Remembering Andrea

In this week’s Sunflower Wellness class I started sharing my personal cancer chronology from the beginning, with the story of meeting Andrea Martin. It was 1984, and I had never met anyone with cancer before then. I was finishing my studies at the Marin Ballet School while working as a fitness trainer, a fairly green trainer, in Sausalito. All new members of the Nautilus of Marin received a complimentary, introductory private training session; and Andrea was assigned to me. She was surprisingly cheerful as she told me that she’d just had her second mastectomy and had just founded The Breast Cancer Fund. She was planning to lead a group of fellow cancer survivors on a mountain climbing expedition, “Michael, I need strong legs, lots of stamina, and the ability to carry a heavy backpack despite the damage that my surgeries have done to my pectoral muscles.”

How do you find the courage to go beyond what you think you can do?

The exercise program I designed for Andrea worked beautifully. She had a successful climb, and from time to time hired me for additional private training. Then my professional ballet career took me away to distant places. I thought that I wouldn’t see Andrea again. How wrong I was. That initial collaboration was only the beginning.

None of this week’s class participants chimed in with their own stories; but the subsequent conversation flowed easy. I think the difference between this session and my awkward share the prior week, was the slow pace I employed to tell the story, and the peaceful affection for Andrea that the class participants could hear in my voice.

How do you think I should progress the class interaction?

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