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.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Jillian knows I exist!

As followers of my blog already know, I'm a big fan of Jillian Michaels. It was the exercise and diet program from her website that helped me lose 50 pounds over the past 2 years.  I also subscribe to a daily e-mail from her that is filled with tips, success stories, and interesting articles. 

My mom called me today to ask me if I had read the e-mail from July 4th. With all of the activities going on that day, I just deleted the message for the day. Luckily, it was held in a "deleted items" folder and I was able to retrieve it. Rather than explain it, I'm just going to cut and paste what Jillian herself said:

"Breast cancer is a terrible disease that affects hundreds of thousands of women (and men) in this country each year. It's so important to regularly see your doctor, do self-exams at home, and get mammograms for this reason alone. Recently, a member on my Message Boards reached out and share what losing weight meant to her — and how it may have helped save her life. No words can really express how I felt after seeing this, but she is definitely in my thoughts during her battle. I hope it opens everyone's eyes about breast cancer and the importance of early detection. 

"I began Jillian's program last November after having lost only 10 pounds on my own in several months. I started at 170 with Jillian and have gotten down to 132. I'm still about 10 pounds away from my goal. So I'm feeling great, enjoying buying smaller clothes and feeling STRONG. Plus, I've been doing Jillian's Level 3 for a few months and feel like I can take on anything....

Along with Jillian's program I went from a bra cup size of D to B. Being a small woman, I was pretty happy in a B.

But being smaller helped me find a lump in my smaller breasts. I had been in for my first mammogram only a month and a half before and was given a clean bill of health. But over Memorial Day weekend, I felt a lump under my arm. I don't think that 50 pounds ago I would have felt it. I went in right away for a biopsy and found out last week that I do indeed have breast cancer. I was shocked, but went upstairs and did my Level 3 workout. It felt so good to have that physical outlet.

So my fitness goals have switched a bit. Losing that last 10 pounds no longer is a priority. I suspect that I will lose it through chemotherapy and a mastectomy. I want to continue working out-now instead of imagining Jillian yelling at me when I want to quit, I imagine myself kicking cancer in the butt. I envision myself now as a fighter or soldier in training for battle. The battle of my life. I want to stay fit through this treatment, although I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to do that. But staying strong is a priority for me. My arms ROCK and I don't want to lose that muscle tone!

I do believe, though, that if it wasn't for Jillian's program and inspiration helping me to lose 50 pounds, I would not have felt that lump. Having been told everything was fine, it would have been AT LEAST another year before I went in for another mammogram, and maybe longer since I'm only 40.
So thank you Jillian! You've helped make me strong and just may have saved my life." – Tonya

Thanks for being so open with your story, Tonya. To begin educating yourself more about self-exams, mammograms, and breast cancer, visit American Cancer Society or Susan G. Komen for the Cure!"

How cool is that? That is actually from a message that I put on Jillian's message boards about a year ago. Now I'm going to have to find a way to send her an update to let her know how things have turned out so far. I was able to work out throughout my treatment, although I have lost some upper body strength. I'm getting it back, though. However, my left arm/shoulder/chest will never be the same. But considering what my body has been through, I'm not complaining!

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