether they are sick or not. But I’m here to tell you that it is so important to take care of yourself first. How can you take care of someone when you are running on empty? You can’t pour from an empty cup. When you’re at your best, you are able to care for those around you to the best of your ability.
I know some of you may be thinking “hey, this is the blog about the twins and their cancer journey”, and you’re right it is. But their journey is also my journey. Their fight is my fight. I learned so much during our time in the hospital battling this evil beast called “cancer”, not only about cancer itself, but about myself as well.
I have started a facebook page and would love for you to follow me there at Abby Breyfogle Fitness (www.facebook.com/abbybreyfoglefitness) where I post to encourage and motivate all those interested in working on their health.
Today, do one little thing to take better care of yourself, and tomorrow, repeat.
Follow me on Facebook at Abby Breyfogle Fitnes
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Follow us on Instagram @twicethefight
*I just want to note that I’m all about a healthy balance for eating. I still enjoy a cupcake or pizza and wine now and then. It’s all about balance and healthy choices for me*