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secrets of a stylist: yoga saved my life.

I turned 50 in January. I told myself this was going to be the year of health. I started off the new year by joining in on the Yoga With Adrienne journey...promising myself that I would do yoga every day for 30 days. I've done her programs before but never completed them. I really love them and have no idea why I can't stick to it for more than a few days. gets busy, your dog gets sick, life takes over and you find yourself focusing on all the other things instead of yourself. So this year was going to be different. It is different.

On Jan 2nd, Day 1 of Yoga with Adrienne, I was at my parent's house in NE celebrating Christmas. Everyone was doing their own thing so I thought it was a perfect time to grab my mom's mat and take a few minutes for myself. I'm actually doing it. I'm committed. Yay me! I even posted on Adrienne's insta account...I was so proud I showed up. For me.

During the practice, one of the poses was baby cobra (where you lay on your belly and lift your arms, shoulders and head off the ground). As I did it, it felt like I was laying on a ball. Super weird. I just assumed my mat or pants were bunched up or something was on the floor. After I finished the session, I laid on my belly and did baby cobra again and again it felt like I was laying on a ball. Weird, right? I got home later that week and made a doctors appointment to see what was going on in there.

Here's the nitty gritty: (long story short) The next week I was in the doctor's office for a pelvic exam and blood work. The following week I had an ultrasound and there was a referral to gynecological oncology listed in my record by the technician with no Dr. explanation.....{insert freak out here}. Gyn Onc called me a few days later and set up an appointment with an oncologist and they ordered more blood work (for cancer/tumor markers) plus a CT scan. On Feb 1st I had the CT scan and the next day my (new) gyn onc doc called me to go over everything and fill me in on my options. They found a giant mass in my pelvic region (the size of a mango!) Side note: Why do tumors get compared to fruit (size of a grapefruit, size of a mango)? And hail is compared to balls (golf ball, baseball)? Who started this? Now everytime I'm at the grocery and I see a mango, I can't help but picture that damn thing in my belly. :)

She recommended a hysterectomy to remove everything (just to be safe!) and had an opening in her schedule for surgery on Feb 7th. Boom. She wanted to get me in right away and said, "Because you are young and healthy we can do this now!" I think I love her.

I am strong.

So the following Tuesday, I was in surgery. My very first surgery ever. The first time ever being admitted to a 50! The surgery was suppose to last 3-4 hours and I was in there for 8. My doc found a bunch of endometriosis (!!!) and that mass?...turned out to be my right ovary! What? They tested my ovarian cysts (that I've had forever) while I was under and they were cancerous. While trying to remove the mass aka Totonga (yes, we named it), it burst. Because cancer is a sneaky bitch - I will do 3 rounds of chemo to make sure I don't have any cancerous cells hiding in there. She also took a bunch of samples of other tissues and sent them in for pathology. Good news....those labs came back clean! So, I have Stage 1C1 ovarian cancer. I am so thankful we caught this when we did and at this time in my life when I'm feeling the healthiest and strongest I've ever felt.

How sexy are these socks??? And OMG my legs look soooo long!

I am blessed.

I've cried a bunch through this journey. Not because I'm sad or upset or because I have cancer, but because I am so blessed. The response from my friends and family has been incredible. I've never felt more supported in my life. More loved. More encouraged. More thankful. There's been a bunch of joyful moments too (and hilarious moments that hurt so much to laugh after surgery...I'm looking at you Becky! and Jeff! and the text chain with friends while in surgery!).

Jeff gave me this t-shirt after surgery...I have not worn it in public yet.

I'm on the mend now. It's been one month since my surgery and I'm not quite back to normal yet, but getting closer. I do feel like I'm getting stronger and feeling better each day. I am styling a few photoshoots (with help lifting and moving props and wardrobe) and am thankful to be working again.

I'm trying to be patient and behave myself...LOL. I'm listening to my body, asking for help, and enjoying a nap almost every day. :) Stella is LOVING having her mama home all the time. Nap times are the best with my baby girl. The snuggle is real.

I am safe.

Before Totonga (my mass) was discovered, my friend Lena suggested I try Kundalini yoga and she said to me, "Nothing but positivity can come from it." And she was right. It changed my life overnight. I even took a class at 5:30am the morning of my surgery. It makes me feel strong, empowered, and that I can take on anything. I can't wait to get back to my mat. I still haven't finished 30 days with Adrienne but I know I will.

My mantra during all this: I am strong. I am blessed. I am safe.

So this year turns out to be the year of health afterall. Not exactly how I had hoped or thought, but maybe even better in the end. I am ready to take what the universe is sending me and push through the hard stuff, become stronger, and be the healthiest woman I can be. And I'm doing it knowing that I am loved and supported. I am learning a lot about myself along the way. I'm advocating for myself and learning to say what I need and want.

stylist secret: When I was in pre-op, the anesthesiologist came into my room to introduce himself. He asked me if my hair was my natural color and I said yes. I asked him if it was true what they say about red heads...that we are unicorns. And he said yes, it's true. I knew it. :) Little known fact- it takes MORE anesthesia to keep redheads under during surgery.

Crazy, right?

The anesthesiologist and I (and my baked potato blanket!)

stylist tip: Do what makes you feel good. Two days before my surgery, I got a manicure and a pedicure (no polish, just buffed). The day of my surgery, I did my hair (my normal flat iron waves) before going to the hospital. All of this made me feel good. I knew I wouldn't be able to do much after surgery and I wanted to feel the best I could.

Day 1 of recovery!

Making very slow laps around the house.

My hair looks pretty good, right? So glad I curled it! LOL

MY PSA: Go to the doctor. Ask questions. Be seen. Be heard. You are your best advocate. Pay attention to your body. You don't need to apologize for how you feel- physically or mentally. If you don't like your doctor, find another one. Just go and speak up.

I have really felt the love and support during this and am so thankful for all of my friends and family and of course, Stella. What makes you feel strong? What's your mantra? Also, if anyone has any good chemo recovery tips, let me know!

Thanks for reading! Until next time...cheers! xo tina

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