Learn to Love Yourself: One Woman’s Personal Journey of Overcoming Stress & Finding Joy Again
My name is Danell Fowler.  When my Mom was diagnosed with uterine cancer, she had a hysterectomy and that was that.  Or so we thought.  A little while later, the cancer had spread to her peritoneal lining and the cancer journey didn’t stop for many, many years until her passing 2 years ago.  But that is her story, and this is mine, however, they intertwine.

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Feb 26, 2020

After genetic testing was done, it was determined by 3 different doctors that I should have a hysterectomy as well if I wanted to avoid the same cancer.  Happy 40th birthday to me.  My organs were gone which put me into automatic menopause and a synthetic hormone to help regulate my body.  So as my body was trying to figure out what was what, my Mom was having very serious surgeries and was in and out of the hospital more times than I can remember.

After genetic testing was done, it was determined by 3 different doctors that I should have a hysterectomy as well if I wanted to avoid the same cancer.  Happy 40th birthday to me.  My organs were gone which put me into automatic menopause and a synthetic hormone to help regulate my body.  So as my body was trying to figure out what was what, my Mom was having very serious surgeries and was in and out of the hospital more times than I can remember.

She was on various floors at different times for a wide variety of ailments all the while just trying to stay alive.  My sister and I did the best we could with helping her and my Dad while raising our own young families.  In the midst of that time, I lost myself along the way.  I developed habits such as making pasta meals multiple times a week because they were the easiest things to resort to when time is limited.  And I would shop for “treats”, like donuts and ice cream, for my daughters to show my affection since I felt like I was only half present in those years.  And I would eat those things, too.  I started gaining weight.  When that happens, people notice.  When you gain weight, the “up and down” stares happen but no one says a word.  I heard two women chatting behind me at a school function say, “I think she has gained weight”.  I turned around just to see the one’s nose wrinkle up and when she saw I made eye contact, she quickly looked away.

And then, I needed blood pressure medication.  And then I needed a CPAP machine to get decent sleep at night.  And then I was in the ER with chest pains and the lab technicians couldn’t read my blood work because of the high presence of lipids (fats) and I was put on triglyceride medication and when they put me in a hospital room instead of sending me home, I had a very sweet nurse attending to my needs and I kept thinking that I knew her from somewhere.  She told me about herself and that she wasn’t married and all about her niece and nothing was ringing a bell as to why she looked so familiar and THEN it hit me.  She was one of my Mom’s nurses.  I don’t know for which stay because there were so many, but it didn’t matter.  It stopped me in my tracks.  When the doctors allowed me to go home the next day, I called my girlfriend, Jenn, who at the time was a manager at a local gym.  I thought I needed a trainer.  I needed SOMETHING, and I needed it desperately.  She listened intently and let me talk and then she told me I didn’t need a trainer.  My body needed a re-do and needed to re-start all over again.  And I thought she was right, but how in the world do you do THAT?  She sent me to Rob, who became my coach with the 20/30 Fast Track program.  I started on November 29th, just in time for the Christmas season.  I am embarrassed to say that I needed to learn how to eat, but I did.  I learned a lot about who I am at those Christmas parties where I wasn’t eating.  I was drinking water.  I ate before I went to every party, but I realized I am a “grazer”.  If I walked by cheese and bologna, I would grab some, every single time.  No matter what table I happened to be walking next to, I would eat the food.  I eat socially.  I eat when I’m bored.  I eat when I’m stressed.  I love food, which is why I appreciate this program. I didn’t want to drink shakes for meals.  I wanted real, honest-to-goodness food.

Through 20/30, I have my life back.  I know how to eat. I know the portions I can eat.  I know how much water my body needs a day.  My triglyceride numbers went from 519 to 96 in less than a month after being on the program!!  I ran from my car into the mall last night and wasn’t out of breath.  I can go into dressing rooms and like what I see.  I am looking to get off my CPAP machine.

People are complimenting me on my hair and my clothes and my weight loss.  I have learned my family can eat healthy and be happy; they don’t need “treats” from me.  And while my Mom’s nurse and then mine for a day was a very sweet woman, I don’t plan on seeing her again in the hospital.  I still miss my Mom and will continue to, but I am grieving in a healthy fashion now.  I plan on staying this healthy road because I know better now.  And when you know better, you can be better.  There is no looking back.  Why would you?

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