A few years ago, I found myself in the middle of the battle for my life against breast cancer. Lucky for me, I found a dynamite oncology team that saw me through some of the darkest days of my life. Cancer was finally a big enough brick upside my head to take charge of my health – to manage stress, to slow down, and to truly care for myself body, mind and spirit.
After my surgery (and the blessing of early detection and treatment), everything in my life changed for the better. I was strong, healthy, and full of resolve. But I learned the battle to stave of recurrence is a life-long process. I also learned that for estrogen-receptive positive cancers such as the one I had, excess body fat is the enemy. I had plenty of body fat to spare thanks to years of making my work and not my health a priority.
My chief oncologist gave me a choice to shed the excess weight (at least 100 pounds), or to go on hormone-blocking adjuvant therapy for 10 to 15 years. The side effects of that therapy are horrendous, so I immediately accepted his challenge. He gave me one year to meet the challenge. I did it – dropping nearly 140 pounds. I was on top of the world and feeling amazing, looking forward to my reconstruction surgeries, to optimum health and a cancer-free future. Little did I know that cancer had other ideas.
Soon after receiving my healing, I found myself facing cancer again from the flip-side – in the caretaker role – as three of my most beloved people and one very fine dog battled cancer one right after the other over a very short period of time – each literally passing away in my arms or holding my hand.
As if these losses were not enough to send me over the edge, within weeks of losing the love of my life and my beautiful fur baby I underwent a total hysterectomy. My subsequent descent into darkness was accelerated as the monster of grief atop the significant hormonal changes simply overwhelmed me. It was as if my life had stopped. As a busy executive who owns and runs her own company, stopping was out of the question! Yet I could not seem to find any way forward – I was stuck in a very sad, lonely and discouraging dark place.
For nearly a year I struggled. I stopped caring about anything and everything in my world, and I felt as though I had one foot nailed to the floor while the other drove me in endless circles that led nowhere. I even stopped doing the things requisite for optimum health and more importantly, to stave of cancer recurrence in my own body. As the scale crept up 31 extra pounds, I realized that if I didn’t get some control over my emotions and actions, I’d jeopardize everything good in my world, including my chance at a cancer-free future. I would also face the prospect of going on horrid drug therapies. Something in me finally snapped, and I started searching for options to help me get unstuck.
I reached out a dear friend who ironically was in a similar health and emotional crisis, and we both agreed we were not equipped to handle our situations without assistance. So together we researched various wellness centers, and we landed on the Movara website. We made some calls to inquire more about the program and were given an overview of the format and focus of the program. That program sounded exactly like what we were looking for – a program that tackled the mind, body, spirit and relationship connection, and that used a multi-faceted approach to integrate that connection. Together, my friend and I chose to make time for our health, to adjust our schedules to depart immediately, and to put our health as priority. We each signed up for a two-week stay, which we just completed. Both of us cannot wait to go back!
The Movara program proved to be exactly what I needed to reconnect with myself and get back in touch with that healthy, happy woman who has yet much to give in this life. The mere physical nature of the program was instrumental in helping me work through my grief and sadness and anger – as I pushed my body, I found myself working through the emotional roadblocks that were keeping me stuck. The physical release, along with the outstanding one-on-one coaching and counseling allowed for the subsequent emotional release that is crucial for moving forward. My counselors helped me to realize how much having a plan of action to address life’s challenges is imperative to handling the inevitable roadblocks that pop up over the course of life – and that to prepare that plan during times of clarity will help me to move through any challenges more readily and without further detriment to my health.
After the two-week stay at the resort, I found my physical changes were terrific – I lost lots of body fat, reduced several inches, and increased my lean body mass beyond my expectations. However, the physical results are not as important to me as the changes to my emotional state and sense of wellbeing after my stay. Being in Movara’s safe, supportive environment with so many other people who are also working through their own life trials helped me to accept that on this journey, we all experience times when we think all is lost. That is the perfect time to reach out and get found – and for me, the Movara program helped me do just that.
The Movara staff in all departments is terrific – kind, helpful and supportive. From the guides to the food service workers to the housekeeping staff, masseuses, and front of office staff – all were just great. The trainers were tough – driving you to work harder and to test yourself. You will find lasting quotes from the trainers peppering your thoughts post-stay as you resume your workouts with quotes such as “…. Are you excited?” as you face down that last treading segment or repetition on the weights.
The professional coaches and counselors were open and caring, and shared their own struggles and perspective and offered fantastic ideas and actions that are doable and realistic. The chefs worked magic with healthful, low-calorie meals packed with nutrition and flavor. The rooms were clean and comfortable. The structure of the program is outstanding and keeps you busy all day, with enough time for relaxation and reflection but no enough time for trouble! Finally, the surroundings could not be more incredible for hiking, biking, kayaking and walking – St. George and the surrounding areas are beautiful and have a magical spirit all their own that are healing and comforting. You can see in the photograph below from one of my hikes that the spirits were in tow along my journey!
I would highly recommend the Movara program. If you are struggling with emotional issues, grief, overwhelm, food issues, too much stress – whatever challenge you’re facing, or if you just need with to reconnect with yourself – this program could change your life – I know it certainly has changed mine and I cannot wait to go back to Movara. I am so grateful to Michelle and her team for the incredible resource that is Movara!