I named this site Happiness ~ Health ~ Yoga for a reason.  I have always felt that without health and happiness it can be a pretty big struggle.  I am immensely grateful for both.  Yoga has added a totally new dimension to this for me.  When I practice yoga, I feel fabulous… I want to keep coming back to my mat and feeling great.  This is what started a shift in how I eat and how I take care of myself.  Just because I practice yoga doesn’t mean I’m going to turn vegan and drive a prius!  I love yoga, I love practicing yoga but I still drive my kids and their friends around in my SUV, color my gray hair and cook a big juicy burger on the grill (just not for me anymore).  One major change occurred right before my fortieth birthday.  For our fortieth birthdays  (well not quite her’s, but I like to pretend we are exactly the same age) my best friend, Aimee (healthandwellnessjunkie.com to you), and I each, 4 months apart, got some pretty scary news.

Mine came first.  What I thought would be a little pre 40th birthday perk up (aka breast reduction/lift…shhh, we still aren’t telling Matt it was a reduction) turned into some of the scariest news of my life.  Upon returning to my doctor’s office for my post op unveiling, she greeted me with a card and an appointment that same day to see an oncologist/breast specialist at the Cancer Center at MGH.  Who knew that during any procedure, its routine to send out tissue for testing?  Rarely does it ever show anything, she said… Yeah, that’s reassuring, as I sit in a puddle of tears in her office.  She said the fact that it did show something for me, was something I wouldn’t have known about for a long time.  I felt like I had just been punched in the gut.  Ultimately, it gave us a heads up and an opportunity to take the bull by the horns.  Without boring you with all the initials and names and fast forward 4 years,  I am followed every 6 months with MRI/mammogram. I’m healthy, I cross my fingers every six months and move on.  Every morning I drink my green juice, I try to make the best choices I can and I thank my lucky stars for my health and happiness, and truly the ability to “let food be thy medicine”!

Aimee wasn’t as lucky.  Her news came a few months later, after feeling a lump in her breast.  It happened all at once, both in slow motion and like a lightning bolt…diagnosis, surgery, bilateral mastectomy, 4 months of chemo, radiation and reconstruction.  She was amazingly strong, smart and driven.  When the dust settled, hair growing back, energy coming back, daily life setting back in, Aimee was left with a plan to see her oncologist every few months and go about her life as normal.  Normal!?  How do you go back to normal after months and months of chemo, medicine, radiation all aimed at truly fighting for you life?  It just felt like letting her guard down… fight, fight, fight…now, just go about your business.  That wasnt good enough for Aimee and slowly we learned together how important what we put in our bodies is.  How empowering to make simple changes that fight cancer instead of feed it.

So the “health” part of this website is where I hope to share lots of healthy ideas, delicious recipes and the things I learn along my journey.  So today, I planted my kale and said thank you to Mother Nature for the ability to grow an abundance of food right in my own back yard and for the saggy, post baby boobs that my vanity may have just saved my life.  If you take anything from this, know that you don’t have to wait for a scare to make great changes that will leave you with more energy, feeling uplifted (no pun intended) and healthy.  Start small, add in some good, it will crowd out the bad!  Each choice means something.  Take it one choice, one moment at a time.  Each choice will either feed your health, or steal from it!

Wishing you Health, Happiness, Yoga and some perky green kale!

Love, Carlene

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