Memories Without Photos

No Pictures
Many cancer patients document their journeys either by writing in their journals/blogs or by taking pictures of themselves while going through treatments.
An ex-boss of mine always used to say "document everything because if it is NOT documented, it did not happened."

Well, I have to say, I didn't do neither. I didn't write about it nor I took pictures of myself while in treatment. Yet, I know it did happen. I have the memories and the scars.

Until recently, I didn't think about it. It was until my friend, Rebecca Aguilar, asked me if I had pictures of me at the hospital while getting chemotherapy and radiation. I had to think for a second, and it dawned on me that I had none.

Three Photos

Picture #1~ Wristband
I went through my photo albums and I found only three pictures documenting the most horrible dark time in my life.  I found a picture of the wristband that was given to me every time I had to get radiation treatment, which was everyday for seven weeks.  I have exactly 35 wristbands.

The second picture I found really warmed my heart.  It was a picture of my husband  in the waiting room of the hospital, where he sat everyday for 35 days waiting for me to get my radiation treatments.

Picture #2 ~ My husband Freddie
The third picture was of the office of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the NY Presbyterian Hospital.  A place that became like my second home for 35 days.  I got to know every doctor, every nurse, every receptionist and every technician.

Memories for a Lifetime

I guess these three pictures tell a story, but memories of my journey are embedded in my mind and in my heart. I remember what it took to get out bed every single day, I remember every machine used on me, I remember every needle that went through my body.

Picture #3 ~ Dept. of Radiation Oncology
Looking back now, I kind of  regret that I did not take any pictures, but at the time it wasn't even a thought.  I was fighting a battle.  Pictures, journals, blogs can be destroyed or lost, but your memories will live with you for a lifetime.

"For some, life lasts a short while, but the memories it holds last forever." ~ Laura Swanson


Editor's Note:  This post was written by me and posted on my other blog, The Voices of Two Mujeres, awhile back, but I wanted to share it again.

Zumba® and Spinning® for a Newbie

One of the requirements of being on the "weight loss challenge program", that I've been a part of since January, is to participate in several exercise classes every week. I've never been a fan of exercise classes, I've only worked out by myself either on the treadmill or the stationary bike.

I found myself forced to go out of my comfort zone and called myself a "VIRGIN" since I've never taken any of these special classes before. Keeping an open mind, I had to set myself out to go and explore the different classes they offered.

I'm sure everyone has heard of Zumba®.  Zumba® is a Latin dance inspired fitness program that incorporates hip hop, samba, salsa, merengue, mambo and some martial arts.  So I figured I'm Latina, I like to dance, how hard can it be??  Needless to say I found out real fast.

Zumba®
Arelis Ramirez
Here comes Master Zumba®/Toning instructor, Arelis Ramirez.  I have heard she was 50 years old with five children (I'm sure she doesn't mind me sharing these facts).  At first glance she is a small framed woman that does not look 50 years old and by no means a mother of five.  So, we start the class, and in about less than five minutes this woman is moving parts of the body that I never thought you can move. She becomes an electric human showing her passion and addiction to this kind of workout.  At this time, I'm forced to introduce myself to muscles I didn't even know I had and at times it becomes brutal. 

As fun as it may seem, Zumba® gives you a great cardio workout making you sweat your butt off especially when you have someone like Arelis frequently screaming, "move those hips!!!" and whose favorite sayings are: "Don't move in this class, like if you're shopping at the supermarket." "Eso!!!"

Spinning®
Like I said before most of my workout had been on a stationary bike.  So I thought I had an advantage if I took spinning. You do spinning® on a  bike, right?  Boy was I wrong!!!

The Spinning® bike is not just any bike! It isn’t like your exercise bike that has been collecting dust in the basement or that you use to hang up your clothes.     The spinning® bike might look like any ordinary exercise bike, but the big difference is the tension knob, which allows spinning® to be an aerobic exercise routine.

The instructor for this class is Master Spinner #KillerKetsy (I have written about #KillerKetsy before) who is also my trainer.  Let me be brief as to the experience of being on the bike for the first time by just saying it treated me exactly  like what I had called myself ~ A Virgin.   After the class was over I didn't know what part of my butt hurt the most and my legs failed to hold me up.  I must say the first time it's an unforgettable experience of pain and exhaustion.

Many people have told me that they find Spinning® boring and feel like they are not going anywhere.  Well, I have to say to those people-- Duh!! It's still a stationary bike-- but you have to use your imagination and imagine you going up and down hills on a beautiful day listening to the beat of the music that helps you ride towards your goal.  Boring??  Then, you have not taken a class with #KillerKetsy (my special name for my trainer). You don't have time to feel bored because you are too busy feeling the pain of her workout. 

Zumba® vs. Spinning®
I must confess that after my initial impression of both of these classes, I have fallen in love with both of them.  Each one gives me a feel of a different accomplishment.  Perhaps it has something  to do with the instructors that I am fortunate to have.  Not only do they care, but they show their dedication and radiate their passion of their tool to help us accomplish our goals.

I am hooked now.  I take Zumba® twice a week and do Spinning® three times a week and love it and most important I'm seeing the results.  But at the end of the day, like Richard Geer said to Julia Roberts on Pretty woman describing opera, "people either love it or they hate it.  If they love it, they will always love it and if they hate it, they'll learn to appreciate it, but it will never become part of their soul." 

P.S. -  I have started taking Yoga® and Meditation classes- so stay tuned......

"We may affirm absolutely that nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion". ~ George Hegel

Related Links to My Weight Loss Journey:
I Won Ketsy and Lost Pounds - Part III 
I Won Ketsy and Lost Pounds - Part II 
I Won Ketsy and Lost Pounds - Part I
Running Like A Diva