One Happy Penguin

Things are going really well.  I owe an update of sorts since it appears that I have disappeared the last couple of weeks.  Thank grad school for that!  Between classes, training a few clients in cancer rehab, coaching gymnastics and jump rope, and my own training, I have very few precious minutes left to enjoy my family and make sure I am also taking time for myself.  A few highlights over the past weeks:

  • My cousin got married and my boyfriend and I were able to fly out and celebrate with my family over the weekend!  My best friend was able to drive out and spend time with us.  She is the complete definition of my person and anytime with her makes life better.  It was a great getaway from classes even though it was an incredibly quick trip.  The ceremony was lovely and the reception that followed was full of laughs and dancing.
  • I began to train clients at the rehab center on campus and although I haven’t been at it long it is already very rewarding and usually the best part of my day.  Right now I am just volunteering as a grad student for hours towards my cancer exercise certification, but I really hope to have my internship there in the future as well.
  • It is that time of year again where the competitive jump rope team begins their season and I get the amazing chance to coach and see these kids succeed and conquer challenges.  I get to improve their gymnastics skills and they also brighten my day considerably.
  • Regular season football begins tonight!!!  Another reason I love this time of year.  I am a little nervous my fantasy team won’t live up to my expectations but we will see after week 1.  I am missing out on the first game of the season tonight but I will let that slide because I am going to a very anticipated concert.

Some challenges over the past couple of weeks:

  • My great-grandmother passed away. It wasn’t completely unexpected and although sad, I celebrate her life and realize how awesome it was for me to have twenty five years with her around.  She lived until 95 years old!  I can only hope to be around that long.  She was feisty and I thankful for the Native American heritage she passed down to me.  Wah Doh.
  • Breakfasts and meal planning in general has been quite a challenge with a vastly different and new schedule.  I am not a morning person in the least and by the time I am ready for breakfast I am already training clients.  I have an hour commute which doesn’t help the situation.  Bagels with peanut butter have become my friends recently.  Not only is it hard finding things I can eat on the go, I generally don’t like to eat while driving or being occupied because it isn’t very mindful.  This is still a work in progress.  Luckily I have been able to write out my dinners on a board and go to the store every Sunday to be prepared for the week.  It is a lot easier just to come home and not have to think about what is for dinner or if I have everything to make it.  This has worked out very well for me and I am happy to say food doesn’t preoccupy my mind like it used to.  I get hungry, I eat, I move on to the next thing.  The one thing I have to be cautious of is making sure that even when I get super busy that I still take the time to eat.  I know it is sometimes normal for people to forget to eat because they were so engrossed in a project, but that can mean disaster for me.  I have had to be more aware of that.
  • Just getting back into the swing of classes has been a challenge!  I graduated over three years ago from my undergrad so reading textbooks and writing papers in my spare time has required some extra motivation on my part.  I enjoy my classes though which definitely helps overall.

Overall I am in a very positive place and as the semester progresses I will continue to greet my challenges head on!  Writing is always a great stress outlet so hopefully you will see me around more!

Cancer Rehabilitation

When life gets busy, writing tends to fall by the wayside as I have mentioned before.  I wanted to pop in and give a little update on what has me so busy and assure you that I have been working on some posts for the future.  Next week I officially start grad school!  It has been a long time coming, but I have been truly blessed to be able to take time and really invest in what I want out of a career.  My degree will be in exercise physiology with a concentration in cancer rehabilitation.  I am beginning to train clients on a weekly basis and it has been extremely rewarding.  I want to continue to be involved in research and advance this field in order for clients to have insurance coverage.  The treatment from cancer leaves people with many different forms of toxicities which exercise can help alleviate.  For example, cardiotoxicity from chemotherapy weakens the heart muscle and pulmonary toxicity makes it difficult to transport oxygen from environment to cells.  Exercise on the other hand strengthens the heart and increases cardiac output as well as strengthens the intercostal muscles to increase lung capacity and improve ventilation.  These are just two examples of many in which exercise improves the awful side effects caused by the treatments from cancer.  Exercise improves cancer related fatigue and improves psychological function as well.  All of this comes from research at rehabilitation centers and I am excited to be involved!  Coming from a background of athletics I thought that I wanted to train athletes and help them get to a high level of competition.  After my spinal fusion surgery and seeing a family member go through treatment for cancer I realized that it is much more important to me to help people achieve a better quality of life.  I want all people to be able to do the simple things in life like carry their own groceries and tie their shoes.  I didn’t realize all of the things that I take for granted sometimes.  I like to train at a high level and some people just want to be able to walk down the street.  It is a very humbling environment to work in.  The progress that I have seen from various clients over the summer makes my heart full of joy and I know that this is the career I want to pursue.  I may not end up just in cancer rehabilitation, but anyone struggling with chronic conditions can benefit from exercise and I hope to be one to help them achieve their goals!