Ayn’s Gratitude Challenge 2016

August 21, 2016 all-day America/Winnipeg Timezone
Mont Tremblant Ironman
It’s been 5 years since my last round with malignant melanoma. The first diagnosis came when I was 38. Thankfully it turned out to be early stage, although it took a few months to confirm. I had regular skin checks after because I fell into the classic high risk category – a fair skinned redhead. As a teenager I was always so proud I could tan – how many redheads do you know that can actually tan? It was a badge of honour! Little did we know all that time in the sun significantly increase my risk for a cancer that, if not caught early, could be fatal. Fast forward two years…a mole that looked suspicious and had changed rapidly. CCMB immediately biopsied it, but unfortunately it came back as invasive. Two more surgeries and a battery of tests resulted in a diagnosis of stage 3 melanoma. Chemotherapy started and then stopped because my body couldn’t handle the toxicity, multiple infections, and the development of secondary lymphedema in my leg – a chronic condition which brings it’s own set of challenges and risks. It was a difficult year for me and those that care about me. But it was also the year that reinforced my belief that there are silver linings in almost every dark cloud. I wouldn’t wish cancer on anyone, but there have been too many silver linings along the way to count. My life is far from perfect but it’s been quite the ride and I wouldn’t have it any other way! To celebrate, and to honour those who’s lives have also been touched by cancer, I’ve signed up to do an Ironman! It’s crazy and awesome all at the same time, with a little bit of delusional thrown in for good measure! My goals? 1. To complete the Ironman in Mont Tremblant on August 21 – smiling, without hurting my body, and with the love of my family and friends surrounding me (who I will apologize to now, and throughout, for all of the training time I will be putting in). 2. To raise awareness about melanoma. How to minimize your risk and what to do if you have concerns. Yes, there may be a soapbox, but just remember it comes from a place of love 🙂 1. To raise $5,000 for CancerCare Manitoba Foundation. $1,000 for every glorious year. Thank you for coming along on this journey of life with me. I am filled with gratitude for the love and laughter that surrounds me.