Monday, August 17, 2009


I got back from Canyon Ranch on Thursday night. What an amazing experience. I almost can't describe it in words. It is more than a spa. It is like whatever you want it to be. They have medical services, metaphysical services, exercise, some of the best food I have ever had, cooking classes, spa services, etc. It is also amazing on how well trained everyone is and the details they remember. A snack when you arrive, water in the van, and lunch to go when you leave. Everything is clean, but not antiseptic like a hospital. They really listen to what you want to get out of the program and strive to have your experience flow nicely no matter how long or short your stay. I am truly impressed. What I wanted to do was relax. Now, let's clarify....I am tired of "resting". I wanted relax now that I feel well. It is WAY different. You may think it is 6 degrees from the same thing, but those 6 degrees are HUGE. I also wanted to see what I could do physically. I am so tired of being told what I can't do. I had my basic restrictions going in. Now, I wanted to learn what I could do within those restrictions. To my surprise, I could do a lot and I wasn't as weak as I thought I was. So, my strength exercises apparently weren't so wimpy. I was also pretty flexible. I have tried through my treatment to keep up my stretching. I did all sorts of classes from yoga to gyrokenisis (sp). I did Yamuna body and foot rolling, strengthening class in a pool, and deep water aerobics, but we will get to that later.......okay, maybe now, Karissa convinced me that I could do deep water aerobics. I was like, "I am going to die and no one will notice. I will just be floating around dead and that will be it....I will have survived cancer only to die in water aerobics....." Yeah, so I was a little dramatic about the entire thing. I think sometimes Karissa tunes me out just like her kids, but that is another story. So, we went, and I was doing fine until........suddenly we were choosing teams and racing. Yep, racing. So, if you have read my blog, you know that I am just a itty bitty bit competitive. I wasn't teamed up with Karissa. I was teamed up with the INSTRUCTOR. Okay, so one of my restrictions is not to allow my heart rate to go over 65% of target for cardio. My heart took a beating in chemo. You see, with a port, the chemo is pumped directly into your heart where is is distributed to the rest of your body. Your heart gets 100% of the chemo all once, so for six months after chemo you have to take it easy. I was really good all week about monitoring my heart rate. I went on walks, strengthening classes, and swimming, all monitoring my heart rate. Then, this. Well, that precautionary stuff went TOTALLY OUT THE WINDOW. I know we didn't win, but I believe that we were not last. By the end, my heart was in my throat, I was breathing HARD and I was a little cross eyed. Karissa looked over at me and mouthed, "You okay?" All I could do was nod. I was better than okay. I did it. I didn't think I could do that. I had convinced myself that if my heart rate went up my heart would instantaneously explode in my chest. It didn't. It didn't even hurt and you know if was kinda like my heart said, "Oh yeah, that is what it is like!!!! HHHEEEEHAAAA!!!" I finished the class wanting to cry I was so happy, but that wouldn't be very normal. So, I held it back. In the end, lots of barriers were torn down for me at Canyon Ranch. I can walk two miles in the morning (at 6am no less), exercise for 2 to 3 hours after that, and still be standing. So, what Canyon Ranch showed me was all that there was available to me and what Karissa did was push me to experience it. Pretty cool, uh? Two of my favorite moments were, sitting on lounge chairs with umbrellas in the rain looking for Tarantulas to get a picture for Karissa's son and dinner on the last night. Karissa and I met this great woman that really is Karissa's twin. She lives in Toronto, is totally fit, has a great attitude, and is FUNNY. Her only flaw is the authors she reads, but I won't focus on that! At dinner, we were talking about Yoga and meditation. Karissa and this woman (who shall remain nameless) don't do either. Karissa tried a yoga class being the team player that she is, but I don't think she is going back. We discussed it for the appropriate amount of time deciding that she and Karissa will never really do meditation or yoga, but that I did find a class that does all of the good things of yoga and none of the mediation. They both kinda looked at me like I had six heads. I think I refuse to understand their need for constant cadio.....whatever...but I digress, anyway, another woman joined us and we started talking about the yoga again and she turns this woman and said, "You can't do yoga. Are you kidding me?!?!?! I knew that!" This first woman looked at me, I looked at her, and we burst out laughing. I haven't laughed that hard in a very long time. CLASSIC. There are more stories, but I won't bore you anymore maybe later. AAAHHHHH. Well, now I am home hanging on to the happy happy joy joy of Canyon Ranch. I am cooking their recipes - heck I am cooking, I am going for my walks, doing my strengthening on the off days, and yes, I am meditating (but I started that a while back). If we play our cards right, we will be back next year - to Mommy Camp. Love, Ang P.S. If you decide to go, I have one suggestion, when you eat, eat all the courses because everything is very well portioned (meaning small) and you will starve if you don't. We were lucky because my Uncle Allen and his wife Kat, sent us a cheese and fruit plate welcoming us to the desert (they lived in Tucson). THANK GOD because we would have starved the first couple days without it!!! THANK YOU ALLEN AND KAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Anonymous said...

Jealous...with a smile!

Love & Laughter,

Dawn Finlayson said...

Wonderful! So glad you had such a great experience - mentally and physically. I saw the boys at daycare last Mon/Tues and they were having a great time - although Mason looked at me like, "I think I know you, but not really sure.....". Very cute.

Unknown said...

You are so very welcome!
Can't wait to share with you the
story of trying to smuggle Champagne into that "very" healthy place!!
Hope to see you in September.
Love Uncle Allan & Kat

Patrickvashon said...

Your every impulse gratified, your every whim catered to, what's not to like? My question to you is: What is the difference between Canyon Ranch and Heaven? Are the meal portions bigger in Heaven?
Perhaps Champagne is served without the need to smuggle. It is not that you don't deserve it, you do. Your narration of joy has uncovered that which all of us try to keep hidden, Envy. Soon Canyon Ranch will be receiving inquiries from the Kent/Auburn area about rates and venues. You deserve the best and you came close to nirvana
with Canyon Ranch. love pat&mag

Anonymous said...

I'm smiling through my tears. Just picturing you there with your good friend and living life to the fullest.
Last week we were at Roche Harbor with friends. She was telling me about her amazing time at Canyon Ranch with her mother. I told her my friends was there right now!!! (Yes, you are my friend, even though we've never met) So after hearing her talk about it and then reading your post it just makes me smile!!! She said if I ever went that I should order two dinners because at the end of the day you are starving and there just isn't enough food, even though she said the food is amazing too.
Hope you are enjoying your walks and exercise.
Thinking of you,
Your unmet friend