Renee Kingsley is a lawyer for Sirius FM, and the beautiful wife of our class member, Bill Kingsley, who usually attends the 6:30 pm class. The two of them have come to several happy hours and met lots of you here at CrossFit Odyssey. I started working privately with Renee about 3 years ago, and about 2 years ago her sister got and subsequently recovered from lymphoma cancer. Last fall Renee was diagnosed with breast cancer.
When I first started working with Renee, her knees hurt a lot and she could barely squat. We began squatting to a box and learning to sit back and load the heels to take pressure off the knees and over time her knees started to feel much better. Later on, she began having shoulder issues, which we believe came from sitting at a desk all day – especially once quarantine began and her desk moved home. We did a lot of band work and intense stretching to try to overcome the shoulder issues. Then came cancer.
Renee is not the kind of person to give in, so she faced the problem head-on. She opted to have a full mastectomy on the affected breast with a “Mommy Makeover”, where they take fat from the stomach area to reconstruct the breast with your own natural tissue. However, what really made her stand out in my mind was her preparation and recovery for surgery. Several months before her surgery she tried to dial in her diet and workout regularly so that she would be strong and healthy going in. Then we started very slowly back to workouts about 10 weeks after the surgery. Since then she has had to opt-out of workouts for a few other related surgeries and travel, but for the most part, she has been very good at staying consistent and working hard.
We all have obstacles in life that are going to hit us hard. How we approach those obstacles can define how the situation turns out. Facing your life obstacles head on and taking a concerted approach to deal with your situation gives you an incredible power over not only your outcome, but over your mental reaction to your outcome. Not everyone wins their battles – especially with something as daunting as cancer. We may not be able to entirely control the outcome, but we can control our reaction to it and out attitude about it.
Renee impressed me because she stayed positive throughout the process no matter what happened. Today Renee is wearing a bathing suit on the beaches of Florida and feeling and looking better than ever and owning her magnificent self! Congratulations, Renee, on your Journey to Extraordinary!