For the first time in my life, I feel like all the roads I’ve traveled have finally connected as I begin my journey as a Team Beachbody Coach.
I was born and raised in Ontario Canada. When I was 7, I was diagnosed with Type 1 juvenile diabetes. I come from a big farming family – my mother was 1 of 9 children. Through the years, I’ve lost all of my aunts and most of my uncles to cancer. Two years ago, my mom got breast cancer too and that’s when my own life began to change. I felt like I was watching a horror movie play in slow motion, knowing how it was going to end… but not able to turn off the TV & look away.
During my mother’s cancer treatments we learned a lot about how physical activity and weight control could help both prevent cancer and reduce the risk of a reoccurrence. We also learned my mom had a genetic mutation which was likely responsible for her diagnosis and perhaps why my family is so plagued by cancer. With this information my sister & I went for genetic counseling to see if we had the same mutation so that we could try to take every preventative measure possible to prevent the same fate. A little voice in me tried to say, “Laura, you already have diabetes – you can’t be so unlucky to have the same genetic mutation.” BUT, I was wrong. My sister and I both tested positive for the genetic mutation.
I remember staring at myself in the bathroom mirror with my physician’s words replaying over and over, “Laura – your lifetime risk of developing cancer is greater than 85%.” Flashbacks of time-gone-by and family members loved & lost to cancer were evoked. I also remember that person reflected in the mirror stare back with deep courage and say, “You’re not going to let that happen.” I was willing to take every preventative measure possible to prevent the same wrath.
Last year, I had a bilateral prophylactic mastectomy. This surgery on its own would reduce my risk to less than that of the general population’s… so that decision was easy. The surgery wasn’t a guarantee that I would never get cancer… but it helped me feel like I took some control of my fate – now, the rest is up to me!
After three surgeries and a very emotional year, my fight was only just beginning. I wasn’t going to let my dreadful ‘genetics’ get the best of me. I had my final surgery in December 2011. In January, I was depressed with the some of the weight I’d put on and the upper body strength that I’d lost. Lifting something like a jug of water felt unnatural at times. I set a personal goal to be able to do 1 REAL pushup by the end of February 2012. It was at this time, I remembered learning how important physical activity was to long term health benefits. Besides, my husband Rob was also diagnosed with T1 diabetes a couple years ago (Really! Yes, that was a surprise!) so this deal I made with myself to be more active & stronger, would help him too.
That was 9 months ago. I spontaneously got my start with P90X after being inspired by an ad I saw on the television and today I have more upper body strength than I’ve ever known. By the way, I can do WAY more than 1 pushup now… BOTH Rob & I have even gotten into the competitive running circuit (and doing really well!). We have completed numerous races & 2 half marathons. Today, in addition to P90X, I’ve completed P90X2, Insanity and Insanity: The Asylum… Beachbody woke every muscle I had up… I am a different person. I may still resemble the Laura that was… but I am stronger emotionally & physically. My blood sugars are absolutely perfect, my body weight is in check… because I feel well, I eat well & life is just plain good. I’ve watched myself grow into an athlete. Me – an athlete! Tomorrow is no longer something to be feared, its part of my journey. I know I have the strength to battle whatever my future holds.
If I can share even 1% of how good I feel with another human being, my purpose has been served. By becoming a Team Beachbody Coach, I am looking forward to helping others realize their potential. I’ve learned that good things happen when you step outside your comfort zone. I did, now look at me. I have a great future to look forward to.