I met Michelle Wardle when I was working at Healthworks Peninsula back in early 2016. Michelle joined a Challenge I was running for Healthworks.
She had considerable physical challenges as she had a prolapse, so was unable to join the others in the exercises that they undertook. However something told Michelle to go forward with the challenge anyway and she turned up each and every week for the coaching and education portion of the session. When I took everyone else to train, Michelle would walk on the treadmill or ride on the stationary bike.
Michelle struggled with her mindset at the beginning. It was disheartening for her to miss out on exercising at the capacity she wanted to and she loved so much. She had always been active and had competed in Pole Fitness before her prolapse.
During the Challenge I did some one on one Coaching with Michelle when I witnessed her struggling. After this point Michelle’s demeanour seemed to lighten and brighten and she was able to move forward and achieve a substantial weight loss!
As Michelle had lost so much weight and was so lean, she discovered a lump in her breast not long before the Challenge was due for completion. Sadly the lump was diagnosed as breast cancer.
Michelle has shared her journey openly and honestly in full force. Not only that, she uses her own challenges to raise awareness for others in need by raising money for charities regularly as part of her participation in various events.
Michelle is an inspiration to many women going through this journey with Breast Cancer and other types of Cancer. I know she has inspired some of my own clients including another beautiful client and friend of mine on a similar journey.
This interview has been a long time coming and Michelle has come from strength to strength! She has honoured me with an insight into her journey so far.
Photo courtesy of photo courtesy of ‘Swim Ride Run Faster’.
Q. Tell me a bit about yourself..
I am 46, married with 2 children. I have prolapse and I have had breast cancer.
Q. What do you do for fun?
I love to do adrenaline activities like jumping off buildings.
Q. Tell us about how we first met and the events that led up to your diagnosis.
I had decided I wanted to loose a few kilos. I looked at Rischelle’s classes but I knew I could not do any of the boot camp activities as I have prolapse. I decided that I would join to go to her talks and to be accountable for turning up every week to step on the scales. At one point I was thinking of giving up as I would get upset that I could not do what everyone else was doing. It was then that Rischelle spoke to me one on one and encouraged me to continue. I am so grateful for doing the challenge as not only did I lose weight (especially on my boobs), I then discovered the lump as it was quite noticeable once I lost so much weight.
Q. What was your reaction when you first received the diagnosis?
Everything became “white noise”, I could not believe my diagnosis. I was fit, healthy and no family history of breast cancer.
Q. Can you tell me about your course for treatment?
I first had a mascectomy then followed by 16 rounds of chemo over 6 ½ months. I then had 25 rounds of radiation. I then had a prophylactic mastectomy and my ovaries removed.
Q. What/who has been the most important support since your diagnosis?
My husband and 2 girls were my rock. I also had so many family members and friends who helped in so many ways like frozen meals and transport to and from hospital visits.
Q. What is your number 1 health/fitness goal now?
To avoid processed foods where I can and eat more vegetarian organic meals. My fitness goal is to stand at the start line of the Noosa Triathlon in 2 weeks time and do as much of it as I can.
Q. What is your biggest challenge right now?
I now have a chronic condition that has developed as a result of cancer treatment. This is my biggest challenge as it has compromised my use of a pessary which is nessessary for me to use while exercising due to my prolapse. This issue, combined with recover from my last mastectomy and abdominal surgery had meant there has been a big hold on most forms of exercise.
Q. What is something positive that has come out of going through all the challenges you have been faced with?
I just received the news that I have been selected to be one of the baton bearers from the Commonwealth Games Relay that will pass through Redcliffe on Good Friday. This is an amazing opportunity I would never had experienced if it was not for the challenges I was faced with and overcome.
Q. Where do you see opportunities right now for improving your health and fitness?
At the moment, it is so important for me to just listen to my body and only do what my body allows. It can take up to 18 months for your body to recover from chemo and radiation so it is important I do not over do it.
Q. What motivates you?
Challenges………but I don’t ever think I should have put it out there to the universe as it definitely has thrown some huge challenges out there to me – ha ha. I love learning and seeing results whether it is mentally, physically or emotionally and then to help other people from what I have learnt.
Q. Tell me about some of the fitness events you have undertaken.
My love was pole fitness until I developed prolapse which then only left me with 3 sporting options for life – swimming, cycling and walking. With these options I took up triathlons but walking the run leg. I then went on to do ironman 70.3 (2km swim, 90 km bike and 21 km walk).
Q. How does competing in these fitness event make you feel?
Because I cannot run, I had to change my mindset from competing to completing. It was hard to start with but now I enjoy the atmosphere so much more because that pressure of competing has been lifted.
Q. What is your biggest dream right now?
I have two. One is to do the marathon I was training for when I was with Rischelle. My new dream however is to do the Disneyworld marathon in Orlando instead of one at the sunshine coast. The second is to share the valuable lessons both mentally and physically that I have learnt through a personal blog and writing a book. I have just started a website www.michellewardle.com and facebook page
Q. What are you training are you doing now?
I am currently training 4 mornings a week and working towards the Noosa Tri in November.
Q. How have your friends and family reacted to your humour, enthusiasm and strength of character during this time?
I do have a unique sense of humour at times and I am told many times that it is infectious. I have been told on numerous occasions that it was me who was inspiring them and helping them even though it was me who was going through treatment.
Q. What did you enjoy about training with Rischelle and being a part of the challenge way back then?
The part I benefited greatly from was her talks on different topics relating to our mindset towards exercise and eating. She was very motivational and focussed on your mental and emotions well being as well as physical which so many people do not realise how much of an impact it can all have on fitness and weight loss.
Q. What is your advice to others people going through similar situations or feeling stuck , needing change and wanting to improve their health?
My advice is to try and stay positive and even when things are tough, still look for the positives. There will always be positives or things to be grateful for no matter how small. Everytime you have 1 negative thought, recognise it then look for 2 positives. The more you practice this, it will improve your mindset on what you think is challenging.