Back in September the first of our beautiful daughters was married. Sarah married her childhood sweetheart Cody. They have been together for 10 years and have grown together. Cody has been by Sarah’s side for the past 10 years and was a massive support to her during her surgery 5 years ago. They have such a beautiful and fun loving relationship. Their wedding day was amazing. Everything was just perfect including the weather. Three weeks prior to their wedding they told their families that they were having their first baby. We were all so happy. Three months prior to their wedding we started what we call ‘family sessions’ at Cultivate Wellness. These sessions are done 4 times a week and they are for both our family and Cody’s family. The banter and fun at these sessions is so much fun. Michelle, Codys mum, just loves them. She especially loves wall sits -NOT. We have a lot of fun and not everyone turns up every day but for the most part it is a full house on Monday and Thursday nights. Cultivate Wellness is all about family and we pride ourselves on making everyone feel like part of the Cultivate Wellness family.
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.
For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Kathy McAneney and I am 52 years old. I have a passion for health and wellness. I love functional fitness training and have a passion for cooking and eating healthy food. I am a mother, a wife, a nanny, a daughter and a sister. Family is everything to me.
I was born and raised on the northern beaches of Sydney. I am the second youngest of five. I have three older siblings, two brothers and a sister. There is a seven year age gap between me and the next eldest, then an 18 month gap between myself and my baby sister, Margaret (or Margy as we call her). Margy and I have always been very close as we grew up together. By the time we were approaching high school, our three older siblings were off doing their own things. I was a typical teenager; I knew everything and couldn’t be told otherwise! My mother will tell you that I was her worst teenager but I think my second oldest brother takes that award. The jury is still out!
I was working in Grace Bros (now known as Myer) when I met and married my first husband in 1991. We moved to Warren in Central NSW two weeks after we were married and stayed for five years. What a culture shock for a northern beaches girl! In 1994, whilst living in Warren our beautiful IVF twin girls, Sarah and Vanessa, were born. My kids are my world.
We left Warren and moved to Dunedoo for six years, and then onto Dubbo in 2002 where I have lived ever since. Sadly, in 2004 my marriage ended, but we have remained great friends. I chose to stay in Dubbo so I could still be the hands on mum that I love to be. I had always worked in retail or office administration and I knew I wanted to do something more, I just didn’t know what that something was.
My sister Margy and my cousin Annette have both had to fight their individual battles with breast cancer. Watching people you love go through such a struggle is extremely difficult. Annette was in her late-twenties when first diagnosed and Margy in her mid-thirties; both far too young. As a big sister I always felt it was my job to protect Margy, however I soon realised that I was helpless in this situation other than to provide support and a shoulder when she needed it.
My Dad was diagnosed with Non Hodgkins Lymphoma at 61 years old and sadly we lost him in 2009. Losing him absolutely devastated me. Shortly before losing my Dad, I met my now husband, Brian. I am so pleased that my Dad and Brian had the opportunity to meet before Dad died. Brian has always been a constant support and rock for me. We married in 2015 and I now have five beautiful daughters.
I love this photo of my dad. That smile just melts my heart.
To be continued…