I Love the Month of May! As a Mom, every day is Mother’s Day because being a Mom is the BEST and no one can explain how Amazing and Overwhelming the feelings are until one has actually held that baby. There is nothing else like it!! Hey Mom’s, I think that we could also acknowledge that it is a very challenging role too!! You dedicate your life to your kids and your family and there are days when it does truly feel overwhelming and quite a challenge!! Mom’s have a unique role as the Health Manager, Coach, Organizer, Life Educator and Chief Bottle Washer of the Home! Today, Dad’s do alot too to help but it seems that Mom’s, for the most part, are still greatly responsible for the kids. When one is faced with cancer, the stress of being there to oversee our kids lives and growth can become even more intense. So this month, I wanted to share with all of you 3 Mom’s Living Well with Cancer who I have admired as Amazing Role Models for Being their Best, Doing their Best and Surviving Well after Breast Cancer!
First, is my dear friend of over 35 years, Christy Flory, who was diagnosed with stage 1 Breast Cancer in 2017. We first met as young Oncology Nurses in Boston together…youth is a wonderful thing and looking back, Christy was always someone with a big smile, a warm heart, lots of positive energy and an encouraging presence on our floor!! Being bright and energetic, Christy quickly moved on to becoming a Dermatology Nurse Practitioner and she provided personalized, energetic and excellent care to her patients. With time, Christy would find her soulmate, Peter, and they are a great team devoting their energies to raising their daughter, Grace.
As Christy will attest, however, life is full of unexpected events, and last year she was diagnosed with breast cancer. It is much different being on the other side of the virtual patient bed however. It is never easy, and always a shock to hear that one has Cancer; as a Health Care Provider, it can be even more of a shock! After her diagnosis, Christy quickly mobilized her supports as she navigated the road to treatment and spent the next 6 months undergoing treatment all while caring for her 12 year old daughter, Grace! She always interjected humor into the situation and is now living her life one day at a time, having completed her treatment! Christy believes that genetics (her Mom and identical twin also had BC) contributed to her Breast Cancer. She also believes that continuing Small Group Weight/Cardio Training three times per week during Chemo and after surgery, and walking 10,000-15,000 steps per day has helped in her recovery and also to remain healthy and work towards healing every day! She has also found that being involved as a Survivor Offering Support (SOS) at her local hospital, and coaching/educating women via Breast Cancer Facebook Support Groups is therapeutic and healing for her. BEATABLE and TREATABLE is her motto! Being a true Champion of Good Health and Good Humor, Christy THANKS Breast Cancer for giving her an excuse to COLOR her HAIR a rich auburn red color…something she has always wanted to do but never did!! 🙂
Second, is my dear friend Kara Galvin whom I met through her work as a Certified Health and Wellness Coach. Kara is a bundle of energy as she coordinates working not only as a Health Coach, Adult Yoga Teacher, and Children’s Yoga Teacher as well as a Full Time Mom of a 3 year old!! She inspires women to “Eat Clean”, de-stress thru “Yoga” and get exercise thru the Family Hikes that she is organizing for her community over the summer! I have seen Kara go thru a Transformation in the last year or two and she is an Amazing Role Model for other Mom’s who are trying to find the balance between work, being a Mom and Managing one’s own Good Health!! Kara believes that decades of being a workaholic, too much processed foods and not enough self care contributed to her cancer diagnosis. To heal, she embraced as many healing modalities as possible including Yoga, Meditation, reiki, nature therapy and a complete re-prioritizing of her life. She quit her corporate job to become an entrepreneur in the health and wellness field. As Kara told me, “Cancer helped me to slow down and remember what’s really important: my faith, my health and my family & friends. Career had to take a back seat and her health and family were a major focus of her life. Kara describes that her husband, Dave, was her rock during treatment. As she says, “My husband did lots of hand holding and serious talks about treatment decisions at wee hours of the morning”. Check out her websites at: https://nopicklesplease.com and www.bStillCounseling.com
Third, is my dear friend, An-Thanh Pham whom I have known for over 25 years. She was originally from Hue, the city that was once the imperial city and capital of Vietnam. She first set sites on the United States when she was 13 years old. In college, she met her now husband, Chau Pham, and they have been a team for 28 years! They were blessed with two children that are now young adults. An-Thanh was my dental hygienist in Connecticut. She was one of the THE BEST dental hygienists I have ever had. She was so astute, so kind and gentle! For quite a while, we tended to live near each other out of coincidence. When my daughter was young, An-Thanh and her family would take care of my daughter at times when I had to work on the weekends. I always knew that my daughter was in great hands with them and their two children— they practically grew up together. An-Thanh is a very smart, athletic person; she has a true gift and passion for gardening. Her latest project was creating a Japanese Garden with her husband in their backyard!!!
Even though An-Thanh has led a healthy and active lifestyle, she was diagnosed with Breast Cancer (IDC) three years ago. She still considered herself lucky, nevertheless, to have had it detected early and that the treatments were not as involved. During treatments and recovery, however, she made it her goal to nourish her body with an even more wholesome diet in order to continue with another passion, playing tennis. Eating less red meat and processed foods; opting for more wild caught fish, fresh and organically grown vegetables. She has also made healthy eating a priority for her whole family. An-Thanh and her family not only believe in a healthy diet but also a fair amount of exercise to truly stay healthy and strong. They are regulars at their local gym, and they keep it interesting by doing a variety of exercises. Anything from swimming to indoor cycling, some weights, yoga and tennis. On days when the weather is nice, they take long bike rides or walks! An-Thanh has always struck me as an authentic person who is energetic, humorous, positive and adaptable to the circumstances of life. She is now a 3 year Survivor of Breast Cancer. Having been in Vietnam during the war, she feels that the environment, being exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam1, may have contributed to her breast cancer and feels that a positive outlook on life, a healthy and active lifestyle as well as the support of her family have contributed to her healing.
I think you will agree that these 3 Moms are Great Role Models of W.E.L.L.N.E.S.S. for themselves as well as their families. We honor them this month for their Example as True Champions of Health and Wish Them the Best Mother’s Day!