Moving and meeting memorable Marys

There are a lot of memorable Marys in my life.

My mother’s name is Mary. There’s Mary Bo Peep. That Mary all those people pray to and that sometimes appears on trees.

But today I was quite fortunate to have met another memorable Mary. We only spoke on the phone 15 minutes and seven seconds but I haven’t been able to forget the things she said to me.

Mary is 63 and was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago. Around the same time, her sister was diagnosed with colon cancer.

“I am really pleased that this horrible experience with my sister and I having cancer at the same time has brought our family closer. We’re all so far apart geographically,” she told me.

It’s not often you hear the word pleased and having cancer in the same sentence. But she told me at the beginning of the interview, she has always been an optimistic person.

“I don’t really think that I’ve changed a whole lot. I’ve always been an optimistic person and I still am. You tend to value each day a little more than you used to. You get the possibility of mortality every day and that’s frightening but then you realize you can certainly still fight.”

This sort of positivity is truly impressive. And it reminded me of my cousin’s. She was the exact same way. I swear this girl would pretty much have parties to cheer her friends up about the cancer she was fighting. She basically had a “beat cancer” campaign that politicians and vegans everywhere would be jealous of.

In a year, I’ll be her age.

But she inspires me all the time. In the same way, Mary inspired me today.

I felt a bop on my head and like the lights had finally come on when Mary was talking to me about going through chemo. How she had to go through it for six months in the beginning, and then on-and-off after that. She talked about the things you realize.

“Chemo is very hard. You don’t know what tired is.”

I asked her what advice she would give to new patients. At the very end of her answer, it sounded as if her tone had changed from giving advice to new patients to just giving advice.

“And I would say, do as much physical exercise as you can do. If all you can do is walk to the mailbox, then you walk there. Because the day after that, you’ll be able to walk to the corner. And the day after that, you will be able to walk around the block, and that helps a lot with your mental outlook.”

I just moved to Riverside, California for a new job and I hadn’t written since my move. I had thought about it a lot but picking up your life and moving to a new city where you have never been and you don’t know anyone and starting a new job in the same circumstances, well. That makes a person tired. Or so I thought, until today.

I hope some Mary inspires you someday.


Do you listen to your body?

My first job out of college and three months into it I’m offered a free massage.

No, we don’t have any openings right now, but I’ll keep you posted.

I’ve never been a big fan of random people touching me. I get my nails done and still think it’s awkward that someone has to touch my feet.

But sometimes your body screams at you and you should listen.

I signed up for my free massage because I started this new, more intense, workout. Hugo Rivera’s Body Reengineering Transformation

It’s not as ridiculous as it sounds, but whoever invented chest dips is probably a cruel, sad person.

With this workout and training for a 5k, The Warrior Dash in ATX, my body has been in some pain. Pain in places I didn’t think I could feel pain.

Along with today’s massage, the good folks at Lordex Spine Institute gave me an overview of my alignment. I’m basically on my way to becoming the hunchback of Norte Dame.

I went ahead and made an appointment to see the chiropractor. The woman handling my appointment said there were treatments that would permanently heal my back pain.

I’d never looked at the pains and creeks in my body as “fixable”. I just figured they were a part of life and reassured me that I wasn’t sitting in front of the couch too long. I had even come to terms with stress being a factor in back pain, headaches and tension. But now someone was claiming I was wrong and magical hands could fix this.

I’m only 22 years old and I just wonder when should I stop sucking it up and actually listen to my body? How long did it take you?