About this blog

I was diagnosed with breast cancer on June 11, 2010. As a result of my treatment, I have lymphedema in my left arm. I draw my strength from the Lord, as well as my family's Scots-Irish heritage. Our Graham's were a tough and scrappy bunch of fighters on the Scottish/English border. They came to America and continued to fight when necessary: in the American Revolution; the Civil War; and my brother is a Captain in the U.S. Army. My ancestors settled this country against all odds. My great-grandmothers on both sides of the family were pioneer women who settled the West. Along with that heritage, and the full armor of God, I am walking the walk and fighting the good fight.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Level 3, baby!

I reached a milestone this week.

I've gone back to doing Jillian Michael's level 3 workouts from her website. I haven't done that since my surgery last July. Yesss!

I joined Jillian's website back in the fall of 2009. I had lost 10 pounds on my own and after starting to watch "The Biggest Loser" that season, I was interested in Jillian's program on her website. For a small subscription fee, I got access to menu planning and customized workouts that change daily.  The workouts at all levels consist of 5 circuits. Each circuit combines some weight training, core/abdominals, and high intensity cardio intervals.  I really enjoyed doing level 3 because the cardio intervals were more interesting-going beyond jumping jacks and jumping rope and getting into things like burpees and plyometrics.  I credit Jillian's program with the other 40 pounds that I lost the following winter and spring.

I had about 10 more to go when I was diagnosed with breast cancer last June.  When I got "the call" telling me I had breast cancer, I tried to call my mom. She wasn't home, and it wasn't a message that I could really leave on an answering machine. So I went upstairs and did my Jillian workout. Life was going to go on as usual. I did my Jillian workouts 4 times a week diligently up until the day before my double mastectomy on July 22nd.

After my surgery, I obviously had to recover physically from the surgery. I also have to be careful for the rest of my life regarding lymphedema in my left arm. Especially since I have had it triggered during my treatment. Because of the loss of strength and lymphedema, I was afraid to go back to the circuits. I still worked out, but focused more on cardio.

But nothing really got me into shape like Jillian's circuits did.

This week, my gym closed for a couple of days in order to "upgrade" their equipment. On top of that, Jean-Marc was not quite recovered from his intestinal bug (which may have been rotavirus.) So I decided to give the level 3 workout a shot.  I was able to do it, was really sore afterwards, and felt GREAT!  I did the circuits again today and they were a bit harder-my legs were like Jell-O. But I did it. On top of that, I was elated to find out that I had lost nearly 2 pounds this week during my weekly "weigh in" on Fridays.  That is despite slipping up in my eating many times over the past week. There is just something about the circuits that work for me. After today's workout, I know I'm going to be really sore tomorrow! There were a ton of lunges, holding squats for a minute, and other just insane things. My legs were shaking and I sweat like a dog!  And I loved every minute of it.

I still have to be careful.  I don't think its wise to go full bore 4 days a week like I did a year ago. Doing Jillian's new DVD, "Ripped in 30" six days in a row made my arm swell.  But a couple of days hopefully will be okay, as long as my arm doesn't swell up. I'm sticking with the 3 pound weights and not going up to 5 and 10 like I used to. Like everything else, I'll have to keep an eye on it.

It isn't just about the weight for me now. It is a sense of being strong, healthy, and able to do something that I was able to do "BC."  Jillian's workouts got me through some really stressful times post-diagnosis. Along with my faith in Jesus Christ, it was an anchor for me. I may not have known how "bad" my cancer was, or when my surgery was finally going to happen, but I knew that I was going to do that kick-butt workout that day and do it well.  Last July, I was afraid that I would never be able to do those workouts again.

But I proved that wrong this week. Level 3, baby!  Thank you, Jesus!

1 comment:

  1. WOW Tonya...way to go! Level three! AMAZING! As soon as my foot and knee are better, I'm going to jump back in it. However, I am not as excited about it as you....LOL! Have a blessed Easter! He is risen!!!