kayaking at Wekiva Springs

Survivors Among Us

It was a picture perfect days as we kayaked in the Wekiva Springs State Park. Great temperature, which in Florida means not high humidity, crystal clear water to watch the otter play under my kayak, a memory making experience with my husband and son.  I began to notice other people on the river, families, young adults, church groups, seniors with their pets in life jackets.  Everyone there to enjoy the day after Thanksgiving, a time to exercise after a meal with way too many calories.  Which was a good thing because lately there has been a lot of information concerning risk reduction for the recurrence of breast cancer.  Research is showing that exercise and healthy eating may reduce the risk of recurrence.  Information that we have always known, but has a greater significance when you are a cancer survivor and you are being encouraged to maintain a healthy weight.  What better way to exercise than to be active on the river with your family.  And that seemed to be what I was witnessing with the surprising  number of survivor shirts proudly worn from the races and walks that they had done for themselves or family members. 
Healthy eating is just one part of taking control of your life.  Stressful situations affects us and it is necessary to find ways to relax and renew.  Like many parents, I survived turbulent times with a highly oppositional teenager, a period that lasted from the age of 12 to well past his teens.  Brad Paisley’s son about the moment he realizes he is going to have a son is 100% accurate.  They will love and hate you and you flow with the emotions and stay true to the course. So you can imagine what a State of Bliss it was to enjoy the moment on the river with him and realize what a wonderful adult he became. Made the time on the river more meaningful. My mantra was “this moment is precious,” which each stroke of the paddle.
As I moved with the current, I began to realize that we are all survivors of life and we all need to return to the quiet of a gentle kayak ride, or any movement meditative moment to regenerate.  Even though I live with chronic pain, I discovered pure bliss as I glided through the water, nothing hurt, it was amazing.  Befriending life is living it to the fullest, the good and bad days, hopes and dreams.  I may not be able to kayak all day, but I can enjoy being on the water for 2 hours, and look forward to another day. 
 Survivors continue to be around me at the Space Coast Marathon/Half Maraton two days later. I was the cheering squad of one for my husband,and I was there bright and early, which meant I got to take glorious sun rise photos. Waiting for my husband to get his award,  I noticed survivors of breast cancer at the event.  With their compression sleeves on, they were not going to miss out on the running experience that they had loved before treatment.  It was very inspiring to see that they had trained and accomplished this strenuous event.  With their families cheering them on, it was a moment to remember.
Talking to a patient about being on the water when I returned to work, my stories reminded her of her times kayaking. Sharing favorite places to kayak was a way to connect with her and I hope allowed her to think about precious moments that will happen again