My logo for Cultivate Wellness incorporates the lotus flower, which symbolises growth, potential, health and beauty. The conditions that produce a lotus flower are adverse and muddy, and this is an appropriate metaphor for Cultivate Wellness. A beautiful life and growth are not always from ideal circumstances, and like the lotus flower, I have grown through adversity to be who I am today.
After Dad passed away, Annette’s cancer returned and this began genetic testing within the family. I tested positive for the BRCA 1 gene putting me at a much higher risk of getting breast and/or ovarian cancer than the average woman. I went straight into survival mode. I made appointments with doctors that specialised in the gene to gather information about my options. With information overload, the question was, “Do I or don’t I have my breasts and ovaries removed?” After all, I had finished with them, but they were a part of me. They were what made me a woman.
I remember the moment I made the decision. I was home alone playing out a conversation in my mind, telling my girls that I had cancer. It was at that moment I saw my situation as a gift.
A gift of never having to have that conversation.
A gift to make choices that Margy and Annette could not.
A gift to see my children and their children grow up without the constant worry of getting cancer.
Who wants to live with that over their heads forever? I sure didn’t.
In December 2009 I had a full hysterectomy and in March 2010 a double mastectomy with reconstruction occurring over the next six months. Whilst going through my surgery was a very emotional time for me, nothing could have prepared me for the fact that Sarah and Vanessa, at 19 years old, decided to be tested to see if they carried the mutated gene. Nessie tested negative whilst Sarah tested positive. Sarah decided at 21 years old to have a double mastectomy and reconstruction. I initially had very mixed feelings, but given both Margy and Annette were so young when diagnosed, the reality soon set in that it could one day be my daughter. To say I was extremely proud of the way my family rallied in support of Sarah and her decision is an understatement.
Navigating my own health concerns, and those of the people I loved most inspired me to pursue my own health & wellness journey. In 2012 I took up running and would run up to five mornings a week. Over the next four years I tried outdoor fitness groups, crossfit and personal training. I changed the way I cooked and what I ate. I started to feel and see results both physically and mentally. I loved learning how to move my body through functional training.
I gave up my administration job in 2016 to help take care of my elderly in-laws. This change allowed me the time to start studying. I obtained several health, wellness and fitness certificates and I continue to study to increase my knowledge and develop my skills as a trainer.
In July of 2017 I become a nanny for the first time to my beautiful granddaughter Olivia (or Olly as we call her). It is amazing how much joy someone so small can bring to a family. She is the apple of my eye and is surrounded by so much love. Olly is an absolute treasure and has such a beautiful soul. It is my wish that with five daughters I am surrounded by a tribe of grandchildren. I love my children so dearly but to love a grandchild adds another dimension again.
Isn’t Olivia just the cutest? She is the apple of my eye.
I began Cultivate Wellness in late 2019. It is my goal to create a community environment for people of all ages, fitness levels and walks of life to train and exercise in. An environment where clients will feel safe, secure, comfortable in their own skin and supported by those around them – removing any intimidation they may otherwise have felt.
Making positive lifestyle changes takes time and discipline. I am still making changes. Progress takes time. Changing habits takes time. Falling off the wagon is normal. What matters is that you get back up, dust yourself off and continue on. Stay positive, consistent and be patient with yourself and great things will happen.