Do Epic Stuff! A warrior’s mindset

At 41 years old, as a CEO, avid mountain bike racer, and mother of infant twins, I was struck with an aggressive form of breast cancer. Now 6 years later, I have battled cancer twice and survived 3 grueling years of chemo, 6 weeks of radiation, and lots of speed bumps and procedures, enough to make anyone’s head spin. I credit my extraordinary mental & physical resilience to my integrated healthcare strategy that blended naturopathic medicine and allopathic medicine.

Choose a Power-Packed Team

Victoria on one of her mountain bike journeys

When I had the wind taken out of me with a cancer diagnosis, I decided on what mattered most to me and wrote it down. I then jumped into action to seek out the doctors who would form “my team”. After 23 interviews, I had made little progress, because most didn’t align with my strategy nor understand or agree with my mindset.

Discover more about Victoria’s Journey at the Institute for Natural Medicine.

The most pivotal appointment I had was with Dr. Daniel Rubin in Scottsdale, AZ, a naturopathic doctor who focuses on oncology support. He was knowledgeable about every aspect of my blood work and the first doctor to clearly articulate how serious my cancer was and how aggressive I would need to be to beat it. He also understood how important it was for me to be able to keep running, biking, and chasing my twin infants around throughout treatment. He was an advocate for my entire being – body, and mind. We worked together to accomplish our goals physically and mentally.

Do What Warriors Do!

Fighting any fight isn’t about 1 win, it’s about consistency, resilience, and showing up in an epic way every step of the battle. 2020 is a great example for anyone fighting to avoid COVID, fighting to survive COVID, or thriving through the painful side effects of the pandemic (financial, economic, physical, mental). It isn’t about making it through a few weeks, it’s about making it through a couple of years of this journey and doing it with a warrior mindset.

Early in her treatment, Victoria and her children

What do warriors do?

Just show up – The road is long and as I learned many cancer patients just stop showing up to specific treatments because they take a physical and mental toll. It’s easy to say “well, what if I just missed one radiation treatment?” and it isn’t about missing one, it’s about not allowing yourself to say you’re done until you’ve finished the work. It’s about the cumulative effort. If you say it’s ok to skip one treatment, you’ll find ways to skip more. If you miss one day of exercise, you’ll feel it’s ok to skip another. Warriors don’t do this. They reliably #justshowup

Victoria and family – Living Life Loudly

Exercise Every Day – Read this as move every day. You don’t have to be a runner or a cyclist, but you do need to incorporate movement of at least 30 to 60 minutes every day of your life or at least of your journey. The best thought leaders on science of happiness have shared the single most impactful thing you can do to keep a positive happy engine running in you is exercise. If you stay on the couch, then you need to get rid of the couch! To ensure I was exercising every day, I signed up for monthly races. Throughout my breast cancer battle(s) I completed a half marathon, dozens of mountain bike races, and five 24-hour mountain bike races, and even hit a personal best while on the hardest forms of chemo. Warriors realize their weaknesses and shore them up by putting in place accountability partners or apps to ensure compliance. That is exactly what I had to do! I use an app called Strava, I used Facebook posts daily of my exercise, and I used teammates and my husband to keep me moving every day. If someone is expecting you, it is much harder to skip a day.

Choose Joy – This is about consciously choosing to cut out anything negative in your life and choosing consciously to seek out humor and happiness. What I realized when I looked at my days is that the news never uplifted me, so I cut it out. I had relationships in my life that provided me only anxiety or sadness, so I cut those out. I infused excerpts of gratitude into my daily routine, found podcasts of inspiration and discovered thought leaders on the science of happiness. I made room for enjoying a cup of coffee peacefully in my favorite places and I made time for my family and for enjoying the screams and screeches of pure joy from my little kids. I transitioned from “finding one reason to smile every single day” to “find one person to give a smile to every day”. Once I made that shift, joy was all around.

Give Give Give – When you choose to uplift human dignity and do something for someone else, something incredible happens in your mind and in turn it releases endorphins that creates a smile on your heart (and probably on your face). We have so many opportunities right now to do something about the neighbor who can’t go grocery shopping, the one who seems lonely through this COVID battle, or a friend who could just use a note to remind them that they are strong enough to endure this pandemic. When you look around to help someone else, you quickly forget your own pain/anguish. Uplift someone today…not tomorrow.

Live Life Loudly – Eat the cake! This is about choosing deliberately that today will be epic. It’s about declaring that you are going to be epic and do epic stuff. Choose to learn something new. Go on a new adventure, drive a different route, or just put your pants on with a different leg going in first. Change up your routine, make a meeting more fun by asking everyone a hilarious question, be a little unpredictable and passionately be creative. It sounds a bit manic doesn’t it? It is about living every day as if it was your last and I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t take that one last day and waste it with the mundane. I know you can’t avoid the basics in life, but you can choose to make them more fun or turn them into a game. Living Life Loudly is about putting a little vacation into every day of your life to invigorate you for this warrior mindset needed to battle on tomorrow.

Stay Healthy California & Fight Forward Like a Warrior!

Victoria Cramer on Swell

 #beresilient #choosejoy #livelifeloudly #doepicstuff #exercise #uplifthumandignity #givegivegive

Victoria Cramer

www.vpstrategies.com

victoria@vpstrategies.com

Book: “Living Life Loudly – How Will You Face Your Speed Bump?” – Find it on Amazon

You can listen to Victoria share her voice and her story on Swell.